Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The smiling young man you see in the upper left hand corner of today's blog is Dichpong, a gentle viola player who has been in my orchestra for years. Everyone liked him. He never had a bad thing to say, never lost his temper, never complained, and even a day or two ago he and his friends were merrily chatting away on msn. Now, he has apparently committed suicide.

I'm very bummed out about this. I mean, it would be different if I dropped dead. I've already had time to dash off a few books and operas. I'm angry with myself for not magically being able to fix it.

Then again, I suppose I might drop dead. My new breathing machine, being shipped in from Europe, is stuck in customs....


  1. hi mr. somtow

    i found a copy of one of your books in a trash heap at my trailer park. i like books about vampires so i picked it up. it was pretty good. vampire junction. the beginning sounded a little bit like that Anne Rice book, you know the Interview With A Vampire, but it didn't sound like it was copied exactly so i guess that's ok.

    i was looking on the internet to see if you've written any more books and jeez, you've written scads of them and i hadn't even heard of you before. i wouldn't really buy any but if i see them at the thrift store or in the trash i'll read it.

    i found your website too and found out that you are a conductor too. there's probably not too many people who can be a conductor and an author. i don't see how you could have time to do both. well, at least do both very well. you either have to be exceptionally gifted and talented person or at least a really talented self-promoter/bullshitter to get people to both sell your books and give you a job conducting.

    i thought about that last part after i got to reading this blog i found from your official website. the part about your being good at self-promotion just came to me when i noticed all your dorky pictures by EVERY one of your posts. dude! get a clue. your picure on the upper left in your blog is tasteful and is what most people who have blogs do, but putting a creepy pic of yourself by every post? bad form.

    and how did you choose to honor the young man who killed himself? you should have put a big picture of him up and left your creepy looking mug off.

    think about it... if you were half as cool and talented as you promote yourself to be you'd be bigger than Michael Jackson!

    on second thought i don't think i'd read any more of your books even if i found them in the trash. you seem too much like an insufferable dork who somehow manages to be ingratiating and a self-aggrandizing prick at the same time. that's a nice trick. i'm probably not the only one who thinks that since i see few other people bother to comment on your blog. well, except you.

    i see you have your comments pre-moderated. that's a bit chicken-shit but it's good enough for me to know that you've read it.

  2. What a blast of fresh air. Or maybe foul air.

    Perhaps I should correct one misperception though. The Anne Rice novel about the rock star vampire came out a year after mine. Many critics have pointed this out, even ones who didn't like my book.

    You're perfectly right, though; the blog is a self-promotional tool. It must be starting to work now that strangers are sending hate mail :)

  3. Dear Somtow,
    I am sorry to hear about your friend Dichpong. Very sad indeed.

    What a curious time for someone to send you such a snotty comment. I am sure that "brandon's" lips must have been exausted after reading both your book and Ann Rice's. Congratulations on your first hate mail though. I recently sang some concerts with Jennifer Larmore and she told me that when she was coming up through the ranks she had a hater/fan who actually followed her to all of her European engagements just to Boo her. She said she knew then that she had finally made it.

  4. My condolences to his friends and family.

    " a trash heap at my trailer park"=troll, and I thought everyone knew Vampire Juction was first.


  5. Brian,

    Who knows with these anonymous dudes. Maybe it' someone who knows me and has a grudge. Maybe it's the random garbage of the universe. It would be amusing if it were Anne Rice, but that would be far too novelistic to be true


  6. U can't be as bummed as I am. Apparently he didn't only took away his life but half of mine...
    He talk with me every night and say good night and good morning to me every single day for the past year.
    And now it is back to only me...
    I just wanted to tell you that I'm glad I'm not the only one who's missing him :)
    Thank you

  7. Dear K. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I think that everyone who knew this young man even slightly, as I did, loved him and we are all mystified and hurt by what has happened. I was so upset I couldn't go to the funeral. I thought about him yesterday in rehearsal when I looked at the viola section and I half expected to see his face...

  8. I've been reading his hi5 everyday for the pass 1 month and 3 days. I really do miss him and i feel really guilty for not being able to know that this would happen and stop it. I live my life like it no longer has meaning and i do miss him so much eventhough i cant describe it. It does feel better that there's some evidence that he wasn't just a dream...
    I don't know what to do and I know I shouldn't be telling a stranger about all this but i know u do know my story