Published on May 22nd, 2013 @ 09:31:00 pm , using 387 words
Tom Piccirilli is an author of noir fiction, thrillers, science fiction, poetry, and horror, among other things. He's been extremely prolific in the last twenty-odd years, raking in lots of Bram Stoker Awards, a couple of International Thriller Writer Awards, and some nominations for others, like the World Fantasy Award and the Edgar. The man is a production machine.
But he's not just about quantity; his work is solid, and he's well respected in his field for his writing style, kindness, and support of other authors. In short, he's a mensch, and I suspected he was immortal until late last year.
That was when Tom discovered that his strange vision problems and killer headaches weren't just something simple. They were being caused by a large, cancerous tumor in his brain.
So much for being immortal.
Tom went through the surgery and the chemical treatments while his wife, Michelle, dutifully kept everyone informed of his condition via Facebook. Donations poured in from everywhere to help with the medical bills.
And he made it through.
Somehow, Tom kept working, too. What he calls his "next LAST book" is due out in July 2013, titled The Last Whisper in the Dark, but before that, he put out a little book called What Makes You Die. This book was published by Apex Publications, and to promote it, they held a poetry contest. The rules were that the poem had to be titled "What Makes You Die", and they got a number of excellent entries. I entered the contest with an original poem, and as fate would have it, I won! The poem first appeared on the Apex Publications website (of course), but the editors were gracious enough to allow me to reprint it here. (Thanks, Lesley!)
What Makes You Die
Back in the day, death was binary
Alive or dead, on or off, one or zero
Now, there is no zero state
Hit by a car?
Pick a new body. We'll restore "you" from backup
No worries! We'll grow another one
It's not about whether you live any more,
It's about what you create while you live
Art is the new yardstick
Content is the new blood
The more you bleed, the less you die, so
Open a vein and try to keep up
Whatever you do, don't keep it to yourself;
That is what makes you die.
-- Stace Johnson