Thursday, September 27, 2007


We all mark milestones in our lives. Some are significant like the birth of child, a marriage and, of course, a death. Some are minor; a new job, a new car or a graduation from a state school.

This week I had one of the more minor milestones; A birthday. Not even a big one that ends in a zero or even a five. It’s fewer than Paul Levine but more than Cornelia Read. Regardless of the number, it’s not a big deal. My one birthday wish was no party or presents. I got some of it.
But it made me think as some real milestones which have occurred to people I know or respected this past few weeks.

While at the Decatur Book Festival, I spoke with Marjory Wentworth, which I wrote about in this spot two weeks ago. One of Marjory’s friends in Charleston, where she lives, was Jim Rigney who wrote under the name of Robert Jordan. The Wheel of Time fantasy series is one of the most popular in history. Someone gave me the prequel to the series, A New Hope, this summer and I liked it enough to buy the first in the series, Eye of the World. It is not only a good story, well written, it shows the imagination and intelligence or a talentend man. Unfortunately a man I never got to meet in person. One of the few regrets I have from my short writing career. Mr. Rigney died last week at the age of 58 from a rare blood disease. By everyone I knew who had met him, Mr. Rigney was a fine, gracious, all-around good guy. That is what’s really important but the fact that he wrote an enjoyable series of novels is why any of us know him.

Another milestone is more personal but still related to the literary community. Carl Crantz died in Los Angeles last week of a long-term lung disease. I met Carl two years ago through a mutual friend, author W.E.B. Griffin. Much like Griffin’s larger-than-life characters, Carl was a decorated soldier who was well respected in the Special Forces community. Carl was a serious, group-email guy, sending me a message at least five times a week. I enjoyed seeing a view of things that isn’t always represented in the general media. It was not always a view I agreed with but he said it with such authority and intelligence it made me think about everything from the role of the military to why there is such
a divide in the country between left and right. His motivational posters and photos from the soldiers he knew that were serving in Iraq were inspirational and often funny. I will miss him and his e-mails very much.

A happier milestone is one celebrated by author Dave White. Dave’s first book came out earlier in the week. When One Man Dies already received a starred review from PW. I’m waiting for my copy now but knowing Dave it’ll be great.

What would you consider an important milestone?


  1. Jim Rigney and Carl Crantz...too young to die. Last night we saw a Wendy Wasserstein play in Westwood. She died, I believe, at 55.

    As for Dave White's first novel, if you recommend it, I will read it.

  2. I didn't mean to be so somber.

    I had a couple of e-mails about he captions on Carl's posters

    The last one says,

    "Patriotic dissent is a luxury of those protected by better men then they."

    The Marines one says, " Marines, giving enemies of America a chance to die for their countries since 1775."