I told myself after I found out, look, don’t get fancy with it, don’t try to save the world, you’ve mostly already missed the newsiness of it, so just push out a quick moment of silence and use that awesome picture of him and have some links to the old stuff you’ve already done on him. (His was one of our fist profiles. I actually think it was the first thing Ben ever wrote for TWER, which seemed apropos and still does.) And yet here I am days later, outside at 11 p.m. with a Swisher Sweet cigar (we have / had the same brand, so proud), some Auburn bug chasing this sweaty sentence across the screen, hoping that the Auburn tree frogs and the Auburn crickets will deafen me, dampen the Twitter alert, and inspire with their so southerness some final tribute of truth about Madison Jones and what he meant to my Auburn.
Now I’m back inside and maybe I’ll use this for the TWER piece. I mean, of course I will, good job [I mean of course I did, good job]. But I can’t find–and I can find anything–the folder of photos I took of all the insane pottery figurines he’d made when I interviewed him at his house in March 2008 for a story I never wrote for East Alabama Living Magazine, Ben “Kill Fee” Bartley-style. It’s killing me.
They’re all great, but of all I’ve read–and maybe it was because it was the first and reminded me of Auburn (he said there was a little Auburn in the town) and because I love the cover– Last Things is my favorite. He told me it was the hardest / most complicated to write. I took that as a compliment.
Here’s Ben’s review of another great one, A Cry of Absence.