One of my writer friends passed away suddenly last month. Dan Hobbs published under the pen name Ben Leiter. He was an emerging writer who had published four books and was working on a couple of others (click here for his books on Amazon). I was a beta reader for two and an editor for another. He didn’t always take my advice, but I was okay with that because he was determined to stay true to his vision. He never forgot that his project gave him the final edit. I know that he was happy as a writer, and with the decisions he had made. Sure, he would have liked more commercial success, but sometimes that’s not what fate has in store for us. Given the number of new titles published every month, perhaps the best any of us can hope for is a fragile immortality and the knowledge that we’ve been true to the stories within us.
My daughter sent me a link to an article about the passing of Donald Featherstone, the man who created the plastic lawn flamingo (click here). Meredith and I shared a mother-daughter night of vandalism when we planted two of the garish critters on the lawn of my friend, Ann Anastasio. We had to park two blocks away from her house just to make sure we stopped giggling. We didn’t want to be discovered before we could stick the birds in the ground and make our escape.
Ann’s sister Sarah wanted to surprise her for her birthday. I was happy enough to be a partner in crime, but it wasn’t my idea. Part of me was a little sad that it wasn’t my idea. The more I thought about flamingos, the more curious I became about what still remained of that old fad. I started looking for flamingo stuff, and by golly it’s out there.
I even made myself a flamingo tote bag.
In honor of Mr. Featherstone and the plastic icon that defined a generation, I would like to collect plastic pink flaming stories. I’ll print them here, with pictures if you have them. If I get enough, maybe I can edit a book and convince someone to publish it. It would be a fragile and funky immortality, but imagine having your byline in a book about pink flamingos. Now stop laughing and write your story.