In Memoriam: Tomie dePaola

Last the sad news rang out that one of my childhood icons, Tomie dePaola passed away at the age of 85. He was a children’s author and illustrator. He passed away from complications from surgery after he fell sometime last week. We hope that he rests in peace.

Tomie dePaola, 'Strega Nona' Author and Illustrator, Dies at 85 ...

In Memorial: Mary Higgins Clark

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Today, we are sad to report on the passing of Mary Higgins Clark, who passed away yesterday at the age of 92. Higgins Clark is known as the “Queen of Suspense.” She had over 50 titles published to her credit. Upon this credit of her career, may she rest in peace, even if characters that she wrote did not exactly live in peace.

Reflections Based on Recent News

sadfaerieAs most of us around the world know by now the sad, and tragic passing of Los Angels Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant, who died from a helicopter crash along with 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. This is news is shocking and unbelievable at the same time and this also comes under the heading of you will never forget where you were when you heard the news.

While Kobe was not a writer, but given his talent we are all stunned to hear this news. Yes, he had full filled his basketball career but he still had so much to give to this world and to his children. But this post is not about that, it’s about who we as writers try to cope and come to grips with these sudden and tragic events. One way is with our words.

Yes, our words and the voice that we have gives us strength during this times that we feel helpless and at times feel like we have nothing else in this world to give. As many times as we have seen the tragic and senseless tragedies of school shootings, and other world shaking events we have our words to get us through the tough and the bad times.

I can remember where I was when the events of September 11 was taking place when I heard the news that one or even the second tower had collapsed. I was 14 at the time just starting my freshmen year of high school. They day was also my sister’s birthday, and granted while she had a rather bad day that today due to some of the bullying that she faced, which I will not go into now for that is her story to tell not mine. However, I was in my second period English class when we got the news of what had taken place. The class fell quite and the teacher, who at the time was taking the news rather sadly like the rest of us, told us that through out the class period we could do anything that we wanted to do as long as it was constructive. Of course for me, it was to write. I wrote about four or five one page pieces on various things just to get my mind to focus on the rest of the day while I was at school. It was hard but I pushed through it some how.

I am not making light of the events of today or of that day or any other day that we have faced like this in our lives. But during this shocking time we have the use of our words to get us through. While I have said that our jobs as writers is help our readers to escape, now I’m going to change the phrase in that when the world can get to be too much, writing can be an escape for us during these rather difficult times.

Granted, for most of us we do not live in the world of celebrity, but we do live in a world that is some what highly influenced by the world of celebrity. This is one day that I shall never forget. While I am not a real fan of Basketball, I do like so many others know about Kobe Bryant and his accomplishments on and off the basketball court. Right now, I’m feeling sadden by his loss and the loss of his daughter. I fell sad for his wife, Vanessa, who has to deal with so much right now while trying to take care of her other three daughters, one of which is just seven months old.

But while I feel this great sadness that has shaken most of us today by this tragic news, I know that I can get through it by writing. Writing this blog entry, or by working on my fiction. There are some that will find comfort by writing poetry, which I have also done in the past. There are others that will write pieces on his life or by praying and trying to find comfort during this time.

Today or tonight when you take to the keyboard to work on your craft, I hope that you find comfort in knowing that in times of sudden shudder that your work will help set you free just a little bit until time has passed and you don’t feel the shudder anymore.

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In Memorial: Christopher Tolkien

The Fall of Arthur

Today, we learned of the passing of J.R.R. Tolkien’s son, Christopher. Christopher in the later part of his life brought and even edited some of his father’s work which was a continuation of sorts to his father’s legacy. Christopher was 95 years old.

 

In Memoriam: Stan Lee

No automatic alt text available.Yesterday, the news broke of the passing of Stan Lee, 95, the creator of the Marvel Universe. Even if you have not read any of the comic books, you should know of the many characters that he created such as Spider Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, The Black Panther, the X-men, and The Avengers to name a few in a long line of characters. He was more than just a creator of legendary super heroes that domed the pages of comic books, he was a writer.

A comic book writer, which at times made him feel embarrassed. Given by this quote, anyone who read his would say there is no need to be embarrassed.

Image result for stan lee quotes Yes, he went on to do a very good thing indeed. He opened up the minds and creative outlets to many of his fans. This goes for out a doubt whether you ever were a fan of Spider Man, or in my case X-Men. Yes, I was more of a fan of X-Men then of Spider Man. But even so, they were almost the same in that they were given super powers either by being bitten by a radio active spider, or they were born with the powers. Besides, the super powers that were put upon them, they also had real-live issues. Take Peter Park, aka Spider Man. Stan Lee in an interview that he gave to Lee Cowen a couple of years ago, he said that, “Peter Park was a teenager dealing with real-live teen age problems. I wanted to give him a connection of the readers.”

Yes, he certainly gave that connection for almost most of us had the feeling that we did not fit in with the crowd at school. But more than just giving his readers a connection to the characters, he was always creating, writing, and making cameos in most of the films that have made up the Marvel Universe. He said that while being the movies was fun, his real joy came from meeting fans at conventions. He said in another interview of Sony Entertainment, “No matter where I go in the world, everyone knows Spider Man. Spider Man is one of my most recognizable characters, and when Spider Man gets called out it puts a smile on my face.”

Even though, he never retired but on the subject he said, “Why should I retire? I’m doing what I have always wanted to do.”

Furthermore, on the subject of writing he gave this quote:

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Stan Lee, you will be greatly missed!

 

In Memorium: Urusla K. Le Guin

ursulakleguinPORCHWEBThis morning, I would like to pay attribute to Ursula K. Le Guin, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 88. If you are a lover of the fantasy genre, then you should know Ursula K. Le Guin and her work in the genre. I first came across Le Guin’s work when I was about 13, at the time I was reading the Lord of the Rings, and the Science Fiction Channel was showing a two-part mini-series, called Earthsea. Then when I was in college, Studio Ghibli released their animated movie, The Tales of Earthsea, where I was transported back to Earthsea and I enjoyed it.

A few years, later I started to read the books that were in the Earthsea series, and I enjoyed them and spent time studying them as to where I could take my stories and what I could do with them. She had a huge gift for writing, and she had a huge grasp of the genre. As one YouTuber put out there, if Tolkien and Lewis are the grandfathers of the fantasy genre then she is our mother. This is so very much true, for as she looked at Tolkien after reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, she said in an interview, and she said that she read the trilogy in four days and after that, she escaped into that world for days. She said that it was like a door had been open and she could see all the possibilities that could be.

As I became a student of writing, I found that she wrote a writer’s guide, Steering the Craft: A 21st Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story. Yes, I have a copy of her book and I read it quite often for guidance. Just as I use other works of fantasy, for guidance or influence when I get stuck with a story idea. The greatest gift that Ursula, like any writer, gave us stories that swept our imaginations, but she also showed us how we can learn lessons from the stories. If you take the Earthsea series, we are taught that life is important and there needs to be a balance in this life and on this plane of existence. But in return, for her giving these lessons and her work, she was told by her readers that the would return to the Earthsea books because they needed them in their lives. She was the greatest thing that she heard but she never knew that it was possible for readers to go to a book when they needed it in their lives.

Ursula, thank you, for what you have given this world and may you rest in peace. Ursula died at her home in Portland due to old age and declining health. She is a true legend in her own right and an influence in many writers of current fiction and fantasy. Furthermore, she won numerous book awards for her work. So this morning and throughout today we pay homage to her legacy.