I’m in a funny mood lately. Some of this is due to the death of someone I considered my best friend. His remembrance day was Saturday, and I wasn’t there. I made the choice not to attend based on several things, but I still missed seeing our friends and sharing stories about the man.
He had a great life, though it didn’t start out that way. He grew up poor in rural Minnesota, born to fundamentalist parents who did quite a number on his head. It wasn’t until he got to college that he figured it out and finally started enjoying things like sex and pot. Lack of money forced him to leave school, but not before he met and married the woman who was with him until the end.
D was an entrepreneur, a fancy word for trying different professions until you find something that works. Being brilliant helped; he could take any job and figure it out enough to do it well. He got into programming, and when bulletin board services (BBSs were the precursor to our internet) were all the rage, he created one. That’s how we met.
We got to know each other online, eventually met, and in time became lifelong friends. Through him and his wife, I met lots of other interesting people, most of whom had no children, all of whom were smart as hell and usually atheists. The only Republican in the bunch was married to D’s sister, and he loved her enough to put up with him. It helped that he didn’t talk politics.
D had friends around the world. He lived in a house he designed and helped build. I was always welcome, day or night, as were all his friends. He entertained frequently; he loved spending money on fabulous food and drink, and we were the recipient of that. He may have grown up with no money, but when he finally acquired some, he wasn’t the least bit stingy with it.
D’s death made me realize yet again how tenuous our hold on life is. He was diagnosed with cancer only a few short months ago, and now he’s gone. I’m going to miss him so much.
I’ve gone off writing the last couple weeks, too. I wrote one quarter of the Weatherboy sequel, then put it aside to research a new series. I started writing the first chapter and stalled; it felt flat and uninteresting to me. I couldn’t seem to bring the characters to life, and the way I envisioned them, they should have leaped off the page.
Acknowledging temporary defeat, I’ve stopped writing anything for now. I’m working, reading, and watching movies. Yesterday, I took a long walk across a park, and last night my legs were covered with itchy welts. I figured chiggers got me. I’m spoiled, you see. The land where my condo sits is treated every quarter for bugs. I can sit outside in the dark and not get bit by mosquitoes. I can walk through the grass and know there are no fleas or chiggers. I forget the rest of the world is not treated for the most part, and I need an occasional reminder. Ouch.
No doubt I will get back to writing soon, but I’ve learned to respect my occasional need not to spin stories. It’s like depression: you can treat it with drugs and feel better, but if it’s the temporary kind, it’s better to wallow in it so when you’re happy again, you can appreciate it more. Without the dark, there is no light.
Sometimes an author has to stop writing for a short time, because it’s going to feel so very good when I start again.