Mods, if this does not belong here, I'm sorry. Please move it to an appropriate place. It's a tribute to one of our writers.
In Loving Memory of Our Beacon of Hope
Commie loves you, Jab.
Sometimes I find it hard to express myself, especially when I'm talking. I get nervous if there are a lot of important things to say, so I either talk a mile a minute and mess it all up, or I have long pauses where I search for words that just won't come. Writing offers me a chance to think for a minute before I express. I can't admit to being the best writer since I know I can't always express what's on my mind in writing (there's my definition of a good writer - being able to accurately convey what is exactly on your mind and exactly what you feel). But of all the things I want to do right now, writing is it. Writing is all I can do right now anyway. My mind is so full of thoughts, yet it's blank. I feel all these emotions, yet I feel numb. I'm crying, and I'm not going to pretend I'm not. I'm sure you must all know that feeling, too. So my job as a writer has been made easier. My job becomes simply pointing to a feeling and saying, "That one. That's what I'm feeling", and your job is to nod and go "Ah, yes, I know that one." It's much harder to explain something to someone who doesn't know what is being talked about. Try and describe an apple to an alien who has never been to Earth... Unfortunately, we all know this terrible feeling all too well. I wish we didn't have to, but we do.
And since there is no better way to segue into what I have to say, I'll just go right ahead and say it without shame and without apologies. I may have apologised for (possibly) sappy things I've written before, but this time, I refuse to do so. This time I'm not ashamed.
Four years ago, the "4th Station" thread at Jpopmusic.com (JPM) was conceived by a small group of us. We started to fill it with propaganda-like Maki stories that we'd started in the 3rd Station thread. It became JPM's H!P fanfic thread. It was a revolutionary thread. I had encountered no other large collection of H!P stories (admittedly, I didn't really know how to look since I was a newbie at forum browsing), so 4th Station seemed very special and important to me. I felt like I'd contributed something worthwhile to the first forum I'd ever become a member of.
In the beginning, there was just a handful of us fans writing stories, and possibly the most dedicated one there was a man who went by the name of Jabronisaur. Jab, as I will call him from now on, was new to me then. I'd never talked to him before. He came into the thread, and I soon found that he was a unique individual. He was such a guy! He was such a gentleman. Very easygoing. Never said a nasty word to me when I was probably obnoxious and loud. In fact, he was full of this incredible respect for me, which I didn't deserve. I took an instant liking to him because he was... I don't know. Everything I just said. He was there, and when he was there, all was good.
He came with a story. A wonderful, complicated plot full of action and adventure. He posted it chapter by chapter, and even if there were longer-than-usual periods in between the posting of chapters, he always came through with another. And we all read. We read and posted our comments. We cheered him on as if it were a race. I remember he always left us hanging at the end of a chapter. To be honest, I can now hardly remember what the story was about! It's been so many years since he wrote it. But he flung the girls of H!P into a precarious predicament, roughed them up, and then pulled them through. They were in a haunted house of some sort after their bus crashed in the middle of nowhere, I think. Maybe I'm getting it confused with someone else's story. The point, though, is that he gripped us with this story, and no matter what, he finished it. He finished it.
For some things in life, it's a whole lot harder to finish than to start. I find that writing stories is often one of those things. How many stories rest unfinished in this forum, at the old 4th Station, and on all the other sites on this world wide web? What about those stories that remain in our heads, not even written down on a sheet of paper? I know that most of my "in progress" stories lie dormant, probably never to be picked up again. But Jab started one at 4th, he put all his effort into it, and he finished it. I don't know what he did it for. Did he do it for us, the readers? Did he do it for himself? For a sense of personal accomplishment? Was it his tribute to the girls of H!P? Did he write it for someone in particular? Nobody can say for sure. But I'd like to think it was a combination.
Why do we write?
When we have some kind of emotion in our mind that we want to convey to others. When we need to make sense of something that is in our mind. Seeing it written down can help. When we want to give an experience to someone else. When we feel the need to boost our self-confidence with the good feeling that comes from a reader taking a few minutes out of their lives to read what you have to say. When we want to entertain.
Why did Jab write?
All of the above? I don't really know, but I believe so. Though as an unselfish man, maybe he mostly wanted to write the story to give us something to enjoy. It's a lovely thing to wonder about and try to interpret in retrospect.
In the end, what we have is the result, and that's one of the first stories to be completed over at 4th Station. To say that Jabronisaur played an important role in popularising H!P fanfiction is an understatement. He was pivotal. Without dedicated fans like him, we wouldn't have had hundreds of pages of success. Without his steady presence, maybe the whole thing wouldn't have taken off. In that respect, I owe him a big debt. Like I said before, 4th Station felt like a big accomplishment. It was a comfortable place where everyone knew my name and I knew theirs. We could joke with each other, poke fun at each other, and invite new people into the fold. Jab helped create that atmosphere.
I finally had the pleasure of meeting Jab face to face recently. We both went to L.A. to see Morning Musume at AX. I've met a good share of people from the forums, and each meeting is special to me. I feel this sense of awe that I'm meeting someone that I've only chatted online with before. When I met Jab, I kind of couldn't believe that it was actually him. The Jab. And I could hardly believe that we were actually meeting! We got to chat several times over several days. I remember when Dave and I had to go and meet Fen, get her car keys, put something in the car, and then give the keys back all while Fen was working. We passed through the lobby and saw Jab sitting there alone. We stopped briefly to say hi and find out what he was waiting for. Apparently he was the meet up point for some Hipsters who were elsewhere. I felt bad leaving him there, but we had to get the keys. We told him we'd be back soon! I don't remember which one of us came up with the idea, but he ended up with the nickname Beacon of Hope since he was the guy everyone would look for to gather as a group. We got the keys and then waved to Jab as we walked by to get to the car. Business finished, we came back, waved, went to Fen, and then went out to sit with Jab. He said it wasn't necessary for us to wait with him, but we stuck around. Beacon of Hope. A name that suited him in so many ways.
The favour was returned later. I was sitting out in the lobby alone, waiting for the closing ceremonies to finish. Jab came by and sat with me even though I'm sure he would've like to go and see the impressive auction going on. We watched a barely clothed cosplayer do SNSD's "Gee" dance. Jab had questions about the JET Programme, a programme that, among other things, sends foreigners from different countries to go and teach English in Japan. I came back last summer from three years on that programme, and Jab thought I could provide him with some answers. He had high hopes of applying for the programme, and I encouraged him when he wondered aloud whether he could stand a chance. I set him straight by telling him that his enthusiasm and his sociable nature gave him a very good chance. All he had to do was get his application together and show that he was willing to adapt to situations that he may never have encountered on home soil. He said he would probably have more questions in the next few months, and I told him that I would definitely be checking my messages at JPH!P. It was a happy moment when we established that we wouldn't lose touch again. I really felt it. I knew that we would be writing to each other more frequently than the small handful over the previous years. I was positive. Absolutely positive.
He had dreams and a future full of possibilities. Life wouldn't end soon. It would stretch out far and long beyond eyesight, hearing, beyond belief. He'd be a hundred and ten years old and laughing with us about the good old times over whatever futuristic chat system will be invented then.
For the past few days, I've been refreshing the thread that now reads "JABRONISAUR, R.I.P. Forever Remembered". Every morning when I got up, I checked to see if there was any news. Several times during the afternoon when I was doing nothing, I peeked in to see if there was any word. I was confident that soon enough, I'd see a post from Daigong reporting that Jab was awake and getting better. Instead, this evening when I came here, I saw something that just made me freeze up. I didn't want to click. Refused to for a good long time. I may have said something out loud. Maybe "no". The tears fall too hard and the memory starts to fail, grow hazy, disappear.
But it doesn't end like this. It can't. We are all hurting. Some knew him better than others. Some didn't know him at all. But it affects everyone here in some way.
The trip to L.A. had revealed to me an important thing. JPH!P is a family, and family sticks together. This group doesn't cease to amaze me in how tightly knit it is. So tightly knit, yet so easy to unravel and let a new person into the fold, only to have the threads tighten gently, protectively around them as a new member of the family. I've always known this somewhat. I have been lurking around here for years. I've been posting under another username, though not so many people know that as I don't publicise it. I've gotten a taste of what it's like to be accepted as a JPH!Per. I know that Jab is the epitome of a JPH!Per. Fits all the criteria. Part of the family. And he is part of the web that keeps it - and always will keep it - together. He is part of the reason why I love this place and all you guys so much.
I wrote a story about Jab. I was going to put it in as a later chapter in my ComFen Adventure report about Morning Musume at AX. I was hoping he'd be better by the time I reached that point in the story. He won't be able to read the story now, but I know that if he did, he might laugh hard, maybe slap me on the shoulder in a friendly way and tell me what a dork I am. I finished it yesterday afternoon, so he was still with us. A small comfort, perhaps. I won't post it now because it's not time for that, but one day soon when the right time comes and we can smile a bit more, it will appear.
We've gotta smile and be happy about the fun we had with Jab. We have to think of him, his loving family, and send them our thoughts and well wishes. We have to stick together and remember the good times and help each other out if we need it. We have to remember that Jab knew people from a wide variety of angles and affected them in different ways. My connection with Jab is one of fanfic, so that's why I'm posting in this part of the forum. I'm sure we could put up a monument dedicated to him in just about every website and livejournal on the net. He was that loved.
Finally, I have read every single comment to date in Jab's thread. The outpouring of love makes my heart ache and burst at the same time. Something Stryfe said on page 6 just makes me burst into tears every time I read it. It's the kind of thing that describes what I'm feeling. What I think many of you are feeling. What maybe we should all continue to feel, because we can put a positive spin on it.
What Stryfe said was: "I love you Jab, man. I don't wanna let you go."
I don't want to let go either. So we won't. Ever. Never ever ever.
"Mistress Commie" is still hovering over you at 4th Station, Jab, holding a whip and telling you to write write write. You'll always have a special place in her heart.
We love you, Jabronisaur, Brother. We love you.