I've finished attacking the word was and completed (for now) the Ethan story. That project proved to be a great writing exercise.
To be sure, the story goes on. Ethan remains one of my best friends. When we reconnected a year or so ago after having not been in touch since the mid-1990s, it seemed as if no time had passed. But of course it had and we've had all kinds of fun catching up and creating new stories. For now, the story of our shared youth is captured here on its own page. Whether he likes it or not.
Thank you, Ethan.