Thursday, January 13, 2022

Highs and Lows

This has been a week of highs and lows. I finished a manuscript I began a year ago, which capped a nice couple of months that saw me get a job that will take us away from New England for the first time in 25 years. However, Monday, I learned a dear friend and mentor passed away unexpectedly.

Highs and lows.

I started working on a new series, a new concept, four years ago. I had an idea for a character and a series set in a locale I know well, a New England boarding school, a setting rife with power, privilege, and money, all elements that make for interesting crime novels. So, four years ago, I went about writing and produced a convoluted plot that my agent struggled with.

Now I’m a believer in the Raymond Chandler adage “There are no dull stories, only dull minds,” so I believed in the plot and figured my dull mind just didn’t execute it well. I went back to work, re-envisioning the entire storyline and changing the point of view, producing a manuscript that is 20,000 words lighter. The manuscript will be in my agent’s hands within a month. A highpoint in a stretch that has left me feeling blessed. In late November I accepted a job at Detroit Country Day School, an opportunity my family is excited for. After living at a boarding school for 15 years, we will buy a house and embark on civilian life.

Then two weeks ago, Hugh Silbaugh, my friend, the man who hired me and mentored me, a guy my mother said was “like the older brother you never had,” was diagnosed with cancer. On Monday, we learned he passed, unexpectedly. News that rocked me, my community, and teachers he mentored and students he impacted across the nation. A low.

Highs and lows. The things that make our lives and provide the inspiration for the art we try to produce.

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