In Memoriam: Sue Grafton

I found out yesterday that Sue Grafton, mystery writer extraordinaire, passed away on December 28, 2017. My first reaction was shock, since her passing seemed to come out of nowhere. My second reaction was sadness, because I love her books. But it was my third reaction, which came in light of yesterday being the first day of a new year, that got me thinking.

If you've been around the mystery scene for even a second, you probably know who Sue Grafton is. She wrote one of fiction's most memorable private investigators, and a female one to boot. Kinsey Millhone is a masterpiece, and Grafton's epic, so-called alphabet series, was a 35-year, 25-book adventure. 25 books, and 25 good ones. But only 25.

Grafton published her 25th book, Y is for Yesterday, in 2017. She was presumably beginning work on the 26th, and final, book, Z is for Zero. She knew it was coming. Her readers knew it was coming. The idea of finishing the series with the alphabet was kind of the point. But now it'll never be written, and the series will remain unfinished.

Finding this out yesterday, on January 1, got me thinking about my own writing. I've got a big long list of things I'd like to write before I die. I'm young and in good health, so presumably I won't be dying for a while, yet it's still easy to think I've got unlimited time. More specifically, that I'll have time later to finish, or in some cases start, all these stories. Obviously that's not the case, and the thought of being on my deathbed, one book (or one chapter, or one paragraph, or one word) away from finishing my life's work, knowing that I'd run out of time, is pretty damn depressing. So. New Year's resolution: write more stuff. More on that later.

RIP Sue, and Kinsey, too. You guys are the stuff of legends.