I woke up late and with a sinus headache. We’re apparently having a major change in weather sometime today, so that explains it, but even ibuprofen failed to dent it, which accounts for my being so late today, I guess.
The other part of this is that I don’t want to write an obituary. I’m in that uncomfortable position of losing mentors and older relatives, that leaves me with the expectation that I’m next in line for the doleful harvest, as well as missing the people who depart and being left in the expectation that I now have to fill the role of elder and mentor, for which I’m not ready. I’m not sure anyone ever is, of course. Maybe it is true that man is an ape who understood his own mortality and went insane. These days the insane thing seems startlingly obvious.
Anyway, yesterday I learned Ed Bryant had died two days ago. Part of the problem of being very busy is that even my forays into the book o’ faces don’t get all the news.
Ed was the mentor of the very first (walk in/at will) writers’ group I attended. It met at UCCS and the “price” was, I think, $2 to pay for Ed’s gas to come down. Considering how much trouble he went through, he didn’t make enough from this. I think sometimes he made a little more, enough for a coffee with us after the meeting.
He was a gracious and kind mentor, moderating the excesses that took place when he couldn’t come down — people who mocked your word choice, or people who acted like people with odd accents shouldn’t really be trying to write fiction — he never really said anything about “girl who speaks funny wants to write in English” nor did he ever assume my typos — I’m a typo artist — were the result of thinking in Portuguese (they aren’t. In fact thinking in Portuguese is rather difficult these days. They’re usually the result of thinking two fast and not being able to keep up with it in typing, so you type a word from another sentence. Then there’s the crazy. For instance, in current book I had “conducting bathroom” instead of “conducting business.”)
Four or five incidents are connected to Ed in my mind. One of them was that at the time I was attending that group on Sundays, I gave birth to younger son. My meeting after giving birth, I was saying something, and Ed was looking at me like I was from Mars. It’s like he knew the voice, but couldn’t recognize me. Suddenly went, “Oh, Sarah, I didn’t know you Un-pregnant.” (Which made sense since I’d started in the group while pregnant. To this day the memory of his expression makes me giggle.)
The other was that while going to that same group, I attended my first writers’ conference. Ed was the pro at our table. Something awful had happened in the planning for the meals, and they’d made half the meals vegan. By the time they got to our table the only “choice” was vegan. The end result of this is that the meal was inedible as institutional vegan meals often are. There were four or five of us, forlornly talking about how awful the food was. Ed got up, we thought, to go to the bathroom. Instead, he went to the gift shop and bought each of us a bar of chocolate, a gracious gesture he , in no way, was obligated to make.
At another meal, at the same conference, they served melon salad for desert. Turned out that all of us disliked/were allergic to a different sort of melon. So a lively trade took place before anyone ate. Ed was talking to someone who had just come to the table, and missed the pre-trade negotiation, so he turns around, and we’re flinging bits of melon around. He asked “What happened? One minute I was at a normal table, and another minute there’s flying melon.” If I ever name a rockband, it will be Flying Melon.
For a while Ed had a newsletter, which in addition to news of his own books and stories, was devoted to “curious things from the Denver area.” His newsletter talking about Mike, the Headless Chicken came at the same time I’d discovered Mike, and we spent quite a while trading websites about Mike.
Ed was funny, kind, and a generous mentor. More importantly, no matter who was in power or what the election was, or how close to a con, I never noticed him holding a political line on whom he’d talk to or be nice to, and despite a wicked sense of humor, he never inflicted a political rant on anyone in a panel, or at least none I was present at.
Our writing styles and interests were completely different, but our minds met at the weird and odd and picturesque.
I talked to him just three weeks ago at Cosine and was very glad to see him. I can’t quite believe he’s gone.
This is not an obituary, because I didn’t know him that well, I only knew him as a profession and a mentor. In both capacities his behavior was something to emulate.
Two short reminders here. First, Darkship Revenge is on presale, if you’re so inclined.
Second, if you read Through Fire and think it’s worth it, feel free to nominate it at Dragon Award Nominations, which are open now. It costs nothing. And of course you should nominate whomever you think is good, beyond and above my stuff. Sad Puppies “recommendation site” which will be monthly is not focused on any award and will be up — I SWEAR — very soon. We ran into “disabling flu” for about three weeks. The next site will be permanent, no matter who runs the movement.
Sunday Vignettes by Luke, ‘Nother Mike and Mary Catelli
So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.
We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.
If you have questions, feel free to ask.