There’s been a round of cleaning recently at the Tribe House in Vancouver, and last night Mister Bear handed me a card that he had found, tucked in with the old paperwork and keepsakes.
It’s a Christmas card from 1993. It was still in the envelope–it had been sent to an old address in Seattle and forwarded to the new one. I must have received it right after New Year’s Day in 1994.
My friend Nathan was still living in Durango that year. The note he’s written on the interior says, “I’m still alive, this card is proof of that. I’m still writing and will send work as proof upon request. You should like my latest, ‘Love, Death and October Coffee’…”
There’s more, of course, but it’s personal stuff. A note from a friend who missed his old friends. He wished good things for me and my new family. He told me that my friendship had value–that’s a message I hadn’t received often and still don’t receive often, which is probably why I held onto his card for over 20 years, hidden away among the birthday greetings and the love letters and the hand-made Valentines from my daughters.
Historically speaking, Nathan Crowder wouldn’t stay much longer in Durango, Colorado after writing this card. He moved out West soon after. Nowadays he’s the one who lives in Seattle, but some things don’t change. We still haven’t met face-to-face in years–neither one of us ever seems to have the time and money for personal visits. And he remains to this day one of the most dedicated and passionate writers I know.
He’s published four (or is it five?) novels at this point, has four collections of his shorter work out, and he’s sold to a dozen interesting markets in the last six years.
I wish I had a copy of “Love, Death, and October Coffee” in my collection of Nathan memorabilia, but I don’t. Looking into my storage media, I find that the earliest work I have from him is dated 2005. They’re the early drafts of stories now published, “Fists of Felt”, “Kid Gloves” and “Memory in the Time of Bones”.
Time marches on. After almost twenty-one years I still have this card…and I still look forward daily to the status updates and blog posts and Twitter comments that give proof that Nathan is still alive.
I maintain a lively interest in love, death and all caffeinated beverages. Especially coffee.