PIKE here: I have to tell you how my girlfriend, Abir, and I sat down to watch a movie last night. Before we turned it on she flipped to the spot where you guys responded to my letter explaining how I was recovering and couldn’t do the tour. When Abir started to read aloud your long list of responses to my surgery — to say I was moved would be a massive understatement. Abir started crying and I …well, I acted like I wasn’t.
I’ve mentioned how I grew up obsessed with Arthur C. Clarke — 2001: A Space Odyssey — and Isaac Asimov –The Foundation books — and Robert Heinlein — Stranger In A Strange Land. By coincidence, while lying around and trying to heal, I’ve been reading Clarke’s collected short stories. It’s brought such nostalgia! The massive book gave me a window into the past and allowed me to see how much his work structured my mind when I was growing up.
Then, while Abir was reading your “Get Well Messages,” she pointed out that I had had a similar impact on many of you. That’s still impossible for me to accept but she kept insisting it was true.
No one dislikes false humility more than I do. And no one would ever accuse me of being politically correct. I still think of myself as Kevin McFadden, not “Christopher Pike.” I’ve said before that good stories have a life of their own. The most important task a writer has is to work his/her ass off when they show up to get them down on paper or in your computer. The second most important task is to stay out of the way of the stories and just let them come.
This is my clumsy way of saying — and I know I’ve said it before — that I don’t feel I deserve praise for my books. But the love you guys have showered on me with during this rough time — that’s not the same thing as praise. It’s…I can’t find the right word. It’s overwhelming, it’s amazingly, and it’s so much more.
While Abir was reading your letters aloud, I felt healed, No joke, I felt EMOTIONALLY healed. Surgery is obviously traumatic. I mentioned before how I couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea I was going to spend five hours on a hard table in a chilly operating room while I was cut and sewn back together. A good thing I was unconscious, I keep telling myself. And I was out cold, no questions.
But the weird thing, over the last ten days, I’ve begun to get “flashes” of what went on during the surgery. These flashes might be imaginary. But when I get them I feel pain, physical pain, my body trembles.
However, when Abir read your letters, the flashes stopped.
Many believe in prayer, others don’t. I believe in what works. Tons of you said you’d pray for me, and, remarkably, minutes after I posted my note about my surgery, I began to feel better. Come morning, when thousands of you saw my note, I felt a lot better.
Even though I’ve yet to throw away my bottle of pills, now I believe in you guys.
Speaking of my little blue pills. MANY of you appear VERY curious about the pain medication I’m taking. If I didn’t know better…Ah, I should be careful what I say! I’m not taking Dilaudid but I am swallowing pretty strong stuff. It not only takes away the pain it makes me love everyone…
I’m aware of the dangers of addiction. The other day I purposely didn’t take anything for 28 hours — yes, I counted them; at the end they crept by — and naturally I felt pain and soreness. But I also felt “hot.”
I think that was my body’s way of saying, “Hey, Mr. Big Shot Christopher Pike, about those opiates you‘ve been feeding me. You‘ve got to get more or all those kind letters people have been sending you are no longer going to magically make you feel better.”
I felt my body was blackmailing me. And the fact I was having real time conversations with myself was a bad sign, although not as bad as the “heat” I was feeling. It was a little scary how quickly the heat vanished as soon as I took a few pills. I take addiction seriously, I’m cutting down, way down. There’s no danger of me becoming an addict.
However, my birthday is just around the corner.
A man should enjoy his birthday. He should be comfortable.
Maybe, just for one day, half a day…
Seriously, thanks for the “Get well” letters. I just reread them for the fourth time. If I had the energy I’d respond to every one of them personally. Energy is a problem these days. One of you called me on that fact when you said, “Just like a man, trying to rush the recovery period.” I deserved that. Trying to push to do the tour was macho B.S. And yeah, being macho is not the same as being strong.
I still fear that by taking so long to call off the tour lots of fans are going to show up at the Miami Book Fair and at the various bookstores looking for me. Which leads me to…Can I ask a favor?
If you know anyone, an online friend — or even a friend of a friend — who was thinking of trying to see me, could you try to get them a message about the pretty nurse and the catheter… No, I mean could you try to let them know that I’m staying home, and WHY I’m staying home.
We all know times are super tight. You wouldn’t believe the size of the checks I had to write last week: to the surgeon, the surgical center, the anesthesiologist, my own doctor, another specialist. You guys think I’m so smart. A genius, some call me. Well, after decades of paying for medical insurance, your genius let his policy expire just before I needed it.
You’re probably thinking bills like that wouldn’t bother “New York Times Bestselling Christopher Pike.” NOT! Medical Bills are Mystery Bills. You get a catheter attached to your…hell, I have to stop using that example. You get any extra procedure — and I had a few complications; nothing that’s going to hurt me long term — and wow, the cost goes through the roof.
Still, the experience has been educational. I’m more sympathetic to what people have to go through to get decent medical care in this country. You need money, money, money… I haven’t studied Obamacare as close as I should. I know it’s controversial. I just hope it helps.
I’ve gotten off base. I’ve said before it’s difficult for me to play the salesman. None of us likes getting calls from people trying to sell us stuff, although I understand our economy is based on someone somewhere selling a product. Salesmen deserve the respect of any hard working person. Still, it’s not my thing, and I suck at it.
The last ten days, my energy to sell Witch World has waned. And the book comes out in what — three days? I have to fight against how I’m feeling physically. I hate to ask for another favor. Could you reach out to your friends online — or in the neighborhood! — and tell them Witch World is coming. Send them the first two chapters if you think it will help sell the book Or wait and read it and then tell them what you think about it — QUICKLY!
Sadly, the book business had come to resemble the movie business. I told you Simon & Schuster has been great; they’ve shipped plenty of books. Walmart, Barnes & Noble — the big chains will have lots of copies of Witch World. That’s wonderful, I’m grateful; every author dreams of having their book out there and widely visible. But it’s a double-edged sword.
I have to sell the books fast. This time of year the stores are jammed. You all know Christmas starts earlier every year. That’s why S&S set the release date for Witch World for Nov 13th . Once again, I’ll get you the details on the mass signing next week. If you want to give a book as a gift, I’ll sign it to whoever you want. If you send a half dozen books and a list of names, I’ll sign them all. And I’ll sign two old books for every Witch World you send me to sign. Sorry I can’t just sign everything. I’ll send the book back the day they arrive. IF you enclose a SASE. The SASE is what will makes this all work. I’ll talk more about it when I post the signing details.
The reason I’m delaying the post to the last minute is because of the surgery. I haven’t gone outside since I had it. I’ve been stuck at home with a handful of books, TV, my girlfriend. Abir has been my saving angel. It’s interesting how many of us only realize how much someone means to them when they go through a crisis. I’m grateful I’ve had her to watch over me. I don’t know if I would have made it without her.
Damn, I keep wandering away from selling of Witch World. I’m so excited about the book; even more excited about Witch World II. This story goes where no one has gone before. Since the surgery, I’ve had a floodgate of ideas open to the Witch World universe. I suspect this series will be the major work of my career. I’ve been searching for something like this to sink my teeth into.
The first book is an exciting thriller. It moves fast — I had to cram in a tremendous amount of action, characters, concepts. But even though the book is complete in itself, it also opens a door. I worked on it today a little bit. It was a thrill to come back to it. This story if DEFINITERLY being fed to me. I could never come up with it on my own. I’m not being humble it’s just a fact.
Again, thanks for your letters, your support, especially your prayers. Prayers work. Love works. One day I think science will discover that love is the power that allows all the other forces in the universe to work.
Before the nurse came to wheel me into surgery, when I was lying in an undersized hospital gown with an IV in my left wrist and one is my right foot — I don’t know why I needed two — I wondered what it would be like if I died on the table. I knew it was unlikely but my sister is an R.N. and she has told me enough stories about what can go wrong.
As you know by now, I hate pain. After what I’ve gone through, I can say I fear it as well as hate it. But for reasons I’ll explain another time — it deals with my spiritual adventures — I have no fear of death.
Still, I didn’t want to die, largely because I didn’t want to leave those I love behind, but also because I have so many stories I have left to write. I thought of you guys when I was waiting to be wheeled away. I remember thinking how none of you would ever know how the Alosha series ends, or how vast the Witch World universe was going to become. And I thought how I would never get to see your reaction to The Sixth Door — the darkest of all books. For all these reasons, for all these stories which have a life of their own, I knew my own life had to go on.