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Jack Long is the pen name for Larry Chernoff who wrote White Knight and Dark Encounter with additions and editing to book form by Annette Avoledo. When he was very ill and we were sitting in x-ray, a young woman came in with two young boys. The youngest was quiet but the older boy was wailing. Jack didn’t even flinch. The young woman settled the youngest down and reached for the older boy who quit his wailing immediately. By his reaction I imagined Jack had wailed like the boy in X-ray when he was little, too.
Some years ago, we walked to Wal-Mart on a cold wintery day. When we were sitting inside their MacDonald’s, I noticed that there were a large number of babies and young children close to us coughing and dribbling away. He had to watch out for infections because he no longer had his spleen. I cautioned him that we should leave. He quietly looked all around and then very gently and quite quietly he asked me, “Is it because of the gorflickers”? He made up a lot of words.
It all began late in 2012 when I learned that he had been writing a book. Jack told me he had written 30 pages free hand and that when he went back to his manuscript he couldn’t read it. Dyslexia will do that to you. When he was going to school no one even bothered to find out what really was wrong with him. When, my daughter, and I first met him, we noticed he had a really amazing flair with words. He couldn’t believe that we not only knew he was dyslexic but that he was extremely intelligent. I felt very sad when I heard about his efforts to write a book. “You could have helped him!!!” I scolded myself. Then I asked him if he sat comfortably in his chair and I brought a laptop if he could dictate to me like he did the information for reports or business plans. He did not know, but the next morning we both sat in the TV room and he began to talk and I took down all he gave me.
Because I knew most of his inventions took shape in his mind before he ever built them or wrote about them, it was not difficult to realize that it was the same way with his writing. He knew what he was going to dictate to me before I sat down. Once in awhile when I had planned to go out for something, I postponed it as I could tell he had words stored up and really needed to get them out.
He didn’t want to be too specific about a person or the way something was spoken. He wanted the reader to imagine what they were like. I had to put a bit of description in at times. He was very explicit about his writing and wanted his words, not mine. Sometimes that wasn’t so easy to comply with. Even doing his last book, I told him I couldn’t spell a specific word and couldn’t find it in the system dictionary. I then went to a hard copy dictionary and still couldn’t find it. Then we both realized it was one of his made-up words. He made up words constantly and while they were often creative and meant something to us that was not always the case with other people. So while we felt comfortable, we replaced those words, of course.
One of the things I loved about Jack was his beautiful voice. I hope you will hear it, too. Because he was so clever at writing, the book flows and is easy to read and very enjoyable. There is a lot of him in it.
Stanley is Jack’s name and the Sung’s names are his except I changed one name from Ma to Mae. Most of the rest of the character names are mine. I created the names and descriptions of NYPD detectives. When Stanley left New York and went on his trip, I created the entire scenario except for a bit that was Sally Monroe and her children. I created Luke Brandon, Lisbet Brandon, Clayton Walker, Sidney, Rick Mercer, Gillian Ramerez, Jerry Wilks, Patty Wilks, the Wilks children, Grace Wilks, and others. I expanded and changed quite a lot about his visit with Sally Monroe and the outcome of Sally’s life dramatically. I added in the computer technology, the psychology and the drone to give it a better, wider scope of interest. Jack wasn’t very familiar with computers, but if he hadn’t been dyslexic I know he would have been a real ace. I gave Stanley stops in Atlantic City and Washington and I took the Seattle job he did for another book and largely ignored a part of it due to its partial setting in China. I also gave it an ending partly from Ju’s perspective. All the extraordinary things that occurred really needed to be focused so they could bring everyone back to a normal family setting. The saying, “Walk a path narrow enough to stay focused, but wide enough for you to see all possibilities”, is mine.
I do remember Jack looking at me with a curious look on his face. “Where does this all come from?” he asked me. We read each other’s minds a lot. Perhaps some of it came from me. I think that when he was becoming ill and quit going to the office, he needed an outlet for his creativeness. He had also expressed an interest in writing earlier on. I met Jack four years after my husband died. He was very reclusive but not with me.
Jack had many US patents and he was a brilliant engineer and even a greater physicist. He shaved in the shower without using a mirror, just as Stanley and blue was the color he liked most next to black.
Movies have a 2% chance of making money and patents have a 2 ½% chance of making money so while he was brilliant he certainly was never rich. The richness that was Jack Long lives on, though. Both Jack Long and Mayor Naheed Nenshi said, “We should be nice to each other”. Not long ago Mayor Nenshi won the title of Best Mayor in Canada and on his birthday in February 2015 was awarded the title of Best Mayor in the World. During the past years, Jack worked too much behind the scenes to be given awards although he was given many awards in sales when he was younger. For those who loved him, though, we recall his achievements and endeavor to work on the unfinished projects as much as we can. He lives on in his books and is ever in our hearts. He was a great friend and companion and I miss him so much.