*Blog Post Photo by Steven Fairfield
Friend Files is a feature I added to my blog, Away With Words, a while back – this being the 23rd installment. Past installments appear under the “Friend Files” tag on my blog. I will be interviewing a friend of mine and showcasing why they are a friend to me and what I like about them, and also a mini-interview (five questions) that detail what they think of me. It’s a way to acknowledge my friends out there and what they’re up to and also to introduce them to my larger group of friends, acquaintances, and anyone else who might be interested in reading online.
Today, I will be talking about Richard Hale. Before I get into what I think of him, here is my mini-interview with Richard (exchanged over Facebook) where he jotted down just a few thoughts:
RICHARD HALE’S FRIEND FILES INTERVIEW
ME: Give me some details about your life.
RICHARD HALE: I’ve always been the small autistic kid who was pushed around and attacked. Of course, my ancient Scandinavian blood wasn’t going to let me take it lying down. I kicked the crap out of the bullies when they tried to hurt me or even kill me. I guess that was where the idea for my book came from. Oh, I should mention, besides some minor hobbies (gaming, movie and TV watching, working at a home décor store), I am a writer and artist. Well, I’m a lot more than just those, but that will be in question five.
ME: How exactly did we meet?
RICHARD HALE: I’m pretty sure it was the first year of Coast City Comicon (now defunct, which is a damn shame). I remember your Obi-Wan costume well. I’m pretty sure that was the year I was hit on by every single human being on the planet while I was dressed as the Tenth Doctor (Doctor Who, played by David Tennant).
ME: What is one good memory you have involving me?
RICHARD HALE: Oh, that’s an easy one. It was your birthday party this year (2015). I remember it being rainy and cold, and I walked all the way over to Sebego Brewing Co. I was getting all warm and dry and meeting all of these new, cool people…. Then Tyler made my glass of water spill all over my lap. In fairness though, he’s not the first man to make me moist.
ME: Why exactly are we still friends?
RICHARD HALE: I could just write off that it’s because “You’re a nerd” and knock off for the evening, but I’d like to think I am both better and more professional than that. I’m still friends with you because you’re an intelligent and caring human being, and we talk about a wide range of different things beyond just nerd stuff and Star Wars. I also believe that one day, we will make some kind of thing together because we’re bored and it would be a fun idea.
ME: Anything you want me to plug?
RICHARD HALE: Pretty sure I mentioned I was a writer somewhere up there…. I’m writing a book called Themis the Cat-Girl. It’s a teen novel about nerds standing up to bullies in a superhero universe where the main character is a six-and-a-half foot tall woman with fangs, claws, and a tail. I also have drawn a lot of the characters and other things for the book. The website to see them all is on my Deviant Art page (Which you can click on HERE), and soon, I will also have a Patreon account.
Richard is spot-on about how we met. It was during the now-defunct Coast City Comicon, I believe its second year when I was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, though I didn’t really become full-friends with him until the third year when I was Obi-Wan. In any case, I remember seeing him dressed up as the Tenth Doctor. He came up to me and my girlfriend, Dorothy, and introduced himself – in character – as The Doctor. We chatted with him for a while and got a kick out of his dedication to the character.
Eventually, we bumped into each other so often at conventions and at cosplay-related activities that we became part of a local core group of cosplayers who always find one another at Free Comic Book Day, MECaf, Portland Comic Expo, and others.
Richard is a very kind and honest individual and he’s come up against a lot of hurdles in his life, from what he’s told me. Yet, he still manages to keep a sense of humor and is always ready to supply a joke or witticism for the benefit of those around him. Richard is plugging away at his young adult novel about an anthropomorphic superhero in the form of a “cat-girl” named Themis, and I think it’s a really cool idea, especially since the fictional city Themis lives in parallels the real city of Portland, Maine – where we both happen to live currently.
One of my own favorite memories of Richard, besides the many times I’ve hung out with him at conventions, was the time he related above when he attended my birthday party. I hadn’t had much one-on-one time with Richard outside conventions, but during my birthday dinner I got to know him a lot better and see him interact with other people I also call my friends. Since it was rainy that night, it meant a lot that Richard (and everyone else) showed up.
Richard is a real stand-up guy, and with that – I leave you with some photos which I hope convey Richard’s character and who he is as a human and a friend.