It occurred to me earlier today, my job as writer is to capture the ghosts of past experiences. It usually appeals to my sensibilities a bit more than making up characters or situations.
Capturing is the most difficult part of the process. The dreaded tone of an underpaid court stenographer reading back a transcript always hangs over my head.
Boiling experiences down to the essence of what it is and then, I guess, as the words are hitting the page, it’s an attempt to somehow preserve them. To make what has passed live on for everyone.
On April 25, Kacie Sosebee, a longtime supporter and friend of the local music scene, passed away. When they heard the news, almost anyone connected with local music was hit by a barrage of shock, sadness and grief.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to know Kacie personally in her lifetime. After seeing what people I love and respect have said about her in tribute, I regret that I hadn’t.
Given this, it would be disingenuous for this article to be some sort of obituary.
What I can write about is the impact people have on a community, whether it’s known or not. From talking with friends and fellow musicians who knew her, I heard an outpouring of positivity. This positivity is magnified by the countless tributes I’ve seen posted to Facebook.
There are stories about helping AV bands book shows out of town, sincere thank yous for actively helping to find missing women around the valley, but most of them thank her for just for being a good friend when one was needed the most. Everything that we do has a ripple effect. It could be a pebble or a boulder, but it still moves the pond.
After reading about the news, my own rabbit hole of thought began to creep in. Memories of my own losses came flooding back.
Almost one year ago, the AV music scene lost another giant. Jamie West, aka “Big J” was a staple in the classic rock/cover band scene. He was big in stature, personality, voice, laughter, drumming and also his presence. He was always around every jam night.
When some older musicians would be judgmental and dismissive toward me, some 18-year-old bass player, Jamie was encouraging. Back in the day, he asked me to join his band when no one else did. A month before he died, he texted me about how much he’d like to play together again. I replied that we definitely should and to let me know when. With the love and respect I had for him, I regret that I didn’t.
“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” Clarence Oddbody said that in “It’s A Wonderful Life” in 1946. It rings just as true today. People like Kacie and Jamie weren’t just important to their friends, families and other local musicians. They are important for what they do and represent in a community.
It’s up to all of us to collectively take their spirit and pass it on through our actions. They are ripples on a pond. We can all do better and shine brighter as human beings. The same way writing can capture the ghosts of past moments in time, we can preserve the spirit of those no longer with us.
Instead of having a tangible canvas like a writer, the world is our canvas and we collectively write the story. When someone dies, we all must live.
“You can’t beat death, but you can beat death in life, sometimes.” — Charles Bukowski
Rest in peace Kacie Sosebee.