Taylor Siluwé

Taylor Siluwé, the author, and my friend, is dead. He was 45.

The news came, like the news usually does these days, on Facebook - some ambiguous words on someone's status update that gives a hint of something awry - but the words on fellow blogger The Gayte-Keeper's feed didn't leave room for misinterpretation: "Rest in peace Taylor Siluwé".

I knew Taylor was sick. He'd been diagnosed with lung cancer - fucking cigarettes - and was documenting his treatment on his blog, SGL Café. He did so with typical Taylor flare, and one of his last posts detailed his ill-advised escape from hospital, and gardening adventures with Trel, his boo. That was the Taylor I know and love, doing what he shouldn't be with a dude "half his age".

So I knew he was sick. And a friend told me lung cancer was the worst of the worst. But I just thought, hoped, told myself, he'd be alright. He had to be.

I read The Gayte-Keeper's status a couple of times, not quite taking it in, and then, with a mounting sense of panic, clicked on Taylor's Facebook page. The wall posts, real grief, virtual grief, were already mounting up. His boo Trel's page was groaning under the weight of condolences. Premier blogger Rod McCullom already had an obituary posted, as had Lambda Literary. And I broke down; I wept, and I've been crying for the last couple of hours. My friend is dead.

I've known Taylor for several years. He's supported me and my blog with a banner at the top of his. He liked what I was doing. He liked me, and I liked him. We chitchatted back and forth, and he came to be a trusted friend. More than that, a role model: more than ten years older (not that you'd know to look at him) he was the cool head and guiding hand more than a few times when I needed advice.

I once wrote a piece about David McAlmont's Diamonds Are Forever video. He was ridulously excited about this new (to him) black, openly gay artist. I promised I'd send him all his CDs, and set about acquiring McAlmont's back catalogue. That was a year or two ago. I had a couple of discs still left to find. That little pile of CDs is still gathering dust in a cupboard. I wish I'd sent them sooner.

To those of you who didn't know him, or hadn't read his blog or his books, or heard his dreams or ambitions, it's hard to desribe him. Razor sharp and one of the smartest people I've been lucky enough to meet, he was sexy (hell, have you seen those lips? They're a work of art!), and ambitious, a dreamer, and brilliant. He had a heart of gold. He was one of us. He was my friend.


Cup-o-Noodles said...

Ouch.... :( Didn't know about this bit of news.

thegayte-keeper said...

When I saw this news posted by a fellow blogger on his blog I was stunned. Taylor and I just communicated the other day and I REALLY thought he was going to beat this thing. I felt it in my soul. I still can't believe that he is gone.

Greg said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. You've mentioned or cited Taylor so frequently over the years that it seemed inconceivable that he could succumb to this. Very sobering news. I'm so sorry. And you're right about those lips.

Don't beat yourself up about the CDs. It was a lovely thing you were doing and I'm sure he appreciates it.

Automatic Prince said...

Taylor was my friend as well and I just can't believe this. Do we know when the funeral is going to be? (and if it's proper for non-family members to attend?)

Liberator Émigré Éire said...

@Automatic Prince: I would think Trel, his boo, will be handling that. I would love to be there to pay my respects.

Prince Toddy English said...

I am still really sad. He was one of the first people that reached out to me when I started blogging. He was always super supportive.
I just really started talking to him within the past several months in IM.
I just took for granted that he was going to win against cancer.
I'll never smoke, EVER!

Prince Toddy English said...

Will there be a memorial fund for him? I'd love to contribute. Maybe I'll just sent it via his website.

Liberator Émigré Éire said...

That's a good question. He was a giant, the best of the best. I looked up to him as a role model.

It's 5.18am, more than 24 hours since I heard the news, and I'm still grief stricken. I can't function properly. Taylor isn't there anymore. I feel lost.

Mike said...

Sad. And shocking. And it all happen so fast. One day here, and the next gone. If really feel for Trel. The sudden, untimely, loss of a partner is one of the most emotional experiences a person can experience.

And knowing Taylor only from his blog, I'm guessing, he's want everybody to keep fighting for SGL! That would make him the most happy. That was his life. The battle continues.

robert said...

Since I never had the privilege of meeting, or interacting with Mr. Siluwe, I feel more like a voyeur than anything. Still, because I can't attest to his affect, I wanted to let you know how inspiring you've been to me, since I've found your blog. Given all that you have said of your role model, the effect you have had on me, I am sure he would be glad to see your continuation. You're inspiring a lot of people.

Speaking from loss in general, I know what it is like to lose someone you look up to; but the only thing you can do is (to paraphrase "For Colored Girls...") keep going for everyone else.

Godspeed, and thanks for all that you do.

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