Category Archives: Fellow Writers

Millea Kenin, where did you go?

Originally Posted March 30, 2007 – Brought back to top because I was just thinking about her.  Millea, you are not forgotten…

Dear Millea,

This is a letter I should have written years ago, but alas, it would have already been too late.

I have you to thank for the novel I have published. It was you, back in the days of Owlflight Magazine, who sent that initial story back to me and said, “Jerry, this really should be a novel!”

You were the only editor in my fledgling days who I would simply write letters to, not even to send a story. You always wrote back. You were always so nice. I have always remembered you fondly.

I turned that story into a novel and it did sell, and was published, but you never got to see it. I lost touch with you long ago. Then today I decide I really have to thank you for this. So I went to that global extension of the human mind, Google, and looked you up.

Too late. Way too late. You passed away over ten years ago.

My heart sank. Suddenly, too late, I wanted to know more about you, and so I Googled for more. All I found was page after page of nothing. Your name is everywhere on lists, publication credits, and the mention of an obituary in Locust. I saw that you have a daughter in New York, and that she graduated and is married.

But the one bio page I found for you is blank.

That is not acceptable.

There is a void in the group mind that must be filled. We know you were an editor, an author, and a poet. We have lists of your works. But that’s not enough.

Here, right now, with this missive, I want to release into the group mind that you were also a wonderful person. Kind, artistic, caring, and nurturing … even to a strange kid who kept sending you crappy stories.

Ironic. Now that I know that you’re gone, I miss you. Because it’s too late to thank you.

Please someone out there fill in that blank biography page.

Please.

Philip José Farmer is dead

Another writer gone. I remember first reading Philip’s story “Riders of the Purple Wage” in Harlan Ellison’s “Dangerous Visions” anthology. His works have always been a wild ride.

RIP Philip.

John Updike is Dead

UpdikeMy fellow writers, we lost another one of our own.

He lived 76 years, and that was long enough for him to see the transformation or, as some might say, decline of the literary arts.

May favorite of his was Rabbit is Rich, which I read before my first marriage, and am living now.  Not that I’m rich, but I’m the age of his main character, and facing a lot of those mid-life questions.  But also in RiR is the theme of rediscovering life during an age where you can fully appreciate it.

That’s me, now.  Old enough to appreciate it, young enough to still explore it.

This tenuous link is how I somehow felt connected to Updike, and learning of his death, feel loss.

Ironic that what I have been reading for the past few weeks is a collection of Updike’s short stories called The Afterlife.

He wasn’t the greatest of writers, but especially for his time, he was a frank and bold one, willing to look unflinchingly at life, no matter how mundane, and find the wonder of it.

Geoge Orwell Has A Blog

How 1984 is this? Decades after his death, George Orwell now has a blog.

Starting tomorrow, the organization who runs The Orwell Prize will begin publishing Orwell’s diaries, each diary entry to be published exactly seventy years after it was written.

Now that’s some serious network lag.

Goodbye Kilgore Trout

Kurt VonnegutWe lost one of my favorite authors yesterday. Kurt Vonnegut was our modern day Mark Twain. He passed away yesterday at 84 of complications from a head injury he received a few weeks ago.

From CNN: Vonnegut once said that of all the ways to die, he’d prefer to go out in an airplane crash on the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. He often joked about the difficulties of old age.

“When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life; old age is more like a semicolon,” Vonnegut told The Associated Press in 2005.

“My father, like Hemingway, was a gun nut and was very unhappy late in life. But he was proud of not committing suicide. And I’ll do the same, so as not to set a bad example for my children.”

ConDFW – Days 2 and 3

What I like most about ConDFW is … well, that it’s so close to where I live. But besides that, it’s a literary con. It’s for us writers.

I spent the whole weekend hanging out with my good friend Bill, who’s a Campbell-nominated SF author as well as the president of the Dallas chapter of the National Space Society. Day 2 found me hob-knobbing with NASA guys, space enthusiasts, and preparing for the NSS room party, while outside a huge dust storm made the Dallas sky look like doomsday. This segues right in with the fact that I spent some fun quality time with the Four Redheads of the Apocalypse. Yeah. Not only did they do interpretive dance to my reading Friday night, but Saturday they all four signed a copy of their book for me.

Yard Dog Press Sci-Fi really does kick ass. If Selina Rosen had her way, SF&F authors would all be more like rock stars. How can I argue with that?

After the panels and dinner, we proceeded to party far into the night … er, morning … and I ended up staying in the party room. Bill and I got up this morning, hit Starbucks, and then jumped right back into it with another NASA panel.

Then lunch, then the final panel of the day. This one interestingly enough was titled “The State of the Industry” which, instead of being about NASA (this was a SF&F con, after all) was about the publishing industry. In a gesture of unintentional but deadly accurate symbolism, only one of the panelists, Teresa Patterson, bothered to show up, and so she grabbed Robert Aspin to step in and help her. She and Robert then proceeded to paint pretty much the same picture I personally concluded: print publication is choking to death, and while it’s never really going to die, the sad fact is there is far less money in it.