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Vince Flynn and the Immortal Ranks....

Just a few hours after we opened the bookstore yesterday, we got confirmation that Vince Flynn
had passed away from prostate cancer... he was 47. I was surprised by the announcement since I was unaware he'd been sick and saddened because he was so young. I can't honestly say I've read anything he's written (his genre of choice isn't one I gravitate toward), but, his is a name I'm familiar with, so his passing did impact me.

It's strange how we are affected by the passing of people we "know"--- whether actors or sports stars. We know their names, we've watched their careers, we've learned their histories--- and apart from actually meeting them, we feel we are an integral part of their lives...they're definitely an integral part of our own lives.

Hours after the announcement, one of our regular customers walked through the store--- this is a man I've seen, nearly every day, for the past three years--- he approached me and as he passed, he choked out, "no more Vince Flynn books." Though he wasn't crying, the tears covering his eyes were very real. I tried to reassure him that maybe there were a few books in the works before his passing..."maybe he'll have a couple titles released posthumously, they've done that for several authors in the past," I said.

The emotion in his face, I realized, was a mirror-image of the grief I felt at the passing of Ray Bradbury and Brian Jacques. And, it wasn't until he spoke of no more Flynn books that I realized what the issue was--- everyone is affected by the passing of people we "know." For readers, however, the passing of a beloved author can be visceral. We are keenly aware that the world these masters have created for us will no longer have stories added to them. We are distraught to realize that the characters these diviners have breathed life into will suddenly stop--- their histories will still be there, but, there will be no future. For readers who give themselves wholly to the fantasies/lives/trials/triumphs of these creations, when their world stops, so does ours.

And yet....

The worlds they formed are still there, the past stories they've weaved are still vibrant. There is a veil of immortality for someone whose name is still spoken decades after their passing. Just like actors who never really die because they've been captured by the movies they starred in, writers never die so long as the words they've put down are read by the generations coming after them.

I can remember, years ago, when I first started putting words to paper--- around 11 or 12 years of age. In my young mind there was something magical about a book. I knew I wanted to write and I knew what I wanted to get out of the writing. I didn't dream of Best-Selling novels or fat advance-checks or royalties that would finance my trip around the world---- no, what I wanted was a book that would be read by future school children, like me.

I won't say I was a precocious or gifted child. Yet, I had some innate understanding that death would mean the end of my life. However, if I had a book that was loved by school children (like the books I had read and loved) then, I wouldn't really be gone. People would still be speaking my name and reading my words---- I don't think I realized, at the time, how powerful that actually could be made immortal.

We may lose the ones we love, but, so long as we are still held captive by their words, they really never die....


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