Tag Archives: friends

Devin

“That you are here — that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” — Walt Whitman

Four days after the election, still stunned by the news that Hillary would not be our president, I went to a funeral for a good friend of mine from middle school. Devin Kennedy-Puthoff was creative and passionate. He was really fun to be around. Though I lost touch with him as we grew up, I’m very thankful to have known him.

People pass in and out of our lives. The friends we have when we’re younger might not stick with us. We might have different friends in high school and college. And different friends again as adults.

That’s okay. We all need different things at different points in our lives.

Twenty-five years, thirty years… It’s a long time. Reaching back into the past so far, untangling the stories in our mind, leaves fragments. These memories aren’t complete or precise. They are less complicated and so in a way, more true.

A few nights later, magician David Blaine had a TV special on. I was thinking of a day when Devin and I were practicing magic tricks with quarters. Kids hanging out with nothing much to do, turning free time and a couple quarters into something.

To this day, when I see a magic show, I often think back to that moment. When I see a movie about magic, or teach my kids to make a quarter disappear, I think back to that moment with Devin when life was a little simpler.

At the funeral, I was wondering why that memory was so strong that it has stuck with me all these years. I think it’s because there was something pure about it. Time strips away everything in a memory that isn’t essential.

If you read every post on my blog for the last decade, you’ll know what I think about the tech world, but very little about my family. If you read every post from my private journal, you’ll know the rest. Taken together it might be too much. Too complicated.

Who we are is not just what we’ve done. Who we are is that moment that someone will remember later, as I remembered Devin, for years or decades. That moment that is so true because we’ve forgotten everything that doesn’t matter.

TwitterConf 2007

It’s been over a week since SXSW Interactive wrapped up, and I can’t bring myself to post anything interesting about it. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time. But I missed more sessions than usual this year (I’m trying to ship software here!), skipped half the parties (Traci was sick all weekend), and I didn’t notice any big themes that unified the conference.

Except Twitter. Which just underscores that it is about the people, and what they are doing, and being inspired.

I had a great time meeting new folks and catching up with old acquaintances: talking independent Mac development with Buzz Andersen and Justin Miller; software pricing with John Gruber; Rails and cities with Jamie Stephens and Sergio Rabiela; bumping into old school Mac web guys Carl de Cordova, Raines Cohen, Bill Christensen, and Wes Felter; co-workers and former co-workers Damon Clinkscales and Ryan Irelan respectively; lunch in a pub as a storm came down with Austinites Ben and Sara Brumfield; seeing my old friend John Brauer from high school who needs to email me (hint!); and finally meeting Shaun Inman and a bunch of other people whose names I can’t recall at the moment and whose business cards are buried somewhere, but no one is quite sure where.

My only regret is that there were a few people I wanted to say hi to that I literally saw from a distance on the first day of the conference and then never saw again. Maybe they took the wrong escalator and are still trapped in the void of that 3rd floor.

Of all the kajillion SXSW posts that have come through my fresh not-even-a-beta copy of NetNewsWire, I liked “Peter Merholtz’s write-up”:http://www.peterme.com/?p=533 the best:

“What I realized, and what I need to do if I return to SXSW, is that in order to enjoy what SXSW Interactive has become (and boy, has it changed since 1999) I have to take a more Zen-like approach, ignoring all the Things I Could Be Doing, and focus on simply getting the most out of whatever I Am Doing.”

Seeya next year.