Several months ago, I was approached by Bob Freiday, a highly successful freelance journalist, about a book idea. I liked his idea and, in record time, his book was complete and we published it as a trade paperback and as an ebook. Bob admitted during our myriad of emails that he was often under the weather, suffering from “Cat Scratch Fever.” The emails we exchanged after that included humorous recipes that he could test on his mother’s cat (the one that scratched him).
Bob got really ill in October and I got a cryptic email from him one day, asking me to send his royalties to his mother if anything ever happened to him. He ended up in the hospital and his sister kept me informed as to his condition and spirits. We learned that Bob had been misdiagnosed. He’d been suffering from cancer for more than a year. But, the cancer was such a rare type that even MD Anderson in Houston had a hard time diagnosing it. One day, I asked Bob how we was coping with hospital boredom. He said the worst thing about being in the hospital was that he was so high up that he couldn’t clearly see the pretty girls walking by below. So, Richard and I, of course, ordered a pair of binoculars for him.
Bob started chemo, moved in with his mom, and worked on his website and some articles while he recovered. He had good days and bad days but he always had a smile and tried to make me laugh. In a couple of emails, Bob used the word DYING in all capital letters, but in the context of things like “I’m DYING to see the print galley of my book. I thought that was odd…even humorous, considering how ill he was. But he never let on that it was a joke. I didn’t know if it was intentional or not…so I never said anything, of course. I still had a tremendous amount of hope that Bob would get better.
Just before Christmas, Bob said he hated the fact that he didn’t have the energy to turn on his computer and write every day. So, Ali and I, of course, ran out and bought him a journal and some colored pens. They arrived in time for Christmas and he was happy.
I was devastated today when I received an email from Bob’s sister, Lauren, letting me know that Bob died on Saturday. He was an ornery bugger and even when he was incoherent and very near the end, he was saying, “This is so unfair.” I think Bob knew he was dying and had known for several months, but refused to accept it with ill-humor. He accepted it with his trademark ornery humor, a humor that we had come to relish and anticipate. Emails from Bob always promised a belly laugh, and I will miss his laughter, his ambition, his oddball humor, and his ability to make me laugh out loud even on the worst days. I’m sitting here in shock, not quite believing that I’ll never again get an email from my friend.
I recently assigned a success story for Bob to write following a query he sent in. Bob was a real stickler for error-free writing, non-stop marketing of his book, and for production. He always had to be working on something at all times and hated to have things undone. I’m sure it’s bugging Bob that he never got that success story written. But that’s okay. He was extremely successful for his entire journalism career, as you can see from the links below (the articles and book he’s already written for us).
Bob’s humor and incredible advice can be found in his book, 10 Golden Rules of Freelance Writing and How I Broke Them (How to Break the Rules and Make It as a MagazineWriter).
You can get advice from Bob (AND A LAUGH!) by reading his articles here:
Write What You Know?! Ha!
Learn to Network — and Double or Triple Your Sales!
If you’d like to send comments on Bob’s writing for his family to read, please send them HERE, I’ll be happy to forward them along to his mom and sister. I’m sure they’d love to hear from his readers!
We’ll miss you, Bob. This issue is dedicated to you.