Jesurgislac’s Journal

July 2, 2009

Reading Andy Olmsted

Andy once referred to me as “my arch-nemesis Jesurgislac”, which phrase I’ve come back to a lot since he was killed in Iraq.

I heard that Andy had been killed on Obsidian Wings: I read the post twice before I was sure I’d taken it in and understood.

What I wrote in the first minute I knew what had happened was:

Oh jesus christ.

I didn’t even know him well, and christ knows I’ll miss him. He was

I want to say something like “he was a gentleman” and I don’t mean anything class-orientated by it: I mean he had the root of the matter in him, he was the kind of soldier I couldn’t imagine *not* trusting to behave well, the kind of guy that a pacifist like me can respect for his courage and his decency.

And he’s dead. Jesus christ, goddammit, what a bloody mess.

If anyone’s passing on messages to the family, I add my condolences, little as they can mean at a time like this. But he’ll be missed and his death regretted even by people who never met him.

I suppose it’s something we’ll all have to get used to, as the years pass, mortality being what it is: the loss of friends – and good enemies – whom we never met.

I was not Andy’s nemesis: that came with a bullet. I never thought of myself as Andy’s enemy: I thought of him, while he was alive, as a grand partner in the fencing game of blog: the kind of opponent who’s never bitter or mean. Now Andy’s dead, I just think: we should remember – we should take care, all of us who knew the Andy who was G’Kar, the person whom we knew on the Internet, to remember: to take care of our memories.

Hilzoy notes here that Andy is now in print:

As I think I’ve written before, Andy Olmsted’s parents have collected his Rocky Mountain blog posts from Iraq into a book. If you’d like to order it, it’s now available at 1-800-882-3273. Andy’s parents will use any money they make above the production costs to establish a scholarship in his name at St. John’s Academy in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, where Andy went to school.

Writers make friends even after death: that too seems very like Andy Olmsted.

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