The Island of Zadu, by K. Michael Crawford
Hey, I found her Youtube channel. This is K.'s book trailer for The Island of Zadu. :)
"Send me on a great journey", K. Michael Crawford, Part 3
In Part Two, I talked of how K's example became my guide to becoming a creator capable of self-publishing. And of self-promotion. And working, adapting, changing, and remaining True to Me, which I was discovering more and more of what that might mean. Of course I'm still learning.
In trying to ramp up my own events schedule during 2013, I had a mild anxiety attack before an event. I then realised I wasn't the sort who could do 60 events in one year and happened to write K about my pulling back from the circuit (and why). And she wrote me an email titled "Finding Your Own Way", which I'll paste an excerpt, here:
It's so funny, but our society is set up to get everyone to follow in someone else's foot steps to success. "Buy this book to make your product successful." "Ten easy ways to do this." Here's how to make this successful." "Ten easy steps to get your book on the best sellers list."
You know what I found out about all of that, is that what works for one person will not work the same for someone else. And the only people who are making tons of money is the ones who are putting out the books on how to do it. So I am finding my own way to make my books successful and glad to hear that you are doing the same. The other thing that I mention to you the last time I wrote you was that I am not going to compare my stuff to anyone else's product or such. That also means that I don't follow in anyone else's foot steps. I hope that you don't get the feeling that you have to follow in mine.
With that blessing I did stop peddling my little trike furiously after the big kids and veered on to an unknown forest path of Discovery. K's work and mine were not similar; we could do very different things to get our books to readers. I kept my mind open to possibilities, and when I got obstinate or lazy and didn't feel like budging, asked myself, "Why Not?".
I figured that's what K would do. ;) So like it or not, I'm still noting where her footsteps might go.
K. wanted to share a room for Phoenix Comic-Con 2014. I was in for that. When San Diego Comic Con 2013 rolled around in July, K wanted friends like myself to come visit her at the show. Out of sheer laziness I declined, because SDCC had become so big, the logistics of getting into town, finding parking, getting into the venue and so on, was too much of a chore for my lazy self. So K decided she would drive up from SDCC to meet her LA friends. For our meeting, I picked the LA Zoo, thinking that was a perfect place to meet K.
Our meet-up didn't happen, because the last day of SDCC, K felt ill and decided she'd just fly home. She sounded really disappointed, but in all optimism, I told her to take care of herself and we were certain, thanks to the events circuit, to meet again soon.
Busy'ness; that's how our lives go. When we find like-minded people, we figure they're doing like-minded things. I had assumed K. went back immediately to making more books because she had a middle-school novel in mind for her next project. She'd asked for my editor's contact, therefore I'm certain K had a manuscript on a hard drive somewhere. And it's probably still there. When K got in touch with me again it was September 3rd. I was mending from a broken foot and probably in the middle of getting Sundark: An Elle Black Penny Dread, done.
She wrote to say she was sorry to have bad news; she'd been fighting bone cancer for the past five years and her medicine was no longer working. She was on a new treatment currently. She also asked for all the good thoughts she could get and I wished her such to infinity, even as my heart dropped. I ordered flowers sent the next day. Bone cancer was serious business; I tried to prepare myself and intended to send flowers to her every week and make sure she let me know all that was going on. I think the flowers really cheered her up and she promised to let me know more when she knew more.
"Sending you some magic for your books and art," she wrote.
One week passed; I waited too long in letting her tell me more, being again caught up in getting Sundark published. Ten days after that last email, she was dead, and I found out from reading her best friend's post on her Facebook page.
In retrospect, yes, I feel terrible and couldn't think why I didn't pester her further, maybe sent her an e-card or personal message each day, hopefully to comfort or to brighten her time. I was afraid that by pestering I might make things worse, only because I erroneously thought she might be doing chemo, which I understood was exhausting. It didn't occur to me that like our cat and dog friends, time moves far faster for the sick than it does to we who are not ill. Now I know.
She didn't let anyone know she had cancer, not even her best friend Pablo Ramos, and she didn't tell anyone she was actually dying except perhaps Pablo, the week she wrote me. I'm sure she didn't tell me because what could I write back? I'm bawling? At least Pablo had the skills to hurry and put a tribute video together for her to see. And in seeing the overview of her work K did have one thing to say: I wish I had more time.
As Pablo said to me, K probably thought that by not talking about her cancer she would beat death, even up to the very end, and perhaps she was right. She did, after all, beat it for five years by making books, reaching her audience, flying to everywhere, and making magic and having adventures. She was beating it while we talked at her table at SDCC 2009, and I had wondered why a person like her would show up in a place like that. :)
I am glad that we live in this technically advanced environment now, where if we have the clock ticking over our head, we can immediately get something published, get a video shot and done and uploaded, say 'howdy' to a zillion people via social media and not have to wait for the largesse of some gatekeeper blocking, hindering, or taking their time in 'helping' us express ourselves or reach people. K beat cancer by making 6 books, one dvd set, and a bazillion illustrations and paintings within a 5-6 year period. I think she told me once that she was building a musical instrument. I'm riding my trike through the forest of Discovery because that's what's important.
K said: "I do not want anyone to celebrate the loss of my life, but instead I want everyone to celebrate the life that I had, which means have fun, be silly and send me on a great adventure in my honor."
K, you got it. On every possible ship sailing into sky and wonder, in every brushstroke, butterfly wing, sunbeam, and in every footprint made in unknown lands and in every Dream, there's You. Thank you.
Love, ~Elizabeth 2013
K. Michael Crawford's books on Amazon:
K's colouring book, One Whimsical Zoofari, was only available directly from her, as was her "How to Create Your Own Comic Book!" 6-dvd set plus workbook.
I just wanted to mention that K hated being called 'K----', the name she was born with. ;) She wanted me to call her Michael. But I wrote her and said "I can't call you that, it's too many letters", and thus I called her 'K'.