2017 sure was an experience, wasn’t it?
I liken the year to having spent a weekend watching experimental theater with lots of “performance” art. You’re not quite sure of exactly what it all meant. You know you were presented with some disturbing images and even more disturbing thoughts; you know the performers were earnest in their presentations (no way would someone who didn’t care do that!) and you’re going home with a lot to think about.
But you’re still not sure if it was art.
I leave 2017 with a profound sense of confusion.
But also with some hope. Perhaps we needed to be reminded of what the bottom looks like in order to remember that we don’t want to go there. Here’s to hoping!
A LOT happened to me personally this year, with, of course, the elephant in the room being the death of my wife, Karen. In May of this year she passed, surrounded by friends and family and, thankfully, she went fairly easily. No pain to speak of, but a lot of questions, chief among them being “why me?” If there was anyone in this world who never did anything to deserve such a fate, it had to be Karen.
I didn’t and still don’t have an answer to that question. I probably never will.
It’s not easy for an atheist (and I am one, no buts about it) to try and explain to and comfort someone who is dying regarding what lies ahead. My personal answer is “you go wherever you were before you were born”. “Non-existence” or, as one of my old time friends used to say “the great dirt nap”.
But for someone who has doubts (as Karen did), these are insufficient answers.
At the very end, Karen told us all “I want to go home”. I’m pretty sure she was thinking of her childhood home (the same town I’m in now), to be with her mother and father who both passed some years ago.
At first, I tried telling her that she was home (meaning the house we shared where she was in hospice), but it was obvious that this did not comfort her. I then remembered that we are all on a journey through life and told her “We’re going home. We’ll be there soon.” For whatever reason, this seemed to be the answer she was looking for.
It’s probably an understatement to say that Karen’s illness and death greatly affected my ability to handle the website and the other tasks required to keep Amazing Stories moving forward.
And they still are.
Which is why I am so profoundly grateful to the members of the Amazing Stories team who stepped up and helped me manage. In particular, I am very indebted to Kermit Woodall, our webmaster and designer (who is working through his own personal loss); to Ira Naymen, our editor, who took over the daily operation of the website when I couldn’t; and to contributors who kept on trucking – (in no particular order) Steve Fahnestalk, Dianne Gardner, Ricky Brown, Matt Mitrovich, Jack Clemons, Ricardo Manzanaro, Veronica Scott, Tanya Tynjala, Doris Sutherland, Mark Iles, Fabien Lyraud, Ivan Rodrigo Mendizibal, Joshua Starnes, Chris Nuttall, Regina Kanyu Wang, Nicky Lyka, Shaoyan Hu, David Gerrold, Jack Strange.
I’d also like to thank the many people who have given me support and comfort in numerous and various ways – Steven H Silver, Erin Underwood, John Whalen, K Ceres Wright, Andrew Weston, Doug Smith, Carl Slaughter, Darren Slade, Dianne Severson, John Purcell, R. Graeme Cameron, Michael Burstein, Mike Brotherton.
There are others, many others, and my apologies in advance if I didn’t mention you (there’s always someone deserving who doesn’t get mentioned. This “thank you” is for you.)
Yes. We are moving ahead. We’ve formulated a new management team (I’m stepping back a bit, which may be a relief to some of you) and they are busily working on implementing a plan that we’ve spent no small amount of time putting together.
But I don’t want to steal their thunder, except to say that in 2018, you’ll be seeing MORE Amazing Stories, rather than less!