Mac Tonnies

12:35 am October 26, 2009 at 12:35 am Leave a comment

Dear Internet,
I think you get the best of me. not in terms of mental sharpness or coherence, even. but in terms of mood. in fact, I sometimes wonder if all of my enthusiasm and affection is hard to take undiluted by my occasional grumpiness or sadness. I tend to try to stay away from the internet (at least from *posting* on the internet, since staying away from reading it just makes it so much more overwhelming when I get back) when I’m not feeling my usual self, because I really really hate to listen to (or read) myself whining.

right now, I’m sad, though. I’m trying really hard to be my usual self, and some of you know me well enough to know that my reactions require reigning in more often than they require an effort at enthusiasm, so this is strange for me. but I can’t not be on the internet. because what happened is that a friend died. an “online” friend. a week ago tonight. but I found out about it Friday, as some of you know. this weekend has been tough. my thoughts are with Mac’s family and friends. and, yes, I include his online friends in that. (there will be another blog post someday discussing friendship and the internet. we’ve already talked a bit about it on Tumblr, but I feel like maybe there’s more to say.) so, I’d like to try to wrap my head around this a little, try to put some thoughts in order. if I can.

I was introduced to Mac Tonnies via John Cabrera, as I often have been, this year, to the people in my online life. Mac was a writer, a blogger, an intellectual with a brilliant sense of humor… and after several Twitter conversations that could not be contained in 140 characters (most often on my end, as will surprise none of you, I’m sure) we began emailing. we talked about life… about cities we like and music and relationships. we certainly weren’t what I would call “best friends”, but he was someone I cared about and communicated with, and counted on seeing every day online. he posted things that made me laugh, that frightened me, and that intrigued me. I noticed his absence immediately, it’s difficult not to notice when something you usually see daily disappears. but I knew he was busy- he was writing a new book, had a potential new relationship, and there were other possible projects on the horizon that he’d mentioned- so I tried not to worry. after a few days, though, I was getting concerned. I sent him a message, saying how odd it seemed not to see him online for several consecutive days, and that I hoped all was well with him. of course, I got no response. it was two days later that I learned he’d died.

Mac probably knew, if it was something he thought about, how much I admired him, and that I enjoyed his sense of humor, shared much of his musical taste, and took a lot of pleasure from our communications. I’m not usually one to miss an opportunity to express appreciation for the people in my life, so I think that was already said. I don’t feel like there was anything unfinished there. but I still feel a tremendous sense of loss… I miss him. I miss seeing his posts every day, and wondering whether or not I had the courage to click one of his links, not knowing where it would lead. I miss knowing that he’s somewhere on the other side of a computer, accessible. an email, a tweet, or a comment away. most of all, I’m saddened to think of what the world will miss out on without his contributions. but I also am so glad to have known him while I did. and I guess that’s the most important thing to focus on, now.

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October 2009


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