The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

A Blogger Mourns...

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It’s an odd thing when a blogger we know dies. It’s a case of culture not yet caught up with technology. We don’t know how to react. What’s appropriate to say or feel? What’s inappropriate? And unless someone else has access to their passcodes, their blog will now remain there until Google or Wordpress disappears. A ghost of them will forever lurk in the blogosphere.

For 4 months I followed the blog of Sang Lee – Yellow Son. A Korean by birth who moved with his family to the US when he was only a few years old, but an American by language, culture and upbringing. The conflict between who he was, or wanted to be out in the world, who he was expected to be at home, and how the people he met treated him because of his physical heritage, shaped much of his outlook.

And he wrote about it wonderfully.

To me he was one of the great finds of 2009, and we clicked together on many levels. His was one of the very few blogs where I was compelled to go back and read every post he’d written. Each one was a treat; an indulgence.

I always got a little excited when I saw on the sidebar he’d got a new post up.

And now, via mutual blog associates and Facebook I discover he had a heart attack and was found dead in his apartment on January 5th.

I never met Sang in person. I never spoke to him on the phone. I only knew him via his writings – blog posts and comments. He might have been an entirely fictitious character created by a Romanian woman living in Botswana for all I know.

But it didn’t feel like he was. He felt like a full, deep and complex person who I was enjoying getting to know.

And now he’s gone.

And I feel a whole range of emotions.

I feel sorrow for his family and those who were close to him; I feel annoyed I won’t get to read any more of his wonderful writings; I feel the sense of mortality we get when someone the same age as us suddenly dies; I feel it’s a shame I will never get to meet him in person as I’m convinced we would have got on well together; I feel a strong sense of personal loss; I feel I want to honour his memory to show a sense of respect; I feel I want to make some stupid, humorous remark; I feel I don’t know the right protocols – I can’t put on a black tie and attend a funeral service; I feel as I never actually met him it shouldn’t really make a difference.

But it does.

Tonight the world feels a bit less colourful.

UPDATE
A tribute page to Sang Lee has been set up on Facebook by his best friends, and can be found here:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Sang-Yoon-Lee-Tribute-Page/238196071414
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40 comments

Kym said...

I am sorry to hear of his passing. I came across your blog sometime last year and you had mentioned this blogger before which led me to read some of his work. Unfortunately the year has started off taking those brilliant minds away from this planet unto other realms. Please accept my hugs and grieve all you must....I just lost a friend whose call I missed on New Years Day....

Mimi and Tilly said...

I'm so sorry to hear of his death. Following your recommendation of his blog I went over and read through several parts of his blog and enjoyed touching a part of his world.

V said...

Shit.

I'm so sorry to hear this news. Sang and I have exchanged comments along the way - witty and supportive - and he's been one of my favourite finds in this strange internet world.

I devoured his writing. I always felt priveleged when he read or commented on my scribblings.

I found him through your recommendation too.

You are honouring him in a very appropriate way by remembering him in your thoughts here. There are strange intimacies that are shared between bloggers which are certainly no less real than the 'real' world

Thank you for letting us know. It is very sad news.

St Jude said...

I also read his posts, like you I don't know how to deal with this. (I feel bad that I am posting today, and celebrating, the post was written before I heard of his death.) It is a strange world that we inhabit in the blogosphere. I am so sorry and shocked that he has gone.

Judearoo said...

Jesus - thats scarey!!

But the man lives on in the memory and admiration of others.

A worthy post.

Restaurant Gal said...

Oh no. I only just discovered his writing when he commented on my site. This is so, so sad.

bonequinhoda bic said...

Man..........(...)

savannah said...

You have honored his memory by this post. Like so may others, I discovered Sang because of you. I will miss his words.

The Pollinatrix said...

This is an incredibly timely post for me. One of my blogger friends "disappeared" for a couple of weeks and I was actually a little worried. I've thought about this, how if a blogger dies you may never even know it.

In the few months that I've been blogging I've connected deeply with a few people - in fact another blogger and I have been discussing this today. How strange it is to feel genuine affection or even love for someone you've never "met." And there's so much denigration of internet relationships in general that it's hard not to feel that taint. And yet, I know these connections are real and meaningful.

Thank you for this post, and I feel for you in this loss.

Goodmood Masala said...

I found him here too, and was hooked ever since. He wrote truths, and he wrote them well. You felt like you were being confided in. He even emailed me when I stopped writing for some time, giving me a boost when I really needed it. And he did this for ME, a TOTAL stranger. May he rest in peace.

Helen said...

Hey Bearded One - your post for Sang is a beautiful tribute to him and a very real way of showing how much he and his words meant to you.

mapstew said...

Kim, this is a fine tribute to your friend.

My sincere condolences pal.

Eryl Shields said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, Kim. My sincere condolences to all who will miss Sang, whether they knew him in the flesh or the mind.

Star said...

I think you can take pride in writing such an eloquent and fitting epitaph for him! He has made his mark and now passed on to a better place (we hope) and left a little of himself behind in the enrichment of others' lives.
Blessings, Star

Z said...

A couple of years ago, Blogger put up a comment on a blog I read to say that the writer had died suddenly - his family knew he had a blog but not its name. And another friend hasn't posted for nearly a year - she had cancer, she may well have died but I don't know. I'm so sorry Kim, it's a sad and disconcerting experience, but one feels a real sense of mourning.

starrlife said...

I'm so sorry Kim. You've mentioned him a few times and it was clear how attached you were. What an awful feeling to have someone just up and disappear from a relationship that feels so sustaining and under such tragic circumstances. Death and even just packing up the blog and moving on- it leaves a funny sort of hole, like a hole in the atmosphere- untouchable, unseeable yet very, very real and painful. Hugs.

Jayne Martin said...

I agree that you have given him a fine tribute and I know that still doesn't help you grapple with what you're feeling. I thank you though because I went to his blog and was very moved by his work and now by his loss, as well.

Pat said...

I didn't know him and I regret that but you have my sympathy. I lost my dear friend Hoss (old Horsetail Snake). I think of him often - he's on my 'resting' side bar and I would never remove him from my followers. He was an amazing man and I feel blessed to have had his friendship as I'm sure you do with Sang.
Soon after we lost Hoss I got my # 1 son to promise to put an explanatory post up when I pop my clogs.

P said...

Thank you Kim, you've put it better than I ever would or could but I see my feelings reflected in your words.
I'm glad that at least through your very popular blog a lot more people will know of his sad passing but also have a chance to discover his writing which meant so much to him.
Rest in peace Sang.

talesNtypos said...

Gosh, that is sad. :(
I recall you making reference to him and his blog in previous entries.
Sorry to learn of this.

Fat Lazy Guy said...

That's awful, mate. Sorry for his family's loss, and yours too.

Postman said...

By your recommendation, I was encouraged to visit Yellow Son and was mightily impressed. Though I read only a few of his scribblings I know that Sang's is a great loss to the blogsphere and the world at large. He and his insights will be missed. I'm sure he would've appreciated your eulogy, too. I know I do.

Cindy said...

You've given him to us which is an awesome testament. I'm going to see his blog now. I'm sorry for this loss of yours.

Katie Roberts said...

Gosh, shocked and sad to hear his gone. I love what I read of his blog and feel the world really IS less colourful without him. It is hard to believe. His writing was so alive, I am glad it will remain. But wish it could be published physically, I feel he would like that. Any publishers reading this?

I am deeply sorry for your loss too Kim and any other blogging friends. I hope you all find a form for expressing your loss and love for him.

It is strange and interesting that the forms and tools we now use for communication are so new that we don't really have clear social 'rules' within them. Or we are still figuring them out (I am at least). In fact I think that topic is why I started writing to you in the first place.

I hope Sang's life, writings and original energy permeates all our lives and the blogsphere forever.

Jennifer said...

I am so sad to read this.

nikgee said...

You just took me some place I've never been.... And I must admit have never thought about.

I can see that in time I've begun to develop ties with certain bloggers. And if I haven't heard from them in a while , it's like I'm missing their company. Finding myself happy to see their wordswhen they do surface.

When I began my blog, my intent was to expose myself to writing to the public. most of my life I've kept a journal, but noone has ever read what I'd written.

My point is I was feeling a little disappointed with myself. Thinking I was going nowhere with this just socializing. It just sort of came to me. Reminding myself that we write what we know. People, places, events, each adding dimension to the write.blog to the next level...

Katie Roberts said...

A day spent thinking about the short time we have to do what we want to do, to leave a positive legacy that others can carry on if needed. Sang's blog made me realise that what we communicate is so very important, that what we actually write down, say or express is a vital way of contributing to the continuing conversation of humanity.

Thank goodness we can read his words, that he had them published, so that they live on without him.

Katie Roberts said...

I just found this quote by Sang's best friend Charles Bivona, seems to sum up what I was thinking...

'He used to say that he took the gift of consciousness very seriously. The fact that he could take the world, and then express his thoughts and feelings about it. Sang thought that was amazing.'

Maybe it was Sang coming through.

Patrick said...

What?! And here I thought he was a on a long vacation. That is really sad, to think that a wonderful writer has leave us. I'm gonna miss him.. =(

Carole said...

No good.

hope said...

I'm so sorry to hear this! I followed your link to his blog and once spent an entire afternoon reading his work.

It's tough...even when you've never met.

Crabbers said...

Ces éloges sont tout à votre honneur , Monsieur Kim Ayres , elles dénotent un profond respect mais surtout une marque d'amitié !

Ne vous offusquez pas ! par ce qui va suivre !!

L'état d'âme de chacun et chacune varie selon l'émotion ressentie .Je ne connaissais pas la personne jusqu'à ce jour !
Et c'est là que "l'âme" prend toute sa signification , non pas dans le sens religieux mais bien dans la transmission orale ou écrite , la mémoire permet aux gens de se souvenir ( rôle que vous avez exécuter avec tact et délicatesse !).
A ce propos il me vient une réflexion personnelle , les personnes qui suivent avec fidélité et amitié votre blog ( où le nôtre ) sont-elles digne d'intérêt ? Est-ce que leur simplicité , naïveté ou simplement leurs sujets d'apparence banale ne cache pas un appel de communication et d'amitié , pour ne pas dire plus ( ne sont-elles pas atteinte d'un mal qui les rongent )...?

Pour finir avec gentillesse et courtoisie : La nouvelle présentation de votre blog est réussie !!

Et puis , Mes vœux pour que cette année ne soit faite que de joie et de bonheur

Khanh Ha said...

That is very sad.

My prayer goes to Sang.

Thanks, Kim, for this post.

Chocolatesa said...

Wow. I'm so sorry. That's very sad. I looked forward to his updates too.

LegalMist said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. As always with a loss, I don't know what to say, either.

I do always worry when my favorite bloggers quit posting for long periods of time. I wonder whether they're ok, and how I'd ever know if they weren't ok...

Library girl said...

Aw fuck. Really? I only just discovered him a few months ago. I loved his blog.
Goddamn.

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

I didn't know his blog but I am sorry to hear this news.

expat@large said...

I've had a few blogger acquaintances pass away. Young people too. Knight of Pentacles, a Singapore blogger living in Perth died of unknown reasons, while a Singapore blogger I had met and chatted with, LA Idler, lovely Singaporean lady called Sondra, developed a sudden blood infection and died in great pain...

http://www.expat-at-large.com/pm/comments.php?id=499_0_1_0_C

So sad.

Cindy said...

Wow... I'm rather speechless. I wouldn't know what to say either. I think your post is perfect and a great tribute to our blogging friend. Thank you for sharing and keeping his memory with us. xo

Reader said...

Kim,
I just read some of Sang Lee's work it was so real and poignant a window into his world. Blogging is so strange to get an intimate perspective of a stranger's life. It proves how connected we are in this life. The next is a mystery so at least we can appreciate what we have left and each other.

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