3 S.R. Johannes: Ode to Graeme

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ode to Graeme

Today my heart is heavy as I say goodbye to someone special.

My dear friend is moving to Eqypt and it suddenly feels like a million miles away. he might as well be moving to the sun (well except then he would burn from the intolerable heat).

Sometimes, someone very very special comes into your life when you least expect it. And somehow they touch you in a short amount of time, in a small way, that you can't really express or explain to anyone else.

It doesn't make any sense why I'm as upset as I am - because I have only known him a short time. And even Graeme was slightly surprised at my reaction when I hugged him for the last time (for at least 2 years.)

3 years ago, I met Graeme Stone in LA at SCBWI. We hit it off immediately and hung out the whole time we were there. There was a spiritual connection and we just clicked on many levels - we laugh at the same things, we observe the world in a similar (strange) way, and he is a wonderful thriller writer. I don't meet many true thriller writers so that was a total bonus for me. Especially someone who knows more movie, TV, and mystery book references than I do. (Trust me - I met my match)

A year later, I looked forward to seeing Graeme again. Once again we clicked, laughed, and talked thrillers and mysteries and disasters even more.

Even though we had fun, it really wasn't until Graeme moved to Atlanta last fall that we grew close. It wasn't until then, that I began to recognize how special he really is.

As I was crying on hubby's shoulder today, Hubby asked a simple question: "Why is Graeme so special to you?"

I could not answer him.

 You see, I can't really put into words or express why Graeme is so special to me.

But somehow in just a year, I've grown attached to him. Since he came here, we've met up several times a month for coffee, talks, lunch, dinner -  and had deep talks about self pubbing, writing, thrillers, movies, successes, failures. But more importantly - life in general. We recently spent a week together writing in the mountains. 24 hours, 7 days of laughing, writing, and plotting. When we weren't writing or hanging out with Kristin Tubb and Jennifer Jabaley - we talked about writing and thrillers and our past. Our dreams, our future, our regrets. We cooked dinners together and laughed.

That's one awesome thing about having a gay male friend - is hanging out with a man without the weird undertones. Just a male friend. A male perspective. It's refreshing.

I don't connect with people easily. I'm socially awkward, kinda shy, slightly weird, an over-achiever, snarky, and very few people get my strange sense of humor. Graeme gets me in a way no one else does. Yes, he gets my writing, he gets my jokes, he gets my movie  references, he gets my snark. I could look at something and by the time I look over at Graeme - we say the same thing about the same observation. We see things the same. We find the humor in the same things. Sometimes we discuss how that could play into a book but sometimes we just laugh without saying anything.

Now don't get me wrong, a lot of my special friends "get me" and of course my hubby "gets me" the most. But Graeme gets that tiny special place inside me - the small strange place where my writing comes from. I can't explain it but maybe you understand. It's a place that may not seem important to most people and i don't need to show it to many - but it's the 1% that most people don't even know is there or ever get to see. 

In addition to that, there is something very special about Graeme. He just that one of a kind person. Irreplaceable. Unduplicatable.

On the surface, Graeme is silly, dorky, gay, sarcastic, and wonky with a touch of insanity. But underneath his crazy sayings, his silly faces, and his slightly sick sense of humor - Graeme has one of the most beautiful souls I've ever met. The way he sees the world is eye-opening. The way he REALLY listens is unique. The way he cares about others so deeply and isn't afraid to show it is refreshing. 

Underneath the cool, funny, quirky guy - is someone so smart and conscious in life - you just want to be around him. He is one of the smartest people I have ever met. Knows something about everything. I bet he has remembered everything he has ever learned - like a big walking spongy encyclopedia of weird and strange facts.

Anyway, enough about Graeme (he is probably loving this right now since he's all me me me right now ;)

Today, I was left saying goodbye to someone I know I can never replace.

I am so happy for my dear friend as he embarks on an amazing life-altering journey to Egypt. He's had many tough years and has struggled - now he gets to take a fresh step on his path to discovering his true purpose. He's brave and fearless and I admire him deeply. There are not many people who would move to Egypt for 2 years - away from everything they know. Family, friends, and the total comforts of home - with just 2 bags and a smile.

But I am also very sad today. For me and what I am losing.

Sure Graeme and I will always be friends. And we will Skype and we will email and we will still laugh and plot together.

But it won't be the same.

And since Graeme is irreplaceable - that means there is now a tiny space left my heart that will always be empty.

If you want to follow Graeme's insightful and hilarious blog as he travels to Eqypt, gets a masters in linguistics, and learns to live in a society so different from ours, go follow his blog where he will be keeping a journal along the way.

Trust me, you won't regret it!

And you'll be lucky enough to see and experience a small slice of what I adore about Graeme. ;0)


Heather said...

We never truly say goodbye to such special friends. Merely, see you later. :)

Graeme Stone said...

I'm bowled over. If could run out of words I'd have run out them by now. So, so touching. It's hard to leave, but I feel compelled to go. I think you call that "torn." Shelli, so many beautiful words. Thank you so much for inspiring me to push for more and for putting yourself out there for me to see. It's made me want to get out and ask, see, do. I vow to keep in touch.

Laura Pauling said...

It is so hard to say good-bye or separate from the ones we love and connect. And outside of our spouses that kind of connection doesn't always happen! Glad you had it close by for a couple years! Good luck to Graeme. What an adventure!

Mary said...

Aw! This is such a great post and, as I was reading it, my mind was scrolling through the people who passed through my life who I miss desperately. I was the one who moved, leaving behind a small group of people who were (and are!) like family to me. Very hard--though, every time I see them, it's like I never left.

Anyway, you and Graeme are lucky to have found each other and made such an awesome connection. And, just think--you'll have an excuse to go traveling to exotic locales AND have a place to stay and someone to show you around! Score!

Anonymous said...

Heck even I will miss Graeme just hearing you talk about him. Hopefully you will come back Graeme and we can all go out for tea. :)


Sheena-kay Graham said...

At least you two can still communicate with each other. Such I sweet post. I don't know Graeme but even I miss him.

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