January 16, 2020

Farewell to a Friend

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

Last week, we celebrated the life of a friend of mine. She is guarded in her earthly resting place by two sentinel angels, representative of the angels she is now dancing among.  Since her death, I’ve replayed in my mind the fun times we shared over the years. We met because we shared a dear mutual friend. We were cemented in friendship while watching our children grow up. She had a million-watt smile that would light up a room. She was kind with a giving heart. 

Even in death, in lieu of flowers, which she loved, she thought of others, requesting donations be made to fund research for the deadly disease that took her, triple negative breast cancer. Ongoing research is being done through West Cancer Institute Cancer Research, (honoring Debbie Russell) 7945 Wolf River Blvd, Germantown , TN 38138. 

My friend and I loved Elton John and agreed his best album was “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” With my friend’s passing, I hear the funeral dirge music from the first song on this album, “Funeral for a Friend,” but then, the dirge morphs into a high energy rock song that reminds me my friend is now rocking in heaven and pain free. 

As writers, sometimes we find our works in progress have died. We have written all there is to write. We have fought for the story to be told but the characters we created haven’t cooperated. How can this be you ask? Our WIP is our friend, our baby we created, right? Can you identify? 

Is it time to bury it? Have a funeral for your WIP and file it away? Maybe it’s time to read a new genre and break out of the genre you’ve been writing in to expand your skills or find a new niche genre to start a new work in progress. 

At my friend’s celebration of life, her brother, a judge, remarked on how the small fun moments were how he would always remember, his sister. To that, I would add that it is life’s small joyous moments that truly equals a life well lived and well loved. My friend knew and lived that kind of life, even in the four years she fought so hard to beat this deadly form of cancer. Everyone at the service had memories of small moments they had shared with our friend. 

All writers have a love/hate relationship with their WIP at some point in the process. We as writers need to stop trying to force our WIP to be finished. If you’re not feeling it, neither will you readers. Maybe it’s time to instead have a funeral and say farewell for your WIP friend. Celebrate the fun you had writing that WIP because after all, it’s the small joyous precious moments that make a life well lived and loved.

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