I feel like I have lost an immortal person that I knew existed in this world who made things I understood, who understood me and my love for horror and filmmaking. I will never forget when I had the opportunity to meet him for a small number of minutes. Where I showed him my Night of the Living Dead tattoo, and he said, "Wow." Now that wasn't a huge deal for him as I imagine, I am one of many, but I was proud to show my support and deep appreciation for his work. In Night of the Living Dead, George created a platform for a young girl to be the face of a zombie generation and for an African American man to play the lead role in a heroic stance against an over arching theme of horror and social injustice...in 1968. I would not even be born until 1987 but I was young when I saw this movie and it also affirmed many things that I had not been seeing anywhere else at the time, but were true and normal for my own life. George made me feel normal in an environment where girls my age were not allowed to be interested in scary, bloody, raw genres of creation and were not encouraged as forces to be reckoned with. I learned on my own that's what I liked to write about and to see on the screen. This lead to my unfaltering tendency to always have a message beneath the violence I am depicting in my horror poetry collections, short stories and screen plays.
The other side I loved about George was just him making movies he wanted to make and having fun with props and make up and special effects, working with Tom Savini. What a team! He just got it. And he never took himself too seriously but he maintained a respect for horror and filmmaking and the ability to just do that for a living. It's weird but yea, I mirror myself after a 77 year old man. I think we would have been best friends and I could maybe tell him all of my ideas and where I want to go in my career. And I like to think he would have encouraged it all the way.
On Sunday, July 16, 2017, I was actually taking a nap that afternoon and I woke up to a text from one of my very good friends asking me if I was okay. I asked her why she was saying this and all she wrote back was, "George Romero." I just looked and refused to believe the worst (which is very much my nature) and I searched his name online with overwhelming anticipation and worry. My girlfriend was next to me asking if I was okay and I said no. And then I just continued to say no once I read what I had hoped wasn't happening. Tears just erupted before I had any time to react. I am not sure that has ever happened to me with someone I had only met once. But even if I had never met George, I am not sure it would have changed anything. It ruined me that day. It will continue to ruin me in ways because the world was better with George in it.
I sit here some days later thinking about how to move with purpose in this world without him. He has inspired me and shaped me and his work is always sitting against my head. Infiltrating and saying, "you can do this.'
His death has come right before this milestone in my life, where I am taking my horror writing to New Orleans to make something of myself there. To publish more work but also to hopefully work on some haunts and become a full fledged horror entrepreneur any way I can make it. I've never done this type of big move in my life, but I also know it's one of the things I have set my sights on for years.
George isn't here now, I fucking hate it. But I know I have the ability to contribute to the horror community because I have been so welcomed in what I have accomplished so far and that welcome is one of the only things that gives me life.