When did I become afraid of a little rain? When did I lose faith in the sunshine?

I was walking Soleille to the dog park, seeking a taste of fresh air, as well as a sense of hope.

It was only after I left the house that I noticed the clouds packing in from the east. A cold breeze slapped my face. I felt some icy drops. Only shorts and a T-shirt covered my skin. My walk had just begun. Surely, I was setting myself up for disaster.

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

Adventures and Relationships Coalesce in the Black Canyon

A cocky moment of overconfidence and impatience resulted in a broken ankle on the side of a 2,000-foot cliff in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park about two weeks ago, the evening of Sept. 25. I must admit, it is probably for the better. I can learn from this ... and catch up on things I've been neglecting –like writing, and my marriage, too ...

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

Six weeks after open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve, I finally got around to Googling videos of the procedure. If you are about to have open heart surgery, I would recommend not doing a Web search before you go in. Saying that will just give you the urge to do it more so than ever, I know, but hear me out for a moment. I grew up with a mom who would collect owl pellets and boil the flesh off mountain lion skulls (we found a dead young cougar in the hills behind our house when I was 5) just to show me the amazing world of biology. ... Read more

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

When I pay attention, I'm often amazed how all the details in life fit together continuously in such complimentary ways. I don't really believe in coincidence anymore. I don't call it fate or divine intervention. I don't really call it anything. But I try to pay attention, because it sure feels like an affirmation of my direction when I see that the article I picked up yesterday compliments something else that came to me just now, be it some tidbit of knowledge, or a tool, or anything. "Life fills in," as my mom likes to say.

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

It's  been eight days since I awoke in the cardiac intensive care unit at CU-Denver Hospital, yet it seems I'm just now rousing from the fog of that dream world. Simply learning to handle basic life functions on my own has been a draining task, filling up most of my days. It's an experience my body seems intent on forgetting as soon as possible. Already, those long hours of days and nights in the hospital bed, hooked up to machines with tubes coming out of me – including two horrifyingly large and sensitive "drain" tubes that came directly out of my belly below the ribcage – already those long hours of introspection are threatening to fade away in spite of my intentions. How can I tell this story? How can I describe the sense of change I have? I look almost the same, but my heart has been cut open and partially replaced in spite of my otherwise healthy 31-year-old body. Click here to read more.

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

The following was originally a post on my home page near midnight Oct. 29, hours before my operation.

This is it. Tomorrow I embark on a heart-stopping adventure, when I check into the hospital for open-heart surgery. It promises to be a wild personal experience, and I'm already looking at life from a different angle.

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

I miss it all, already. The people. The moments of sitting lazily under a wall, contemplating the black, thin line of rope bisecting flawless, autumn sky ...

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

I found out this past week that it's time to have my heart fixed. I have a condition where my aortic valve does not close all the way, which causes a handful of problems, and I am in a near-constant state of chest pain. My doctors first noticed the problem a little more than three years ago. They originally predicted I would need open-heart surgery to replace the aortic valve in about 10 to 20 years.

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

I didn't know where they came from. One moment I was mowing the lawn at a friend's house while he and his wife were on vacation, and the next I was surrounded by wasps.

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz

One of my more successful colleagues in the freelance world has said, "fiction is dead." I beg to differ. It's certainly harder to make money in fiction, but it still has value. Some parts of the soul are too dark and deep to fathom without the light of imagination!

Posted
AuthorDerek Franz