On Thursday, I had two young writers thank me for advice I’d given on short stories, which they had just sold. I had two more writers that I had helped discover through the Writers of the Future Contest that won Dragon Awards, so it was a great day. I love days like that.
But not all days are great days where you find yourself feeling inspired. Yesterday, I received news that a promising young writer I’ve been working with, Sunny Griffith, had his life cut short by cancer. I’d hoped to write a cover quote for his first novel in the next few weeks and instead I’ve been asked to write his obituary, which I plan to do later this morning.
Seeing almost any writer pass away always fills me with sadness, and the more I love them, the greater the sense of loss, the harder it is to take. I felt that Algis Budrys had become like a father to me. While on his deathbed, Roger Zelazny wrote a beautiful quote for one of my upcoming novels, literally hours before he passed. Anne McCaffrey used to send me faxes in the middle of the night to let me know how my books were doing on the bestseller lists in England, and when she passed, my niece called me in tears to tell me the news and bemoaned the fact that she’d never been able to get Anne’s autograph. I had to inform her, “Remember all of those Anne McCaffrey novels I sent you? Go look on the title pages. They were all signed to you.”
And so it goes. With each author we get to know, it seems that we learn something from them and go in debt just a bit more to the universe. And when I hear of someone passing, it makes me think, “Man, you’d better get back to work before the Grim gets you.”
In fact, I’ve been in the emergency room twice in the past year. The first time, I got sepsis and was in the emergency room with IVs in both wrists. My wife brought my laptop so I could do a little work, and as I was working away, the doctor came in and said, “Uh, do you think you should be doing that? I mean, you just came within twenty minutes or so dying. In fact, your blood pressure is so low right now, you shouldn’t even be conscious.” I told him I was fine, but what I really wanted to say was, “What better time to work? Yeah, I just about died, but it reminds me that time is short.”
(Having said that, I learned that day that you shouldn’t try typing while you have IVs in both wrists. It causes your wrists and hands to swell up rather painfully.)
So our time is short. One friend on Facebook, when speaking about Sunny Griffith, said, “He has such a phenomenal soul. So vibrant and gentle. It is a loss for those who knew him and even more for those who never had the chance.”
My thoughts precisely. The world doesn’t realize what a great person we’ve lost.
I want to get to know you through your writing, too. Every day that you don’t write, it is a loss to those who would be your fans.
Take some time to reflect today, organize your thoughts, and compose your work.
In the last writing tip, I mentioned a new book I released called Writing Wonder. I had a few people asking when it would be available as an ebook as well, and I am pleased to announce that an ebook version is now up and running on Amazon.com for $5.99. You can get the ebook version here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XP98VNJ.