Thursday, 17 December 2009
Xangan died yesterday. A Xangan I did not know. I wish I had known him. Now it's too late for me. But it seems he has touched a great many of his fellow Xangans, and I feel I should pay this fellow artistic soul a tribute here on WhenWordsCollide.
I may have stumbled upon his blog in the past, but my memory didn't click when I visited there this morning. I just spent about two hours "visiting" however, and I'm a little choked up, a little sad, and perhaps a little amazed. But I'm getting ahead of myself. (This entry isn't really "prepared". I'm witing as I think, and my thoughts are a jumble with a mixture of awe, grief, and friendship, and all for someone I didn't even "know" inasmuch as we can ever get to know someone on the internet.)
While I was answering comments this morning, one of the bloggers I read paid tribute to a blog and Xangan called "jstickmann". At first I thought she was saying he'd shut down his blog, like so many seem to do. I was writing my comment to her, and started to talk about how I hoped he would "come back" with another blog, a sort of generic answer, since I didn't know the Xangan. She supplied a link to his blog in her entry, so I clicked it. The blog belonged to John (jstickmann), an artist, photographer, and a poetic soul, who passed away yesterday. His brother, Greg, also a blogger on Xanga, had written a beautiful "last post" for his brother, explaining that John had been quite prolific of late, and he and John's nephews, also Xangans, could keep his artisitc legacy alive for quite some time by posting photos of art and his writings.
Throughout the day, I kept going back to John's site. When I "meet" a blogger for the first time, I regularly go back to his or her earliest entries, read the profile information, and check out the photoblog and videoblog sections to see what they post, especially if they are artistic. John's posts were an amalgam of his paintings, photos, installation pieces, collages, drawings, and what I would call "poetry", snippets of thoughts and beautiful spare words. Knowing this man had just passed away, I felt as if I had come to a party after it ended, or missed the last plane to nirvana.
Reading his replies to comments he received made me realize this was a special person I certainly wished I'd crossed paths with while he was still in the corporeal world. I know that he is looking down from above, and he is fully cognizant of the love I witnessed in comments on the tribute post, both from bloggers he "knew" and from many whom he didn't.
I didn't leave a comment. Perhaps I shall a bit later on. When I was driving home, I kept thinking about this man I didn't know. You might remember I just posted an entry not too long ago, when one of my neighbors died, about how I wondered what would happen if I should suddenly pass away. I even wondered about my blog. John's readers had nothing to wonder about. His family stepped in and let Xanga know immediately. I could sense that John's brother Greg was really touched by the love he witnessed when reading the comments on his posts. He wrote: "You all have touched his life and made it so much better than most will ever begin to know." My eyes teared up as I read this. I didn't know him, and I'll never know him. I have been touched by so many people here on Xanga, and here's a guy I'm sure I would have loved to have "known".
The amazing thing is that after spending a few hours on his blog. (I always tell people they are my "project" when I wander about.) I felt as if I did "know" him a little. I'm even jealous of his artistic talents. I always say I'm a "failed artist" with no muse, nor direction when it comes to creating art. John created some fantastic pieces, and the neat thing is that he's a "lifetime" Xanga member, so his site will stay up as a legacy. I'm always writing about how websites and blogsites should stick around after our physical death, as a legacy to our lives. I still leave comments on Terry Cuthbert's (lordpineapple) blog, three years after his death. I did get to "know" Terry before he passed on. I am getting to know John after the fact.
I found myself copy/pasting John's art into a folder on my computer. He featured the music he listened to as he painted on his blog entries, so his readers could listen themselves as they viewed his work. I listened to quite a few of these music tracks. I copy/pasted some of his words into a notepad file.
From 5pm to about 7:30pm tonight, I created a tribute video for this unknown friend. It's "rendering" as I type this entry. I hope he "sees" it from above, and appreciates the sentiment. I use his words, his paintings and drawings, with a music track I hope he would have approved: Cat Steven's "On the Road to Find Out". This is the first "internet movie" without the familiar MikeVideo logo. This isn't about me. It's about John. I know I just posted a video in the entry below, but I felt as if I needed to use my artistic talents to pay tribute to John's, of which I only today became aware.
If I were to leave him a comment, it would say:
I never had the pleasure of visiting your blogsite before. After spending a few hours viewing your art, and reading your words...I wish I'd known you. The greatest compliment I feel I can give you is to present your art and your words in tribute to your life.
Michael F. Nyiri, poet, philosopher, fool
Here are his own words (and since John seemed to have a habit of capitalizing, I'll do so as well):
MY ART IS.. THE WORDS MY HEART ARE NOT ABLE TO SPEAK, THE LIGHT MY EYES CANNOT PROJECT OF THEIR OWN, THE SOULS LONGINGS LOCKED INSIDE THE FRIEND/LOVER THAT NEVER LEAVES . A GIFT MEANT ONLY TO GIVE... jstickmann
Click Play below to view the art of John E. Pfeiffer:
I've always enjoyed the sense of "community" I find on Xanga, and I've been a member here for over 5 years. John's blog was active since 2008, and I'm sure his is one of hundreds, or perhaps thousands of blogs I will never see. Some Xangans are always bemoaning "quality" sites and sniping about the lack of "good writing" and artistic talent they see on this service. For one, I can't understand why some of the people who complain the most, seem to always be "featured" in some way and always seem to have lots of "readers" and comments. I hope Mr. Pheiffer was "featured" a few times. His art deserves a wider audience. He had over 150 Xanga "friends", and from the comments I read on dozens of entries this afternoon, I know he passed from this plane of existence knowing that the camaraderie he experienced in his Xangaworld was real and heartwarming. I never left him a comment, except for the one at the end of my tribute video. I can only hope that I do him the justice he deserves.
Posted: December 15, 2009 9:37 PM