Letter to a Dead Friend

We all cope with grief in our own ways. Writing letters to a dead man is one of mine.

Until the end of 2016 I spent hours on the telephone each week chatting with Dan Berli Brown about books, movies, television, games, tropes, philosophy, life the universe, and fuck knows what else. We both adored overthinking the deeper truths stories reveal about ourselves and our society. And we both loved to talk. Past tense, him being dead and all.

I miss him fiercely every single damned time I think “I need to remember to tell Dan’l about that,” and that’s too many times a day to count. So this  Other Things media post went all epistolary on me, and the next few probably will as well.


It’s been entirely too fucking long since you last called and said, “Hey, what’s up?” because you’re bored, can’t sleep or are waiting for the coffee to brew. So here’s the rundown on what I’ve been doing — because if I don’t tell you, you’ll get all pissy when you find out about it later and I say, “Oh, yeah, I knew about that.”


You’ll hate my latest movie marathon. I did all the Harry Potter movies. In order, binge-style. I watched the last one twice. I dunno. I felt like wallowing in heroism, sacrifice, and happy endings for some reason.  And then I watched the Adventures of Baron von Munchausen. Terry Gilliam. Because nothing says life like a big dose of absurdity.

I also went to the theater for the first time in forever! With friends! We did the brunch & big screen bad movie thing, and it was stupendous fun. Underworld: Blood Wars. How bad was it? It started with a longer monologue than Highlander 2. Yeah. Highlights (if I can call them that) lots of the Discount Lesser Hemsworth (Theo Gates) flexing in fight scenes and Kate Beckinsale in black latex. Lots of ridiculous action and plot holes big enough to drive planets through. It’s setting the 2017 movie quality bar very low.

What else have I been doing…watching TV of course.

Black Mirror, man. Wow. Did you tell me I should watch this? I should’ve seen it YEARS ago. Like the Twilight Zone stretched into hour-long episodes. Writing, acting, production all top notch. Brain-twisting, heart-wrenching, gut-turning. Bleak and all-too-believable.

The OA.  The soundtrack is first-class, the direction & cinematography are beautiful, and it touches on some intriguing concepts: life after death, dimensional travel, healing after trauma. Alas, it suffers from a severe case of 21st century sllllooooooows. (slower than Battlestar Galactica: Pocket Knife, I kid you not.) Plus the reveals are a mixture of hokey and “Are you fucking kidding me?”   It’s reaching for a “mystery wrapped in an enigma” feel, but the long, lingering redundant reaction shots suck the life out of it. Skip this and re-watch Stranger Things again instead.

Sherlock. Season 3. You totally missed out on this one. Started dark and deadly, bounced into epic with the middle episode, and wrapped up…well. NO SPOILERS AMIRITE?  Yes, yes, you were right all along about the other Holmes sibling. Go ahead, say “I told you so.” Smartypants.

And yeah, I’ve been reading.

One of those Regency romances.  I don’t have the title because the library keeps not sending the email receipts. It was the latest Mary Balogh. Reliable and enjoyable. No facetious comments or eye rolls, or  I will counter with,  “Star Wars novels you read even when you hate the author.” We all do odd things that make us happy. Never could understand why you did that to yourself.

Burning Page.  I was telling you about the first in this series the day before you went in for your last clinic visit. You know, the one where you ended up in the ER and then the ICU? The stories just keep getting better. Dangerous fae just the way they should be, a Sherlock Holmes analogue, a multiverse of great magic/tech mixes, and a feisty Librarian with a capital L. You would eat it up like candy. Well. Not candy. Not you. Red meat, maybe. Read meat, even. There. A bad pun for your collection.

Oh, and I’m writing again. Jack Coby and Amy Goodall are getting into trouble with a big supporting cast and some unfolding domestic strife. I wish you were still around to give me the usual snarky lines for them to say.

That’s all the trouble I’ve been getting into lately. I would ask for a new batch of effusive recommendations and pithy warn-offs, but you won’t have any, so I’ll have to muddle along.

Anyway. I’ll let you get back to whatever you were doing. Talkatchalater.

One response to “Letter to a Dead Friend”

  1. Susan Smith-Franks Avatar

    Love this so very much. Thank You.