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For a Brief Time...

Yesterday, Harlan Ellison died. I want to write something about how much Harlan meant to me, about his acts of kindness towards me, his friendship and encouragement, about his importance to my own work, about how I never stopped being in awe (and a little afraid) of him. He was a giant, and the best I have ever managed is to stand on the shoulders of giants. At a very dark time in my life, he would call to tell me jokes, because he said I didn't laugh enough. And he said, "Kiddo, you've become a damn fine writer."

"For a brief time, I was here; and, for a brief time, I mattered." ~ Harlan Ellison, The Essential Ellison (1987)

I loved you, Harlan, and I always will. I love you with all my stingy, stunted heart.

----

I wrote 1,054 words yesterday, and I reached THE END of "A Chance of Frogs on Wednesday." I suspect it's exactly the sort of story my detractors hate. It offers no answers, no resolutions. The mystery matters more than any imaginable solution. I'm pleased with it. It's probably the only story I began in one city, then ended in another. Oh, wait. No, it isn't. Last year, I began "In the Flat Field" in Providence, then finished it in Birmingham.

We're getting thunderstorms almost every afternoon, and yesterday's was a monster. It took out a small pine tree behind our building.

My copies of the PS Publishing/Drugstore Indian Press edition of To Charles Fort, With Love reached me. They'd been sent to Providence, but the post office there forwarded them on to Birmingham. PS did a good job with the book, as they have done with the preceding three volumes of my short fiction. I love the portrait of Fort they used on the epigraph page and the back cover.

Mexican takeout for dinner, and then we watched Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire (1941), one of my four favorite screwball comedies.

Later,
CRK




9:27 a.m. (this morning)

Comments

( 6 comments — Have your say! )
sirena73
Jun. 29th, 2018 03:40 pm (UTC)
I'm so sad to hear the news about Harlan Ellison; especially so, knowing how much he meant to you personally. I was just re-reading "Harlan Ellison's Watching" the other day, too, and marveling yet again at his wordcraft and point of view.

pisceanblue
Jun. 29th, 2018 05:18 pm (UTC)
Looking at your photo, I have many of those same volumes. There is the dreaming life of my late teenage years, devouring those stories and many more. I even remember when I was given a copy of The Essential Ellison in '87 from a bookseller I was dating, simply because he loved Harlan too.

I know this is a subjective assessment but I would say there is no greater compliment than one he chose to give you out of love and also out of respect for your talent.
ladyblue56
Jun. 29th, 2018 06:27 pm (UTC)
Although I hate the reason, all The Harlan stories (as Jane Yolen calls them) lift my heart. He was treasured and rightfully so. I love that he'd call you and tell you jokes since he said you did not smile enough.

And, even though I grew up and lived in B'ham until mid 20's, being in the same state as you does not mean I'd stalk you if I knew where you lived. I am pleased to know there are still so much green around and you have a window view, as I am pleased to know you are home again. We had a vacant lot across from our house and we loved to see the shrub trees and green weeds/grass - now a mini-McMansion sits there. I grieve for the green.
papersteven
Jun. 29th, 2018 06:29 pm (UTC)
I was very sad to hear of Mr. Ellison's death yesterday.
everville340
Jun. 29th, 2018 09:23 pm (UTC)
I am sincerely sorry for your loss.
Brett Davidson
Jul. 1st, 2018 10:37 am (UTC)
A Chance of Frogs on Wednesday
Have you read much Stanislaw Lem? His novel, The Investigation is a mystery with several potential explanations presented in turn, each with flaws and no ultimate resolution.
( 6 comments — Have your say! )