Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘writing life

Eric Flint dies at 75, and his wife Lucille needs help

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Folks, Eric Flint passed away yesterday due to a long illness. He was a brilliant writer, an interesting soul, and a kind-hearted man — the last needs to be pointed out at great length, as most people focus on the other two.

I only met Eric Flint and his wife Lucille once. It was in 2002, not long after I married Michael. At that point, Michael and I were both trying to figure out how to write together, as our writing styles were about as opposite as can be imagined.

Anyway, it was a Barfly gathering, in Chicago. Many others were there. Some knew we’d just gotten married. (I don’t know if Eric did, but at least a few of ’em did.) We weren’t saying much (observers R us, or at least we both were), but were taking in as much information as we could.

I somehow got enough energy and gumption to ask Eric how he wrote so well with disparate people. (At that time, he’d worked with David Weber, Dave Freer, Mercedes Lackey, K.D. Wentworth, and I think he was in the process of working with Ryk Spoor. This was not long after his landmark novel 1632 was published.) I told him that my writing process was far different from my husband’s, yet we wanted to write together. How could we do that?

I figured Eric had the answer, and he did.

Eric said that the way to collaborate with someone is to play to their strengths. If someone writes fast — such as Dave Freer — work with that and add what you can. If someone needs more time and thought — as did Michael — let him add what he could. Otherwise, try not to step on each other’s toes, and remember to have fun…I’m pretty sure he said all that, and if not, he probably meant to say all that (so I’ll attribute it to him anyway).

This made a huge difference to us. We knew we could do it, you see, but we needed the right words from an expert to let us know it was OK to fail. (This may seem counterproductive, but bear with me.) If one of us could write faster than the other (believe it or not, that person was me), the other could take his time and add what he wanted. If the other needed to write things in longhand before transcribing them to the computer, that was fine…if he wanted my help, I could slow down just a little, and help him out.

This was very, very important to know. And it grew more important after Michael died, because I now was looking at a bunch of stories that Michael left in progress, wondering how I could possibly finish them and do justice by them. (I’m still working on that part.)

Anyway, I mention all of this because Lucille, Eric’s wife, needs help now. Eric was ill the last year or so, and while he plateaued out for a while, he wasn’t able to do much writing. (He did encourage people right up until the end, though. That counts more than anyone can possibly know.) Without being able to write, the income stream narrows…without being able to write, the writer is in danger of people forgetting all about them (though I find it hard to believe anyone could forget about Eric Flint, maybe he worried about that as he was human and it’s a justifiable worry). And without being able to write, the writer gets frustrated, stymied, wondering what in the Hell has gone wrong — just because health has intruded, why does that mean we can’t write?

(That’s how I see it, anyway. I can’t ask Eric anymore to know if that’s how he did.)

At any rate, Eric Flint was a very generous soul who cared about others and nurtured many fine writers along the way. He also was a very good husband to Lucille, and as I understand how it feels to be suddenly widowed and in need of help, I wanted to make damned sure I passed along this link so you could go help her out.

This is the link: https://gofund.me/6b66d7f6

If you can’t donate now, share the link as far and wide as you can.

And please, please, stand with the widows and widowers in your life, most especially right after they’ve been widowed. They need much care and love and concern, most particularly because they are unable to care or love or take any concern about themselves due to their bereavement.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 18, 2022 at 4:13 pm