I learned of Alan Caruba’s untimely passing today after a reader sent me an email. My inbox had been eerily quiet as I hadn’t heard from Alan since last week and he was due to drop an article any day now. With the frenzy around the pope, the upcoming climate talks, Obama and the EPA completely off their respective rails, I was waiting for a blistering but carefully worded column on government waste, religion, and plutocracies. What I didn’t expect in my inbox was the news that an endearing man to me—and so many other people—had left this world after 77 years. Alan Caruba died on June 15 (details here).
Alan first came to my attention when I started this blog way back in 2010 (the site was under another name then) and he gave me permission to cross-post his articles. Then he began sending me his articles directly to share. He liked the graphics I would always pick out for his stories and started doing the same on his site. All told, I think Alan wrote an article each day on different topics (global warming, Obama, congressional nincompoops, Agenda 21, the U.N.), except maybe Christmas and Easter. He was the master of his keyboard and he used it judiciously and precisely.
He also helped me develop my own writing skills by teaching me to be concise and clear. I’d send him an essay for his feedback, and he’d send it back with revisions, mark-ups, and comments. Having someone copyedit your work (and for free) is the epitome of who Alan was as a human being. Then one day after about a year I got back an article that just said “No changes! Great job!” My lessons were done, or so I thought.
I quickly learned that writing is not a chore you can accomplish in one sitting or in one perfectly scripted column. It’s a process that takes a lot of time—revisions, plenty of chopping, copyediting, reference checking, quotes, and then more revisions—until you finally hammered out something that resembled an article worth reading. If Alan liked it, you were happy. If Alan quoted or referenced it in one of his numerous articles, you were giddy.
Alan was also a prolific writer. Not book-prolific like Stephen King or another Patterson wannabe, but rather a prolific columnist. If he found something on the Internet of interest, he’d write about it. If he saw something on the news of interest, he’d write about it. If he found something wrong or not right about a policy, agency, or sitting president, he’d write about it. Nothing was taboo and nothing was sacred. If Alan set his sights on something, he always hit the mark. And he did it all for free at his website, Warning Signs.
He has been published in numerous formats from newspapers to magazines to blogs to online-only papers, not to mention penning several books, plus more. Once a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, Alan saw the “light” and came out swinging. Not as a crotchety social conservative, but rather a fiscal conservative who could get a bit crotchety. And who could blame him? He once emailed me this old canard: “If you were under thirty and a Republican, you had no heart. And if you were over thirty and a Democrat, you had no brain.” That was “Uncle Alan” to those who knew him best.
Alan will forever be missed as the man who inspired so many people to take a stand (and take up writing) on any issue and just say ‘enough already.’ He didn’t want you to cry on his shoulder, he wanted you to fight against the many injustices that you thought were worth fighting. He could respect a fighter, even one on the other side of the divide, but not a quitter. It just wasn’t in his DNA.
So take a moment to visit Warning Signs while you can to see the many topics Alan covered during the last adventure of his varied life, and take solace in the fact that he has been memorialized not by my words, but by the words he so diligently put down, one after another, day after day. Yes, the world will continue moving forward but his absence will not go unnoticed, and Alan’s new adventure has only just begun.
“I could die for you. But I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, live for you.” –Victor Hugo, Les Misérables