Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for the ‘Prescient observations’ Category

Milwaukee Brewers Fire Two Coaches…But Not Manager Ron Roenicke

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The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Which is why I find the Milwaukee Brewers’ refusal to fire manager Ron Roenicke after the Brewers’ historic collapse in September 2014 so troubling.

This past Friday, in a press release, Milwaukee fired two coaches: first base coach Garth Iorg and hitting coach Johnny Narron. Hitting was a major concern for the Brewers down the stretch, so firing Johnny Narron wasn’t at all surprising. But firing Iorg made very little sense, as Iorg wasn’t to blame for Milwaukee’s players’ brain freezes on the basepaths or Mark Reynolds’ failure to remember how many outs there were in an inning or Carlos Gomez’s inability to lay off bad pitches or even Ryan Braun’s thumb injury.

While Roenicke wasn’t directly to blame for any of those things, either, someone has to be held accountable.

I mean, really. The Brewers were in first place for 150 days of the season. Then they went 9-22 over the last 31 games to miss the playoffs and finish 82-80.

And the person who usually is held accountable is — wait for it — the manager. Not the piddly first base coach.

Of course, if the Brewers had fired Roenicke, it’s very possible that every single one of the coaches on Roenicke’s staff would be looking for work right now rather than only two of them getting their pink slips. But it still looks very strange that Roenicke stayed while Johnny Narron and Iorg had to go . . . especially when you consider that Johnny’s brother Jerry Narron is still employed by the Brewers as their bench coach. (What sense is there in firing one brother but keeping the other?)

Overall, I am extremely disappointed that the Brewers retained Roenicke. But I am even more disappointed that the Brewers didn’t even have the guts to call a press conference; instead, they sent out a milquetoast press release on a Friday afternoon in the hopes that no one would be paying attention to the fact that Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio has thus far refused to hold anyone significant accountable for the Brewers’ historic collapse.

My view is simple: Roenicke should’ve been fired, and someone else — perhaps former Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux — should’ve been hired instead.

But that’s not what the Brewers did. Obviously, Milwaukee hopes that fans will forgive and forget the Brewers’ historic collapse. But my gut feeling is this:

No. We won’t.

Please Help Me Fix My Non-Working 2010 Hyundai Accent

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Folks, I’m beyond frustrated. I had to set up a GoFundMe page to help me fix my car…and I didn’t want to do this.

Here’s what happened:

Over the past 41 days, I’ve tried to get Hyundai USA interested in fixing my non-running 2010 Hyundai Accent Blue. I bought it in November of 2011 at 37,000 miles; it conked out due to the transmission’s casing having cracked at 67,000 miles on September 1, 2014 — three days before I was scheduled to go in for surgery.

So I had the use of my car for less than three years before the transmission’s casing cracked. I’ve never had a car do this before. Not at any amount of miles.

Mind, I have had transmissions go out before. But not like this, and certainly not this early.

I realize that cars, like anything else, are on a continuum. Some cars do very well and last for over 300,000 miles; you tend to see those on Toyota commercials, or maybe for a Ford or Chevrolet truck. Most tend to last anywhere between 100,000 miles and 200,000 miles.

And then there are cars like mine, that have something odd happen when they’re seven thousand miles out of warranty.

As I’ve said before, I tried to get this addressed at the 52,000 mile mark. The old Hyundai dealership in Racine, Frank Gentile Hyundai, has since gone out of business and took all its records with it. My attempt to get the car looked at back then didn’t get put into the computer, so Hyundai USA has no record of it — and I wasn’t given anything at the time to prove I went there.

An aside: Forewarned is forearmed. Get documentation when you do something like this, even if it’s fifteen degrees outside with a howling wind and it’s near to closing time. Don’t assume they will do the right thing. And do not take no for an answer; I did, and I’m paying for it now.

All I have is my bare word. Plus the fact that I did try to get a hinge fixed on my car’s fuel door, and was denied that at Gentile — that is in the computer.

Why didn’t Gentile want to do anything? Well, they didn’t like Autowerks (the place I bought my 2010 Hyundai Accent from). They didn’t like Autowerks at all. And because I had bought my car from Autowerks, they just didn’t care about fixing it even though all warranty work is 100% covered by Hyundai USA.

The new Racine Hyundai has tried to help me. They sent a car for me yesterday so I could fill out forms to try to get financing (I was denied; I’m a writer and editor and my income stream isn’t very high yet, nor is it like a forty-hour-a-week job). I talked with the service manager, Raffaele, and believe he’s an honest man who knows I didn’t cause this repair and did try to address it properly.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean much to Hyundai USA. That’s why I have to fully fund this repair on my own. And as it’s extremely expensive, I’ve had to set up a GoFundMe page.

I am a private person, and I don’t like going into all my personal business in this particular way. (Sharing some of it on a blog is one thing; admitting I don’t have the money to fix my car is another.) I feel like I’ve failed because I can’t handle my business, and I feel like I’ve failed even more because I truly believe Hyundai USA should pay for my repair — that they aren’t is unjust, unfair, and immoral.

I say this in regards to the Hyundai USA corporate enterprises, mind. I have no problems with the local Racine Hyundai dealership. I believe if they had been in business back when my car first started having problems at 52,000 miles, I would’ve been able to get this repaired in warranty and I wouldn’t have had to go through all this.

Yes, Hyundai USA should pay for this. They should realize that alienating a customer like this is a bad move from a customer service perspective, and look into whether or not I’m telling the truth about Gentile having a terrible relationship with Autowerks. (That shouldn’t be hard, by the way.)

But they won’t.

And since they won’t, I somehow must raise the funds to get my car back. I need it for three reasons:

  1. It will improve my quality of life. (Not being able to get to doctor appointments is quite stressful.)
  2. It will improve my mother’s quality of life. (See #1, as she needs to get to doctor appointments, too.)
  3. And it will ease the stress I’ve lived with since my car died three days before I had surgery, which should help my health a little.

That’s why I set up the GoFundMe page. Even though I’d rather have done anything else.

Thoughts After Hearing Adam Levine, Maroon 5 Sing “Animals” on SNL

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Folks, for the past hour or so, I’ve been struggling with how I feel after hearing Adam Levine and his band, Maroon 5, sing their controversial song “Animals” while doing a guest musical performance on Saturday Night Live. As a woman, I suppose I should be appalled, as the video for “Animals” seems to glorify stalking — and excessively violent and bloody stalking at that. (In case you haven’t read anything at all about this controversy, please see this link from the LA Times as it’ll give you a heads-up.)

But when I listened to “Animals” as a song, I heard an entirely different narrative. One that deals with an obsessive love affair that’s run its course, where the couple in question has a tremendous amount of sexual chemistry and not much else, yet the male partner cannot let go quite yet and the female partner, for whatever reason, is allowing him to stick around so they can keep having great sex. Then she apparently kicks him out and pretends it didn’t happen afterward, only to repeat until she finally gets the stomach to tell him, “No more, buster.”

Or until he has the strength to tell himself that he deserves better than a woman who’s keeping him around just for sex.

So all the lyrics about “preying on you tonight” and “(I’ll) eat you alive, just like animals, animals, oh oh” take on an entirely different tone in that context. It actually sounded to me like the guy was trying to justify having kinky animal sex with this woman who otherwise despises him, and as such, that’s just sad. (And hardly objectionable.)

However, the narrative framing shifted once the video for “Animals” was released, and the shift isn’t pretty at all. The video (which I refuse to link to) stars Adam Levine and his wife, model Bahati Prinsloo; Levine is a psychotic madman who can’t leave his ex-girlfriend alone. And when his ex lets him inside her apartment, the blood flows along with the sex. Sex is explicitly linked with death, and the obsessive ex-boyfriend of the song becomes a murderous stalker instead.

I’m not entirely sure why Levine and Maroon 5 chose to go in this direction for their video, mind you. But I’m guessing that it’s all about the free publicity. A controversial video gets noticed, so it usually gets downloaded more. That means, obviously, the music’s heard more, too. Maybe the hope was that after seeing this video, some people who’d never heard of Maroon 5 before — or hadn’t heard a Maroon 5 song in years — will go buy the new song (or better yet, their whole CD). Which will make Maroon 5 money in the short run, and possibly prolong their careers in the long run.

But all this controversy has actually worked to obscure Maroon 5’s music, much less Levine’s singing. And that’s a shame, because Maroon 5’s music is worth more than a few listens — and Levine’s live performance on “Saturday Night Live” showcased his impressive range and his pitch-perfect vocal control.

Maybe it’s all about the narrative framing as to whether the song “Animals” is actually offensive or not. Or maybe it’s in the ears of the beholder.

But the video of “Animals” will give most women nightmares, especially if they’ve ever had any run-ins with domestic violence in the past.

It’s a free country, and Maroon 5’s marketing people obviously have earned their money this year. But I’d rather have encountered the song “Animals” another way, so my own view of what the narrative is could more easily take hold over the extremely graphic, violent video.

Odds and Ends, October 2014 Edition

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Today’s post is mostly one of odds and ends, with a bunch of minor updates and some other stuff that may be of interest only to me . . . so let’s get to it!

First, Dora Machado (author of the epic fantasy romance The Curse Giver) has now posted her blog post for the Sisters in Crime Blog Hop, and it’s available here. So please do go to her blog to see her answers for three questions, as they’re quite enlightening.

Second, in my blog post for the Sisters in Crime Blog Hop, I inadvertently left off another male writer who writes female characters extremely well. That author is Jeffrey Getzin, and my favorite novella of his is Shara and the Haunted Village. But his work in A Lesson for the Cyclops and the full-length, action-filled novel Prince of Bryanae (starring the very female Willow the Elf, no one’s plaything) is tremendous, and his newest novel, King of Bryanae, also stars Willow (read an excerpt from Jeff’s latest novel here).

Third, congratulations to the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals, winners of the National League and American League Wild Card games, respectively. Best of luck to them throughout the playoffs!

(Before I forget, my end-of-the-season wrap-up post regarding my favorite baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers, will be up on Sunday.)

Fourth, I’ve been writing and editing a great deal this week, as much as I can considering my ongoing surgical recovery. (It supposedly takes six weeks to be back to normal. We’ll see.) And I sent another story to the Writers of the Future Contest; may it do well!

Fifth, my car is at the local Hyundai dealership and the diagnosis of transmission failure due to a cracked transmission casing has been confirmed. Now it’s up to Hyundai as to whether or not they will cover the cost of the repair, considering the fact that I did try hard to get it taken care of when it was still under warranty (it’s just that the previous dealership didn’t want to be bothered, that’s all).

Let us hope I will get my car back, fully repaired, and soon!

Sixth and last, I hope to get a review up over at Shiny Book Review this weekend. It still may not be Michael Z. Williamson’s FREEHOLD, as I have a lot to say about that book and want to make sure everything is set in my head before I begin. (Mind, I would be astonished if any fans of “Mad Mike” or his novel will be upset by what I have to say. But I want to make sure I am well enough to make sense when I say it.)

So that’s about it. (Any questions?)

Right Under the Wire, Barb Does the #SinCBlogHop!

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Folks, lately I’ve been getting tagged — informally or otherwise — by a number of wonderful writers in the hopes that people who otherwise have never heard of me, or my writing, might be interested enough to take a gander at my comic YA urban fantasy/mystery/romance novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE.

In this case, I was informally tagged by author Dora Machado, author of THE CURSE GIVER (a great fantasy/mystery in its own right). She told me about the Sisters in Crime Blog Hop (which is abbreviated as it’s shown above: #SinCBlogHop, presumably for Twitter purposes), and that she planned to do it if she could find the time . . . but that whether she did it or not, she felt I definitely should.

After our discussion, I went to the Sisters in Crime page that explains the blog hop, and decided for extra grins and giggles that I’d answer all of the questions — not just some.

So ready or not, here we go!

Question One: Which authors have inspired you?

Oh, that’s easy. The ones who have actively helped and inspired my work include Michael B. Caffrey, my late husband, my mentors Rosemary Edghill, Stephanie Osborn, and Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, and friend and writing buddy Jason Cordova.

Or do you mean the writers I loved to read when I was growing up, who inspired me to tell my own stories? Those include Andre Norton, Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Elizabeth Moon, and Lois McMaster Bujold.

Those are just some of the many wonderful writers who’ve inspired me in one form or another along the way.

Question Two: Which male authors write great female characters? Which female authors write great male characters?

The female author question is easier for me to answer, because it contains most of the same people I listed above: Andre Norton. Lois McMaster Bujold. Rosemary Edghill. Katharine Eliska Kimbriel. Stephanie Osborn. And Elizabeth Moon. All of them have written outstanding male characters as well as wonderful female characters.

Male authors writing female characters. Hm. Well, in military science fiction, the biggest example of that is David Weber, who has sold a boatload of books in his Honor Harrington series. (So he must be doing something right.)

However, another of my writer-friends, Christopher Nuttall, is also very, very good at writing female characters. His fantasy novels, in particular, are centered around strong, talented young women with heart and spirit, and are a joy to read. (Check out SCHOOLED IN MAGIC or BOOKWORM if you don’t believe me.)

Finally, Michael Z. Williamson has written a number of novels from a female perspective, and he gets the issues right. (For example, in FREEHOLD, his female character Kendra must find a brassiere with excellent support once she goes to the Freehold of Grainne, as Grainne has higher gravity than Earth and thus poses more of a challenge for a busty woman. Not every male author would think about that, much less understand what the problem was; kudos to “Mad Mike” for getting it right.)

Question Three: If someone said “Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men,” how would you respond?

Oh, boy.

First, I’d bite back an expletive of some sort. (I’m sure of this.)

Then I’d say, “Wow. You’re really missing out on a lot, then.” And I’d point to Rosemary Edghill’s work (again), this time to her three novels included in the BELL, BOOK, AND MURDER omnibus. Or maybe to her short-story collection FAILURE OF MOONLIGHT.

Or perhaps I’d ask this person if he’s read any of Sarah A. Hoyt’s work, as I’m definitely a SF&F genre writer. Most of her stories have some elements of mystery in there, and there’s a ton of action — guys who love shoot ‘em up thrill-rides should be ecstatic with A FEW GOOD MEN or DARKSHIP THIEVES.

I mean, seriously. There are so many wonderful writers, why must anyone stay with only male authors? Must gender always win out? Can’t we see words for what they are, irrespective of the author’s gender?

Question Four: What’s the best part of the writing process for you? What’s the most challenging?

The best part of the writing process is actually writing. When I have a story and am fully involved in it, the world is a better place — or at least it seems that way while I’m writing.

The most challenging part is coming up with ways to market my writing after the book is done and out. (No, this isn’t part of the writing process, and it’s just as well it’s not. But it’s still so very difficult that I felt I’d mention it anyway. I can see why big-name authors hire publicists.)

Question Five: Do you listen to music while writing? What’s on your playlist?

Yes, I listen to music while writing. It helps me attain “alpha state,” or whatever/wherever it is that I go when I’m writing.

What’s on my playlist? Usually a little Alice in Chains, a little Nirvana, a little Soundgarden . . . and a whole lot of Stabbing Westward. (What can I say? I like 1990s rock. A lot.)

Question Six: What books are on your nightstand right now?

(Note that this doesn’t count all the half-finished e-books on the figurative pile, or we’d be here all night.)

Question Seven: If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?

I’d tell her that publishing is a very difficult and frustrating business, but not to give up. She needs to believe in herself and what she’s doing, and keep doing it as long as it takes . . . push until it gives, and then some.

Because the name of the game in publishing — and in life itself — is persistence. So do not give up.

Don’t ever give up.

This concludes my first-ever Sisters in Crime Blog Hop! And I do hope you enjoyed it! (Normally, I’d tag someone else — as that’s what a blog hop is all about — but as it’s the 30th already, please go check out some of the work of the fine authors I’ve mentioned above instead!)

 

In Racine Without a Car, 28 Days and Counting…

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Folks, some of you are aware that I had surgery a little over three weeks ago. I kept that to myself until the surgery was over, as I didn’t want to worry anyone — besides, as an independent contractor, I couldn’t afford to drive away any potential writing and/or editing jobs.

And some of you are also aware that I have been without a car now for 28 days. My 2010 Hyundai Accent stopped running on September 1, 2014; the cause appears to be a transmission casing which cracked somehow, damage I could not have possibly caused on my own.

These two things have made for a goodly amount of frustration. Walking everywhere in Racine, Wisconsin, is not easy; yes, we have a bus service, but it only runs every half-hour to an hour at best, and is far from the excellent public transit many cities have — including my late husband Michael’s hometown of San Francisco, California.

So when I’ve needed to go somewhere, I’ve had three choices:

  • Walk,
  • Call for a ride,
  • Or do without.

Now, why haven’t I been trying to use the bus system? It’s mostly because I’ve been extremely tired due to my ongoing surgical recovery. The energy I have must be put into whatever work I can do, as again I’m an independent contractor (so if I don’t work, I don’t make any money; if I don’t make any money, I’m in big trouble).

But it’s also partly because I’ve been fighting with Hyundai over who should pay for my car repair. A cracked transmission casing repair costs $2400. I don’t have it. And I’ve been reluctant to set up a Go Fund Me page for a number of reasons . . . partly because I truly felt Hyundai would do the right thing here.

As it stands, though, I haven’t a clue if they will do the right thing or not. It’s now been 28 days since my car’s transmission casing cracked. It’s been over two weeks since Hyundai itself was alerted. And it’s been about a week since the local Hyundai dealership was alerted — they recently changed hands, and they’re the most likely ones to do a repair if any is to be done.

For those of you asking, “What about the warranty, Barb,” here’s the answer to that: I’m about seven thousand miles over the expiration of my car’s warranty. I bought it used at just over 37,000 miles, and am thus not the original owner. So a six-year, 60,000 mile warranty was all I had.

Of course, if I had been the original owner, this would’ve been repaired and replaced weeks ago. Because Hyundai gives a 100,000 mile warranty on the power train, of which the transmission is a part.

But I bought it in November of 2011 (a few, short days before my best friend Jeff passed away) from a reputable used car dealership in Racine County, Autowerks in Sturtevant (next to the Educator’s Credit Union on Highway 20).

I knew something was wrong at the 52,000 mile mark, mind you. And I called Autowerks at that time. But nothing was done because my own garage, Wild Rides (not a Hyundai place, but I trust them), could not find out what was going on. The problem was intermittent, you see, and the car was still running . . . and no one wants to tear apart a transmission that’s still working.

I also drove into the former Frank Gentile Hyundai dealership at the 52,000 mile mark, but wasn’t given any help. All that happened there was that a young male mechanic drove my car (without paperwork being given to me; a grave oversight, and I should’ve demanded it), didn’t find a problem, and sent me on my way again with a messed-up car.

Mind, one of the reasons nothing was ever done was that Autowerks and Gentile Hyundai had a strained relationship at best. Most attribute that to how Gentile acted — and all I know is how I, personally, was treated. (So I’d tend to believe it was Gentile’s fault.)

Anyway, even though I knew something was wrong, I had no idea the transmission’s casing would crack so it won’t hold fluid in it. And without fluid, the car won’t drive anywhere.

My contention is that this car should’ve been repaired at 52,000 miles by the former Hyundai dealership. But they blew me off, my car died, and I believe it should be covered under warranty because I did my best to do the right thing before the warranty expired.

So here I am. It’s been 28 days since my car last worked. I’ve paid auto insurance the entire month, because I’d hoped the car would be repaired by now — but between my surgical recovery and some unfortunate miscommunication, Racine Hyundai (the new dealership) only got my car to do their assessment (required before they’ll help me, or not) this past Friday.

I remain in limbo.

This wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t recovering from surgery. Or if my Mom’s health were a whole lot better . . . but I am recovering from surgery, and my Mom’s health decidedly isn’t good. Which adds to the stress of not having a car and multiplies it at least a hundredfold.

Tomorrow I’m going to see if I can take care of some pressing business by bus. I shouldn’t be doing it so soon after surgery, especially considering the lengthy wait between bus routes and transferring and my complete unfamiliarity with Racine’s current public transportation, because it will exhaust me.

But I have no choice. Bills have to be paid. My Mom can’t do much. So I have to do it, whether I’m ready or not, and hope my body will stand the strain.

So why have I written all this? Frankly, I’d like some advice. I’m not at all sure this problem is enough for people to respond favorably to a potential Go Fund Me page. Because it’s not life and death — I admit that freely. But it is incredibly annoying and inconvenient, has definitely hurt my health and quality of life, and more to the point is something that should not be happening, as my 2010 Hyundai Accent Blue shouldn’t have given up the ghost this soon, nor in this way.

What would you all do in this situation, other than continue to go after Hyundai and hope they’ll do the right thing?

—————

Note: I’ve had many cars in my lifetime. This is the first time a transmission’s casing has ever done this.

I know I didn’t cause this. And I believe firmly that Hyundai should pay for it. But I can’t guarantee what they’ll do — but I will keep you posted.

All I know is, if they don’t help me, I think people should never buy a Hyundai. Ever. Because they don’t service what they sell.

Jim Valvano and Michael B. Caffrey: Transformational Lives

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On this, the tenth anniversary of my husband Michael B. Caffrey’s passing, I want to discuss something interesting I’ve recently watched. Something I hadn’t expected to have parallels with my husband’s life . . . but actually did.

This, oddly enough, was the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Survive and Advance, about the 1983 NCAA Champion North Carolina State Wolfpack and their charismatic coach, Jim Valvano.

For those who don’t know much about sports, you may not know much about Jim Valvano. He died in 1993 after a yearlong battle with bone cancer at the age of 47. But even though he’s been dead now for 21 years, Valvano’s shadow continues to linger — in a good way.

Valvano was a coach who believed very strongly in his players, in his team, and in dreams. (Yes, I said dreams.) He believed if you couldn’t dream something and believe it would happen, you couldn’t achieve it. And he actually had his team rehearse things like cutting down the basketball net (something done after winning a very important game, like a national championship), because he wanted them to know deep down to the bottom of their souls that they could do anything.

Valvano — affectionately known by his players as “Coach V” — lived a transformational life.

But what goes into making a transformational life, anyway? Was it the charisma, which is still evident in this speech (at the 1993 ESPY Awards, when Valvano was eight short weeks from death)? Was it the sheer tenacity of the man, who gave as his personal philosophy this phrase — “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” — as part of that same speech? Was it because Valvano was one of the best basketball coaches the East Coast ever produced?

It was all of that, but it was also something more. Jim Valvano made people believe they could do it. He was a positive, inspirational force of nature, with the outsized personality of a stand-up comedian but a heart as big as the Atlantic Ocean. And he made people believe in themselves — not just his 1983 Wolfpack team, but the many people who heard his motivational speeches, read his autobiography, and heard his final major speech at the ’93 ESPYs.

Having a talent like that is incredibly rare.

I’ve only known one person who had it in my entire life: my late husband, Michael. Though Michael was not an outsized personality — certainly not like Valvano, at any rate — he had a presence that was beyond anything I’ve ever known.  A certainty, a positivity, and a belief that I could do anything I wanted no matter the obstacle. No matter how many times I might stumble. No matter how many times I might actually fall.

He believed I could do it. More than that: he believed I would do it.

Watching Survive and Advance was both inspirational and heartbreaking for two reasons. One, Valvano died at age 47; Michael died at 46. And two, there were so many things in there that “Coach V” said that reminded me of my husband . . . it’s hard to explain, because Michael’s manner was nothing like Jim Valvano at all.

But the message — the powerful, motivational message — was exactly the same.

The words that rang truest of all were these, again from Valvano’s ’93 ESPY speech:

“”Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”

My husband did not have cancer. He instead died of several heart attacks in one day, without warning, to the point his ventricle failed him. But he once told me that no matter what happened to him — as he believed his own health wasn’t all that wonderful — he believed his heart, his mind, and his soul would endure. And he’d never stop loving me. He’d never stop caring about me. And he’d never, ever stop believing in me.

He told me that about a year before he died, when I was about to go in for a needed surgery that I was fearful of, and I have never forgotten it.

I know that Jimmy V’s life was lived in the public eye. Michael’s certainly wasn’t. Michael’s life didn’t touch nearly as many people — how could it?

But Michael is remembered by many. He helped many writers, including the late Ric Locke, with his editing. He helped many people believe they could indeed do exactly what they put their mind to doing . . . and that’s what makes a transformational life.

You come into contact with someone like that, and your whole life changes. It gets better, because you can do more. Even through the mourning, you can still do more. And you get up every day and you try your level best, because you want to be worthy of that belief.

My husband would be astonished that I’d mention him in this particular context, especially as he was also a sports fan. He’d probably see absolutely no parallels between himself and the famous “Coach V.”

But he’d be wrong.

It’s because Michael lived, and was with me, that I continue to do what I do. His loss was so painful that I continue to struggle with it, ten years later . . . but it’s because I knew him, was married to him, and got to see how he overcame his own obstacles that I have refused to give up.

If that’s not the epitome of what a transformational life is all about, I don’t know what is.

————

Note: If you want to read Michael’s writing — and I hope at least some of you do — please take a look at the two stories I’ve been able to put up as independent e-books over at Amazon: “A Dark and Stormy Night” and “Joey Maverick: On Westmount Station.” These are both stories of military science fiction, though the first is while Ensign Joey Maverick is on leave and participating in a “low-tech” sailing regatta (meaning approximately 20th Century tech) and the second is when newly-minted Lieutenant Maverick is about to ship out for the first time. In essence, the first story is a search-and-rescue story with some romance, and the second story is that of a young officer stopping an unexpected saboteur at a very early hour in a completely unexpected place.

A third story has been started (a bridge story, written by me with some details from Michael’s notes), and I’ve also written two stories in Michael’s universe from a different perspective entirely that are currently making the rounds (if all rounds end up exhausted, they, too, will end up as e-books).

So at least some of Michael’s words continue to live, which is what I vowed when Michael died suddenly. And if I have anything to say about it — if I get enough time on this Earth — all of them will.

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