Sunday, July 31, 2011

There isn't always a tomorrow...

I was reminded of a fallen friend this morning and the pain of his absence still cuts so deep. He will have been gone two years in December. While I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have known him, there is an abyss within my heart that will never be filled.

I am loathe to write for fear of reducing our friendship to a cliché, but I can’t hide from the words that I need to say, nay, that I need to scream. To say that I miss him is a blatant understatement. To say that I still love him so endearingly is inadequate.

My tears are selfish. He is beyond want or pain. He would scold me now, if he could see me weeping as I type, but I am far from quieting my grief.  How could I possibly let him go? That he is no longer here is unnatural and so very unfair. I am twisted with guilt because there is a letter that I forgot to mail him. It still sits on my desk at work, haunting me daily, my own personal poltergeist. It exists because of “tomorrow”. My procrastination shames me still. I desperately yearn for one more “tomorrow” even knowing as I do that I can never make restitution to myself. I cannot forgive myself; I refuse to forgive myself. I failed him at the most basic level. I didn’t place enough urgency on the need to communicate. I didn’t make the time to find a stamp. He deserved better than me as a friend. He deserved a friend who realized then that there isn’t always a tomorrow.

Do not leave your letters unsent for want of a stamp lest it become for want of a tomorrow. The cost is immeasurable.

The worst of men fight. The best of men die.
Marine Lance Corporal Omar Roebuck
Helmand Province, Afganistan
December 22, 2009
Requiescat in pace.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I wrote a book...

I find I am now at a loss for what to do. The hard part is over of course. I have a novel that is roughly 80k in word count, characters that I find compelling, and parents who believe that it belongs on the best-seller shelf of every bookstore in the world. At the urging of my editor, I am now stepping rather timidly into the blogging arena.

Now, this may seem rather strange to anyone who happens upon this site, I am not the world’s most computer savvy person. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I do know what a mouse is other than the furry critter that haunts my larder in search of something brilliant to pair with its crumb of aged Irish white cheddar. I can execute a basic search on the Internet and thanks to the new version of MS Office, I can develop an Excel spreadsheet like an expert. I am at a disadvantage however. I’m not a “the future is now” sort of person.

Technology terrifies me.

It’s as if I’m back in grade school math class. When my teacher introduced me to long division, multiplication, addition and subtraction, I thought simple. Yes, I’m a word junkie, but I can also be a number junkie, right? So I move on to junior high, excited that I’m capable of acing any subject tossed my direction. I show up in algebra and the teacher wants me to add, subtract, multiply, and divide the alphabet. I got nervous then. The alphabet belongs in language, not alongside numbers. I struggle a bit and after several months of late nights with my father eagerly hoping that I’ll grasp the concepts and become as excited about math as he was, I finally accepted the fact that letters can indeed represent numbers in a complex math problem. Then I was introduced to imaginary numbers and expected to add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers that just didn’t exist.

This is when my brain shut down and said, “La la la la la la la I can’t hear you, la la la la la.”

The mathematics I was raised with had evolved beyond my ability to comprehend at that precise junction in my life. I’m better now. At least, I’m highly functioning considering how mathematically challenged I am.

So why do I make this comparison?

When computers first arrived in the public school system, I grasped concepts and basic commands quickly and eagerly. I “open appled” and “closed appled” my way through a brand new black and green world. I was absolutely brilliant at Oregon Trail by the way, surviving the journey 99% of the time. I was the only one in the household that could magically make the VCR do exactly what my family wanted it to do. I commanded the kitchen with the introduction of the microwave.

I bought my first laptop, then another, then another. I thought at the time, I was okay. Not an expert, but I didn’t need to be. Then I bought an MP3 player with 360GB and was depressed to discover that my top of the line laptop from a few years earlier only had 90. And then my editor suggested I start a blog. I’m now a writer, I should bloody well act like one.

Suddenly, I’m in the same position as I was when I took math. The technology I was raised with seems to simply have evolved beyond my immediate ability to comprehend. I’m fighting the urge to tell my editor, “La la la la la la la I can’t hear you, la la la la la la.” I wish I could blame it on graduating high school before Al Gore invented the Internet. However, my husband’s 94-year-young grandmother has an iPhone that she uses to keep track of her insanely active social calendar

And what exactly is it I’m afraid of? Is it that I’ll do something wrong and break the system? Am I afraid people will laugh at me, or call me ridiculous names? What am I, four years old?

So I’m gripping my laptop with knuckles white and sweaty, praying to the universe to see me safely to the other side of the canyon, and posting this diatribe in effort to conquer my impractical fear.  Here we go! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!