TommyWorld Eight - The 'Not too well, actually' issue


The Eighth issue of a weekly, or thereabouts (job, weather, life etc., permitting), letter substitute from:
Tommy Ferguson, at 768 Manning Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M6G 2W6. Phone:(416) 539 8992 Web Site:
Distribution in the UK by Eugene Doherty, 110 North Parade, Belfast, BT7 Email: Available in the North Americas only via the net (From this issue, text only) at the moment but send me a note and I'll print you a copy and put you on the list. Dated, already, 24/3/97.

"A Death in the Family."

I've never been able to handle death. It doesn't become me. I've tried to give this some thought over the years - what exactly will it be like when I'm dead? I have a real difficulty, you see, accepting the 'nothing' theory - you won't feel anything, know anything or be aware of anything because there won't be anything of you to experience anything. No sale.

There has got to be something. Not necessarily God, Heaven or any religious stuff, but something at least. "Why, because it will make you feel better, Tommy? Well, hey fuck you man. You're in the same boat as he rest of us and if that scares you, get used to it, man." Yeah I accept that. If that is what happens then fine, for me. But what about everyone else? What about my aunt Lala? Where is she?

My aunt Lala died last week. I didn't know her that well, just met her on the occasional special family occasions. The last time was my father's sixtieth birthday celebrations where everyone came around to the house and we all had a good time. She was a lively figure, drank a little too much whiskey and was full of wonderful stories about my father. I'd never heard these tales of my father as a young adult, and fell on each word with glee.

My aunt had been ill for a while. Everyone knew that her cancer was terminal though we had expected a little more time. I thought I might have been able to see her again on my visit home next month, maybe give her some word from the folks over here. "Being ill for a while now," "At death's door," and, "she doesn't have long to go now..." are grave, and serious situations. But you can handle them with, "but she is no pain," and, "doesn't she look/sound/appear good today?" But there comes a time when my aunt wasn't ill anymore. She didn't look or sound like anything. She was dead.

That is final. There is no last minute visit to clear your conscience. There is no, after thirty odd years, glimmer of time to get to know this person. There isn't any time to be the returning hero, with the last words to be parted on. I can't get a handle on the situation by going to see her and then reporting back to my father, and my family in Canada, "She isn't good obviously, but seems to be managing..." That won't happen. My aunt Lala is dead. I won't feel better.

I got a lot of response on the last issue, for which many thanks.

From:"Lilian Edwards" <> "Hi there, Ian just got back from Corflu so we are now officially the proud runners of the Next and First Great British Corflu in 98. Cor lummy. Will have to hold a panel on it at Eastercon, or something. He has some interesting pictures of my room party with Naomi at Attitude, should definitely snag them for a Web site some time.. Happy St Patrick's day, ho ho ho, as Nigel would say. Swig a green pint for me. Keep watching the leprechauns. {Ah, irony. I knew that nice young Alanis lady didn't have it quite right. I am glad to say that, despite numerous requests, we did not serve green beer...}

From: Bernie Evans "Hiyah Tommy, Thanks for DFL 1, which I'm still absorbing (there's some heavy stuff in there) {See above}, and for TommyWorld 7, which made me laugh out loud despite the interruptions in text from great gobbs of "=3D=3D=3D" for line after line. Vicky (my daughter, dunno if you ever met her) has worked in catering almost since she left school, and has done the lot, from part time barmaid to licensee, from part time waitress to manageress of a restaurant she helped the owners set up from scratch, but she has never had a Saint Pat's day crowd to put up with. I think if she'd heard you she'd have fired you, but she'd have had a hell of a lot of sympathy with you:-)) {Oh I'm sorry, I should point out that I'm a complete chicken and didn't actually say any of those things. But then, that would be lying, wouldn't it....}All the best, keep the 'zines coming, I *do* enjoy them.

From:Neil Simpson <> "Glad to hear you`re as polite and understanding of people`s stupidity as ever. Have fun and don`t terrorise too many colonials.Are you going to go to this year`s Worldcon? PS-that con report sounded something like my memories of last year`s Octocon.Went down for the day (Octocon 95 was CRAP) and spent from noon till midnight in the bar.

From:"Mark McCann" <> "A Chara, There's a naive and touching belief which we Irish hold dear (and I'm talking in particular about us dunderheads in the north) that the world is actually interested in us and our petty problems. As if anyone from outside actually cares about a bunch of sectarian
warmongers!! Frankly, if it was me I wouldn't give us the time of day.

Enough of the grumpy old bollocks - Excuse me but I'm feeling thoroughly pissed off at the moment but it's nothing a 24 week course of Prozac wouldn't fix. And as far as I can remember I didn't have the pleasure of being shackled to Carrie Fisher in Return of the Jedi (despite what you mention in TommyWorld 7) - I think you and Damian may be confusing it with my scene in Hal Hartley's 1987 movie of the same name where I was shackled for thirty six hours to Elena Lowenstein...ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh The things I do for my art. By the way is that Thoreau quote some kind of grubby hint?" (To me, only. Kind of what I'm trying to do over here. It is sort of working in large swathes and then, in particular instances, falling down around my ears. But it is my choice, I'm working at it and have to take the consequences. Going straight and...}

From:Damian Kearney <> "Getting misunderstood for being English is not that bad. All the time English people as me "Are you American"! Ripley it or not, it gets worse. Once Neri and I were in a B&B outside of Oxford and the landlord of the pub we were in asked me if I was Dutch."

From: Nigel Rowe "Your St. Pat's day stories resonated around loud and clear. I get fed up at times with people asking where I'm from. or commenting on my accent. For one I would just like to be taken for granted (as a local)."

From: Rhodri James <> "Hi, I won't LoC TommyWorld, honest I won't. This is just a convenient message to reply to. No, really. I will LoC Design for Life, but only after I've finished reading it. Honest." {Er, thanks. I think.}

From: Terry Floyd "Hey Tommy! Thanks for the email zines! I've enjoyed them immensely, and would have responded earlier, but for the hectic pace of life over the past few
weeks. {No prolemo, thanks for the note.}

Well this issue was typed up in difficult circumstances. I'm eagerly looking forward to Julia Daly visiting these shores on 3 April, but it means I will miss out on a visit to a friend in Detroit. I had hoped to spend Easter either at Minicon (not going to happen, Nigel) or failing that in St. Catherine's with the folks. Now, however, I'll be working the whole weekend in the bar, doing a repeat of the St. Paddy's day shifts. So I'll be out of contact for a while - apologies. Next issue early next month, with my thoughts on Return of the Jedi. I'm also undergoing seriously negative thoughts about going home to Ireland for a visit on the 14 April. There are friends back there that I've really missed, and an unfortunately increasing number I have offended (and probably lost); and then Nyree is getting married. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all... Life, eh? Usual disclaimer below.

This is being distributed to a whole bunch of friends on the net, if you received this and would NOT like to be on the mailing list please accept my apologies for this intrusion and let me know so that you will not be bothered by further ramblings. If you know someone who would like to be on the mailing drop me a line.