amongst books

amongst books

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

a friend's passing

Juan O'Neill died today. Yesterday afternoon, I waited for 45 minutes for him to show at our second monthly coffee get-together at Timothy's in Sandy Hill. In February, on Valentine's Day, he read me the first chapter of a wonderful novel he was beginning full of languages, exotic locales, wit and sensuality. We were both looking forward to the continuation.

Two years ago on my birthday, Juan was the last to leave, sipping Lagavulin before being packed in a taxi by Charles. He'd told us interesting stories about the various literary folk that have passed through Ottawa, also a bit about meeting Ernest Hemingway and Che Guevera in Chile, Leonard Cohen in Montreal, and working in the Middle East. Juan was a world traveller who became one of Ottawa's most well loved residents.

I'm glad I went to Sasquatch this past Sunday. I was able to tell Juan I enjoyed his song and give him a big kiss. A celebration of Juan O'Neill will take place on Sunday, March 19 at 2:00 pm. Where else but in the basement of the Royal Oak II.

the way to die
is to leave
friends waiting
for your next

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm saddened by that. Juan was one of the good guys. He never made me feel strange or unwelcome at a literary event where he was present. I hope to make it out on Sunday.

- Victoria Vernell