Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Happy Birthday Skyman

I don't think I've ever done this before. Singled out one blogger over another because so many of you are dear to me, email me outside the blog, talk to me on Skype and, some of us have met; each experience has been lovely.  Some have even kept in touch after they've deserted the blogworld.  There is one in particular who's company has been beyond delightful.

In June 2009, I started commenting on a blog, Irreverant Irrelevance. It's author, was in the habit of responding to his commenters individually, something I've emulated if you leave an email link with your comments. A few emails went back and forth between us (and other commenters of course) as posts were read and comments left. By December I received a chat notification in Gmail from someone who's name I didn't recognise. He soon clarified who he was and so began the odd IM conversation. The man can talk the leg off a chair and I can talk underwater so conversation comes easily. By January we were regularly communicating then in March, he loaded up Skype and chats turned into voice. He moved slowly from the East Coast to the West and we introduced webcams. It was pretty cool putting the face to the voice. Our chats tend to be long, interesting, informative, funny, collaborative, sober, drunken, serious, stupid, playful. And I cherish each one.

For almost a year now, this has been going on. Unless of course I light a cigarette in which case I am summarily 'terminated' from the call or heavily berated to put it out while he chain chews Nicorette. Our contact has been interrupted only by bouts out-of-city work, vacations, intermittent connections or the odd weekend away. It's  a lovely liaison and I am proud to call him my friend.  Not only is he my closest male friend and a fantastic online companion but he's led me to places I never thought I would venture this past 12 months.

He's solely responsible for me starting Creative Infanticide and encouraging me to write. I've been a copywriter in a past life but never ventured into fiction or indeed way out of my comfort zone as I have this year. Together we decided upon The Infanticide Exchange a private collaborative blog, where aspiring writers can receive some constructive criticism from published writers, editors, readers and their peers. Feel free to contact me if you're interested in honest critical appraisal. 

He generously reviews and critiques my work, and the work of others, before we post or refine for other media.  He's a fine writer in his own right but denies it and I recommend you read some of his posts on Irreverant Irrelevance, they're wonderful.  

He's been a joy to co-write with on a rather long piece that we did for The Tenth Daughter of Memory. A project I loved doing as much as he did and one I hope will take us somewhere over the next 12 months. Again, we encourage would-be writers to join 10thDom. It's competitive, creative, generates wonderful quality, much fun and a great bunch of contributors take part. As I've said before, it's not for the feint hearted, wannabes or those with fragile egos. It's certainly not there to garner sycophantic comments. The beauty of it, is that it's a small field of quality writers, who contribute and vote on each others efforts. I am humbled each time I post by the excellence of their work.

He's opinionated, impetuous, interesting, well-travelled, moody, arrogant, damaged, talented, creative, honest, hedonistic, detailed, loyal, intelligent, stubborn, articulate, funny, encouraging, protective and infuriating but always multi-talented and most importantly, there for me when I need him and tolerates my neurosis with the patience of a Saint.

He's OCD with cleanliness (trust me watching him vacuum is porn for women), loves his pets more than people and is single-handedly trying to monopolise the noodle market.  His grammar is impeccable, his general knowledge amazing. I learn something from him every day.

2011 is going to be his year, I know it. The career will take off. More works will be published. He'll find his muse. His travel aspirations will begin.  Most exciting of all, I get to meet him in April, hug him until he's blue, cook for him, travel with him and spoil him rotten. He has indeed become a valued friend and part of the family.

Why so blue?

Oh and of course, teach him how to talk 'strine and introduce him to green vegetables as a food group, a concept that has so far escaped him. 

We've kept each other company on high days and holidays, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. He talked to me for hours on my birthday because I was home alone and in need of a friend. He consoles me when I'm sad, castigates me when I'm irritating. He won't thank me for this post, or for wishing him happy birthday, these events have little resonance for him but I love him to bits and wish him wonderful things this year and always.

I believe during one of our conversations (sadly when I was sober) I made a promise to jump out of a plane (expert and parachute attached). We shall see. This song may be my anthem and hopefully not my requiem.



Thanks matey for just being 'right here'. You and me, we're just fine. One million invisible lines, up your head and into mine . . . we're just fine. You're the light in my Parka and you're jumping with me!
Hmm . . hardly a stretch for an ex-Paratrooper.

24 comments:

kylie said...

you rarely gush....

i beati said...

cool cool cool

Kath Lockett said...

Sounds like a top bloke - if you jump out of a plane, HE can eat his greens!

Ces said...

You watched him vacuum? :)

Happy Birthday to the Skyman. He makes you feel like you are in heaven!

Kate Hanley said...

Great tribute to Jeff, I feel like i know him better. Can't wait to hear about the visit. I agree that he is most generous with encouragement, comments and he is extraordinarily talented.

Betsy said...

I agree...he's awesome! :)

Happy, happy day Jeffscape!

Alan Burnett said...

Are you sure you have actually seen him via Skype? I always assumed that he was one of those virtual characters created by some Blogger with a surfeit of time and imagination (a creation of the Simpson-Lynch Studios perhaps) If he actually exists, it will come as a surprise to many. If indeed he is a real person, buy him a drink from me when you see him.

Jill said...

How lovely to have a friendship so simple yet SO complex! And, a visit coming up too. What fun.

Happy Birthday to Jeff!

PattiKen said...

Yep. You are a lucky woman indeed. But good luck with the green vegetable thing. He is a guy, after all.

Brian Miller said...

can not even begin to imagine when the two of you get together...smiles

happy bday jeff!

Janice said...

What a touching, beautiful tribute. How fabulous you will be meeting one another face to face. April is right around the corner.

Mim said...

sounds like one in a million - both of you

Robyn said...

This is really lovely to read of the love you share with this friendship...
wishing you both many happy days ahead.

x Robyn

and Happy Birthday Skyman :)

Anonymous said...

Could this be the answer to the third wish in your previous log? If not, why not?

Quickroute said...

Sounds like a helluva a bloke - happy b'day jeff

Sarah Lulu said...

Love peter gabriel ...

Sounds like your friend is a wonderful piece of your life ...
a crimson part in a woven rug ...where your heart tugs a bit and your blood runs ...

xx

Pam said...

Beautiful post Helen. Happy Birthday to the Skyman.

Vagabonde said...

I went back through your posts again as I was gone during the holidays. Your post to your children was so sweet. I know how nice it is to be on a trip with a daughter – once when we were going to Marrakesh in Morocco I fell before the flight and hurt my ankle very badly - I had to walk slowly with a cane and it was so great to have my daughter along. On my last trip to Paris, in November 09, I think I walked in the same places as you did, as I have photos of the windmill and the side street, and we had a café crème at the Amélie’s café. I get so homesick when I see the Sacré-Coeur. Your last post makes this Skyman sound like an angel. I wish I knew someone like that – what a precious friend he is. Have a great 2011 – hoping everything goes your way.

River said...

Isn't it great when you just "click" with someone? You get a lifelong friend that will stick through thick and thin.
And he looks nice too.
I won't believe he vacuums though, until I see it for myself. My address is........the vacuum is in the back room.
Men will eat anyhting if it is crumbed and deep fried, even greens.

tony said...

a Nice Tribute To A Nice Bloke.An Interesting 2011 to come!

Nicky Schmidt (Absolute Vanilla) said...

What a wonderful tribute, Baino, you old softie! Sounds like you have a really special friend there.

Carolina said...

It will be April before you know it!

unstranger said...

Fuck! You rock Baino!!!!!!!!!!

California Girl said...

this guy sounds pretty awesome...and to have a fellow writer to critique your work & v.v. w/o too much public exposure til you're ready.

So, is Creative Infanticide your baby or shared baby? I re-read the paragraph more than once and it sounds to be a solo effort. I've signed up. My biggest problem will be giving long pieces the attention they deserve.

Congrats lady. xo