This morning I awoke to the news that the crime author, James Thompson, had passed away over the weekend.
I had heard of Jim through my writing group here in Helsinki. He had moved here years ago from the US and carved out a successful career writing dark, gritty novels based around the career of an Inspector Vaara. Vaara starts out his career as a potentially good policeman based in the north of the country, eventually moving to Helsinki and finding his life changing over the course of the following novels.
Jim had kindly offered to give a talk to the group about his work and the potential problems involved in getting books published, sticking to story structure and so on. I had been unable to attend the meeting so contacted him directly about possibly discussing my own work which he agreed to and gave me invaluable advise about reaching a wider audience, the voices used in my own work, and how to build a persona as an author i.e. finding a way of expressing yourself through your words and sticking with that where possible.
I met up with Jim on a few more occasions, he always made time where he could, before he eventually moved away last year to Lahti. Unfortunately contact with him was limited during this time and it was with the typical irony that, just as I was kicking myself around to emailing him to see how things were going, I heard of his untimely death.
My own life has experienced a number of let downs and losses in the past few years, and this should be the wake up call I need to value the time I still have to create and to reach out to people as a writer. To hear that someone like Jim, who had his fans and followers, has passed on makes me (in one way) glad that he had managed to achieve a good level of public fame through his work but as always there’s the feeling that each writer always has so much more to say. It’s a rare well that runs completely dry.
If you believe in such things, Jim has gone on to meet with other folk and to have his own adventures there. In the meanwhile the clock ticks and each second that goes by should be a reminder that things need to be done, while they can. Creating is it’s own reward, and to deny yourself of that, only ends up with one victim.
Bless you, Jim, and thanks for all you gave.