This story ends like this: she died on New Year's Eve.
But it began, for me, about three years ago. We met in Phnom Penh on a red afternoon. Gunfire and smoke mixed with the clouds. Police cars were flipped across the bridge a few dozen feet away. A mob of people like a school of fish blocked the road furthest from us. She got off her bus, scrambled in the chaos, and wandered in to my life.
"Welcome to Cambodia," I said. We smiled and drank and explored.
This was our journey.
We became friends. Then lovers. Roommates. Then friends again. We fought, argued, and hurt each other. Deeply, sometimes. But she was always supportive, unquestioningly positive, even when she had no reason to be.
Years later, when she learned about my new company, she exploded with praise. She was expecting one in the mail. She told me how excited she was -- not even a week ago. I know now she'll never receive it.
She won't get to read what I've been working on for years. It began as a bladerunner-inspired romp through a futuristic Southeast Asia. Sounds great, right? It transformed, very deliberately, in to something more grounded in reality. The people we met became characters in my story. The places we saw became backdrops to conflict. The memories of that city -- that beautiful, crazy, shaken-up place with amazing souls clashing with the worst of the west -- those memories spill out from my mind in to ink and typeface.
It was our story, mixed on a palette, and put on to canvas.
But she won't be here to experience it. And it hurts worse than I want to admit.
This isn't the end of her story, though. I know it's up to me to finish this. There's a permanence I can offer her -- something absolute. While she might no longer be with us, her spirit lives on in my mind, and then in to my words.
My point is this:
Take pride in your words. Take pride in your art. Be bold, be brave, and put new ideas forward. We all end up as carbon.
I hope you all can hold yourselves to your creative goals in the upcoming year and beyond.
There's someone out there who wants to experience what you create. They might not be there forever.
Create, create, create. We're here for each other. We're here for you.