In Memoriam Tim Mogg

An old friend of mine, Tim Mogg, died suddenly this week. A mutual friend suggested that I might like to write something for the funeral which I could not attend. Tim was one of those people with whom I rarely spoke to but whose presence in the world was very important to me. Knowing he was out there was good. Goodbye, old friend. Every time we hear a bell, it means you've made some angel spurt feathers out their nose laughing.


Tim was a very old friend of mine from middle school in Ottawa.

Even then, Tim showed all the signs of the creative, funny, delightfully subversive, and kind man that he grew up to be.

To me, Tim taught me what was possible with the imagination. He taught me that the world was full of possibility and surprise. If you looked for them, trampolines and trapdoors were everywhere. And you could find yourself somewhere you didn’t expect.

Could you light your pants on fire in the basement and not get hurt? 

Could you hand a regular hammer in to art class as your art project and get away with it?

Could you make a super eight movie where people would suddenly disappear only to show up ten feet away a second later?

 Of course! If you were inventive and figured out how to do it. 

As a kid, Tim was always drawing, making little movies, and performing sketches. We played and replayed Monty Python, The Hitchhikers Guide and countless examples of wise foolishness.

I think that back then, life was a vast comedy skit waiting for Tim to improvise something amazing. And, like skits, it wasn’t something that you did alone. It was about friendship. Delight. Surprise. Interaction.

For example, the time when Tim's parents were away for the day and he painted a mural which entirely covered the double garage door at his house. He left the door up. His parents came home, closed the door (from the inside) and went to bed. The next morning, the neighbourhood was in an uproar. The Moggs's house had a mural of naked people on their garage door. To do this when you were 14 was mighty, daring, and entirely and brilliantly funny. At least we thought so!

Though he played such vexing tricks on his parents, I remember how even as a youngster, he spoke about his parents with such affection and respect. He took an almost protective tone when speaking of his mother—something remarkable for an eleven-year old. 

He was a wild card, a subversive trickster. Why? I think because he knew that the world was full of possibility, wonder, and joy. Because he knew he could amaze and delight his friends and family. And though it might not have been obvious when we were kids, Tim understood people’s difficulties, and often acted to cheer them up through laughter and surprise.

Tim made me feel anything could happen…and with Tim it often did. 

I would like to offer my deepest condolences to all who knew and cared about this most creative, witty, compassionate, and caring man.


Pearl said…
he sounds fabulous. he explored every day he was given.
Sarah Allen said…
Wow. What an incredible man. An endless source of inspiration for the rest of us.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)
Amanda Earl said…
very sorry for your loss, Gary. you wrote a beautiful tribute to your friend.
Unknown said…
My name is Mark I was just reminiscing about a high school friend of mine to my wife. I was shocked and saddened to see that Tim is no longer with us. I remember that Tim and I had a summer job at Nelvana Studios. I knew then, that Tim was the most creative guy I knew. As i went through his bio, i was so happy to see that he did what he loved most. Our common interests were Monty Python, making stop motion animation in the basement, more Python, and oh his dads girly mags ( or so he said). Tim had a great sense of humor and a laugh that you could hear a block away. Although after high school we went our separate ways, I thought of Tim, from time to time and remembered what a ray of light that he cast on others who knew him. Rest in peace Tim, condolences to your family.
Unknown said…
I looked up after what seemed like only a minute while I raised my children and realized 16 years had passed. So I did the cliche and joined Facebook; nostalgic and curious about the people who had inspired me and had at one time been so important. There were two I couldn't connect with through FB - Gary Barwin and Tim Mogg. Through FB I learned the awful news of Tim's sudden passing. I googled his obituary and found you, Gary, and your wonderful tribute to Tim. I have a painting he did for me inspired by a Stranglers song. I remember his basement studio. I remember laughing with Tim. I am ever so happy to find you and your blog. Gary, I consider you to be one of the most talented, creative people I have ever known. I still have your poetry and writing from our York days. I am just so sorry your facility for writing was used to eulogize another wildly talented, special person from my past. I am gutted. @ Mark Rival - I remember you too :O Bayview Fairways... Nadine Rusinek Bloomfield
Unknown said…
He sounds so cool, I'm his brother's daughter so he's my uncle, I never met him though :/ but he sounds awesome :)
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
gary barwin said…

I'm sorry that I missed your comment. I'm very glad that I was able to share a bit of my recollections of your uncle Tim. He really was a remarkable guy. I've since connected with some of his more recent friends and they've told me more about other aspects of his remarkable life.