It’s been a hectic time for me on a personal level since my last blog post. I began new anti-seizure medications that had severe side effects, including intense drowsiness. I found myself sleeping nearly 15 hours per day. Include that with some other personal issues with my sister, my family, and trying to keep a Temple going, and I just did not have the time to be on the blog-o-sphere as much. I did keep up with current events however. This blog post is dedicated to an individual that I just met, barely knew, and yet had a significant impact on me.
Donald made a blog post on February 8, 2013 with a title, “I Want You To Write!” It was just before he was scheduled to attend PantheaCon that year. I made a comment (as I sometimes did on his blog posts), and shortly afterwards I made contact with him. Like many within the NeoPagan Community, I was a fan in my early days, and later a critic, of Llewellyn Publications. I honestly didn’t know where to stand half the time, because when I began to make contacts within Traditional Craft lots of people were seriously against this publication for various grudges and political reasons that went back to the 60s, including the writings of controversial authors and material in the 90s. Situations which I’ll leave out of this blog post.
But I knew one thing: I wanted to write. I had so many thoughts and issues I wanted to address. I began to write a few articles on Witchvox, but it wasn’t steady. I also did not have a lot of time to devote myself to writing. Not until after my car accident. Keeping it short, I’ll say that my correspondence with Don was encouraging. In fact, this blog was born because of his influence. He encouraged me to put my name out there and build an audience. His exhortation, the inspirational seeds he planted within my conscious, soon flowered into what we have here.
Don died recently. I mourned his passing along with other people. His books started me on my serious adventures into the Occult World. But his influence upon me reverberated way more than outside of our personal communications. I made friends with mutual people. I am writing. And this, following below, is my last letter that I would have written Don. Call it closure. Call it a memorial. I may not have known him as well as other people. But the briefest meeting and the subsequent results prove what a great man Donald Michael Kraig truly was. So Don, wherever you are, I hope you’ll read what I have to say below:
Thank you very much for your time, your friendship, and your mentorship. I don’t think I had an opportunity to say that. Or I mean, I did several times when you answered all of my questions individually, and again when you steered me in the right direction with submitting a manuscript, or how I would put together my pictures and such. I mean, seriously, you were a great help. But honestly, that’s not all I want to thank you for. You changed my world. Literally. I guess you would personally argue that you didn’t do anything: you wrote the books, and it was up to me to put them into practice. I changed my own world is what you would have said. But no, you did. Don’t take away the praise that you deserve.
By your writing, you also developed a network of fans and students who all soon grew up and became comparable magical practitioners in their own right. People like Tony Mierzwicki. I made mutual friends like Alfred Surenyan. And, more than anything, your spirit was with me the entire time I began to seriously dive into the Occult World. It was a personal dream come true when we began to correspond, and you took my project seriously.
With you gone, so many are mourning. I know I am, and I hardly knew you. But I hope you’re proud of me, because I am writing. I am building an audience. I am putting my name, my beliefs, and what I stand for out in the world. I am taking a risk like other authors. You’re in the Spirit World, and you are still inspiring me. You’re awesome.
My project isn’t done. I will write that book. I will continue to pass on what you have taught me writing is all about – teaching, growing, legacy and building bridges for future generations of writers. Thank you for teaching me the business side of book companies, and for opening me eyes. I’ll never forget what you told me. You said, ‘If you think you can write a better book, than write it!’ I realized then and there I was part of the problem, not the solution. I hope I will always continue to be part of the solution. I hope I bring honor to what you have shown me.
Always In Your Debt,
Luis A. Valadez