Mortality and Immortality

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

As you age, you start to notice patterns around what happens to your friends who are around the same age. You’ll notice everyone getting married, or having kids, etc.

Unfortunately, I’ve reached the age where people are dying or having close calls. Earlier this year a friend died of a heart attack and it was sad. He was a good man with an amazing mind and even though I didn’t see him much the world feels lessened by his loss.

I’ve had friends die before, but now we’ve transitioned from the deaths being horrifying and unthinkable to sad and unexpected.

Since his death, I’ve had several friends hospitalized for heart or other life threatening conditions and it scares me. I don’t want to lose my friends and I really don’t want to die.

In an early episode of the new Doctor Who, Charles Dickens asks, “But you have such knowledge of future times. I don’t wish to impose on you, but I must ask you… My books, Doctor. Do they last?”

I like to joke that I plan to live forever; it’s only partially a joke. I know I will live through my daughter and I hope I will live through my work. I have two novels published now, three others written, and two others in the works; I have almost ten years of blogs written and almost enough short stories to fill a book. (If you’d like to help me create more, please buy, borrow, or request my books and review them on amazon and goodreads.)

I have a lot more work left to do and SO MANY more stories to tell. (No, seriously, I have a list of 20+ novels I want to write.) I hope to be around for a long time.

 

Take care of yourselves,

Éric

Immortality

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

If I could limit the degradation of my body and mind, I would want to live forever. (Immortality with dementia or complete paralysis is quite possibly the most terrifying thing I can think of.)

A lot of people talk about living forever (again if you could stay healthy) as something that would be terrible or horrifying. It may be the idea of watching everyone you care for grow old and die and I agree that idea is sad. I love my family and by the age of 26, I’d lost both my parents, three of my grandparents, a few cousins, my childhood best friend, and almost all my great-aunts and uncles. Death sucks for the people who care about you.

My family has a very low life expectancy; my mother didn’t make it into her sixties and my father didn’t make it into his fifties. Those ages are closer then I’d like them to be and it scares me. I have so many novels to write, so many memories to make with my daughter, so many things I haven’t tried, and so many places I want to visit. I don’t want to shuffle, deal, or fold, this mortal coil any time soon.

So yes, if I could live forever. I would. I’d want to offer the same to my wife and daughter, in-laws, friends, and you (my imaginary friends/fans).

My goal and hope is to make it to 2068, that way I’ll see the 100th anniversary of Doctor Who (2063) Star Trek (2066), and the bi-centennial of Canada (2067). My daughter will be 50 at that point and I hope to see her doing something she loves as a career. Maybe grandchildren, if she wants. I also hope that I’ll get to see a more open and tolerant world by then.

I have so much left to do…

Would you live forever if you could stay physically and mentally healthy?

To many later days,

Éric

Introspection, Faith, and Death

Last week was an amazing week for me. I got news that I will be a published author, I wrote 5000 words in Everdome, and there were a few other pieces of news I can’t talk about yet.

Everything was going great then my body utterly crapped out on me. I had a major allergy attack (which for me is thankfully not anaphylactic) and I’ve spent this week feeling like I have cotton balls instead of brains and I’m fairly certain a kitten could beat me up.

There were also two celebrity deaths that have consumed my social media feeds. All of which kept making me think about death. I think Adam Ruins Everything can sum up the feelings I had.

Warning: This video shoves your mortality into your face.

I spent most of Monday catching up on Daredevil. The show has a few scenes where the main character discusses good and evil with a priest. It’s done in an introspective way that really speaks to me.

I was raised French Catholic. (Yes it’s tough not to say, “And with you” when I hear, “May the force be with you”) One thing I always hated about organized religion was the lack of introspection and questioning. In fiction people will say they are, “Searching for faith” or “Questioning faith” but it’s rarely explored. (On a side note, the lack of this exploration that probably soured me on the Exorcist.)

“Write a million words–the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.”

David Eddings (Possibly referencing Heinlein or Bradbury)

As I’m approaching the mythical one-million words I’m starting to see themes in my work that I didn’t realize where there before. Dreams, intelligent villains, hope vs fear, sentience, and faith. If you’d asked me ten years ago if I’d have faith as a theme in my writing I would have laughed and said no.

However faith is more than just belief in a higher being(s) it’s belief if ourselves and those around us. It’s believing in humanity and hope. I’m sure, to some, it sounds overly optimistic or naïve.

In A Case of Synchronicity (one of the sequels to A Study in Aether), the main character (Elizabeth) starts doubting what she knew about her mother and what she knows about the world. She visits a church and speaks with the priest there about what is right and what religion means in a world saturated with magic. (Don’t worry the book also involves kissing, time travel, and scary vampires)

It’s a theme I’ve also been exploring a little with the Hal stories. (what is faith like in a galaxy where you know there’s a god living in the Sun?)

I’m always fascinated in characters that have faith without zealotry, spirituality without hate, or hope without fear.

I’m still not sure what I believe in the grand scheme of things (and I’m rambling little… sorry) maybe that’s why this sort of exploration and introspection appeals to me.

 

Do you think I’m being overly sentimental and naïve?

Éric

Writing About Death

Hello Imaginary Friends,

I suck with negative emotions. I seriously have issues handling them. My normal reactions are to either get angry or numb. Sometimes both.

Whenever I need to deal with those kinds of feelings I write about them. (sorry for being a meta.) If I could deal with every situation by writing at or about it, I’d be a lot more comfortable. Obviously this isn’t a viable way to deal with the world. You have to go out there and hug people and feel your way through things. But written words are so much more safe.

Death is the most terrifying and the most life changing of all. In genre writing there is a stereotype of the death loving author. We cackle in glee as we kill one character after another, happily ripping your heart out. It’s a stereotype that writers love to promulgate and it’s a total lie.

We hate killing characters as much as you hate it, sometimes more. Remember that our imaginations brought them into the world and through a quirk of storytelling they had to die.

It’s an unwritten rule that death, in stories, must have a reason. Even when it seems utterly senseless, in a story there is always a reason for death. It’s such a major life changing and emotionally charged event that it has no choice but be important.

It’s easy for a writer to overuse death and with time it starts to lose its significance and the reader becomes desensitised. A good writer will make you feel and think about the death and let you grieve. A bad writer will pile bodies up like a bad slasher movie.

The essential narrative of death in stories makes death in the real world seem ever more senseless and stupid. No matter what we say or do few deaths in the real world make sense.

My in-laws lost their Grand-Matriarch last night. She passed in her sleep surrounded by family in her mid-nineties. It’s a great loss to the entire family and my heart goes out to them.

She was a strong willed woman with a great sense of humour and a large heart.

She’ll be missed.

Éric

Sick, Writing, and stuff

Like a horror movie villain in an ill-advised sequel, my cold has returned. I had a sore throat, chills, headache, and general symptoms just before comiccon two weeks ago. I never really go back to feeling 100% I was hovering at 40% wondering why I felt crappy. I assumed it was simply because of allergy season. Turns out I have been fighting this this for over two weeks and now I’m losing. That or my wife didn’t catch my cold but something similar and then passed it on to me.

I’m in a weird, uncomfortable period of mourning for the character I killed in my novel. It’s weird I didn’t think I’d feel it but I did.

Between the persistent cold, the death of a character, an excessive amount of work, and a favour I promised a friend I’d finish by May. I took last week off from writing and I’m going to take this week off. I might take all of May to make sure I get everything done in time.

I was hoping to finish this novel before July but I have another 5-9 chapters left. Hopefully by September.

Ok. Back to work!

Talk to you soon.

Break and Character Death

Hello Imaginary Friends,

I’ve had an extremely productive day on the day job, and house front, unfortunately not so much on the writing front.

I’m going to take this week off from writing unless things go fantastically with the Galactus sized project I just got at work. It’ll give me some time to plot and prepare. This novel has been going in interesting and fun directions.

I was once again part of Silver Stag Entertainment’s Nights at the Round Table. Check it out.

Character Death

I still need help deciding who will die in my novel. At the moment it’s a three way tie. (I can hear a certain author-friend laughing manically.)

Please vote here!

expendability

 

Thank you.

Eric

Character Death

expendability

Dear Imaginary friends,

I made you a promise a few months ago that I would kill off a character in my next story. I jumped straight into a novel. So I need your help to decide what character to kill. There are 6 main characters and 2 secondary characters that you can choose from. I’ll describe them and you vote in the poll below. If you can’t see the poll vote in the comments, or message me on facebook.

Primary Characters

Adelaide

Female. Of Scottish descent, 24, average height orange/red hair green eyes. She’s the floor counselor for the patients at the institute. She has a master’s degree and a secret. She has lived her whole life with an imaginary friend. This fuels her need to understand psychological disorders.

Ashley

Female. Of Hispanic descent, 19, average height brown hair, green eyes. She’s an uber geek who has been hospitalized for violent night terrors. She is the only patient in her group who was court ordered to go to the institute, after she violently attacked her boyfriend in her sleep on prom night.

Kathrine (Kitty)

Female. Adelaide’s imaginary friend that is part tiger part human. She has a penchant for being a little wild and enjoying making sexual innuendoes. She’s playful and has a strange ability to know things that Adelaide doesn’t.

Kiri

Female. Of Maori descent, 16, short with very short black hair and reddish brown eyes. Suffering from a near fatal case of Anorexia and of sleep eating, she’s been at the institute for almost two years. She wrestles with what she knows is true and what she believes is true. She blames her mother, who is more interested in social status and what’s lady like, for most of her issues.

Paul

Male. White, 25, tall blond with blue eyes. After an extremely traumatic event Paul left the police force. In his dreams he smells fire and wakes up coughing ash. He checks into the institute after he starts setting fires while he sleeps.

Terrance

Transgendered (Physically male). White, 16, tall and broad with light brown hair and eyes. Terrance is a sleepwalker. He openly repeats his hyper-conservative family’s views on homosexuality, despite not understand it. He is the smallest and the most passive of four brothers and has been picked on his whole life. It has caused him to close himself off and not admit, even to himself, that his is transgendered.

Secondary Characters

Doctor Campbell

Male. White, 56 tall grey brown hair with grey eyes. The world’s specialist in Parasomnia related disorders and the head of the Aux-Anges Institute. He hides a secret. *Spoiler spoiler spoiler* is his *Spoiler*

Michael

Maile. African-Canadian, 25 average height short dark brown hair and light brown eyes. He is a nurse at the hospital. He’s a lucid dreamer and all around nice guy. He’s the patient’s favorite nurse. Will possibly be upgraded to main character if one of them dies.

So who dies?

Thank you for your help,

Éric

Death is a Jerk

Death Bah!

I’m sure if there is a personification of Death, they are really sweet. It’s the consequences of their actions that are horrible. So he/she is a Jerk.

It’s a strange concept that haunts and terrifies me.

I remember when I first realized that someday I wouldn’t exist. I was in the car with my mother and had just clipped my seatbelt in for the hour ride to the nearest big town for groceries.

My whole world went black for a moment and I thought I might faint. I must have been seven or eight when I realized that someday I would end. Instead of doing the intelligent thing and talking to my mother about it, I internalized it and it freaked me out.

But Death only terrorizes the living. As far as I know, once you’re dead it’s not scary anymore. It’s those left behind that feel the pain and fear of death.

I’m older now and slightly wiser than my seven year old self, I hope, and I’ve come to realize that Death should be scary. It should paralyze people but it’s important to remind ourselves to appreciate what we have and those around us, while we still can.

Happy Birthday Mom

I lost my mother shortly after my twenty-fifth birthday. She’d been sick for several years, but it still took me by surprise. I had come to terms with my own mortality at seven but I never came to terms with hers.

Today is her birthday and I miss her.

She raised me and helped shape me into the man I am today. More than that she was also my best friend for a long time, I knew I could tell her anything.

It’s been over five years now and it still hurts the same, I think it always will.

Thank you and Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.

Death in Writing

I tend to shy away from killing my characters. I mean real death, not superhero death. It’s not that I’m afraid to, it that I’m afraid of not being able to give the death the emotional weight it deserves.

That last thing I want is to write a story or book, kill off a character, and be the only one who grieves.

The threat of death, and the history of death, drives most of my characters as I imagine it drives most of humanity.

Another reason I don’t often kill off my characters, especially in short stories, is that they’re going to die anyways. I’ll finish the story and their lives will end. It’s one of the reasons I hate writing short stories. I feel for the characters and then they are gone. It hurts in a ridiculous and silly way.

Question and challenge

Has there ever been a death in something you’ve watched, read, or listened too that hit you hard? Did it surprise you? Thinking about it now, was it important to the story?

I’m going to challenge myself to write a story where someone dies and see if I can make the Jerk come to life in words.