“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.” --E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
Most of you know by now that Walt Staples, who was a writer, a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, and my good friend died on Wednesday, March 14.
I met him through the Guild, in the chat room, I think. My memory is fuzzy on that, but not on the fact that it was during a chat that I roped him into running for the Guild Presidency. He won unanimously (not hard with the Guild--officership is still more of a "who'se crazy enough to volunteer?" deal). He did a great job for six months, before he had to drop out in order to take care of his wife, who had some medical problems.
Still, he and I kept in touch, swapping stories for critique, sharing funny things we'd found, talking over Guild stuff. Even though he was busy with the stresses at home, he always took time to help the Guild--and others--and me. After a conversation about humor, he agreed to do a workshop for the Catholic Writers Conference Online (we're running it in his honor again this year.) When I started a blog about the space industry, he agreed to run a series of columns about growing up in the 50s and 60s and watching the space race. (Find them at Rocket Science for the Rest of Us.)
We were crit partners, too, and he was always willing to tell it to me straight. When the romance part of Neeta Lyffe 2 didn't work, he first checked it with his wife and daughter, then told me what was wrong. The book's vastly improved because of his honesty.
There have been times in my life, too, where I've needed straight-up advice, things where Rob and I were too close to what was happening. He came through for me, then, too.
I know it's cliche in times like this, but I believe he was a far better friend to me than I was to him. I loved him dearly and am proud to have known him. He was a blessing in my life, and I think God that we were friends, even if it was for too short a time.