You only have one life to live and a short time to live it….
I was trolling through Facebook groups when I came across the letters “R.I.P.” in front of an author’s name I worked with in Summer 2011: Nate “Nati” Holmes. I read somebody’s “Rememberence of his Lifetime Achievements” in a mild daze. Although I never met him in person, we communicated with each other here and there on Facebook and Twitter and through email.
After reading that article, I searched Google for his name to see what would come up. I was shocked to read about somebody that I’ve interacted with is now gone.
If you want to know what happened to him, good or bad, search for him on Google. I’m not here to highlight that situation. I wanted to comment everywhere I saw people leaving condolences, but I didn’t want to disrespect his true family and friends by imposing on their mourning and sorrow.
I still wanted to express myself. This post as a tribute of sorts to a comrade, an acknowledgement of a connection. He’s a part of the JoeyPinkney.com 5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Author Interview Series, so there’s a relationship between us, for me, that is equal parts familial and professional.
I dedicate this post to you, Nate “Nati” Holmes. I’m not going to act as if we “go way back” and refer to him as “Nati”. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how to pronounce “Nati”. I don’t know if it’s “natty” or “nate-y”. Either way, I’ll keep it professional and refer to him as Holmes.
I love book covers, and Can’t Knock The Hustle‘s cover is a work of art. It instantly reminded me of a modern-day, Blaxploitation film poster in a good way. The soft-focus, the brown hue, the bold letters, the woman with the gaze, the man with the gun that competes with his glare in terms of potential violence – all of these things come together to let you know there is some serious stuff inside that book.
I remember reading about Holmes signing a deal with a larger independent publishing company, Augustus Publishing, with more than a passing thought. It struck me that not only is he publishing on his own accord with his Hustle Hard Publications, he must have had his business together on a level where he saw fit to grow it organically by connecting it with a larger publishing vehicle. The fact that he signed two authors further proved that notion.
With so many people on this Earth who couldn’t care less about their dreams, it saddens me to learn that a person who really wanted a part of his life to be used for a greater good passed away. Past wanting it, Holmes took action. He wrote. He published. He promoted. He helped others. He made an impression on his readers. He grew.
The first thing I thought about when I began to read that article about his death was our last communication. After posting his interview for Can’t Knock The Hustle here, I emailed him, thanking him for his patience because it took me a while to get it posted.
In that email, I wrote, “You are very open, and I think it’s cool that you take being a voice for those who are virtually voiceless seriously. It’s not often that you have a person talk about prison and a Master’s Degree in the same breath.”
His response is what stood out to me. The italicized part is what has been stuck in my head since I first read it 5/9/10.
Holmes replied, “First and foremost, allow me to say that I humbly do appreciate you more than you know. First, I appreciate what you do for the urban lit industry from your heart. You are very sincere. Next, I just want to say that your humbleness allows you to communicate and network with almost anyone. I’m humbled by you, and I thank you from the heart. Much love and respect to you. Peace and blessings. 100!”
Likewise, my friend. Likewise…