And it has viciously kicked my ass most of this month.
Grief turned out to be kind of a reverse Trojan Horse: it detonated in might and power and inevitability like Shiva the Destroyer, but there were gifts (perhaps even a kind of rebirth) to be found in the rubble.
The most gut-wrenching part of the loss has started to subside and, to almost no one’s surprise, I will write more about it later.
In other writing news, my High-School English teacher and I reconnected this summer after losing touch for a few years. She was a tremendous educator and I was so blessed to have her in my confused young life as a High School Senior. She also knew Sandy, the friend I lost at the end of September, and it was a comfort to grieve with someone who had cared for that dear young woman, too.
After my teacher and I began corresponding again, I had sent her paperback copies of the entire “By the Hands of Men” series. Since she had read some of my earliest writing, way back in the last century, seemed fitting to send her the most recent stuff.
Yesterday, an email from Mrs. X—— arrived. It was long and thoughtful, as I would have expected from this erudite woman of both intellect and faith. She had clearly read through the series. She spoke glowingly of the research I’d done, the effort I’d clearly expended on writing those 450,000 words or so, even mentioned how I’d given her some things to think about (the Communist Party in Hollywood had apparently been unknown to her…which was what Stalin and his fellow murderers had intended). There was other praise, too, which modesty forbids me from sharing.
But I read the letter twice and I can’t tell if she actually…you know…enjoyed the books.
I think I just got a C-minus from my former English teacher.