I spent Thanksgiving in Oregon. My friend Aaron from grad school and his wife hosted for the seventh time in a row; I’ve been to five of them. It was great fun seeing everyone again. We had a core group of friends who all started the same year. That group has started to splinter; a few are still finishing their Ph.D’s, but one’s in Virginia, another in Arizona.
This was the last year in Oregon; Aaron’s graduating in the spring and will move to wherever the job search takes him. There’s a very good chance I’ll never go there again. Although I don’t particularly yearn for the state, there’s always a touch of melancholy when you visit someplace for the last time. Still, I expect the tradition will continue wherever Aaron winds up.
The trip reminded me how treasured close friends are; I’ve been able to maintain a couple of my closest friendships despite being in different states. It’s not easy; relationships tend to fade with distance. It takes a concentrated effort to communicate. But it’s worth it, and even more wonderful when a friendship grows closer despite the distance. That’s what happened with Sean and I. I don’t get to talk to Aaron quite as much but when we do it’s easy to remember why we’re such good friends; he’s wonderfully open-minded, supportive, and encouraging. We spoke about politics (on which we disagree rather significantly), I gave him a tough critique of his cover letter, and then we moved onto some tough personal issues, all without a hint of drama or frustration.
On the writing side of things, I’m making reasonable progress on the second draft of The Wildfire Crown and am about a third of the way through. I’ve also put some more time in a short story called Luck and a Fast Horse; I finished a first draft of it last month, with the intent of submitting to the Writers of the future contest at the end of the year. Unfortunately, the first draft turned out kind of flat; not a train-wreck, but nothing I wanted anyone to read, either. I spent a few weeks trying to figure out what I wanted out of the story and changed a number of things. Over the weekend I’ve started a re-write, and feel like there’s some real promise. Not sure I’ll have anything by the end of this year, but when it’s done I think it’ll be a great story.
I’ll leave you with one of the most awesome music videos of all time. Enjoy 🙂