If I had to list all of the sources of inspiration I’ve had for writing, it would span many categories. Books, authors, movies, music, places, life events, etc. The internal light bulb can flash at any time with various levels of intensity. Of all of them, the most lasting source of inspiration for me has been from authors whom I’ve read, and most importantly, whom I’ve had a conversation with.
C.J. Henderson was one of my favorites, and he passed away this past Friday after a long fight with cancer.
I first met C.J. Henderson at the PhilCon, an annual sci-fi/horror/fantasy convention in the Philadelphia area that features many panels where writers discuss the topics of which they focus their expertise. There is also a buyer’s room where many of the authors will have a table to sell their books and compilations that they have contributed to.
C.J. Henderson was an author who wrote in the genres of horror, hardboiled fiction, dark fantasy and science fiction. I particularly liked his contributions to the Lovecraftian sub-genre, of which I’m a major fan. I couldn’t get enough of his books, and often had to budget carefully each year when I went. I always go on a buying spree for books when I go to the PhilCon, but I always left room in the budget for C.J. Henderson’s books. His writing not only inspired me in what I like to write, but it also influenced what genres I like to read. An influence that has made a large impact on me and opened my eyes.
He had a great personality and was great to talk to. His voice was often the leading attraction in the panels he was in, and he’s the only person I’ve ever heard who could actually do a believable impression of the Old One’s dialect (Cthulhu-Lovecraft), which is nearly impossible to do by design.
He was diagnosed with cancer a year ago, and when his medical expenses became too much, his fans and colleagues banded together to help him any way we could. He fought and fought against the cancer, and continued to do conventions throughout. A compilation of stories to sell for fund raising came together, entitled “Dance Like a Monkey”, since one of his best known sayings was that he’d dance like a monkey for a nickel.
His family is still left with high medical bills, and many of his fans and writers that knew him are asking for anyone to contribute if they can, because every little bit helps.
The link for the anthology is http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/society-for-the-preservation-of-cj-henderson/87881/update/188619
You could also buy his books, of which there are many at his main page: http://cjhenderson.com/
I am saddened by his passing, but I was blessed to have known him. The love and support that I saw from so many writers and his fans will always be with me.