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Happy birthday, Jay.

Jay Vs. The Volcano CoverToday would have been Jay Lake’s 50th birthday.
He almost made it.

Back in 2008, the discovery of Jay’s tumor rattled us all. I’d had my own tumor scare in 2005, so I knew that keeping a sense of humor about the situation was the most important thing. Jay had that in spades. Trouble was…this tumor was not benign. Jay had colon cancer. For real and for true. The freakout ran deep.

But still we kept our spirits up…or tried to. We stayed in touch online. A lot. A bunch of us got together and wrote stories for a private anthology, just for Jay. STARRING Jay.

The editor made a secret link available for the contributors to order a copy if they so desired, but few of those stories ever saw the light of day. One such tale was Eric James Stone’s “The Six Billion Dollar Colon,” which he made public on his blog a year later on International Pixel-Stained Techno-Peasant Day.

Mine was a story of a slightly more personal nature, based on one of my favorite movies of all time: Joe Versus the Volcano. It’s called, appropriately, “Jay Versus the Volcano.” Possibly the closest thing I’ve ever written to fan fiction…and yet, an amazing adventure story all its own.

In honor of Jay’s 50th, I have made “Jay Versus the Volcano” available for free on Wattpad. Click the link here and enjoy.

I just read it over again for the first time in probably six years…I got teary-eyed a couple of times, but I only wept at the very end. This may be one of the best stories I’ve ever written. I’m glad I did it. And I’m glad it was for Jay.

Jay was very much my Epic Hero in Real Life, and I suspect he will continue to inspire me–and my writing–for many years to come.

My toast to Jay:

Jay’s soul brother Ken Scholes is also releasing a story today on Tor.com with Jay in the starring role. Do be sure to click on over to read “Jay Lake and the Last Temple of the Monkey King.”

Break out your Hawaiian shirts, socks, sandals, and tiaras today, folks.
May Jay’s legacy of kindness live in our hearts forever.

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I Cried This Morning

There are things we don’t blog about.

Me, I don’t blog about the sad things, the stressful things, and the things that upset me. Doing so usually makes me sadder, upsetter, and more stressed out…and lord knows you guys have enough of that in your own lives. You know what those things are. I don’t have to go over them for you.

For a while, not too long ago, I cried every day. About a month before I left Tennessee, and for at least two months after, I cried every single day. There was fear in there, and regret, and hurt…but I couldn’t talk about any of those things for all our sakes. I had done the brave thing–cut ties and jumped off the flying trapeze with no net–and I had to prove to the world (and myself) that everything was sunshine and puppy dogs. I lived in front of the world, as the song says. Showing my weak side was just not an option.

When I was back in TN last summer, a very dear friend told me he hadn’t been in touch because he’d (and I’m paraphrasing) gotten upset over all my optimism. I’d made it sound like leaving was the best thing I’d ever done…and in some ways it was…but it was the hardest thing I’d ever done, too. So many people told me I was their inspiration and I couldn’t disappoint them. I had to be an inspiration for myself, too.

If we are what we Tweet, then I’m okay if everyone thinks I’m always sunshine and puppy dogs. But deep in your heart you know that’s not true all the time. Be realistic. That’s not true for anyone.

I cried this morning for a lot of the regular reasons: fear, hurt, regret. I cried because there are horrible people in this world who don’t get what they deserve. I cried because there are good people in this world who don’t get what they deserve either. I cried because I don’t feel like I work hard enough. I cried because my boyfriend is in pain and doctors are useless. I cried because it was 6:30 a.m. and I hadn’t had breakfast yet. I cried because we don’t have enough closet space. I cried for…you know…the usual reasons.

And then I got up, made lunch for everyone, checked my email, went to the gym, and ran five miles. Because I’m awesome. Because the clouds are gone today and I can hear the dogs barking. Today I will challenge myself to be better and work harder. And tomorrow, well…

…tomorrow is another day.

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Just Because

Ariell posted something on her Facebook yesterday that reminded me of a poster I got in high school (and still own) by SARK. I had it up on my wall for years, and it inspired me. It even inspired the Beauty & Dynamite trailer. On a lark, I went looking for an image of that poster. Happily, it wasn’t hard to find.

I think I need to  hang this up again.

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Go Be Amazing

Mom sent me this video — as someone who has amazing kids, she can admire fantastic talents in others. This girl’s name is Kang Eunju, and she is a kindergartner from North Korea.

Are you as inspired as I am now? Good. Go do something amazing, something you’ve been putting off, or something everyone thinks is impossible. Then report back.

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