1. I’m going to change the way I look
2. Sorrow swallowed up in death
3. Light of my life

BEGIN WRITING:

Jackson Hunter has died.

He passed on, kicked the bucket, took his last bow, snuffed it, went to join the angels, ceased to exist, and entered the afterlife. He suffered an untimely demise, crossed the Rubicon, passed away, sings with the heavenly choir, and became “the late” Mr. Hunter.

Jackson Hunter would have had the perfect words to describe his situation. I don’t.

But then, Jackson was, among other things, a gifted writer. I’d known him since early school days and I can tell you that he could spin a tale even at that young age that would hold his audience entranced. I’ve always thought it was a shame that we didn’t have the forethought to record his words. I suppose it didn’t really matter, though, because if one story was lost, you could count on Jackson to have another one all ready to replace it.

“I’m going to change the way I look at things,” he told me once during our college days, and I could hardly keep from yelling at him “Don’t ever change that!”

It was his unique observations of the world surrounding him that gave the succulent flavor to his prose and caused the rest of us in that sacred circle of would-be authors to grind our teeth in pure envy.

I was a lesser light in our group, which included, besides Jackson, a female whose name I no longer remember and a poet who no longer remembers any of us, having moved on to bigger and more profitable venues.

Jackson was a sun among us. We all knew he’d make a mark with his words, even though he never pursued his literary bent with an eye to making it his life’s work. Instead, he chose the most mundane of careers and let his extraordinary talent escape as if by accident onto a page now and again.

It was only because I came upon him after years of distance between us that I became reacquainted with his writing. I’d looked his name up occasionally on the internet, believing that he surely must appear in the long lists of “up-and-coming” or “best-selling” or “world-famous”, but the name stayed hidden. Why? I wondered, and felt somehow to blame if the words were lost.

I found him again by chance in a city far from where we’d once known each other well.

PENCILS DOWN

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