I’ve been thinking about this post since January, and I’m still not quite sure how to approach it. I’m going to try my best to arrange all the ideas and emotions into something coherent.
On May 3, my son was born. This posting is not about him, but that’s a place to start. This post is actually about my brother, Steve, who also happened to be born on May 3. (I try not to think about the possible implications about my and my parents’ amorous activities mirroring each other across the years–blech!)
Steve is six years older than I am, which means growing up we weren’t exactly buddies. I was usually a thorn in his side, and at times I went out of my way to annoy him. When he graduated from high school, I bought him a bottle of Aqua Velva cologne as a gift, for Pete’s sakes.
That’s not to say we actively disliked each other. One time my brother took me on a road trip in his awesome white Mustang. We listened to Hysteria by Def Leppard with the volume turned up to 11. When we got home it took several hours for my hearing to return (I was 10 or 11 years old at the time). It was awesome. To this day, when I hear “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” I get a rush of adrenaline and feel the need for speed. We also shared a room for a while, and I remember watching Friday the 13th: The Series on an old TV we scrounged from somewhere. I don’t know if it freaked him out as much as it did me, but I was glad I wasn’t by myself watching it.
The point here is, my brother has been a good older brother to me. As adults, I hope I’m not such a pain to him anymore (although I suspect some of my political views rankle him). He’s a good guy: loving father, loyal husband, hard worker.
In November of 2012, Steve started feeling not so great. It seemed like the flu, or possibly some minor digestive issue. The doctor wasn’t too concerned–try this medicine, if it doesn’t work we’ll do something else, no big deal. Except it turned out it was a big deal. In December, after hardly being able to eat anything for a month, my brother found out he had lymphoma.
I have always been a fan of horror. I love reading it and I love writing it. But in real life there are few things scarier than the word “cancer.” Vampires, ghosts and goblins pale by comparison. The worst thing is, there’s often nothing you could have done to prevent it. That’s the case with my brother. For most of his adult life, he’s been eating right, exercising, doing everything you’re supposed to do to be healthy. Cancer doesn’t care. It just hits you.
I’m happy to say my brother is responding well to treatment, but there’s no such thing as a little case of cancer. It’s a big deal, and he’s still battling it–and will be for some time.
I wanted to do something to help him, other than my phone calls and well wishes. With a new son and limited resources, I felt I didn’t have much else to offer. I’m a writer, though, and after almost 20 years of writing (holy cow! has it been that long?), I’ve had a few stories published here and there. I decided to republish nine of them–eight short stories and a novelette–from the first pieces I ever sold to a flash fiction piece from last December.
If you’d like to buy the collection, called Speculations: Short Stories, it’s only $3.00 for the Kindle e-book edition. You can find it on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Speculations-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B00BF5XOSO. I’m going to donate all the proceeds to my brother–while he is fortunate enough to have health insurance, he still has to take an extended amount of time off work, and although he hasn’t asked for any help, I know if I were in his place I would appreciate it.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. No matter what, send positive thoughts Steve”s way. He’ll appreciate it.