It is Fall 2018 and I sit alone at a table in the back of what was then the Underground Music Café in St Paul, MN, attending one of the last meetings of Chris Title’s long running open mic series ‘Barbaric Yawp’. Across the room sitting alone at another table is Loren Niemi, who I do not know but had met at another reading series Summer 2018. I ask how he is. He tells me he is about to have a collection of ghost stories published. I congratulate him. We get on with our lives.
It is Winter 2019 and I stop attending open mics. I am glad to have met other writers in those communities but realize the open mics are taking time away from my actual writing and provide just enough encouragement to have me fool myself into thinking I am accomplishing something. But I stay in touch with my new community via social media and my blog. I see the news that Loren’s book, “What Haunts Us” is published on February 1, 2019 by Moonfire Publishing. He has a book launch and a reading but I miss it.
It is Spring 2019 and Loren posts a polaroid he took at the famous Al’s Breakfast for their 69th anniversary. He has eaten there for longer than I have been alive. And though Al’s is only a 5-minute walk from my job, I have never eaten there. And though I have been friends with Loren on social media for ¾ of a year, I have never commented on any of his daily posts. I tell him my shameful secret of working by Al’s for 10 years but never visiting. He invites me to breakfast to talk shop.
But the Universe has other plans…
It is Spring 2020 and in spite of our generation gap, Loren and I are thick as thieves. We have a beautiful and anonymous Summer 2019 romance, leading to the inevitable and uncomfortable Fall 2019 revelation of our relationship. People sometimes behave badly around what they consider to be odd couples. But because of the age gap, I realize I have to be either ‘all in’ or ‘all out’. There is no room to half-ass it. So, we buy a condo and move into our happy home together. Loren’s book, “What Haunts Us” is chosen as a finalist for the Midwest Book Awards.
It is now Summer 2020 and as we sit in our sunroom drinking wine and playing cards, they announce it: Loren is the winner of the 30th Annual MIPA Midwest Book Awards in the Fiction-Fantasy/ SciFi/ Horror/ Paranormal category! We celebrate with a toast and stroll to get some ice cream.
My love Loren is a renowned storyteller and author of several award-winning books. This latest award comes ahead of the release of his next book, “Point of View and the Emotional Arc of Stories: A handbook for writers and storytellers”, due out Aug 1, 2020 and published by Parkhurst Brothers Publishers, Inc. And he has more books, ready to be published or waiting to be written. With hard work and a little luck, they will be.
With good health and loving support of each other, we will see twenty years of happiness.
Read more on Loren’s blog and order his books on his website: https://www.lorenniemistories.com/
-Copyright C.M. Mounts, June 2020