Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Am Grateful for You!

I have a lot of friends in my real life, but when David Thompson died yesterday, none of those real life people in Detroit had any idea who he was. So as I walked around teary eyed, there was no one to share it with.

But I did have you. Isn't it incredible to think about how recently communities have formed without people even meeting each other? Communities where people have some really important commonality. People jeer at blogs, at facebook, at other social networking sites and methods, but in times like these they provide a network of support. A huge network. We can share more than books it turns out.

Over time I've met some of the people I came to know first online: Bill Crider, George Kelley, Bonnie Lawson, Terrie Moran, Gerald So, Jeff Pierce, Pete Rozovsky, John McFetridge, Sandra Scoppettone, Kieran Shea, Bryon Quertermous and others I'm forgetting here. All of them turned out to be the terrific people I knew they were online. And I hope to meet more of you over time.

I was looking forward to meeting David Thompson in Philly next month. I first talked to David when I called Murder by the Book to get a copy of DIE A LITTLE in 2005. Megan had been especially touched by his offer to put her up at his house and when I said I was going to buy more copies of the book, she suggested I order it from Murder by the Book.

I couldn't negotiate the site and for some strange reason I remembered I could call Houston. David answered the phone and we had a nice chat about the book. After that, he'd occasionally send me things: arcs he thought I'd like, book marks, their author list, recommendations. He sometimes asked me to publicize an event or a book but just because he knew it was something I liked too. Like Noircon, for instance.

When I sent my story in to DAMN NEAR DEAD 2 and said on this blog I was outclassed, he emailed at once to say he'd liked it very much and I was not outclassed. That was David. Keeping his fingers on a lot of pulses.

So I never met David but for five years we have known each other a little.

If anyone out there reading this has a story to tell about David, please send it along. The panel at NOIRCON is now going to be a tribute to him rather than a celebration of the book and I'd love to have some material to share.

But back to my main point here, thanks for being there yesterday. Thanks for giving me a place to grieve.


Anonymous said...

Nice tribute.

I never had any direct contact with him myself but I couldn't help me touched by all the personal tributes and comments on the various blogs.

38 is way too young.

Jeff M.

Travis Erwin said...

Wish I'd gotten t know him. Heard lots of great things about the man and my heart goes out to his friends and family.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - I never met David personally, nor spoke to him, but his loss is a real blow to us all. My thoughts and best wishes to his family, and know that we share your sense of loss...

Graham Powell said...

I just remembered this morning that I had him sign my copy of Damn Near Dead at ConMisterio in Austin back in 2005. Grabbed the book and there it was. Squeezed in between a couple of other signatures was "David Thom" and a little arrow drawn to Busted Flush Books. As if I'd forget who he was.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I wonder what he'd think of what's been said in the last 24 hours. I hope somehow he knows. So much love has to end up somewhere.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Seems like a very decent bloke. Sad news but great that he did so much to make a lot of people happy in his short life. Not an easy task..

Ron Scheer said...

This place isn't just any old blog. I've never been in an online group before that felt real like this one.

Peter Rozovsky said...

I didn't know David as well as some of the other folks who have been talking about him, but I can tell you this:

As befitting my blog's theme, I like to look for crime-fiction bookstores when I travel. When I visited No Alibis in Belfast, I rapidly forgot that I was shopping, and I felt instead that I was among friends. But no more than I did at Murder by the Book.

When I visited Partners and Crime in New York this week, I gabbed away about crime fiction with one of the owners, who recommended an author I had not known before -- just as David did when I visited Murder by the Book.

At Sleuth of Baker Street in Toronto, it warmed my heart to see how comfortable the regulars were, how they were doing more than just
transacting commercial business. And that's just how I felt in Houston at David's shop.

Why would anyone want to hang around a bar after closing time when they could do it a mystery bookstore instead?
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

pattinase (abbott) said...

Ron-and I am so glad to have come to know all of the people on here who are western lovers. I never would have met or heard so much about that genre were it not for forgotten books. Same for fantasy and science fiction fans.
Pete-I hope you will drop by the panel and say those things about MURDER BY THE BOOK since I know you will be there.

Randy Johnson said...

Didn't know the gentleman or his wife and never had any contact with them. Reading the tributes from those that knew Mr. Thompson the last few days made me realize I'd missed a fine person.

Sympathies to all family and friends.

Todd Mason said...

And, Patti, "virtual" community is not as new as you might think, as the fannish networks of correspondence, fanzines and APAs (amateur press associations) go back to the '20s, and their models futther back than that. But it certainly is easier and faster now, for all of us who have computers and access to the WWW.

Charles Gramlich said...

It's a new world with the net and its connections. I am sorry that deaths such as David's still have to happen.

Cullen Gallagher said...

David was a sweet man, very encouraging and generous. He'll be greatly missed by many.

Touching post, Patti, thanks for sharing.

George said...

Your friendship means a lot to me, too, Patti. The Internet has made it possible to develop relationships with people outside your geographic area. Our lives are enriched by it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am very grateful for it every day.

Dorte H said...

What a fine tribute!

No, I didn´t know David, but I have seen a post or two about him already, and like you, I feel that there are so many friends out there I would love to meet in real life, and so many people I would genuinely miss if they were not around any more.
Not that my ´real´Danish friends are not good enough, but I don´t have many who share my love of crime fiction - reading and writing it. So for me blogging has also opened that new world where I can get in touch with people who get it every day.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Exactly--there are people we share our everyday life with and those who share our passions.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Houston, but I live in Austin now. On frequent visits back to Houston, I'd always take the time to swing by MBTB. I can remember years ago meeting David and Dean James at the store. Every time I'd come in they were very gracious and, although I was far from a regular, they always greeted me by name. Over the years, David recommended so many terrific authors to me that my TBR pile morphed into a plateau. Just two weeks ago, the store called to say that some books I had ordered had come in. I called back to arrange to have them shipped and ended up chatting with David for a good fifteen minutes about various books, even though he was trying to get ready for a signing that night. I have driven over to see Dennis Lehane, Ken Bruen, Jason Starr, Peter Spiegelman, Reed Farrel Coleman, George Pelecanos, James W. Hall, Bob Morris, Wallace Stroby, Don Winslow, Christa Faust and Megan and so many other authors. Every time, despite having to get ready for the signings, David would always take the time to chat with me. His loss to the mystery reading community is

Ed from Austin