As some of you may know, a few months ago we lost a very loved member of our Interlude Press, Lex. Even after months of sitting on this post because I just couldn’t put these words down, I feel like nothing I say can do him justice. For the most beautiful words that describe him, I’d send you to K. E. Belledonne’s post.
Lex was irreverent and fun. He was brilliant — more so that I can even understand — and he cared for every single member of our family in a quiet and steadfast way. He believed in us, and worked tirelessly on each of our books. Lex was always available whenever I had any sort of technology fail, even the most simple ones (I can’t, computers are hard, ‘kay). He loved sending me that one video of Cheyenne Jackson performing a song from Xanadu at the Tonys. (I can’t help but think of him every time I watch American Horror Story because I never thought I’d get so much sexy Cheyenne on my screen and I wish I could have inappropriate conversations with Lex about him). He checked in with me when I wasn’t doing well.
Lex made me laugh. So much.
When Hush was in it’s early stages of edit, its working title was Dark Horse. One day I was talking to my editor Annie and telling her how excited I was to see my cover art, because she had told me it was beautiful. And then she started to laugh, because she was also talking to Lex, who told her he’d found the perfect cover for my book.
I can’t find the picture that’s the big version, where it’s clear that they are at a urinal.
Lex spent the next year saving gems for me — we’ve all seen random horse head photos, but Lex really found some funny ones, or weird ones, and held on to them.
After the Superbowl when I was still working through my back injury I got a link to the great Superbowl Cheerios Dad commercial, which has a tiny horse head cameo. After I had my gallbladder out this summer, I got a great one I can’t seem to find, of a naked soccer player (well IDK I could see his bum, he was probably actually wearing a modesty sock) and a horse. It was artsy and weird and like WHAT? It made me laugh and then curse because the laughter hurt but I needed it.
The last time I spoke to Lex, we talked about how he was putting the inside of my upcoming book, What it Takes, together. He showed me a gorgeous little graphic of a tree my artist had made and told me it was for the inside of my book; he teased me a bit and said he would show me what he was planning in two weeks. He said he couldn’t wait to show me what he’d done. And then he made a morning wood joke.
And that was it. It’s the most bittersweet memory I could carry of him. Having a morning wood joke be the last words we spoke would be a dark sort of funny he would get a kick out of.
When I got the cover of my ARC in the mail, I opened it to look at my dedication page (I dedicated the book to him), and then I saw it:
I don’t know if I can do the moment I saw this justice. I had thought I would never get to see what he’d planned, and having it in my hands — and so much more beautiful than I could have imagined — absolutely broke me. Holding a book you wrote in your hands for the first time is a moving experience — all of your hard work, frustration and doubts, the times you’ve cried over the thing, the moments you know you’ve done something great — they’re all in there.
But they don’t remotely compare to this. For the rest of my life, I’ll have this book, and with it, a tangible, stunning memory of a man I cared for deeply. And I can’t go find him in chat and thank him, but I want to put it out there in the world: Thank you Lex. For friendship and laughter, for the work you put into making my dream of being a published author come true, and for sharing all of your special gifts with the world.