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Life is Better Than We Believe

I am nearing the end of a book, the deadline towers, and I meant to refrain from posting - and next week, there will be many, many art posts of work vintage and new. But I also know, by virtue of my fan mail, that many young people read this journal - and as I have said often at my school visits, there are some things in life to important not to share.

Life is Better Than We Believe.

At any given moment, Life Is Better Than We Believe.

In the last few days, I have discussed (or visited with) three men in my life who have chosen to play the cards they were dealt differently than I. And in all three instances, they, through examples good and bad, have shown me that Life Is Better Than We Believe.

The first is my childhood friend, Jeff. His mother wanted to send a copy of one of my novels to him at his current home - one of the Arizona State Prisons. We've had it sent back three times for what the prison says are administrative reasons. Basically, there is a slew of paperwork and permissions involved in sending an inmate a book. They've had too many issues with contraband. And so it's taken us six weeks to finally get the clearance to send my friend Jeff a book I can order inside of thirty seconds. He's where he is because of his own mistakes, and I hope he chooses differently when he comes home. I am still his friend. And I am glad his challenges are not mine.

The second was my friend Rick, who came to my house for an Independence Day breakfast. Rick is a decade older than I, but he grew up on the same block. He makes hand-tooled leather goods for a living - which is more impressive when you realize both hands are palsied, and at one point, did not function at all as the result of a shooting accident that happened when he was 11. He's always had to be in a motorized wheelchair, and as a result of his injuries, lost a leg years later. It took him years just to be able to nudge the control on the wheelchair, and many more to be able to make the elaborate leather gifts he does. I am honored to be his friend. And I am glad his challenges are not mine.

The last just came about today, as I got the news that the writer Thomas Disch had died. I have never read much of his work, and knew it mostly because of the influence he had on my contemporaries. I have interacted with him on occasion this last year via livejournal
tomsdisch but not to any large degree. And the reason I'm writing this now is because of the choice he made to commit suicide. I don't know enough about him to speculate on his personal circumstances. I know he was prickly but respected; and he was dealing with a lot of difficult circumstances. Those statements are also applicable to his books. I don't know that we would have ever been friends. But I am glad his challenges were not mine.

We all have our challenges. And we all have our own ways of dealing with them. How each of us chooses to do so is up to us, and us alone. We can relate, but perhaps not fully understand what challenges - or means for dealing with them - others have. So I'll just say this, one more time: if nothing else, try to remember - Life is Better Than We Believe.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
ccfinlay
Jul. 6th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
Life is Better Than We Believe.

Amen.
janni
Jul. 6th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
Well said.
allykatt
Jul. 6th, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
thank you for this. i think i really needed to hear it.
one of my very long-term, very close lj friends made the same decision as your final friend, a few weeks ago. and i have been having a very hard time coming to terms with her choice.
i miss her every single day, and i wish there was something someone could have done. her challenges just became too much.
and those of us left have to learn to accept it.

but - all in all - Life is Better Than We Believe.

can't forget. thanks for the reminder.
coppervale
Jul. 6th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. I'm very sorry to hear about your friend.

tbclone47
Jul. 7th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
Great words. I think of this when I dwell too much on my own life issues over the past few years, or think about my brother who's been in and out (mostly in) of trouble for many years now.
sharonskinner
Jul. 7th, 2008 02:22 am (UTC)

Thank you for sharing.
scribblerworks
Jul. 7th, 2008 06:41 am (UTC)
Indeed! And Amen!

I think I have been very fortunate in what has come from the challenges I've faced. But the results have never really been on a silver platter - they've come because I made at least an effort to address the challenges as best I could.

But an interesting confluence of examples!
(Deleted comment)
plattcave
Jul. 7th, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC)
This shall be my mantra for the week.
adeluca
Jul. 7th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks brother! I truly believe that we don't have to look far at all to know that life is truly better than we believe.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 7th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
Apaprt from so wonderfully entertaining me with your marvelous novels, James, time and again you manage to move me deeply. Thus happened about half an hour ago when I read this post here.

I agree with your statement from the deepest bottom of my heart, but there may be times when we lose this sight / insight and get lost in the dark.

Kudos and my best wishes for the two friends of yours who deal with their fate (as we all have, whatever the respective circumstances may be).

And I feel deeply for the death of Thomas Disch, more than words can express right now.

I'd like you to take some minutes of your time to watch and listen to this, as a impromptu memorial and farewell:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=QAomqz5dnk8&feature=PlayList&p=CE2AF56137C91016&index=0

No virus warning due this time. It's a video on Youtube.

Godspeed, Mr Disch. And thank you, James.
translatorius
Jul. 7th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
Sorry; that posting here was from me ... used my laptop instead of the big PC, and obviously the auto log-in didn't work.

Sorry for the inconvenience,
Michael
tbclone47
Jul. 18th, 2008 08:15 am (UTC)
Hi, James. I wanted to ask you about whether you'd be interested in blurbing The Exquisite Corpuscle (Jay Lake, Frank Wu, Alan DeNiro, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Tim Pratt, Kristen Livdahl, Heather Shaw, etc, etc). Got some ARCs here. :) Sorry about posting here...I didn't have your email address. I thought about you since it's a collaborative effort, a mixture of creative outlets: fiction, poetry, art, a play. It's not a long book, 192 pages. The interior pages will be in full color. Let me know? patrick at fairwoodpress dot com
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )