Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Jeff Wilson: An Elegiac Portrait

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I’ve been asked to describe my good friend, Jeff Wilson, to those who never got a chance to meet him.  Here’s my best take, which I know will be inadequate.

Jeff was a very kind, compassionate person.  He deplored the evils of this world, most particularly selfishness, greed and stupidity, but refrained from passing judgment on anyone.  (More people should be like this.)

Jeff loved animals, and kept several cats (or maybe they kept him; I’m not sure).  His cats were extremely important to him, and he treated them with respect and dignity — but don’t take that to mean he didn’t enjoy them, because he did.  They often made him laugh, and he viewed this as an unalloyed blessing (which indeed, it was).

Jeff was an excellent friend.  He was always there whenever he was needed, and he’d do whatever he could to help.  He was an excellent listener; more to the point, he understood what he heard, which was a rare and special quality.

Jeff had very strong principles and an intrinsic sense of balance.  Perhaps this was due to his appreciation of Eastern religious thought, most particularly the words of Confucius and Gautama Buddha; maybe it was just something about him that would’ve been there even without that, though studying those tenets certainly helped refine these excellent qualities.

Jeff searched for excellence in all things.  He rarely found it, but when he did, he was as delighted as a child unwrapping just the toy he or she had wanted at Christmas. 

Jeff appreciated classical music because it brought him closer to the Divine.  His favorite composer was probably Ludwig van Beethoven; his favorite piece was Gustav Holst’s The Planets.

Jeff read everything, but he had a particular love for two different and disparate styles of writing: science fiction and fantasy on the one hand, and the highly structured and mannered novels of Jane Austen and her imitators on the other.  He loved the former because they opened up new worlds and ways of thought to him; he loved the latter because they proved that even in a highly mannered world (now lost), people often acted rashly, badly, and without forethought — but how they got out of trouble in the end and found worthy pursuits was very similar to our own time.  (In other words, Jeff found the commonality of human experience to be worthy, regardless of genre.)

Jeff was a nonmaterialist, a nonconformist, was an autodidact (meaning he taught himself many things he’d never learned in school and could absorb almost anything), a writer, an artist, dabbled with poetry but was rarely satisfied with his efforts (which to my mind, would make him a poet; not to his, though).  He loved life, talking with people about anything and everything, and wanted to know all that was knowable.

I will miss him profoundly.

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Thank you for the insight. This is a great tribute. Is there a writing page in existence?


    November 19, 2011 at 4:31 am

    • You’re welcome, Lika . . . as for Jeff’s writing, I’ll see if I can figure out where some of it was. He did have a Web page, though that may have been taken down . . . he also assisted with the Web design of some other pages in their initial stages, but I don’t know if any of that work is still extant, either, due to how quickly things change on the Web.

      Note that I knew Jeff had at least half a dozen unfinished stories out there because he was an active member of my writing group/critique circle. Now I’ll never know how those stories end . . . damn. 😦 *Hugs*

      Barb Caffrey

      November 19, 2011 at 9:21 am

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