This past week was quite harrowing. Traveling across the country to my beloved Norwalk, Connecticut to see my father Louis and uncle Frank, who are both fighting some serious medical issues, had me drained. Both were pillars of mine growing up. My father, a writer himself, and an exemplary artist, has always inspired me. He left Tennessee as a young man, moved to Manhattan, and made quite a name for himself on network news with CBS, working in the graphics department. I’ve always admired his moxie, dedication, and talent. Some of my favorite memories are of driving into Manhattan with him, hanging out with him for a bit at CBS, and seeing what he did. It being New York, I’d also spend those days exploring the city: heading down to Greenwhich Village, Central Park, the Central Library, the many record stores and book stores. Then I’d return to CBS at the end of the night and we’d drive home and talk about our days. There’s a little of this in the short story, “To The Stars That Fooled You”, although we never stayed at the Chelsea, nor did I meet Sid Vicious. That bit’s all made up. I am a writer, after all.
My Uncle Frank was also always a big influence. He ran the family business, a car repair and auto body shop. For several years before college, I worked there. Not only did I learn some great stuff about fixing cars and keeping them up, but I also learned some great lessons on how to be a better man. Most people saw a gruff, no nonsense man in my Uncle. That was only one side of him, and a very necessary side to be able to compete and not get washed over in a harsh, unforgiving business. He showed compassion countless times, and patience, and above all? This rapid fire intelligence that was unbelievable. He didn’t miss a damn thing, and his head is a virtual library of technical information when it comes to mechanical things. And both these guys still have their fantastic heads of hair. What the heck, man? Color me envious.
To watch both of them struggle has been a challenge, and I was honored to see them both again.
In the midst of this, I learned “The Geminis” had made the final ballot of the Bram Stoker Awards. I’m speechless. I truly did not think the story would progress. There were so many phenomenal works on the preliminary ballot, that when I read them, I thought, Damn. That’s it for me. Well, okay. What a pleasant surprise and honor. Looks like I’ll have to make my way up to Portland, Orgeon in early May, won’t it?