This isn't a blog about politics and it's not going to turn into one. That said, I'm mourning the death of Andrew Breitbart today. I didn't get the news until after I'd posted my triffling little book news yesterday, otherwise that post would have been more meaningful.
He was a polarizing figure. Unabashedly conservative, defiantly fighting for what he believed in. And now he's dead. He was 43, barely a year older than I am. It makes you think.
He matured late in life, like me he had a little of the Gen X slacker in him when he was younger. But he caught fire and burned later in life. I know the feeling of that fire, it motivates my writing. As other obituaries have stated, Andrew ACTED.
I want that to be the lesson I take from his death. We don't know how long this game of life will go on. We need to act. We need to do, not just dream. I'll keep him in mind when I'm dragging my feet editing a novel or delaying sending it out.
My deepest condolences and prayers go out to his wife and four children. One thing I can do to help them, a little, is to buy his book, "Righteous Indignation." I'll do that today. There's no point in delay, now or e
This is something I was not looking forward to writing but until I get it out, it'll bottle up whatever's behind it.
My cat Shadow died early on January 1st. My wife found her dead and stiff in front of the fireplace. She'd been alive a little after midnight but she hadn't lasted until the dawn. It was horrible watching her slowly die over the course of a few days. She wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink. She was so weak. She could hardly walk, towards the end, she couldn't lie on her belly and instead rolled onto her side and lay like that for hours. She was fourteen.
There were a few things to be grateful for, I guess. She didn't seem to be in any pain, so far as I could tell. She'd just...given up. She purred when petted, right up until the end. The cat that never seemed to care about any of us seemed glad to see us, at the end. She even jumped up on the bed, a few days before she died. That was something she rarely did. She only allowed herself to be petted on her terms. She loved feet, for some reason, and would rub up against my toes for hours. Then she'd bolt if you sat forward to stroke her. She lasted long enough for my friend Seann to come and say goodbye. We bought her together, back when we were roommates. She always liked Seann a bit more than she did me.
I buried her in the garden, with a pick and shovel. It was a lot more work than I expected. I'm glad. It shouldn't be easy putting someone to rest. It should be dirty, hard work. Your back should ache. You should get blisters. The hole is never as big or a deep as you think it should be. But in the end, you stop and put her in the ground. I said 'bye Shadow' and filled in the hole.
My father buried the first cat we had, a Siamese cat named Spunky that I loved dearly. It must have been a lot for work for him, too. I never appreciated that gesture he made for us kids but now that I've performed the rite, I do.
Her death did not come as a surprise. She'd be declining for a while. But I have a hole in my life in the shape of a small cat. And I don't know how to fill it. Time will take care of that, I'm sure. For now, I'll read and then write, I have so much to do. I'll talk more about my writing plans for the new year. But not now. Not today or yesterday. Tomorrow will come and it won't have a Shadow in it. But it will come, nonetheless.
I was going to do a short blog about some edits and submissions I did last night. But life has intervened, as it often does. More important things have happened since last night.
Anne MacCaffrey has died following a stroke.
It is hard to emphasize how important to me her books have been. Mrs MacCaffrey was one of the first writers I devoured. I hit her Pern series right at the sweet spot of twelve or so, when I was so receptive to dreams and wonder. And her stories about boys and girls and dragons were just perfect for someone just coming off Lloyd Alexander, Tolkien and Lewis. I was eight when the White Dragon was published. It was waiting for me, still new-ish on the library book shelves. I still remember the Michael Whelan cover, how skeletal and tiny the dragon looked. Something that needed protection, not something to be feared like Smaug.
It was her ‘Masterharpers of Pern’ series that lived in my head the most*. Dragondrums most of all. It was YA before there really was YA or maybe it kicked that genre off. All I know was the coming of age stories in those three books spoke to me, inspired me.
I still have those books, I sought them out when I started my library. I don’t have all the Pern books, but the first six, Dragonflight up through Dragondrums, those are the special ones to me, still covered in magic.
Some people are dismissive of the Pern series. I’ve heard them called ‘horsey’ books. (dragons = horses, I suppose) My wife found the first book dated and hard to get into. Other readers looked at the sheer number of Pern books and Pern tie-ins and accused her of just ‘cashing in’ or being lazy, just filling in gaps and riding the dragon pony for as long as she could. I doubt that. Sure, not all the books were as good as the first six, no one strikes gold every time. But I suspect she got trapped by her own success. I’m sure her publishers wanted more and more Pern stuff, a known quantity with an established reader base. No doubt it was hard for her to break away from her success and do other things.
But she did. Her Crystal Singer series was different, still MacCaffrey, still with her stamp upon it. She had a rich history of collaborations, as well. Many of which I read.
I enjoyed her books so much that her blurb on a book would compel me to at least give the author a try. She must have read voraciously because I can’t tell you how many books I picked up because of her.
Death comes to all people, I know but the world has a little less sparkle in it now. Thank you Anne, you will be missed.
*Dragonsinger, Dragonsong and Dragondrums
I'm a lightly-published author with several novels completed and I hope to have them up on Amazon shortly.
|Mark Andrew Edwards||