In Memory of Joe Rosenbaum

Jun 11, 2012

Each week I lead a writing workshop under the aegis of the New York Writers Coalition www.nywriterscoalition.org/  at the Center for the Independence of the Disabled in New York www.cidny.org/. All of us in the group have either a mental or physical disability, but we get together not to kvetch, but to write. One of the founding, and favorite, members of our group was Joe Rosenbaum. He was a gentle soul, and smart and funny as they come. We always looked forward to hearing what he’d written, knowing it would be keenly observed, clever and elegant. Often Joe wrote another episode in the saga of the nefarious Dr. Bidet, a character he’d created who embodied the inhumane aspects of the medical and social services systems which Joe felt had failed him. One week the good doctor might be an uncaring, incompetent physician, the next, the pompous theoretician of the anti-social school of social work. Joe named the chapbook that was a collection of our work: Insight Out http://nywriterscoalition.org/bookstore/item/insight-out-3/. It was a fitting description of him as well. Two weeks ago, during our workshop, Joe died of a heart attack. Our only comfort is that he was among friends, and that the last thing he did was write something lovely. We will miss him so. I will especially miss remembering with him–we didn’t grow up together, yet we shared so much of, and similarly valued, the past. I hope to be able to gather up his writing and publish it. It’s the best way I can think of to honor him.

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