So I’ve been thinking all day about what I could possibly say. I overslept this morning. The alarm went off at 5:30, like it always does, but I decided to rest another five minutes before getting my first cup of coffee. Next thing I knew, it was 6:25. I went downstairs, poured a cup and sat down with my phone, planning to read the New York Times. For some reason, though, I had Facebook open, so I started to skim that instead. And that was how I found out that my friend P.G. Holyfield is fighting for his life.
I don’t remember whether or not I met him at my first Dragon*Con in 2008, though I clearly remember him being at a couple of parties I went to. The following winter and spring, I mainlined the podcast of Murder At Avedon Hill, and somehow I finangled my way into a very very small part in one of the last episodes. After that, I knew I had to meet the guy behind this tour-de-force – a captivating world, a gripping story, and a sonic artistic achievement far beyond anything I could hope to produce. I found a guy who is quiet but friendly and gracious, and often very funny. We roomed together at Dragon*Con 2010. Alcohol loosened my tongue and I talked his ears off. His tolerance for me was commendable.
In the years since, I’ve always sought him out at cons, even if we didn’t get to hang out much. It’s inevitable at cons that, if you hang around with a few friends, there are others that you won’t get to see much. I’ve been a faithful listener to the Beyond The Wall podcast since its inception. In fact, while I’m sure I would have heard of Game Of Thrones eventually, I first heard of it at Dragon*Con 2009 when I saw that P.G. had bought a board game based on the books. On a side note, I still owe him a drink due to our bet over last winter’s NCAA basketball game between his alma mater the University of Virginia and my beloved Syracuse University Orange, who frankly just did not bring it that night.
Now he’s fighting the cruelest, most ruthless enemy there is – cancer. The reports coming out of Charlotte are grim. I’ve wavered all day between disbelief, anger, sadness, resignation, then back again through all the stages. The posts I’ve seen on Facebook today, whether or not they’ve helped him, have been comforting for me, as I imagine they’ve been for all of us who know and love him. My sorrow is as nothing compared to what his children and Kim and his dear friends Chooch and Viv are enduring right now. All I can say is that my thoughts and prayers are with him and with them at this awful time.
Chooch and Viv started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to offset the uninsured medical expenses and to help provide for his daughters. The results have been astonishing – $8600 raised in less than 30 hours. If you’re reading this and you haven’t donated, please consider doing so. P.G. poured his heart and soul into creating stories and shows to entertain us. Now his audience needs to come through for him.
My words are woefully inadequate at a time like this, so I’ll end this with a quote from a Bob Dylan song. “There’s some people that / You don’t forget / Even thought you’ve only seen ’em one time or two / When the roses fade / And I’m in the shade / I’ll remember you.”
And I will, always. God bless you, my friend.