My Uncle Orin passed away a few weeks ago from blood poisoning. He was 61, if I recall correctly. He was a remarkable person and usually made a big impression on everyone he met. He was INCREDIBLY knowledgeable about quite a few things and could always effortlessly and entertainingly bounce back and forth between in-depth discussions of life, history, Monty Python, physics, philosophy, Star Trek, music, writing and virtually anything else you ever wanted to know about. The man was an intellectual giant and an accomplished showman, as well. He'd been acting on stage and singing in choirs from a very young age and kept right on acting and singing professionally (on stage, in bars and restaurants or in private - the venue didn't particularly matter) right up until his retirement -- after which he pretty much continued doing what he'd always done and continuing to do it quite impressively, just in private. Heck, he was singing and acting for me the last time I went to visit him, when he was getting very weak and had to stay in bed all the time.
He has been one of my heroes for quite a long time and when we last saw each other, I got to read him one of my recent short stories. His reaction (as well as the reaction of his wife Dale, who was in the next room) was VERY positive, and it was at that point that he told me something.
He told me that I have to keep writing -- to keep creating -- no matter what happens.
The fact that this man told me this on his death bed has had a subtle, but profound affect on me, I think. He's given me something that's a great burden, but one I'm bearing willingly because it's also a great gift. I have to keep writing. I have to keep working on short and long fiction. I have to keep producing audio work. I must continue my creative pursuits. It is IMPERATIVE. It is the thing that matters most. It is an edict that I MUST carry out -- and am happy to.
Essentially what this means is that I've decided that I'm going to be a professional writer of SOME kind even if it kills me. Preferably it won't.
I have to keep writing.
So that's what I plan to do. :)