Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Write Before His Eyes

When I was 23 I was a singer in a rock band...hard to fathom, I know...but true nonetheless. The leader of said rock band was impressed with my voice...I won the audition after all...but not so much with many other things about me. He scolded me for laziness, was constantly aggravated over my inability to hear harmonies and was in general...a General. But little by little I began to see that he truly wanted better for me than I was settling for. He was the big brother I never had...my very first mentor before I knew what the word meant. For my 23rd birthday he gave me some light reading by the name of "Sophie's Choice" and I walked through (ok trudged through) my first piece of literary writing. There were books to be read other than The Little House series....who knew! One day he pulled me aside...finally, utterly appalled at my bad grammar and said "One of these days you will be interviewed and you will be mortified at how often you 'talk wrong'." Apparently there was a right way to speak. He proceeded, with my permission, to bring to my attention every instance of my law breaking....

And so for years after I had left that band and was walking through the real word (ok trudging through) I remembered all he had said and this crazy girl began to read everything she could get her hands on and fell in love with language...and writing...and lessons learned.

We lost touch with each other for a long time, but I somehow managed to find him and contact him when in 1995 when I sold a novel to HarperCollins...a little book publisher right down the street from where he now worked as an editor in New York City. He laughed out loud he was so happy (and probably stunned). When "what's his name" ran off with "what's her name" he was one of the first to tell me..."it'll be ok..."you are awesome"..."he's an idiot."  In the summer of 2001 I was in NYC and we had a great lunch together catching up on the years and marveling at how I could now speak without double negatives. A few years ago he wrote me and suggested I try out this thing called Facebook, because the old band members were on there and we could share pictures of our lives. I said ok...I'll try it. He was my first Facebook friend.

Last night my precious, intelligent, funny and true friend lost his wife to cancer waaaay before her time. I know his heart is broken...their daughter's heart is broken. I am so glad that I know about his wife's passing...I am so glad that we reconnected so that I could know this. You are in my prayers my dear friend and I will think of you often in the days to come. You know where I am and you know you are loved. And if I could somehow put it into words the ways you have impacted my life....I would.

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