A few years ago, I participated in the Ultimate Science Fiction Writers Workshop taught by Jeffrey A. Carver and Craig Shaw Gardner. In addition to the valuable lessons learned, I met my co-author, Meredith Watts, and the members of my writing group, the Illiterati. I also joined the community of previous Ultimate Workshop participants.
Last year, several of those participants hatched a scheme to publish a collection of short stories–Pen-Ultimate: A Speculative Fiction Anthology. The collection would give us an opportunity to share our work and promote the workshop (which I highly recommend). More importantly, it was all for a good cause–proceeds from the anthology would go to the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) Emergency Medical Fund.
“Oldest Friends” is my contribution. The story speaks to my own thoughts, worries and fears around aging, Alzheimer’s, and the struggle to find time to spend with those we love.
I should note that, while I took some liberties to meet the needs of the story, all of the “friends” who appear are real–contributed knowingly or not by family and friends. For example, Baboo and Baku Baku come from a friend’s son (as does Baboo’s home). Kent McCord was one of my sister’s childhood friends. And the briefly-mentioned Teakettle was a constant, if invisible, presence in my own childhood.