I have been struggling to collect my thoughts ever since I heard that David Farland, the author of many bestselling books and the king of writing courses and young author success, was in hospital from a spill down the stairs. We all knew that this was the end of this legendary man, sending the whole of the writing world into a frenzy of fear, uncertainty, and utter sadness.
In some ways, I wish I had never known who he was. Because the pain that I felt, even after only knowing and interacting with him for less than a year, was intense. I spent hours crying and days walking around in a fog. He was generous, kind, intensely motivated; all the things we hope that we can be when we "grow up". Why do we have to lose him, of all people?
The group that he created, Apex Writers, has been my North Star for some time now. Even more so now, as we all toss about on the sea, feeling unmoored and without a compass. What a loss, we all felt! We hung onto tenterhooks after finding out he was in hospital. We prayed, sent all the vibes and thoughts, and then we mourned. We shared stories, thoughts, feelings, tears. In true Dave fashion, we offered each other help and support.
And then yesterday we watched him be laid to rest. I was able to watch remotely as his family gave tribute to a life that just wasn't long enough. It was a beautiful service. I listened to his children talk about how hard he worked to provide for his family, but also how willingly he gave his time to help other authors climb the ladder to success. While I was calming my own children as they screamed and threw fits in the living room, I learned how lovingly he cared for his own children, sharing stories at bedtime that seemed so real to them. Weaving fantasy worlds together just to make his children feel special and loved. What a life to live up to!
Y'all, I didn't know David even a quarter as well as other writers in my Apex group. But I took his class this past fall and I felt like I did. Because Dave didn't talk to anyone like they were strangers. He didn't help anyone any less because they didn't know him. He wanted everyone to succeed and considered all of his students his 'kids'. He helped me immensely when he edited some of my work. He gave me such specific line-by-line advice that I could hardly believe that he did this for everyone. But I knew he did, because it didn't take long to know what kind of person he was.
I don't know if I will ever be as successful as some of the students that came before me. But I know that I hold a special piece of history. I was taught and mentored by David Farland. He is the reason I am here. He made me believe in myself. The world became a dimmer place when such a bright soul left. Maybe I can carry on a little portion of that.
I hope that, whatever your dreams are, you can find someone like Dave to help you move them along. It is such a gift to have that kind of support guiding you toward your goal. Dave was a rare kind of person. But hope tells me that there has to be more people out there somewhere who love to help others as much as Dave did. I hope you find one. As Dave taught, we are all on our own hero's journey. We are the hero in our own story. Sure, at some point, we will lose our mentor. I just hope that you get as much out of yours before that happens as I did out of mine (though I will forever wish I could have more).
Rest peacefully Dave. You are loved. As a side note, out of self preservation, I have convinced myself you faked your death. I hope that's true.
The above picture was not taken by me. I stole it from the internet. Since it was on so many different websites, it is hard to know who I should cite. Hopefully this disclaimer keeps me from getting sued. That is all, carry on.