I don't normally post on weekends, but the mystery writing community got the startling news two days ago that our fellow writer and friend Elaine Viets had suffered a major stroke and was in a coma. There have been frequent updates and I'm happy to report that her prognosis is encouraging. There appears to be no paralysis and she is responding to light. What's more she keeps trying to spit out the ventilator, which is typical feisty Elaine!
News like this really punches me in the gut. Elaine was the most energetic, vivacious person you could ever meet. She wrote two books a year. She worked full time for several months at one of the dead end jobs she wrote about, coming home from her shift as a maid, pet bather or whatever to write about it. She wasn't old. She was tall slim and beautiful.
Adding this to the various other unnerving events of late--a skin cancer removed from my cheek that has left a two and a half inch scar and was much bigger than expected, the death of Kurt Vonegut and mystery writer Jill McGowan, and health problems of dear friends and suddenly I'm having some pretty sobering thoughts.
My husband has been telling me to slow down for ages. I'm not a slowing down sort of person. I write two books a year (like Elaine). I travel the country speaking and signing (also like Elaine). In between I look after my grandchildren, sing in a choir, hike with friends, swim and travel a lot with John. Maybe I should take Elaine as a warning and seriously consider doing less.
The problem is that it's so hard to say no. What would I do with myself if I weren't writing, speaking, rushing around?
To anybody who reads this, please send positive thoughts in the direction of Florida and Elaine.