"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Friday, April 17, 2009

Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased

That's the most important lesson I've learned from the work of Spider Robinson, but its hardly the only one. For his Callahan's Bar stories alone, I owe the man - never mind all the excellent novels he's written and the great music he's turned me on to or his excellent podcast. He made me realize that punning was not a criminal offense and he introduced me to Bushmills  (okay, so maybe he owes everyone who's ever met me an apology - but not me, I owe him BIG).

And so, I wanna tug on your coatsleeve for a minute.
First, for those of you not in the know, let me say that the man is a national treasure. As a writer, he's won most of the major awards they give out in science fiction and with good reason. He's also a regular writer for the Mop&Pail though they foolishly discontinued his regular column a few years back. We won't even get into the massive runaway thing that Callahan's has become on the internet. Suffice to say that at one point the Callahan's bulletin board forum was just about the biggest non-porn site there was back in the days of usenet. Furthermore, he's a natural storyteller and ten minutes listening to his podcast will make you wonder why the CBC hasn't signed this guy as the second coming of Peter Gzowski or at least a summer replacement for Stuart McLean. 
Second, let me say that his wife, Jeanne, is also a national treasure as one of the country's foremost choreographers and former modern dancers. She is currently engaged in bringing to life an idea that was the foundation of a trilogy of great science fiction novels Spider and Jeanne co-wrote called Stardance that won a hatful of awards. That idea is dancing in zero gravity and you can see the early experiments here and follow the project here.
So, Spider and Jeanne Robinson are some of my favorite people and their presence their alone is enough to make me consider moving to Bowen Island, BC, when we do move back to Canada.
Kumbayah, hugs and shots of Bushmills all 'round.

Now we get to the harder part. 
I learned last week from Spider's podcast that bad things happen to good people. Jeanne went into the hospital for what was supposed to be minor surgery a couple of months ago and it was discovered she had a very nasty case of cancer. She starts radiation treatments this week. Spider's been lucky enough to have her sisters fly in from the east coast to help care for her over the last month or so and apparently has lots of good friends and neighbors to help out too. But I suspect, no, I know, it isn't going to be easy for him to write the new series of books he just signed up to do or any other paying copy while his  mind is occupied with trying to help his wife and obviously Jeanne is going to be doing any work for awhile either. Unless someone is making a multimillion dollar movie of your novel, science fiction writing does not pay that well, no matter how good you are and their home is not called "Tottering on the Brink" for nothing. 
So if you could drop a few bucks in the hat for them, it would be very, very much appreciated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Phew, for a paragraph or two there, I thought you were writing an obituary.