When I dropped in as usual to read The Grumpy Old Bookman on Monday I was shocked and saddened to discover that he was retiring from blogging with immediate effect. He describes the termination of his blog as a Sabbatical but his farewell had an air of finality to me. Life won't be the same without him.
Michael Allen stood head and shoulders above his peers in the world of book blogging. Witty, informative, opinionated and original. Productive too. He reckons he's pumped out more than a million words on his blog since he started. That's a formidable achievement, almost a full-time job. I don't know when we'll see his like again.
I was lucky enough to conduct several e-mail coversations with him over the past couple of years. I was shamelessly plugging my blog and my book A Half Life Of One. I knew it. He knew it. And he knew that I knew it. It didn't matter. He always responded to the bait with good-natured kindness and plugged the blog and the book on several occasions. It was with mixed feelings that I realised that my book was the final subject on his final proper post. On this occasion I hadn't even asked for his help. Kind and generous to the end.
I hope he still inhabits the blogosphere and not just in spirit. If he does, and drops by here and reads this I'd like him to know just how grateful I am for all his advice, kindness and tacit encouragement over the years.
Gone maybe, forgotten, definitely not. Not for a long time.