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Pondering My Mortality!

'Rhubarb' Hellebore, just opened
‘Rhubarb’ Hellebore, just opened

So, you might have noticed there’s been a few profile deaths this month. David Bowie, Alan Rickman just to name a couple.

This week there was another, not so high profile. Editor David. G. Hartwell. He was one of my teachers way back when I went to Clarion West in 1984. I saw him whenever he came back out to Seattle to teach and at various science fiction conventions. He was always supportive of my writing and encouraging.

We always had a lot to talk about – music, books, the science fiction and fantasy field, and life in general. He started a second family a couple years before I had my daughter. By then I’d vanished from the science fiction community, dropped out and was holed up in the boonies. Still writing of course, just not socializing much. I heard through friends that he was amused about me having a child so late in life.

This week, apparently he, (at 74) was carrying a bookcase up, or down, stairs and fell. Hit his head, had a severe brain bleed and died hours later without ever becoming conscious again. Leaving behind his wife and family.

He was a strong, vital man with an encyclopedic knowledge of the field. Nominated for, and winning, many awards. He was known for his wild ties and colorful sports coats. I think this might have come later. All the early Clarion West photos I have of him, he wore surprisingly subdued clothing. He was always a genuinely welcoming person, willing to hang out at parties with anyone who wanted conversation. He was always including people, not excluding. Most other editors I found were just as likely to (politely) blow you off if you were a complete stranger.

So, with Bowie and Rickman dying at 69 and Hartwell at 74, I find myself thinking about my own death. My Dad died at around 66, my Mom lived to her late 80’s. Where does that leave me? I’m out of shape and with a couple of chronic health problems.

I have less money and so am always trying to figure out – shall I pay the copay and deductible and try to deal with this health issue, or shall I get the car fixed so we have transportation?

There’s no guarantee the finances will get better as I get older. Unless of course I write a book or books that take off. Who knows what the future will hold?

But what if I only had ten years left?

What do I want to accomplish in that time?

I still want to keep writing. And try to get as many of the millions of characters, worlds, and ideas in my head as possible – out onto the page. I want to look back and see a long string of novels and short fiction. I want to keep learning and growing.

I want to get the garden to a ‘finished’ spot. Soon. While we still can. By ‘finished’ I mean all the hardscaping – paths and patios done. Pond sides finished. All the big plants that are going to move – moved.

Because gardening is getting increasingly difficult for both of us. Can’t count the teenager, cause she doesn’t like to go outdoors even, let alone garden. I’d love to snap my fingers and have it all done. I’d love to hire someone, but there’s no money for that. Yeah, right.

I’d like to be at a maintenance level in the garden. Is that even possible??????

Those were the big things that came to me. I want to write, garden and hang out with the people I love.

Well, spring is coming. Flowers are beginning to unfold. So are books. Maybe it’ll be a lot longer than ten years. I sure hope so. I’d like to add a few more things to the list.

Because from where I’m sitting now life seems way too short.


Published inGardeningLife in GeneralWriting


  1. Yes, too short. And shorter every day.

What are your thoughts?