Stranger on a Train XXX: A Perspective on Death

My friend, Patrick, is dying.

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Thing is, he didn’t know he was dying. He wasn’t feeling good so he went to the doctor to try and figure out what was going on.

That was July. It’s now August, and he’s dying. The cancer moved that quickly.

Fuck cancer.

People have been asked to send well wishes to Patrick, to let him know how much he means to them. What I’m seeing on my various feeds have been people struggling to do so.

I just wanted to say that while the reason totally sucks ass, it’s okay to feel pain, like you want to cry, like you want to scream into the Void and give it the middle finger. What you’re feeling isn’t wrong. Cry. By all means cry…

…so long as you take this moment to tell Patrick what you feel.

I didn’t get that chance with my buddy Jon whose funeral was last week. I didn’t get that chance with my theatre mentor, Glyn. I didn’t tell P.G. Holyfield how I truly felt about him when I last saw him at Balticon, when I was surrounded by friends old and new, by people who meant so damn much to me.

I didn’t say it then, but a couple of days ago, I got a second chance.

A moment to say “I love you, Patrick.” presented itself and I took it. He knows. I should have told him sooner, but he knows now.

No, I fucking hate why I had to tell him, but I told him. I wasn’t going to piss away this moment, and the three of us—Pip, Patrick, and me—bore everything. We made this moment ours…

…and we cried.

Yes, it’s going to be hard. Yes, you will cry. It’s okay. Cry. So long as you speak your heart. When will you get that chance again?

I love you, P.G. Thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for making me part of yours.

When you are done with telling Patrick what you feel, dig deep and give. If you can’t give, share.

We are not losing one of the good ones…

We’re losing one of the best.

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Endless Possibilities Blog Tour 2014: Cindy Brookshire on Death, Taxes, and Accountability

Alongside my renewed commitment to be a better blogger, I’m still hosting the talented people of Write by the Rails in the Endless Possibilities Blog Tour. Today, I feature the fearless leader of our merry band of writers, Cindy Brookshire. She’s bringing her own daily affirmation and accountability on getting the words down on paper, and meeting that daily word count.

 

iStock_000021621315XLargeI just spent 10 hours slogging through six award applications for a client by a 5:30 p.m. deadline. It’s the nature of my work – think fast and tune out distractions.

But working on my book? That’s another matter. I balk. I make excuses. I wait for the perfect chunk of time. It never comes.

I finally took my friend, North Carolina writer Barbara Presnell’s advice and got a writing accountability partner. She’s author and Huffington Post contributor Laura Collins Lyster-Mensch. Laura and I email each other every Monday. Once a month we do a face-to-face at the Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton or Caribou Coffee in Bristow. Talking to an accountability partner is like talking to a 12-step sponsor. You can’t bullshit a bullshitter.

Has it worked? Yes. In all honesty, I’ve set a kitchen timer and forced myself to do more work on my book than I’ve done in years. I’ve also produced some great magazine articles, and helped to build a thriving network of writers in Prince William through the non-profit Write by the Rails.

Laura has been quite effective, too, though under duress – she was able to work with her friend, Charlotte Bevan, to complete the book, Throwing Starfish, before Charlotte’s death.

Oh well, deadlines and taxes will always be with us.  Or is it death and taxes?

I think I’ve earned another episode of House of Cards…..

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

Benjamin Franklinin a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789

 

Cindy Brookshire is the fearless leader of Write by the Rails. She blogs at http://cookies4nataka.wordpress.com/

A Tribute to Wombat

“It was at Astronomicon I met a character that not only made a heck of an impression on both me and Nat, but also became a good friend for cons to come.  His real name is jan howard finder (yes, spelled in the lower case)…but everyone calls him “Wombat.”  Wombat is a little more than the professional fan.  He’s a published author.  He’s an activist for the preservation of endangered species.  He’s a world traveler.  He’s a Jack of All Trades, known for his mink glove and massage techniques.  Most of all, he is a good guy.  A really solid individual with a good heart and soul to match.”

005_2_0001I wrote those words a decade ago about a guy that I met in my first year (come to think of it — at the time I had met him, MOREVI wasn’t even six months off-the-press…) as a professional author. I was still new to the genre, still new to the Science Fiction convention circuit. I met Wombat entirely at random, stuck up a conversation, and gradually found out that I was in the company of a legend in the circles of fandom. He could be called a true ambassador of the convention scene, but I never really liked to think of jan howard finder — Wombat — as a luminary of fandom. He was far bigger than that, in my eyes. Continue reading

I Remember Joe: 2011

Pranks. Rope-a-Dope Tweets. Misinformation. I’m not the biggest fan of April Fool’s Day. Never have been. I don’t like practical joke played upon me and playing them on others I’m not too crazy about. (One of many reasons a particular joke a few years back pulled on me jumped the shark. Seriously. They aren’t my thing.) Yes, I hate April Fool’s Day.

I hate April 1 even more as one of my best friends, Joe Murphy, passed away on this day in 2007.

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For those of you new to podcasting, you might have missed the wit of my friend, Joe Murphy. He was (and still is) an amazing guy, his voice now part of the history of such podcasts, as Wingin’ It, Slice of SciFi, The Kick Ass Mystic Ninjas, and the award-winning The Case of the Singing Sword: A Billibub Baddings Mystery. He was taken from us too soon, and on April 1 I remember him. Continue reading