Monday, September 17, 2007

A Tale of 3 Authors

Today I got to meet Kevin J. Anderson, who has authored a fair count of books on my bookshelf from Star Wars, to Dune, to his own unique series. He was in Perth for a book signing with his wife Rebecca Moesta, also a writer, and it happened that the store they were at is across the road from where I work.

These guys are some of the nicest people you would ever have the chance to meet. They chatted amicably with their fans, even keeping the kids occupied while I snaffled some books, and signed everything people threw at them. One guy got Kevin to sign his PDA with the stylus!

Kevin talked about finalizing the Saga of the Seven Suns and gave hints about the up and coming fantasy series he is working on, Terra Incognita.

We were invited to go for a drink afterwards but the kids have been ill and were getting a little cranky so we took this quick photo and said our goodbyes.

Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta and my motley crue

When we got home we were shocked to discover that Robert Jordan, author of The Wheel of Time series passed away today. Jordan, born James Oliver Rigney Jr, had been ill for some time, at least since his announcement in Locus Magazine that he had been diagnosed with amyloidosis, early in 2006.

I don't have the words to eloquently express my sympathy for Robert Jordan's wife and family. He will be sorely missed both by those who knew him personally and the millions of others he had touched through his writing.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

One little act of kindness

On my lunchbreak today I happened to see an act of human kindness which I thought was worth sharing. Why was it worth sharing? Well, because these things tend to go unnoticed. People only ever talk about the other side of the coin. When people are mean, callous,officious and rude. This is a story about one ladies ability to face a demon and win.

I was eating my lunch at Subway in the city. They have a few tables inside but most are outside in an area cordoned off and labelled appropriately for use by "Subway Patrons Only". They pay for the space so they want to make sure it is benefiting those who support them by purchasing their goods. Fair enough.

And fair enough to the purveyor of Japanese sustenance next door who has a similar set up.

As I sat inhaling a foot-long meatball sub and quietly cursed the crazy old lady who had just fed the pidgeons practically under my feet I saw two handicapped guys ride up on those miniature golf cart thingies they sometimes have. I'm not going to guess at how they were handicapped and if handicapped isn't the PC term then I apologise. That isn't really the point of the story.

With some difficulty they managed to get out of the golf carts and make it through the Subway sandwitch factory until finally they were standing outside, eachwith a sizeable sub in their hands. Cleaning those miniature golf carts must be a major pain and so presumably to prevent sub/cart related incidences the gentlemen looked around for somewhere to sit. I was about to offer them my place as the Subway area was full up and I was practically done anyway but they noticed a table off to their left and went and sat down.

And that is when the shop keeper of the Japanese place noticed them. They were clearly sitting in an area she is lord over. An area she has to clean and pay for.I was watching her face as she saw them sit down. I saw her as she came around the counter and strode purposefully toward them . I watched intently as she checkedand saw that the Subway area had no empty tables. That her area had approximately 12 free tables.

You could see the schizophrenic dialogue going on in her head as ambivalence was written cleanly upon her face:

How dare they? Who were they really hurting?

The turmoil. The indecision.

And then she turned around and went back into her shop. She chose to leave them be. Who were they really hurting after all. No-one. I was touched by this not becauseshe was a nice person. A nice person never would have considered asking them to move. I wasn't touched because she did the right thing. I was touched because of the conflict. Because this lady faced the most dangerous of foes and won. She managed to face herself.

Actions don't matter. Neither does intent. As with all things it is about the journey. This is a tribute to one ladies journey. Well done lady. I salute you.