A friend, someone for whom I have felt affection and whose bumping up against my life has left me with indelible marks, has chosen to end his life in early February, 2012. It has been so long since he left this vale to take up residence in one room of my memory house. He is there, along with other close friends who have died.

Some days, whenever my phone rings, I think of him calling on the spur of a moment to share an errant thought, happening or recent accomplishment. “Hey, G” he would announce, “get this!” But it never is he calling, nor will he ever again.

Often I amuse myself, recalling how, 16 years ago, when we were auditing a Contemporary Painting Course at a local University we would engage in a mad scramble to carry our piles of materials and equipment into the studio so we might be able to take possession of a choice piece of studio real estate. Because he had OCD tendencies, and really knew how to pack up stuff for easy and organized ferrying back and forth  I learned a lot to be less haphazard and more organized in my packing up for studio time. I cringe to think of he had disparaged, publicly to a studio full of young painters, my piggish painterly practices. Of course he did this in an amazingly witty fashion, so that rather than glower at him I would break out in fits of laughter.

I don’t think I will ever be able to sit through a Peter Greenaway movie without imagining him sitting nearby and saying, “Wait, lets replay this… and this…look… look!!!”

He left behind his wife and two grown boys.  They are devastated.

His older son went to Burning Man last summer where he created a shrine of his Father’s digital artwork, printed out and strung up like Buddhist prayer banners. These he burned.

Both sons have access to his files of visual work and writing. He did produce two books on Blurb.com, as well as hundreds of paintings and drawings.  He was a man of remarkable sensibility and aesthetic sense. I miss him.

Rest in Peace, Thomas Ziorjen, my friend.

5 Responses to “Legacy”

  1. canadada Says:

    Nicely put G.
    It’s always sad when the good decide to go …

  2. Enrique Says:

    What a sad blog entry, G. Greetings from Finland.

    • suburbanlife Says:

      Yes, Enrique – it is sad when ones close to us die. But how great is it to have known these persons. Life is so much enriched, and continues to be, because the memory bank is always ther to withdraw from. I hope you are getting on well. G

  3. Filio Kondylis Says:

    I got goose bumps when you mentioned your friends name. I know of Thomas through a friend of mine.

    I didn’t know Thomas that well, though I did meet him a couple of times. He was a wonderful person.

    I’m always saddened at the loss of life; the loss of someone close or someone before they’ve had the chance to ripen on the branch of life is a sad moment.

  4. suburbanlife Says:

    yes, Filio – Thomas was a difficult, remarkable person. Sad that he couldn’t square his gifts and accomplishments with ideas about what might constitute success and self-worth. His family posted on Facebook Thomas’s suicide photo-essay which I and another friend of the family railed against being made so thoughtlessly public. They pulled it as they realized that publication of extreme personal pain did him dis-service. G

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