While watching one of my favorite shows (Please Like Me), I heard a great line in response to someone sharing terrible news with a friend: “I’m so sorry, Josh, but one day you’ll wake up and you won’t feel so shit.” I’m somewhat paraphrasing, but those are the words as they stuck in my head. Nonetheless, there’s no need to gentrify the language. A few months after mom died I started to get tired of the canned wisdom I’d hear about how ‘sad’ everything was–obviously when someone dies it is, indeed, sad. I more enjoyed people telling it like it was. Now, two weeks from the passing of my companion, Zeus, and the numbness with which we protect ourselves after a death has worn away, revealing the grief I’ve been hiding.
I see his black-and-white shadow out of the corner of an eye. I wake up every morning reaching for the furry face that has been there–demanding cuddles–for nine years. But he’s not there, and that phantom, like all cruel memories of the dead, fades. And I get up, since I’m still alive even if Zeus, mom, my grandmas and many others to whom I’ve been closest are not. I still have my dear Persephone, too, and she’s a strident reminder of need and life for which I’m most grateful these days.
Exercise, of course, has been my strongest personal salvation (my partner being the greatest non-internal force). Moving muscle through force of will is a grounding experience when feeling existentially adrift. Work, has been my second focus, and on that front, we’re about 100 pages into the 2nd draft of Mercy 1&2. Zeus’s death derailed my schedule for about a week, though since I’ve decided to dedicate one of the novels to him, finishing the draft and writing his epitaph has become a motivation aside from my ambition. Thus, moving on and forward, I have quite a few surprises in store for my readers this year. We’re a couple of months from the reveal of the first secret project, and you’ll be rewarded for your patience with good ol’ prizes! I suppose I could leak a little, and just say that the newsletter I’ve been promising will soon be ready. However, the release of that alone doesn’t deserve fireworks and hype, and there’s more to coincide with the newsletter’s launch.
Master wizard Leo has been conjuring up amazing new pieces, too, few of which you’ve seen, while working away on Secret Project #2. That’s how life goes, though: beauty and art bloom in the gardens nourished by our remains. That sounded more macabre than I intended, but I’m sure you caught the gist of my meaning. I’ll leave you then, with one of Leo’s latest, a bit of darkness before the light to come; an ominous character who you’ll see much, much more of in the series’ finale: Gustavius, the Ironlord.
All my love,