A Beautiful Day, A Hard Day

Today Mercy College’s English Department has its induction ceremony for the English Honors Society, also known as Sigma Tau Delta. Part of the ceremony is an award called The Valerie Z Lewis Award for Excellence in Creative Writing. I will be there to witness this, as I am and will every year.

Valerie was my girlfriend. She passed away very suddenly and tragically in January of 2013. Even after 3 years, the wound is fresh. I doubt that it will ever truly heal. Val was a fantastic writer, published in many literary journals, and a lecturer at Mercy. After her death, I compiled her published works into an anthology, where the proceeds go toward this award. Mercy is also considering setting up a lit magazine with some of the money. I know that Val would love that. She would be humbled, maybe even embarrassed, at the award, but she was always dedicated to her students. Giving them a chance to see their names in print, that’s something she would be proud of.

Valerie on fire escape from below

I have so much gratitude that they set up this award in her name. All people die, but something like this gives a slice of immortality. To be mortal, yet live forever. Can anyone hope for more?

I’ll be there, and I might cry. I’m always on the verge there. But I feel no shame. It hurts, it will always hurt.

Sometimes hurt is beautiful.

doge in space card redux



Song of Simon News, CPAP Madness, and a Tribute to Valerie…

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Hey everyone. I just got an email from the artist that is doing the cover for “Song of Simon.” She sent me the final draft, and I like it a lot. It’s a different interpretation from how I pictured Simon–the boy looks more Latino than Irish–but there is a haunted look in his eyes that perfectly describes who Simon is. I am not too concerned with details. Details are less important than Truth. Also, I wouldn’t want to interfere with another artist’s interpretation. Seeing other people interpret your work is part of the fun (See my post on Fan Fiction).

On Wednesday I finally got a CPAP Machine to help with my Sleep Apnea. The doctor said to try it a little at a time to get used to it, so I used it for an hour during the day yesterday. I used it for an hour this morning, and I was almost able to fall asleep. Maybe tonight I can go all the way and actually get to sleep. It makes me sad that I can’t wear my glasses with it on though. I need the full mask, and it just wasn’t made for glasses. Oh well, don’t need glasses to sleep.

Next Wednesday, Mercy College is giving out a small award in Valerie’s name. I think that the award goes to either the top student in the writing department, or the winning story in a contest. Either way, I am happy about it. Even if years in the future, people no longer know who she was, she will still be helping her students. I remember when I was a senior, I was runner up for a similar contest. I only won a gift certificate, but it gave me the confidence I needed. Maybe my writing wasn’t as terrible as I thought. The encouragement is more valuable than the prize.