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In honor of Jamie Bishop

I got to know Jamie Bishop through another friend, Jason Lundberg, and the news of Jamie's death is still haunting Elizabeth and me today. Please send all your good thoughts, hopes, and prayers to Jamie's family and the families of all the people involved in the Virginia Tech shootings from yesterday.

I lost touch with Jamie over the past year or two after he moved, but I'm incredibly lucky to have met him and worked with him. I'll always remember the get-together at our place before he and Steffi moved to Blacksburg -- I foolishly wanted to grill kebabs outside, but it was pissing down rain. Jamie came outside to chat and hold an umbrella over my head for me. That was the kind of guy he was.

He did the amazing cover for my story collection, Gunning for the Buddha (over there on the left). Here are some other nifty things he accomplished -- a true renaissance man, a skilled creator and artist in any area he tackled:

From Jamie's portfolio site:
"To my pleasant surprise, Mike wrote me an email a day or so later and invited me to contribute artwork for the book. That day he posted another entry to his online journal entitled "No Longer in Search of a Cover Artist," and over the next two weeks (a heady and dreamlike 14 days, I might add) the two of us did what the Internet and email are all about, collaborating our electronic backsides off. We came up with a fantastic finished digital painting that, I will readily admit, was better because it wasn't left entirely up to me."

Awesome photos Jamie took from a reading two years ago. I didn't even realize he was taking these. Just awesome.

Great photos of yet another one of Jamie's projects, and a remembrance from Alex Wilson and one from Jason Lundberg, with a great photo of Jamie.

An article in the Raleigh paper about Jamie.

And finally, here's Jamie from his journal again, paraphrasing a graduation speech at UNC from speaker Peter Gomes:
"1. Cherish your failures. We learn more from them than we do our successes.

2. Find something in life worth doing, and in doing that realize that the meaning of success has little to do with one's bank account.

3. Point three is best summed up with catchy one-liners from pop culture: Don't worry, be happy. / Seize the Day / Just do it. Basically this: use the vitality that you have to strive for excellence and create a balanced, healthy form of personal happiness."

Thanks, Jamie. You strove for excellence and found happiness, and shared it with everyone you knew. We can all learn from a teacher like you.

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