A Poem For Katie (puns included)

Hey everyone. I write a lot on here about my late fiance, Valerie. As some of you know, she passed away 3 years ago last month. I’m not going to talk about that today. I’m going to talk about Katie.

For the past 9 months, I’ve been dating a wonderful woman that I love very much. I never thought that I would fall in love again, but holy crap, I did.

I’m not much of a poet, but I took a shot at writing a poem for her for Valentine’s Day (spoiler: she liked it).

To break up the melodramatic crap, I’m adding dogs telling terrible jokes. Enjoy.

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Happy Birthday Valerie

Tomorrow would’ve been Val’s 38th birthday. It’s still her birthday, even though she’s not around to celebrate it anymore.

It’s been a while since I talked about her. It’s still hard.

Valerie was my girlfriend, serious enough that we both knew marriage was our future. She died suddenly on Jan 24th 2013, due to complications from medicine. I was the one that found her. I was planning to propose that night.

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A Window in Your Heart

Losing love is like a window in your heart. Everybody sees you’re blown apart. Everybody sees the wind blow –Paul Simon–Graceland

I don’t have a very good excuse for not updating my blog. I guess I haven’t felt like it, I’ve been focused elsewhere.

I don’t usually get personal here either. I try to stay upbeat and post about geek-centric stuff. But I’m feeling personal today.

About a week and a half ago, I broke up with my girlfriend. Why? I couldn’t tell you. I know the reasons, but they’re far too complex to spill out over a blog, and I don’t want to reveal anything that might infringe on her privacy. The only thing I can really say is that we have many differences, and in the end, they were irreconcilable.

I’m 38 and single. Though Val and I were never married, I consider myself a widower. I’m a writer and tutor, which is like saying “if you date me, you’ll be paying for dinner.” I have some serious medical issues. I’m not exactly a catch.

At my age, it’s very hard to break off a relationship. There’s a very real, terrifying feeling that I will end up alone. The dating pool’s pretty shallow at my age.

But I don’t want to sulk. I don’t know what I want to do, actually. For now, I’m going to focus on writing and editing. While The Watchmage of Old New York is at the editor’s, I’m writing a series of short stories for a new (secret) project. Actually two, maybe three projects (I have no idea what’s going on)


I’m not happy with the way the stories are coming out, and I wonder if it’s even worth the effort. Maybe I’m just in a slump.

Maybe the breakup is messing me up inside, and I can’t find my groove. I don’t know. I think I’m just having one of those stretches where I doubt my abilities. I’m hard on myself, and for a reason, but I also have to realize that not everything I write is going to be better than everything before. I wish it was true, but I can’t level up on every quest.

I’m hoping I get my groove back soon. It’s a magical place…like TAHITI.

What? You thought Doge wasn’t gonna show up in this post?

The Past Comes Back

I don’t write many personal posts anymore, but something happened this week that shook me so bad, I’m still in “Crisis Mode.”

For a little over two months now, I’ve been dating someone. Things have been great, and I’ve final found someone that I have a connection with. It’s the first person that I’ve felt this way about since Valerie died.

Most of you don’t know: My girlfriend Valerie Z. Lewis passed away very suddenly on January 24th, 2013. In two weeks, it’ll be two years. She had recently moved to Binghamton, NY, to get her PhD in Writing (she was an incredible writer. You can find her novels and collected short stories on Amazon. The revenue goes to Mercy College’s Valerie Z. Lewis Award for Excellence in Creative Writing), and I was soon to follow.

I went to visit her, and I found her on the floor. Two days later, she was dead. I died with her.

I’ve dated since then, but this is the first time that I’ve found someone. It took me two years to get over the fear of opening up to someone, only to see them die.

So when my current gf started shaking and seizing in my apt, when she couldn’t breathe and her left side fell limp, it was my worst nightmare coming true. I moved with alacrity I didn’t know I had, calling 911 with one hand while keeping her shaking body from injuring herself with the other. I wrapped her in one of my giant hoodies and held her, begging her to hold on, trying to keep her coherent with reassurance.

On the inside I was dying all over again.

They still don’t know what’s wrong. She’s slept most of this week, and still twitches. I’m terrified to leave her alone. If I wasn’t there, I don’t know if she would’ve lived.

Maybe I’m cursed. Dating me is poison. I’m already broken, and losing another will destroy me. I’m not strong enough anymore, if I ever was.

What I learned From My Mother

Two years ago today, my mother suffered a massive blood clot to her brain and passed away. She and my father were on vacation in Palm Springs. It was very sudden, and although she wasn’t in the best of health, it was unexpected. From what I can tell, she was having a great time on vacation, and didn’t suffer when it happened. I take some comfort in that. We should all be so lucky to go that way.

I got the news just hours before one of my best friend’s wedding. Needless to say, it was a very tumultuous day. It was the beautiful wedding and the love between my friend and his wife that kept me from falling apart that day.

But this is not a post about me. This is about my mom.

What I Learned From My Mom

My mom was a very giving person. She believed in helping others, and she would sacrifice her own desires to help someone in need. That is what I learned. I learned that the greatest virtue is giving of yourself. A good person helps their fellows, they build a family, an extended family, and a community.

I also learned that it’s near impossible to change the world alone. I learned that what you can change is your world. You can focus the scale down to just your circle, and change their lives. You can teach those people to improve the lives around them, and pass that on, and they pass the same on. That’s how you better the world. It’s not the grand gestures. It’s the small ones.

I do my best to follow her example. I don’t always succeed, but who knows the kind of impact I’ve had. I’d like to think that I’ve made my small patch of earth a little better. It’s a lesson well learned. I hope that more people learn it.

Be Like Mom. Pass It On

So if you ever wondered while I sometimes get all preachy and hippie-dippie here, now you know. I write about heroism often, because as a writer, I deal in heroes and villains. From my Mom, I learned that heroism isn’t strength of arm, it’s the willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

I try not to preach, but I honestly do think that people should try to focus less on the big picture, and more on the little one. Be a good example and you will make a difference. Do what you can, give what you can. Change your scale to change the world.

My mother was a good person, a good teacher, and a good role model. I hope that I do her justice. Rest in peace, I love you.

Valerie’s Anthology is now in paperback

Hey everyone. I just wanted to say that Valerie’s anthology is now in kindle and paperback.

Here are the links.

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Collected-Works-Valerie-Z-Lewis-ebook/dp/B00INCPK16/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398869004&sr=1-3

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Collected-Works-Valerie-Z/dp/1499148356/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398869004&sr=1-2

You know how I feel about her work. Remember that the profits are going to the Mercy College scholarship in her name.

Keep her work alive.

Happy Anniversary Valerie

Today is the anniversary of the day Valerie and I met. We went to a little Italian place in Ossining called Capri and to Starbucks afterwards. It was the best date that I ever had. We had been talking for a couple of months already through Okcupid, so I pretty much knew that I would like her. I did not expect to be blown away. By the end of the night, I was thoroughly enamored.

I decided not to visit her grave today, as the anniversary of her death is the 24th.

It’s a rare thing in life when you love someone so wholly, completely, and unconditionally. When I first started dating Val, I loved her and thought she was perfect. With time, I realized that she wasn’t perfect, that she was human, with flaws and quirks like the rest of us. She didn’t need a pedestal for me to put her on. I loved her even more for those quirks and flaws. I loved her for who she was, not who I might want her to be. I didn’t want her to be anything more than herself.

How often do people say “I love you, but”? I love you, but I wish you didn’t pick your nose. I love you, but I wish you’d find a better job. I love you, but I wish this or that. I didn’t “love her, but,” I “loved her, because.”

I miss her every day, and every day I will.

A New Interview

Hey there.
I haven’t been very active lately. November is a hard month for me. Once the sun disappears, I get depressed. I’ve always been that way.

In addition, Valerie’s birthday was the 17th. I visited her grave with her mom. It was hard, so very hard. I left some carnations on the grave, and her mom left a carvel ice cream cake. They were her favorite, and a birthday tradition.

I wanted to post something about Valerie earlier, but even writing this small amount makes me cry. I honestly don’t know if it will ever get easier.

But that’s why I’ve been absent from the blog.

I do have some good news. There’s a new review for Song of Simon and interview of me at All Things Book-Review. I know that those of you that follow my blog know quite a bit about my life. This is a little more insight. I hope that you enjoy it. I can’t tell if I give good interviews or not. I try not to use the standard platitudes that most people do, but balancing that without sounding like a douchebag is hard.

craig with bandana cropped

(Valentine’s Day is Killing Me) A Poem From Val

It has been 21 days since Valerie died. 23 days since that horrible evening when I found her. 22 days since the doctor told us that she had no brain activity. I count every day, every minute, every moment without her, as if my counting will somehow bring her back.

It won’t.

I wanted to share a poem that Val wrote for me early on in our relationship.  I think that it was about 4 or 5 months in.  She made a greeting card for me, and she taped little things, inside jokes or moments we shared together.  Little instances that only I would understand the significance of.

And then she wrote this poem:

The way that you treat me

Makes me want to give you more.

So I made a homemade greeting card,

Because I’m kind of poor.

Thank you for all the kisses,

All the hug invitations,

All the times you made me laugh,

And the long conversations.

Thank you for making me smile

Whereever we went.

Thank you for being the world’s best


All I ask of you

Is to tell me what you need,

So I can work hard to make you

As happy as you’ve made me.