My friend the doctor and writer David Wheldon passed away on January 7th 2021. His death was sudden: he had suffered from a degenerative nerve illness for many years but seemed to be in general good health otherwise.
I had posted about Wheldon’s novels in a blog years before I ever began to exchange emails with him. Then in 2017, after my debut collection of short stories was published, I wrote a longer article in The Stinging Fly on my first encounter with Wheldon’s strange early novels.
I had good the fortune to meet David in person in Bedford, in the summer of 2016. We went from the Bedford Swan to a couple of local pubs. He walked with the aid of a zimmer frame. At one point he pushed it aside to demonstrate that he had more than enough strength to walk, but he preferred to use the frame as something to hold onto and stop the trembling of his hands.
By then we had been exchanging emails for a year or so and continued to do so until his sudden death. Mostly our emails were chats about his medical work, my small son, the rapid pace of change. We also talked about stories we were working on. David was constantly writing new stories and revising old ones. He wrote every day, even though he had given up all thought of submitting his work for publication.