It was eight weeks ago today that Blake left us. Today, Luscious and I had these done.
“Me hath the main of much bereaved.” (Sonatorrek, Stanza 10*)
My chest, Luscious’ arm. The vikingr compass he wore above his heart.
For our boy.
(*This comes from the translation I read at Blake’s funeral. If it’s incorrect, or you have greater knowledge, please don’t tell us right now. It’s not our time to hear it.)
Everything has been tough since Blake died, but for his partner Holly it’s been complicated by Real World ™ difficulties that have made life doubly hellish. Not only did she lose her job for the crime of mourning her partner, but thanks to a ridiculously short vacate notice and housemates who have chosen to cut and run rather than step up and take responsibility, Holly is left holding a financial can she can’t manage, never mind cope with.
The Triffitt and Battersby families have done what they’ve always done, come together to help one of their own. We’ve started a Go Fund Me Page to help Holly get back on her feet.
We can’t bring Blake back, we can’t get Holly into a new home, we can’t give her a job. But we can reach out to you, our friends, and ask that you help Holly in this time of desperate need.
If you’ve got a couple of bucks to help a young woman who shouldn’t have to cope with the emotional load she is carrying dig herself out of a financial hole she shouldn’t have to bear, you would be helping in a way that will have very real consequences.
Click here is you can spare a buck or two to help Holly out.
One of the things that defined Blake was his love of Dungeons and Dragons. When he moved out of home, I gave him my original set of dice, as I wasn’t playing at the time. He had them with him when he died.
One of the conversations we had, as a family, after his funeral, was around finding a way to commemorate him within the game he loved so well. We had his plaque, but somehow it felt important that others be allowed to have this aspect of his passing, too. I don’t know why his plaque, out of everything, but there it was: we wanted anyone who wanted to, to have a plaque of their own. So I hit upon the idea of creating a plaque as a magical item, and releasing it into the wild. That way, people could have a way of including Blake in their own games.
The idea has grown into two linked items, and here they are. McTrippy’s Plaque and the Night Lenses incorporate several of Blake’s unique facets: his weird plastic sunglasses collection; his love of the Lythari class; his unique, strong charisma; his compulsive need to travel; his ridiculous enjoyment of setting comedy traps within games. They are, I hope, perfectly Blakey.
I’ve uploaded them to The Dungeon Master’s Guild, so hopefully they’ll be on that website and DriveThru RPG soon for all and sundry. But if you’re a reader of this blog, and a player of Dungeons and Dragons, they’re here for you now, should you wish to use them.
It’s something, I suppose.
Download McTrippy’s Plaque (pdf)
Credit: These cards were created using a Creative Commons template from the Binary Adventures Blog.
Jeff Lacy walked to the ring as the hottest prospect in boxing. he’d been compared to a rampant Mike Tyson, to Apollo Creed, to everything young and brash and good-looking about American sports. He’d been anointed the next big thing, and was almost un-backable in the betting room. Joe Calzaghe was older, slower, past it. Eight years as champion had taken their toll. His hands, never tools of one-punch knockout power, were brittle shells, particularly his left, which he’d broken in his last bout and was convinced hadn’t healed properly. You couldn’t find anyone in the American press, and few in the British, who gave him a ghost’s chance against a fighter predicted to dominate the super-middleweight landscape for the next decade or more.
12 rounds later, Calzaghe was elevated to the legendary status he would never relinquish. Lacy was a hollow shell. Hypnotised by the nearly 1000 punches Calzaghe had thrown, concussed by the 350+ that had landed, the victim of one of the rarest feats in boxing– a perfect shut out round, in which he landed exactly zero blows to his opponent– Lacy was forever beaten. Gone. Destroyed. More than his body was broken that night in 2006. His spirit was ruined. He was never the same boxer again, never the same man. The abyss had not only stared back, it had bitten his soul in two. It was one of the greatest beatings in boxing history, and the man who lost it was forever lessened.
What does this have to do with Blake? Continue reading “28 DAYS LATER, or ON COPING, or NOT.”
Cattle die and kinsmen die,
thyself too soon must die,
but one thing never, I ween, will die, —
fair fame of one who has earned.
Havamal 76, from ‘The Poetic Edda’
The kids and I flew back from his funeral yesterday. Luscious is in Perth until Thursday, when she will return to us. Perhaps it’s time to talk about it.
On September 21st, my bonus son Blake lost the battle, and took his own life. He was a week past having turned 25 years of age.
Continue reading “PAREIDOLIA: BLAKE”
Over at Facebook, I was tagged in a meme that required me to list three things that made me grateful, every day for three days.
So I thought I’d list them here, too.
- I’m grateful for my art. It has provided me with friendships, income, travel opportunities, and was the vehicle by which I escaped the soul-destroying depths off despair I was slowly being crushed by while working in the Public Service. I’ll never be famous, I’ll never be remembered, and I’ll never be considered at even the middle of the tree, but my art has been the thing that has kept me from disappearing into the obscure midst of my mediocre family tree, and I’m grateful.
- I’m grateful for a reasonable income. Yes, we struggle, and we juggle finances on a fortnightly basis, but I’m aware that we do so from a level of decent comfort. My children go to a good school, my wife is able to study, essentially, full time, and we have room to both expand our horizons and entertain our hobbies & indulgences. We never suffer, and having both come from backgrounds of grinding poverty, Lyn and I have only ever wanted our children to appreciate a good upbringing.
- I’m grateful for the respect of my peers. I get little of it at work, and I rarely feel like an author doing good work, so when a fellow artist expresses their respect or admiration for the work I do then it usually comes as an enormous, and humbling, surprise, because, to be quite honest, I generally don’t know what I do to merit it. I’ve undervalued my work for so long– it’s only in the last fortnight, for example, that I’ve decided to set a minimum fee for appearances, despite doing them regularly for the last 12 years– that I’m always a little stunned when others do value it. And grateful, because sometimes, I doubt I’d go on without it.
- I’m grateful for my readers. Despite all the mechanical hoo-ha-ra that goes into writing, ultimately it comes down to entertaining a stranger with the power of your imagination and your words. Anybody who comes back for a second helping, or who picks up my work because they like the cut of my snippets, is someone who has chosen to invest their time and imagination into my maunderings. It’s a weird kind of long-distance love affair of the mind, and I’m thankful to all who take it on.
- I’m grateful for my children. As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve read this Facebook page for long enough– by which I mean half a day or more– my kids constantly entertain me, fill me with wonder, and enrich my life by keeping me innocent, impish and focused on doing good for others who need me in their life. Whether it be my naturally-arrived Miss 12 and Master 9, or my inherited bonus kids Cassie, Aiden and Blake, granddaughter Little Miss 2, grandson Little Man
- I’m grateful for the quickness of my mind. I’ve mentioned before that my father’s mind is failing, and it’s killing me to watch a charming, erudite, quick-witted man struggle for words and concepts he used to fling about like gossamer. I love being funny, I love being deliberately unfunny to spark a funny exchange, I love to tease, to argue, to explain, to build worlds and concepts out of nothing more than my vocabulary and my ability to knit words into never before-seen shapes and tastes. All my other gifts belong to the people who bestow them upon me. This is the only thing I have going for me that is purely mine. If it ever begins to desert me, I don’t know what I’ll do.
- The care and love shown to Master 9 during his illness by people who have no other investment in it than they are his teachers, or our friends. From just-because gifts, to messages of support, to structuring his classroom, people have gathered round him for the 14 months of his illness and provided him with an atmosphere of caring and support that has done wonders for his morale and self-esteem. To Kris, Kim,Grant, Lilysea, Mark and countless others, my gratitude.
- Free education. I went to a shitty High school in the 80s, when my pre-Child Support Agency divorced mother raised two teenage boys and covered a mortgage on a single mother’s pension and a $30 a month in child support payments, and thanks to a nominally free education system I still managed to claw my way through 4 years of University. Now, it’s going to cost tens of thousands of dollars to send my children to a good high school. Much as I would love to do my Master’s degree, I simply can’t afford it. My wife’s attendance at University each semester is a matter of financial negotiation. My eldest sons struggle to hold down shitty part-time jobs and find enough time to attend to their study obligations. If I were starting my educational career today, I’d be working at K-Mart full-time, because that’s the best that people like me could have hoped to afford. I’m grateful that free education enabled me– and subsequently, my children– to escape a lower-class existence through education.
- A stable political system. Yes, Tony Abbott and his Ant-Hill Mob of witless cronies are a blight on our culture, and yes, we can argue back and forth about the relative merits of our chosen allegiances until we’re blue in the nads. But nobody shot at me today, and I own my house, and my children are safe and my wife can wear whatever she wants and get herself a tertiary education, and any meal I’ve missed since I was at Uni has been by choice, and I have freedom of travel, speech, religion and thought. And I’m an artist, and a well-paid member of the permanent workforce. I’ve never been conscripted, I’ve never fought in a war, or against my own people. I’ve never been gaoled for my beliefs, tortured, or disappeared. My neighbours don’t spy on me. I’m safe, and warm, and comfortable and educated. And I’m grateful.
And, things being what they are, here’s a little bonus extra grateful content:
10. Above all else, I am grateful for the presence of Luscious Lyn in my life. We have been together almost twelve years now, which boggles me to think of, and in that time we have faced innumerable struggles, traumas and hardships, but throughout it all she has been the pivot around which our family revolves. She has brought me unparallelled joy, belief and support, and whatever happiness I have managed to gather unto myself has been, in large part, because she is beside me, pointing me always towards positivity and joy. I cope, and occasionally flourish, because of her. I am a better person because of her.
And for that we should *all* be grateful.
Today has just been one of those days where the good arrives in numbers.
This weekend is Luscious Lyn’s annual Jehovah’s Witness convention, so this morning the kids and I dropped her off at the Burswood Dome and shuffled into the Perth City Centre to pick up Blakey Boy’s birthday presents for next weekend.
As always, kids + me + Perth = the museum, to gape at the mummified thylacine, boggle at the size of the muttaburrasaurus skeleton, open all the drawers in the discovery centre, and generally run up and down the corridors pretending to be dinosaurs. Where the kids used some of their going-out money to make their Mum a badge because they decided she needed one to make up for not being with us. And the birthday-shops in question had mega-cool stuff just begging to be Blaked. And Connor was pulled out of the crowd around a street magician to be his assistant for a bunch of tricks. And even the happy meals the kids had for lunch contained exactly the right random toys to make them happy (A Wolverine for Connor and a singing Smurf for Erin.)
An anonymous street magician and the C-Train deliver the famous ‘Making Sure the New Pope is a Fella’ trick….
I, of course, did not have a kiddie-toy happy meal. Because I had already picked up these in the shop before lunch. I am 40, and I play with grown up toys….
Even my Ninjago will be ex-ter-mi-nated….
And to top it all off, my first short story acceptance in several months has dropped into my inbox this evening. Subject to editorial requests, Comfort Ghost will appear in the upcoming ASIM 56. I’ll let you know when.
Some days, everything comes up sunny.