This is the new reality: you wake up, check Facebook, get some bad news, and then spend a few hours trying to find out if it’s true or not. Then you find out that the worst has happened and you spend the rest of the day feeling sad and confused. Alone and very far away.
I first met Cami Park through my friend Crispin Best. I had been contributing stories to his For Every Year project and I think I remember Crispin passing along a message or two that Cami had read one and enjoyed it. We started talking online soon after and she always had such nice things to say about my stuff. I remember one of the first times we were on Google chat I told her that I had just caught a couple having sex in a pickup truck on a warm summer evening. She thought this was a good story and we spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out exactly how the couple managed to have such a good time in such a small area. I told her that the trucks are pretty big here in Alberta. It seemed that every conversation with Cami usually ended up working its way into a story.
I have a lot to thank Cami for in regards to my writing. She was always so sweet and kind to me and we really enjoyed reading each other’s work. She introduced me to places like Fictionaut and every time I said, ‘I’m thinking of writing something like…’ or ‘What about a story with…’ she would always say ‘yes. do it. You should do it’. She was full of encouragement and was always reminding me of upcoming competitions or places that were accepting new submissions. I also have her to thank for showing me this online community that exists out there of writers and lit mags and everything in between. People like Scott Garson and Sheldon Lee Compton who were out there writing great short fiction, publishing it, promoting it, discussing it. The same people and groups that were saying such nice things about her and her writing after she died. The same people who are feeling sad that she’s not around anymore but so happy that she left so many stories behind.
I missed Cami last week before I even knew that she was sick and I’ll miss her even more next week. I miss chatting with her about Rachel Maddow or LOST or Dancing with the Stars or telling her about how arctic terns fly halfway around the world just to fly right back again. I’ll miss telling her how Canada is really cold and I miss her telling me that Nevada is hot (but Wisconsin can get pretty cold too).
Cami was a lovely writer who, as Scott Garson says, ‘could wake you where you sleep’. Although we had not spoke to each other in a long time I still feel fortunate to have been able to call her a friend.
Thank you Cami.
jason lee norman