At the Broken Places

We’ve been traveling while the house is being renovated. We’re back in Albuquerque now, but just for a bit and then we’re on to Santa Fe, one of the world’s most wonderful cities. Meanwhile the house continues to be renovated.

It’s been a challenge to do artwork on the road without my lovely big monitor screen and powerful Mac mini. Today we snuck into the house to let me work on the cover graphic and some of the interior graphics for our upcoming adventure for Call of Cthulhu. I’m so excited that it will soon be released.

I attended a class with Kris Rusch on Romance Spies, which was truly wonderful. It was intense and halfway through it Steve feared for my sanity as I struggled to write three stories in four days. (I actually had almost two weeks for the first story, but I procrastinated until two days before it was due.) So far, this is my favorite writing class. I felt like I was beginning to get the form of the romance spy story in my blood by the time I left the class and I learned a bit more about myself and my natural voice.

One of the best things about Kris’ in-person classes are the other writers. I had a distinct, “I’m Not Worthy” feeling after reading their stories. But that’s ok. In general I prefer to be with people who are better than I am. It elevates me. These writers elevated me quite a bit.

Eric Flint died while I was traveling last week. I still haven’t processed his death. It’s a knife to the heart and comes on the heels of another friend dying. Eric was a great man and generous to a fault. I really hoped I would see him again. He sat down with me and talked me out of my fears of offending people with my stories. I still repeat what he said to me when I’m afraid.

It’s been a dreadful few years of loss.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to write in class after hearing of his death. But I managed and I don’t know why or how. Perhaps it is the presence of professional writers who are demonstrating with their actions that it is possible to do good work even in a broken world.

I think about what Hemingway said often. “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

Perhaps I am stronger at my broken places. Perhaps I am like a kintsugi bowl, repaired with gold after breaking, leaving me heavier but also brighter.

I hope that your days are bright and filled with joy, my friends, and that you are walking through this broken world offering light and hope to those around you.

Be well, friends!

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