I just glanced at what Mike Potemra posted to his Facebook page in his final hours: a pair of observations about the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Capitals, a wry remark about the length of a Vatican document, and an amusing remembrance of Tom Wolfe, who died shortly before Mike did. Together, they give a good sense of his ranging interests as a lover of high and low culture and a restless man of faith. Mike was also a fine editor, and I enjoyed working with him. He owned a distinctive, raspy voice, but mostly we communicated by email. I’m an early riser and he was a nighthawk. We often did our business shortly before dawn, going back and forth with emails about the way a sentence should read.
Yesterday, I was stunned by the news of Mike’s death. Today, I’m both saddened and weirdly consoled by the thought that a forthcoming review of mine must be one of the last articles he ever edited.