For Jack Remick, my Mentor

Writing mentor since 1997 at the University of Washington Screenplay Writing program, Jack Remick’s literary courage is nonpareil in my books.

Over the decades I’ve been honoured to be one of many readers for his exemplary
works: The Deification: Book One of the California Quartet, Blood, Lemon Custard and
his initiations in Writing Practice of what would eventually become his stellar work,
Maxine in 2020.

But in that same year - like the Stealth Bomber - (Lockheed’s SR-71 Blackbird) - his
physical courage too, was challenged when he and his wife, Helen, were swooped up
by Covid-19.

His following emails exemplify his very essence as a writer; speak your truth. Evoke emotion, he has always said. Showing is better than Telling, and Evoking is more powerful than both. I share his words here as a source of personal knowledge - perhaps as comfort — for hurting hearts and inquiring minds.

Words spoken over the decades in coffee meetings and Natalie Goldberg’s inspired
Writing Practice have forever shaped what I know about vowels and consonants
smooching up to each other creating ‘story.’

Jack quotes: Every story is a love story. Every story is a detective story. The art is in the rewrite.

Sent: December 9, 2020 2:31 PM
To: Mar Soulika Ochs
Subject: covid
For the last nineteen days, I have been out of commission with covid.

Covid isn’t like any disease, flu, cold or bacterium you have ever had or heard of.

Covid is an equal partner in destruction, death, and, the worst—in the long range--called, “recovered and or/ discharged.” The fact is that covid does not let you recover. As it begins, covid attacks the human body on different levels and systems=--lungs, brain, liver, heart, kidneys, blood. And, there is nothing that can be done—no medication no treatment. If you are admitted to an urgent/emergency care unit, the attendants will: hydrate you, check your vitals, take blood, select a CT or MRI, but beyond that, there is nothing that any medical professional can do. You wait. You wait to see which of your already weakened systems will fail. And at the moment of crisis—just as you are attached to a ventilator, you will be asked if your advance directives are in order. This means that you are choosing to die.

There is a lot written about the “recovered”, and the “discharged,” but the facts remain that no one knows anything regarding covid as it works through your body. No one knows where the virus goes when the human immune system does gain an advantage. No one know when a system will “dive,” which means present as “recovered,” before dropping into the morbidity of finalitiy. Covid attacks the entire body. If you have a secondary affliction such as asthma, heart issues, you become more vulnerable.

That is where I have lived for nineteen days. We do not know how we contracted covid. We do not know where. We wore masks, gloves, practice hygiene as prescribed but both of us contracted the virus.

This is not a virus we have ever encountered. To suggest just how complex this virus is, we know now that the British vaccine can produce allergic reactions in recipients. Who knows what else waits for us? How do you go about delivering a vaccine to ten billion people most of whom do not live in areas with enough drinking water let alone refrigeration processes required to preserve and administer vaccines? We are not close to a solution.

We, in the US, are closing on 300000 dead from covid. We are dying at the rate of 2000 per day. On the day I was admitted to Urgent Care/Emergency services the medical community in attendance was this: eight EMTs; four ambulance attendants; one ER nurse; three doctors; two CT technicians, a neurologist who read the scan; a work up nurse who drew blood, two transfer nurses from ER to Swedish isolation room; nine medical staff in three shifts; a food technician who delivered my only meal to my room. And, while all of these wonderful people are “taking care of me” they are wearing smocks, mask, double gloves, and operating in the most hideous restrictions—all to prevent further speared of the virus.

Pay attention, be safe, wear your mask, practice hygiene protocols. At the moment, that’s the best we, any of us can do. ~Jack
January 2, 2021 11:58 AM
To: Mar Sulaika Hope Ochs
Subject: Re: covid
In recovery from the virus. Only about 90% of "normal." But doing okay now. Brain not working at capacity. I hope you're okay.

People are writing so much about covid now that it's overwhelming. Spreading a few more words on the beast will, maybe, give those who have not been infected a sense of the horror.

It will be a few weeks until I can zoom, Mar, the reason is that one of the effects of covid is to inflame the throat and vocal cords. My voice fades after a couple of minutes of speaking.

Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep the social protocols. You do not want this virus in you. ~ Jack
My collage - Montage - for Jack:
Jack Remick

Doubles in a Game of Chance


No Century for Apologies

The Book of Changes


Citadel, the Novel

Satori, poems

Gabriela and The Widow - Montaigne Medal Finalist

Gabriela and The Widow - BOTYA Finalist.