Today my heart aches. I have spent the better part of the day trying to figure out just what I wanted to say in this post, what could come the slightest bit close to expressing the sorrow that I feel at losing my friend, David Thompson. There are not words to do it justice.
I "met" David a little over a year ago through social media and the crime fiction community. Then last October I was able to meet him in person. I will forever remember the very first time I saw him in person. He was speaking to someone and I was just going to wait until he was finished so I could say "hi." He looked up and caught my eye and asked whoever he was speaking to to excuse him a minute; then he walked over and wrapped me in a big hug. No, "do I know you?" No, "Are you Jen?" He just knew immediately and treated me as though we had known each other all our lives. That's the kind of person David was. He could make you feel as though your presence was the most important, your thoughts the most valued.
I so enjoyed chatting with David through Twitter or Facebook, IMs or e-mails. It made the thousands of miles between Cleveland and Houston almost vanish. We talked about books and authors and events. He introduced me to so many new books, and he'd let me run on and on about a book I was reading and it was never weird to him. He always had time. His enthusiasm fueled my enthusiasm; it was contagious. He so loved this community and the people in it. He loved connecting people with books, and he touched so many lives through his work both at Murder by the Book and his Busted Flush Press.
Just slightly older than me, David should have had many more years to connect people with books; he should have had many more years to share with his wife and all those who love him. But unfortunately, "should" doesn't always make it so.
In just a little more than a year, David left a big impression on my life. I'm a different and better person for having known him. As I continue to blog and be a part of the crime fiction community, it's my hope that I can honor him and what he stood for by singing the praises of the hidden gems, by connecting people with books, and by being the best friend I can be.
As I attempted to work out my anger at life today in the gym, I listened to R.J. Ellory's A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS. I listened as the narrator read in the most hauntingly beautiful tone:
"I wonder if somewhere there is a place that holds all these unfinished lives. Another plane, another world running parallel to our own, and there we will find the dead, picking up their incomplete lives and living them out."
Where ever my friend is now, he's talking up Reed Farrel Coleman, Daniel Woodrell, A.E. Maxwell, Don Winslow...Thank you, David. Thank you for your friendship. It is and always will be a priceless treasure.