Earlier this year, I reviewed Hugh Fox’s book of plays Ommm and was impressed with the power of expression this seasoned writer showed in his collection of plays. His wit played through his edgy characters, giving his depiction of human interaction a characteristic feel of fragility and inter-dependence.
Hugh, 79 years old, then had an interview with me in which he told about his art of playwriting. Hugh and I exchanged emails off and on since then until I learnt earlier today that he is now in hospice, perhaps breathing his last breaths.
One of the founders of the Pushcart Prize in literature, Hugh has been battling prostate cancer and it kept spreading up his body. He had to go frequently to local hospitals to get his essential medical treatment and in one of his emails, he wrote to me that he’d be having a no more than a few years to live. But today, when His wife and daughter answered my email asking about his health, he seems to have little time left as he can’t communicate; just labored breathing in a hospice facility. His hope to cross the age 80 years can only be realized by some extraordinary shift in his condition now.
Hugh already is the published author of over a 100 books and he meant to publish another 30 novels before saying final goodbye to the world. He always looked fresh and present in the moment, lovingly participating in conversation with people and watching films. The spirit in which he wrote Ommm translates into anti-suicide and anti-despair.
Hugh loved life and respected it. As he goes through his final moments, perhaps not many of them left now, I scribble these lines to pay tribute to this wonderful person, this devoted writer, and this inspiring spirit. Will life give him another chance, say for a year or so, to get his remaining novels published? We can’t be sure. But I certainly will like to read more of his work and breathe in the spirit of life that he has championed already.
This moment to Hugh Fox with best wishes for his life to be as pain-free as possible!