Between the ages of 12 – 25, I had one of the best friends anyone could ever ask for. He was the type that would not only give you the shirt off of his back, but also check to make sure you were doing good on shoes and a coat, too. In our late teens and early twenties, we did a lot of things that, looking back on it, probably weren’t the smartest or healthiest. He was very adaptable to any situation, any type of people, and anything life threw at him. Always looking for a way to help other people (while, admittedly, also looking for where the next party was), he was one of the best friends anyone could ever have.
Then he got married, then I got married, then I had kids, and we went about two years without seeing one another. A few calls here and there was about it.
Then about three years ago, he and I went to a Deftones show. It was very cool and we sort of relived the glory of our younger days (albeit more respectably as we weren’t about to drive home drunk and, you know, the wives were waiting). I said goodbye after the concert and headed home. I have not seen him since then.
A little over a week ago, he went out for a round of golf. From what I understand, he lined up to drive the ball, swung hard, and knocked the crap out of the ball. Then he kept swinging…and hit the ground.
He was pronounced dead ten minutes later.He was 32.
No one knows why he died. Many assume a heart attack or aneurysm.
Needless to say, the family night prior to the funeral was hard. I kept thinking of things he would never get to do now…of experiences and sights that he and his wife would never get to share. It stung and, because I deal with death in a very weird sort of way, was also very eye-opening.
And because, as a mere human, things like that tend to make me evaluate myself, there were things that I started to understand about myself. There were things I wanted to change…things I wanted to start doing more and stop doing so much. My role as a father and a husband, for instance, were heavily evaluated.. What would happen if I died tomorrow? Would my kids know how much I loved them? Would my wife?
But it also made me think about my goals. Obviously, in terms of a career, my goal is to be a full time writer. And while I am inching closer and closer to that every month, it still seems to be very far off. I have tried planning things out and making schedules which, on occasion, means good ideas for stories usually get pushed aside and eventually die.
And while the realization following my friend’s death in terms of my writing was probably the least significant one, it seems pretty fitting for this blog. Because what it taught me is that waiting is stupid. And while the published word may last forever, ideas that don’t get written down do not.
One thing I told myself last year was that with Everything Theory and Broken Skies both being worked on at the same time, the other idea I had for a trilogy was just going to have to wait. I figured I could start on it around 2016.
Needless to say, I have nixed that thought. And, as a result, I kicked the first book of that trilogy into overdrive. It as mostly written, but I wrapped it up over the course of a frantic week. Maybe I will self publish it, maybe I will shop it to agents, maybe I will leave it to rot in the digital pits of my hard drive. I am not sure just yet.
But having written it, I am glad it is done. I created a few characters that are decent folks and a fictional world that, to date, is quite possibly one of my favorites. And I am glad I gave the idea a chance.
Because waiting is stupid.
2016 might not be here for me or for anyone reading this post. And while structure and a schedule may very well be one writer’s meat and potatoes, this writer has decided to write as the ideas come and not wait. As a result, I may have three series being live and active at once, but that’s fine with me. In terms of how readers feel…well, that’s really up to the readers.
I miss my friend and regret that I will never get to see him again. I regret that the few times I thought of him in the three years since we last saw one another, I never took the initiative to pick up the phone and call him. Later, I would say. Too much going on right now. I’ll wait a while.
Waiting is stupid. Don’t do it if it can be prevented.
I’m sure there are some exclusions, but this seems to be a pretty sound principle for most things in life.