Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Message from Freeman's Wife

From Kara Gardner, Freeman's wife:

A memorial fund has been set-up in Freeman’s name for his niece Chanel. It was Freeman’s desire that Chanel go to college and he always wanted to help her make that a reality. I have appreciated receiving flowers, but if you would like you may donate to the Freeman Gardner Memorial Fund in lieu of flowers. You may donate at any US Bank (there are none located in Oklahoma, but they are located in Texas, Arkansas and Washington). Checks should be made out to the Freeman Gardner Memorial Fund and the account number should be used as well (15355-888-5627).

Donations can be mailed to the following address:

US Bank
Attn: Linda
9310 Bridgeport Way SW
Tacoma , WA 98499-1569

Thanks again for all of your support.

NOTE: Additional information can be found at the ZZalphas website.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Not Ready to Play Nice

First of all, thanks to everyone that's dropped me emails and comments. I really appreciate it.

I'm not really sure if there is a "12 Steps of Grief" list or something like that, but I've moved past sadness and am currently rooted in the "I'm Mad as Hell" aka the "F-U George Bush" phase.

I know it's silly, but I find myself wondering: What if the Democrats were able to make that vote a year ago? What if Kerry had been elected instead of GW? What if Freeman had just been a little to the left or to the right when that bomb went off.

I feel like I'm looking to get into an argument. We've got some pretty conservative-minded folks at my office, and I'm almost praying that someone says something about the war. Or about Bush. Or...hell, they could probably start a conversation about toothpaste. I'd still try to find a way to get into an argument about how much Bush has fucked up the Iraq situation.

The Army finally released Freeman's name today. I read the press release, and was like WTF? That's it? That's all you have to say? Fortunately, one of the Seattle TV stations had more on their website (http://www.komotv.com/news/local/6694517.html). My brother also listed some memorial things about Freeman on our alumni fraternity site.

I started to send the link to Freeman's line brothers (for those of you not familiar with Black Greek-Letter Fraternity talk, that means his pledge class). I kept counting the email addresses, wondering who I was missing. There were eight of them on the line--who could I be forgetting?

Then I realized that the missing one was Freeman. I guess dead men don't need email addresses.

I'm sure I'll be more level-headed tomorrow. But for today, it feels a lot better to be angry.


Friday, March 23, 2007

A Death in the Family

Yesterday, I found out that a very good college friend - my fraternity brother - died in Iraq.

I held it together as I talked to one of my co-workers right after I found out. The co-worker mistakenly started off our conversation by calling me a "tree-hugging liberal." Usually I just laugh when he says things like that. Yesterday, I didn't laugh.

I held it together while I talked to numerous fraternity brothers about what had happened. Details are still sketchy. Most of us are still a little numb. I know I am.

I held it together...until I had to tell my wife. And that's when I lost it. I don't know if Crystal's ever seen me cry before yesterday.

Yesterday, Freeman Gardner, my fraternity brother, my friend, died in Iraq.

Today is a very bad day.

Tomorrow, I will go buy the first suit I've bought in 8 years. It will be black.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Name Association

While having lunch with my supervisor last week, I realized that his daughter is nicknamed Maddie, which just so happens to be the name of the main female character in my WIP. My supervisor's Maddie is a nice, sweet, innocent girl. My Maddie, for lack of a better word, is un-innocent.

I hope he doesn't remember this when the time for performance reviews comes around.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mr. V Gets Schooled

So not only did I turn 30 yesterday, and not only did I submit my "almost" final manuscript of My Life As A Rhombus (only three comments from AK in this round), and not only did I get my brand new Brother HL-5250 printer (it duplexes), but I also got a call from Sharon Darrow, the Faculty Chair of the Vermont College MFA Program for Writing for Children and Young Adults.

It looks like Mr. V is going back to school.

I know what a lot of you are wondering—why in the world are you interested in getting an MFA? You’re already a published author.

Yes, I am a published author. But just because I’m published doesn't meant there isn't more I could learn about the writing craft. There are a number of things I want to do—things that I can do better with an MFA. I want to become a more critical writer and reader. I want to take my craft to the "next level." I want to learn more about PBs and MGs and non-fiction writing. I want to teach (someday).

I’m not saying that getting an MFA is the right thing for everyone to do, but I think it's the right thing for me. So for anyone else lucky enough to be enrolled or accepted in the program, I’ll see you in Vermont in July.

One more thing—I need to thank the following people for all of the advice and well-wishes: Cynthia Leitich Smith (who has her own good news to share), Carrie Jones, Brian Yansky, Brian Farrey, Sara Crowe and Andrew Karre.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Two good blog posts

1) There's a great interview on the Flux Blog with Jennifer Laughran, a buyer for Books, Inc in San Francisco.

2) My brother and his wife just had daughter #2. She's very pink. He wrote a hilarious post on his blog about childbirth, Enya, and 24.


Goodbye, Old Friend

Just as Florida lost James and Kirk lost Spock, I have lost one of my closest friends.

After 5 good years, my printer has died.

After a laptop/computer, I think a printer is one of the most important technology-based tools that a writer needs. As most authors can attest, words looks vastly different on paper as opposed to on the screen. Things that I'm blind to (like overuse of words) are much easier to catch while looking at a hardcopy of a manuscript.
Anyway, my printer (a Brother 1440) was a workhorse for years. She printed all of the invitations, programs, and reply cards for my wedding (all on cardstock). She printed my sister's wedding invitations. And she carried me through two full manuscripts. By my estimation, she printed out over 60,000 sheets of paper, not including all of the cardstock and stuff associated with miscellaneous projects. Actually, the last thing she printed out was my final edited copy of My Life As A Rhombus.
Good-bye, my friend. Live long and prosper.