R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Author: R.S. Williams (page 3 of 67)

Caturday: 7/21/18

“Toes: Breakfast of Champions”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017
Model: Moo

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Friday Photo: 7/20/18

“Self-Portrait with Porous Concrete”
Kansas City, Missouri – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Wednesday Photo: 7/18/18

“Whitley, with Yellow Cherry Tomatoes”
Heard County, Georgia – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 7/16/18

“For Wes, Part 1”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Caturday: 7/14/18

“The HR Director Wants to See You”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016
Model: Nooz (aka Tennessee)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


On Returning from Maryland

As of 5:42 this morning, I was physically home from Maryland. Never have I cried so hard at a memorial service as I did on Tuesday, at my friend John “Mac” McNamara’s funeral. A thousand thanks to all of you who’ve helped me make this pilgrimage of sorrow, of loss, of gratitude, of goodbyes.

Despite having come there because of tremendous heartbreak, I did not want to leave Maryland. Emotionally, I’m still in College Park, Silver Spring, Annapolis. I can’t explain why. My intuition told me to stay: “Don’t go just yet. You’re not done here.” We shall see.

For the rest of my days, forever, I will be grateful to John. His kindness and encouragement literally saved my life on that March afternoon 16 years ago. When death felt like the only thing that would stop my suffering, John appeared almost out of nowhere to challenge that notion.

John was the first professional writer I ever met. He was the first person to take me seriously as a writer.  He was the first person to suggest I write about my father’s 1997 murder. Not only did I have a story, he said as he smacked his hand on the table for emphasis, but a story that I told as no one else could. He was the first person who meant it when he said I had talent. He was the first person who wanted me to understand, more than anything, that my stories were worth sharing with the world.

John’s words have buoyed me for almost two decades.

In the weeks since his murder, I’ve made almost no new photos. I’ve written hardly any new words. Words fail me, as does my sense of what makes a powerful image. At least I know this is normal. It’s how grief and trauma work.

But on the way to Maryland, at the Virginia state line rest stop, I did finally snap an image that fits the entire trip. Next to the sidewalk, this dead butterfly lay beautiful and broken—for no apparent reason. I saw it and sobbed like a little kid.

Dearest Johnny Mac:
Thank you, sweet friend.
You are the reason I am still here.
You are the reason I am still telling my stories.
I will miss you forever.
I will see you on the other side.
And when I see you, I expect you to roast me (again) for being a Celtics fan.

Always your friend,


Friday Photo: 7/13/18

“Back Yard, Monday, 11:25am”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Wednesday Photo: 7/11/18

“Yellow Gladiolus at Sunset”
Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver, Colorado – 2014

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Hillside Monday: 7/9/18

“Sepia Storm Clouds”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2018

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Caturday: 7/7/18

“Caturday Gray”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016
Model: Zora

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Friday Photo: 7/6/18

“Bass Fiddle, at Rest”
Nashville, Tennessee – 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Wednesday Photo: 7/4/18

“Shore Erosion, Horace King Park”
Troup County, Georgia – 2014

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 7/2/18

“Cat Waiting, with Light and Shadow”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016
Model: Smokey (2007 – Jan. 2018)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


For John

My friend, sportswriter and editor John “Mac” McNamara, was one of the five newspaper employees killed on June 28 in Annapolis, Maryland. He was 56.

When we met, I was living with friends in Atlanta. Depressed and broke, I had a dead-end cocktail waitress job at a Midtown bar. The long hours and the daily parade of new faces took the edge off the misery of almost, but not quite, making ends meet.

John was in Atlanta covering the University of Maryland Terrapins’ appearance in the 2002 NCAA Men’s Final Four. He stopped in for a burger before heading out to that evening’s game. It was a strangely slow afternoon, despite the Division I college sports tournament happening a few blocks away. In that cavernous bar, John was my only customer.

Which turned out just fine, since he was one of the most interesting people I have ever met. Not many of us can carry on a lively, intelligent conversation about literature, college and pro hoops, music, and journalism with someone they’ve just met—oh, and while they’re at it, also be funny as hell. But that was John.

He wound up spending maybe four or five hours at my bar. We talked the entire time, with me getting up now and then to check on my three other customers, or to pour him a fresh beer from the tap. When he left, he gave me his card and some parting wisdom.

I had a storyteller’s gift, John said. He hoped I’d write about my dad one day—that I’d tell the story of Daddy’s 1997 murder and the bizarre aftermath. “What happened to your father is horrible. It’s worse than heartbreaking. But you make it compelling. That’s a gift. Not everybody has it, but you do. If you ever decide to write about it, Rachael, I’d love to read it.”

Please forgive me, Johnny Mac.
Your words have kept me afloat like no others.

I had meant to finish the book before now.
So you could read it.
So you could see your name in the acknowledgements.
I’m so, so sorry.

For those of you looking to help or pay tribute to John, Rob, Wendi, Gerald, and Rebecca, the owner of the Annapolis Capital has set up a fund. The proceeds will help with funerals and other expenses, hospital bills, scholarships for victims’ kids, help for surviving coworkers as they recover, and so on. Another fundraiser for victims’ families, set up by a D.C.-area journalist, has raised double its original goal in just three days.

Although I met him just once, John McNamara’s kindness and sincere encouragement have stuck with me for almost two decades. For the rest of my days, I will remember him with gratitude—and with love.

Photo of John “Mac” McNamara via The Annapolis Capital
Post text: © R.S. Williams

Thanks, y’all!

Amanda Guyton
Bill Brown
Allison Fix
Kweilin Wilson
Lisa McGovern
Kelley Frank
Ali Lauer
Grayson Hugh
Nicole McLaughlin
Emily Katzenstein
Dana McGlon

Crystal Woods
Syd Mooney
Kit Ketcham
Cheryl Lougen
Carole Thorn

Scott Johnson
Kenny Gray
El Queso
Greg Clary
Marlena Frank
Danny Alexander
Dann Brown
Molly Kay Wright
Charlie Bruin
Eric Woods

Val Williams
Gina Adamson-Taylor
Steve Taylor
T. Westgate

These folks’ monthly contributions help me produce more of the stuff they enjoy. They get my original photos, short stories, and creative nonfiction series not published anywhere else. Thanks again, y’all!

You, too, can help support my work. Even $1 a month earns you special patrons-only content. Find out more on my Patreon page.

Photo: “Self-Portrait with Red and Black” (2015)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Caturday: 6/30/18

“Tabby Cat with Pink Polka Dots”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2018
Model: Clark

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Friday Photo: 6/29/18

“Mosaic Bluebird, KCMO”
Kansas City, Missouri – 2017

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Wednesday Photo: 6/27/18

“Peach Crush”
Kansas City, Missouri – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 6/25/18

“Sky on Fire, Hillside”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2016

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Caturday: 6/23/18

“Brothers Make Great Pillows”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2014
Models: Otis (flame-point), Sherwin (white/orange tabby), and Joy (gray tabby tail, top center; 1999-2015)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)


Older posts Newer posts

© 2018 R.S. Williams

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑