Thursday, August 10, 2006

It's time for my James Harvey Stout story...

Several years ago, I had a small online publishing company. As owner of this company, I frequently sought out new authors to publish. I came across the writings of a man called James Harvey Stout and found them intriguing. So I decided to see if he had a website.....he did.

And I found a very strange letter on the website.....a letter which gave me a very erie feeling, and as I could read between the lines, plus had experienced this issue in my family myself, I knew this writer intended to commit suicide.

Frantically, I went into an investigation to locate the contact information for him via his domain records (as nothing was on his site other than an email...which I did try first, and my instinct said it wasn't enough). I found a number, and proceeded to call the number listed....only to be told.....

Mr. Stout had did the deed 2 days before. He was dead. In talking with the owner of the park he lived in, I learned my reading between the lines was exactly on point. I was devastated. I thought this would be my chance to rectify something terrible before it happened. I was too late.

At least I tried....I tell myself that all the time. Mr. Stout left his writings to the public domain - I still have all of them saved. Since then, numerous people have published his writings - I'm not sure if they know the full story I learned or not.

I learned in reading his works that he had a daughter, and I searched, found, and then contacted her. She appeared very bitter about him at the time. But she was young....I can only hope she got over that.

It's just a shame that this very talented person was reaching out with his work, and was never recognized for his talent. No, he might not have been the best husband, the best father, the best friend or co-worker....he was just seeking recognition for who he was and his talents he possessed. And it's such a shame his work was never published until after he died. Few took interest....until after he died.

Maybe it's what he intended....maybe he thought in his mind, one can only be known and appreciated for their talents after they have died. After all, that's a big thing people say in the creative world - "you'll be famous after you're dead....then your works will do well..." like it does the person who died a lot of good then.

Why am I telling this story? I guess to say, how about being there when someone is still alive? Why wait until they are dead? Does being dead make the works more viable? Better quality? More desired because they aren't here to create more?

I guess what I'm trying to say is why don't people show others they care when people are alive? Why do I see so many things like this where they come out in droves after the person has died.....but while they're alive, it's like they don't exist...or what they do doesn't matter?

As the phone company said - 'reach out and touch someone'. You might just make a difference in someone's might make a difference in a life or death decision.

It's a shame no one did that in time for James.


1 comment:

Belle said...

*sigh* You have hit the nail on the head with this entry. I have found that more and more people are just consumed with their own personal needs and they rarely reach out to anyone or anything. It's such a shame! Unfortunately, they never realize it and I seriously doubt that they ever will.

You've once again pointed out to me that we are not here for just our own needs... although there's nothing wrong with focusing on yourself at various stages of your life. We are here to make a difference IN OTHERS.