One of the most popular posts at my blog is the Mermaid-y Interview with L. K. Madigan. So I know she has a lot of fans out there. I've known about this for days because my agent broke the news, but today she made a public post that she has pancreatic cancer that has metastized to the liver. You can send her and her family thoughts, prayers and well-wishes here: http://lkmadigan.livejournal.com/185246.html.
I've known Lisa for years. I have a little hanging mermaid she sent me that says "Impossible is a word humans use all too often." I hope Lisa can have many more beautiful moments on this planet. But I know pancreatic cancer is rough. My partner's mom died of it six years ago. In fact, curiously, I had a dream the other night, days before I heard Lisa's diagnosis, where Dade's mom visited me in my dream to tell me she was happy and watching over us. I never had a dream about her before, and this one was very vivid. I live my life with a deep faith that there is another world we can't quite see, that loved ones watch over us, that some "magic" can be real, that things happen for a reason...but on the surface I also doubt every day. I fear death. But moments like that...well, I really feel sometimes that Dade's mom has moved some things around to take care of us, and maybe she knew I needed a dream like that just then.
It's a sad day for so many of us in the writer community who love Lisa and hate to see something like this happen to anyone who still has so much to do and so many books to write. But the comments are her post truly are a beautiful outpouring of love.
On another note, also serious in a very different way, there has been a fresh crop of talk about illegal downloading of ebooks. Saundra Mitchell has a good post about it here.
I do think illegal downloading is something blown out of proportion. In some ways, it gets the word out. And I think only a fraction of downloaders would actually buy the book. We have no way of knowing how many. 5%? 10%? 20%? But I think a bigger concern is the idea that it is OKAY to download things illegally. I remember when mp3 downloading first happened...I think at first everyone thought of it as not much different than the decades-old tradition of making mix tapes. "Oh, now I can hear that one song I used to listen to ten years ago again...what was that?" Before we knew it, everyone was downloading full albums. All the time. Lots of people just assumed all musicians were rich anyway. But you know...they're not. And writers definitely aren't. Every time you buy a Magic Under Glass hardcover, you basically paid my wage for about...three words, by the time you add up all the editing and marketing and other stuff that goes into a career. And believe me, I don't make a lot of money. And three words isn't a lot. But when you add them all up, they make books. If you bought my book, it's kind of like three of the words in it are yours because you bought me the time to write them. If you checked it out from the library, three of the words in it belong to that library copy, and that's good too. You can even pick up some used words at the used bookstore. But for goodness sakes. Don't steal them. Just find some legal way around it, and it's a better world. And please don't encourage it in your friends either. (And fellow writers: I feel like we should all emphasize this at school visits while we have a (mostly) enraptured audience of the next generation!)