Written To Death – Writer Unboxed Redirect

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_A_Walk_at_DuskOnce again, I am honored to have one of my essays featured on Writer Unboxed. I never quite know when these opportunities might arise, and it seems a bit unfortunate to me that I chose a fairly heavy topic (death) and that my chance occurred on a sunny (here in the Mighty Mitten, anyway) early summer Friday. It may be a heavy subject, but I tried to keep my take lighthearted. Those of you who’ve read my work know that I do not shy away from the topic on the page. And I’m fairly certain that upon closer examination, death plays a role in your work as well. After all, death is a part of life. Hence, it should be a part of story.

On that sunny note, Happy Friday, everyone. Please smile as you head over and check out Written to Death, on the best darn writing blog on the interwebs, and the mothership to my writing community, Writer Unboxed.

9 comments on “Written To Death – Writer Unboxed Redirect

  1. Good one – LOTS of food for thought.

    But I have to go write the results down.


  2. It’s GOING to be so GREAT, when I manage to control the herd, and the top three or four cats tap dance on stage under the spotlights. It just takes a little work. Aargh!


  3. marcymckay says:

    Hi Vaughn. I left you a comment @ WU, but wanted to leave a more personal note here. Death has not visited me directly, though it still changed my life forever. In 1987, my father came to visit me in college and died of a heart attack there. He was 52; I was 20. I started writing my first novel at age 26. I’m 48 now and have competed 4 novels, while being married 24 years, have 2 teenagers + various j-o-b-s. I’m still unpublished, but don’t consider myself a failure. I’m working to make my dream come true, while living a life I love. I don’t think your post was morbid at all. Some of us KNOW that life can change on a dime. Thanks.


    • Hey Marcy, Thanks so much for making the effort to come over and share that. I’m sorry about your dad, that must’ve been tough. And I’m sure it’s been a big part of your journey. You were both too young.

      I had a life-altering experience with death in college, this one through the loss of my wife’s father, at age 47. She wasn’t my wife yet, but we had been dating for some months. We heard he was faltering in the hospital, and I drove her to her hometown from our college town, about an hour away, to see him before he passed. I’d met him a handful of times, and he’d treated me about as you’d expect any father to treat his early-20s daughter’s boyfriend. When we went into the room, less than an hour from his passing, he saw me, took off his breathing mask, and said: “Take good care of her, Vaughn.”

      The look in his eyes, and those words, will stay with me forever. He knew before we did, that we we were meant to be together. And we are.

      How on earth could you consider yourself a failure, Marcy? We gain so much, learn so much about ourselves and the world around us, with each manuscript that we finish. And finishing is so very important. Much more important than being published, IMO. We are the lucky ones, to have found our calling, and, as you say, to carry the realization that life can turn on a dime. We get to live each day doing what we know in our hearts that we are *meant* to do.

      Keep it up, you successful writer, you! Thanks again, for this lovely note, and for being a part of the conversation on WU (and not just when I post).


  4. marcymckay says:

    Wow, wow, wow, Vaughn. What a powerful experience about your father-in-law. I do believe in myself and my craft, it’s just HARD sometimes. I’m in a weekly writing group with four other amazing; three of whom are traditionally published. One is a NYT best-selling author, the other got 6 figures for a two-book deal two years ago, the third will hit the NYT if she sticks with it. Sometimes, I think…what’s wrong with me? Answer: Nothing. We’re all on different paths, we’re our own unique journeys. Thanks, Vaughn and take care.


    • Good on you for having such a healthy perspective. I know what you mean about it being hard sometimes. I just realized I’m going to have to dive into yet another rewrite, and I spent a day moping and wallowing. So many of the friends I came up with through WU are now published, multi-published, award-winning, starred-review gathering authors. And I’ve wondered what’s wrong with me and my work, too. But I agree: nothing. My path is just more circuitous. 😉 All the best to you on your unique journey, Marcy!


      • marcymckay says:

        You only moped for a day about your rewrite? I can hold private pity parties that last for months! I may still be writing, but I MIGHT be sulky ever step of the way. It’s nice to meet a kindred spirit.


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