“Close Friends”

I have made no secret here over the years on here that my (now late) uncle is the inspiration for one of the major characters in my first three books.

Shockingly to you, I am sure, that uncle… was a crime novelist living in Rhode Island:

[From my Instagram Stories.]

In mid-February as his birthday approached I shared that Instagram Story among “close friends.” What that author character of mine – “Uncle Bill” – says and does is based mostly on what I saw and heard and experienced of my real uncle: his writing life in particular:

[Excerpt from Passports: Atlantic Lives, 1994-1995, Copyright, 2013. On Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

Eventually I worked up the courage to tell him about my books and especially about my fictionalization of him. When he read my first two novels (he did not live to read the third) and saw “himself” (including my fictionalizing “a crush” he had had on a girl friend of mine), he revealed to me that he thought it was hilarious and was even touched. He said he did not agree with it all, but conceded that naturally I wrote from my perspective.

He noted also that I had recalled quite a few small family and other happenings that he had forgotten about, and seeing them on my pages brought them back to his mind. Overall I was pleased. He appeared to think I had fictionalized “him” fairly.

He died suddenly and unexpectedly on October 12, 2015. This message he sent me the night before we were due to fly to New York the next day (October 4) became the last written words of his to me that I have:

[Screen capture of my Messenger.]

Locating that exchange again (thankfully I did indeed speak with him by phone while over there, as I promised him I would in my final message to him), I thought I would share it on my Instagram on his birthday (February 29) itself among – again – only “close friends.”

After posting that one, though, I felt there was no reason I could not share both of those Stories on here because there was not really anything in them all that “private.” (Other than what I had blacked out on them both, which I did not want even “close Insta-friends” necessarily all to see.) You probably know about Instagram’s “close friends” feature. It allows you to restrict who sees a Story only to those you consider actual “friends.”

My “close friends” are all people who I have come to trust on the net. Often I have “known” them through more than one platform over the years. I think it is a useful Insta-feature.

[Conventions: The Garden At Paris, on a bookcase at my in-laws’ home. Photo by me, London, England, 2020.]

When I write he often pops into my thoughts. I miss our interactions and his advice. He had become one of my “closest friends” ever.

Unsurprisingly I wonder about, for instance, what he would think of what I have written since his death. I will never know, of course. Life moves on for all of us and we all have no choice but to move with it.

Have a good week, wherever you are. 🙂


Comments are closed.