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Letter to the editor: Hale and Farewell

Posted: January 4, 2017 - 12:01am

‘Ave Atque Vale’: “Hale And Farewell”

No, “Hale” is not a typo.

When Romans parted, the phrase often used was “ave atque vale”: hail and farewell. Sometimes it was offered casually, as a simple goodbye and be well. Other times it was expressed with great formality and pathos, as in Catullus’ famous poem to his brother. In all contexts, it connoted respect to the person and acceptance of life’s road.

It’s in that same spirit today that we say goodbye, and thank you, to Jim Hale and the excellent adventure of his “On Writing” column in the “Capital City Weekly”.

Jim’s were the musings of a man not afraid to be himself while trying to help others become themselves. Week after week, he offered his thoughts with modesty, acumen, forthright helpfulness, plain honesty, and incorrigibly good humor. Sometimes it was about how to be a better writer, technical or otherwise, while at other times it was simply an unmitigated invitation to explore, whether a subject matter or oneself. Here and there, too, what he came across with was pure enjoyment and invention, aimed at anyone who loved writing or who frankly just happened to be listening.

In all cases, it was Jim unadorned — folksy, technical, insightful, instructive, conspiratorial, funny, supportive, moral, always helpful, always exhortative, always immoderately enthused about writing and the magic it can bring to, or extract from, the soul. Whether writing for your job, your spouse, your someday adoring public, or simply yourself, Jim was there for one thing and one thing only: to say yes you can, and here’s a way how.

Somebody once said there’s no greater privilege than being in the presence of somebody being themself. This was Jim Hale.

And for that, we say thank you. Ave atque vale, Jim.

— Jack Fargnoli, Juneau

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