Dave Linane’s Birthday March 13

In honor of Dave’s birthday, I am releasing this preface for the book. I hope you enjoy and join me as I unfold these unedited excerpts from this Viking Funeral…

Spoiler Alert: Our Hero does not make it out of this life alive

This isn’t one of those thinly veiled “BASED ON A TRUE STORY” stories that we recognize as cruel manipulative Hollywood BS formulas that dictate when you laugh or cry based on music cues. There will be no explosions where our hero outruns the blast and fallout of concussive flame-y fury to fight another day. There are also not going to be any tense phone calls between the good guy with an Irish brogue hinting at ‘a particular set of skills,’ as awesome as THAT would be.

Now that you know what this biography is NOT. I can tell you what it is. A story of one particularly pretty shitty day stalked by relentless love, friendship, laughter, celebration, and more laughter. You are going to love him, no doubt, even without me taking any poetic license to spice up the story for interest. But, I formally state, for the record, that our hero does not make it out of this life alive. There, Band-Aid ripped off. Truth in advertising and all, I mean FUNERAL is in the title so it should be obvious someone is no longer mingling freely among us mere mortals.

There are billions of ways to die and most of us don’t have a choice in that. But we do have a choice in how we live and how we celebrate a life well lived when our loved ones move on. This book is about both of those things and everything large and small in the middle of those two things that make up an ordinary magical life.

Vikings burned their boats when they arrived on the beaches of lands they intended to conquer. Their strategy was to forge ahead or die trying. There was never any going back. Dave was a powerful athlete who dealt with his broken neck, the result of a college football accident with dignity and grace. Just as there is no crying in baseball, there was no crying for himself in this life, he just rolled forward with purpose.

He was the original YES man. He was game to try anything and everything he could from spicy food to adventures with a ride or die attitude, a huge smile and his infectious bark of a laugh. He applied that same energy when forging his radically altered life path and didn’t let bureaucracy, transportation, ‘sleet nor snow’ or steps get in his way. He found his true professional calling after a ridiculously uphill battle. I thought of this Viking Warrior description of him as I wrote his obituary tribute. He was too modest to have ever claimed ownership of such a bold title plus as far as he knew, we weren’t of Scandinavian descent. It was an honorary title I bestowed upon him because I do not fear the Viking Semantics Police way over here in California.

It was tradition at a Viking Funeral that gifts would be offered to accompany the warrior on his travels to the next world, Valhalla. The gifts and warrior’s earthly body would be burned and therein be transformed to the next world. Folklore has it that they were placed in a boat upon the ocean and lit on fire by flaming arrows and their ashes spread to the ends of the earth. But really, they were most often burned within the confines of a ship shaped monument of stone on land. Fire would transform them to Valhalla. The ashes would be spread to the ends of the earth by the wind.

The idea for our Viking Funeral grew from this posthumous Viking Warrior title. I wanted a celebration that represented him and his enormous spirit: Dave’s favorite food and booze followed by a bonfire after dusk with people sharing stories and we would let people put gifts in the fire by way of written notes to help transform Dave to modern day Valhalla.

In Dave’s early 20s our family home transformed every weekend into the hottest bar in town for Dave’s friends, occasionally a poker parlor; we hosted hundreds of BBQs, dinners, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, bridal and baby showers, four weddings and a funeral, our dad’s. This well-visited home for all the aforementioned celebrations would now host Dave’s Viking Funeral our best party ever.

I sent his tribute and invitation to the Viking Funeral to our local newspapers, the college where he worked (San Bernardino Valley College), the university (Cal State San Bernardino) where he attended undergrad and grad school as well as anyone whose email address I had. Both the college and the university honored his passing with a dedication to him on their website home pages because he was very well-known at both campuses.

When our dad passed away, my two thousand-word plus biography was printed about him in three regional papers-a completely cut and paste job. My dad had been a world class athlete and home town (Redlands) hero. My brother was even more well-known than my dad because of his accident and news coverage at that time but the paper had changed ownership for what felt like the hundredth time and no one in the now corporate conglomerate upper management at the paper knew anyone local so no story was printed.

The newspapers that had been so vapidly eager to cover his tragic accident decades before wanted a ridiculous amount of money for an obituary paid upfront before they would consider running the tribute. We didn’t really care about a story we just wanted people to know that he had ‘left the building’ and to invite them to celebrate because we knew they would want to. I was very irritated. I joked that I would save money with the shortest obit ever: “Dave died, party at our house.” All the right people would know what that meant and where to go. I chose slightly more tasteful words, “David Linane passed away unexpectedly, July 10, 2011. A memorial will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the family home Saturday, July 16, 2011.” The newspaper charged more than $600 for this brief obit but didn’t run the tribute which I might add was beautifully written. Jerks.

I am literally stuck writing this ‘surprise’ and epic failed autobiography against my will since he woke up unexpectedly dead one morning before really getting it started. It isn’t the writing that is the stuck part. I, along with everyone who knew him would much rather have more days on this earth with him, enough days for him to finish his autobiography as intended or to hear him laugh, that barking seal of a laugh ONE. MORE. TIME.

Update: According to My Heritage DNA services used by my husband and me on a curious whim and deep discount in recent years indicated that we are 18% Scandinavian which was a hilarious shock. Retroactively Official Viking Warrior!

Solution To Writer’s Block

Fingerprint

Creating the identity of the biography (Viking Funeral) by fire that I’ve been writing about my brother’s life under duress has been a challenge.

He’s not available to interview.

I have had to rely on memory for everything.

I have to decide how to tell the story, what to leave in, what to leave out.

I have struggled for seven years with the ending. SEVEN. YEARS. SEVEN! I don’t talk too much about the book with my darling husband because it makes him sad. I promise it’s not a sad story, my DH is very tender-hearted.

Ok, maybe there are some moments that tug at a heartstring here and there. Anyway, I’ve written 100k words. I wrote 35k right after Dave died. Then writer’s block. Then the balance was written two years ago. It’s a biography so I can’t make shit up, plus I’m not a creative writer. Unable to decide how to finish, I have filled my time with reading biographies, just so you know what I’ve been doing the last seven years.

Tonight I told my husband of my struggle with the ending. In less than 10 minutes of Q&A, a few moments of silence while he was, ‘thinking about it,’ he made the perfect suggestion.

I initially thought, no, I’ll have to rewrite everything. Then I realized it was the perfect ending and I could not stop laughing. My husband saves the day… again! He is a natural visionary. Man I could have had a Pulitzer YEARS ago! hahahahahah.

Writer’s Avoidance…Anyone?

Avoidance

The process is addictive. Or maybe it is me hanging on to my grief for fear of forgetting him? Not every person we come in contact with or in some cases not all those we are related to leave a gaping wide hole in your life like a category 5 hurricane when they leave.

I’ve found a few more biographies to read thanks to my constant cruising around Instagram. I’m convinced my continued search for more books to read is all part of my subconscious avoidance of finishing this Viking Funeral biography.

I swear I’m almost done. My foundational metaphor was there all along and now with the gorgeous artwork featured on the cover by @celtichammerclub
Doug Cavanaugh, I really understand why I was so drawn to this gorgeous mythological creature Fenryr. DOUG!

I really should get back to work and stop finding diversions already. XO

Surrounded By Kindness

PLEASE READ:
The sweetest video of @tonyhawk helping his daughter drop in on a baby size pipe.
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Tony Hawk grew up two houses north of our house in San Bernardino CA. From our kitchen window, we could watch a young Tony fly in the air. Best way to do dishes ever.
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As sweet and supportive as he is with his daughter, his dad Bob Koston was always kind to my brother Dave.
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I’m sure his dad built Tony his first half-pipes for training in their driveway because before Tony was born, his dad helped modify our house by helping create and install a gorgeous wrought iron spiral staircase in the back of our house near Dave’s room so my parents could hear him if he called for their help in the middle of the night. He also helped install a back door that made it 100% easier for Dave to come in and out of the house. Whenever there was an interesting project going on at our house Bob Koston was the brains behind the solution.
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Tony’s dad was a proud salty vet who was not only a very hard working commercial painting contractor but a man who could build or repair just about anything and always offered to help our family solve problems, especially when Dave first came home from the hospital and our house needed modifications.
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Seeing this sweet video of Tony with his daughter, seeing what a lovely dad he is, reminds me of his dad Bob and the kindness he always showed our family and I’m so grateful. Bob was among the many people who always encouraged Dave to write his story. If Bob is still alive @tonyhawk please thank him for me and tell him the book Viking Funeral is FINALLY coming.
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