Say hello to Max. We’ve been best friends for fourteen years now.
Max-box, Maximus Decimus Boximus, Big-head, has been with me through school, university and even my first job. I can barely remember life without him; he’s always been there. He was a boy’s fulfilled wish and a man’s best friend. A dog really can change a person’s life, and he did just that. I have so much to thank him for.
Back in April, the week before all my decision-making, Max was put down. (T.S. Eliot always said April was the cruellest month, but then I never really cared for “The Wasteland”.) Despite Max’s age, his death had been unexpected. Only the week before I’d driven him an hour-and-a-half to the beach, just to throw chalk stones for him in the waves.
The week leading to Max’s death and the week after are the only two over the past year where I’ve been unable to think about Everborne. (Even on my holidays and trips away, I took my little black notebook with me; trying to draw inspiration from my surroundings, especially in Croatia.) My mind was numb. I switched off. I just couldn’t concentrate. He was—still is—my best friend, and he was gone. Six months on—I can’t actually believe it’s been six months—and I still miss him like crazy.
When I was able to continue thinking about Everborne,—it came back to me slowly, like a leaking drip-drip-drip before a ceiling-crashing deluge—Max actually helped me unpick a rather pivotal plot point. I’d been fumbling around for a while, struggling to get a hold of it, much like searching for an earring in leaf-laden ground; you’re near it, so near it, but you can’t quite reach it. Without giving too much away, the plot point is a catalyst that results in many of the resulting story, in both the first book and the next. It was an organic idea which made sense in relation to the story. Max just helped it click into place. The result was an influx of further ideas.
Even though he’s gone, Max remains an important part of me. This has been reflected in my work. Although this is one adventure we’re unable to share, it’s nice to know he helped me begin. More than that, his passing—my loss—was one of the biggest factors in helping me decide to begin writing Everborne.
Max reminded me that our time on this green planet is finite; you can live a lifetime before you realise it’s over.
I still have a full head of hair, uncreaking limbs and 20/20 vision. Twenty-four is a young age, for others. For me, it makes me feel old. The years have begun to quicken, each faster than the one before. Time really is finite. If I didn’t begin writing now, when would I? Worse than that: if I didn’t begin writing now, would I ever?