One of the saddest things about someone you know dying is thinking about all the “coulda shoulda” things you wish you had said and which now must remain unspoken, unshared. This is sad when you’ve only spoken with this person on the phone, yet always really liked him. This is especially sad when the person dies unexpectedly, as did FC’s Audio Arts actor Steve Schleicher.
All we’re left with is the memories of the relationship we had with the person who has passed. In the case of those creative people —artists, short story and novel writers, poets who have graced our pages at The Fictional Café—we come to realize we only get to know certain aspects of them. Indeed, often it is a rich aspect, but that loss only means we carry a heavier one.
Such it is for your Fictional Café baristas, who had the pleasure of working with Steve Schleicher on fictional audio projects. We knew Steve was a schoolteacher, he lived in Wisconsin, and he could do great voice acting in a range of spoken stories. But knowing and working with him wasn’t lessened by our phone/email/electronic files-only relationship because it was fun working and playing together with Steve.
Together we transformed pages of printed words into spoken conversations and dialogue in scenes made rich by the characters Steve played. If there were an Emmy for audiobook voiceover work, surely Steve and Caroline McLaughlin would have won one for their performances on Jack’s Audible novel Bridge Across the Ocean. They never met, yet grew to know one another through their characterizations. By the audio novel’s end, we were convinced they were Jed and Jung-Shan incarnate and had truly fallen in love. It was a glorious thing to hear created, and it shows how Steve was uncanny in his ability to crawl inside his fictional characters and give them life.
Ruby Fink, FC’s Audio Arts Barista, wrote: “I never met Steve in person either, but he played Sarge on ‘Superguy’ by Kurt Clopton. He was kind, professional and always understood what it meant to be a struggling artist. I tried to pay back his kindness by always keeping my eye open for other voiceover jobs he could do.”
We will seriously, seriously miss you, Steve. We’ll always wonder what took you through that portal of no return, and how it’s going for you over there. And so we want to leave a living tribute to you in our names. We Baristas of The Fictional Café have made arrangements with Irwin Chapel Tribute Store to plant a memorial tree in your name.
Epitaph On A Friend
An honest man here lies at rest,
The friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, the guide of youth;
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,
Few heads with knowledge so inform’d;
If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.
— Robert Burns