October 7, 2013 by Laird
CE Chaffin passed away recently. He was a former medical doctor and a practicing poet. A big, complicated man who struggled with depression on an order of which most people are blessedly ignorant. We met years and years ago when I submitted a poem to his excellent ezine The Melic Review. CE took an interest in me and my writing. We shared kinship in our passion for literature and in our battles with the demons of depression. In time I wound up editing poetry for Melic and it was a good experience, and one that led to my forging ahead with professional fiction writing. Of course, as the years rolled by, time, circumstance, and a career in prose, carried me ever farther away from Melic and most of the poets and authors I once knew.
Four years ago, he and his wife Kathleen visited my wife and I in Olympia. A drought had Western Washington in its teeth. CE arrived near the end of a driving tour and seemed mightily restless. He composed a beautiful poem while sitting on our sofa and drove off the next morning. The first and last time we ever met in person. For unrelated reasons, his visit marked the beginning of a time of great personal darkness in my life. I feel a measure of sorrow and guilt that these days my horizon is at least illuminated with flashes of color while CE has lost his own final battle.
We were never close in the way people typify relationships. My personal struggles made matters difficult and I wish I’d been stronger, done more. Nonetheless he remains an important figure. CE was an honest, plain-spoken critic, a superior poet, and someone who demonstrated faith in my abilities that few ever had. He mentored me when a mentor was what I needed most. For that I am grateful.
Good bye, Craig. Requiescat in pace.