I just read that Lisa Wolfson, known as L.K. Madigan, passed away today. I am not a frequent blog reader, and my come-and-go Twitter presence is most frequently go, so I didn't learn that she had cancer until a friend told me about her courageous blog post. I couldn't bring myself to read the post when I got home, but, a few days later, I did. Like so many other people, I was in awe of the frankness and humor with which she told the world of her illness. In the days that followed, I planned what I would write to her. And then today came. And I hadn't written it yet.
So, briefly, what I was going to say to Lisa was that I remember the first correspondance we ever had so clearly. She wrote an email to me and the other Morris award nominees. These were her opening lines:
I just wanted to take a minute to say, "Hi! Can you believe this?"Maybe you all have settled down by now ... I'm still kind of in shock. Congratulations on your nominations! (There. Did that make the little zing happen again?)
I liked her immediately. When she won the award, (admittedly, after I got over the brief disappointment of not winning myself) I was happy that the woman who had reached out to all of us, who had sent those congratulatory wishes and been so warm from so many miles away, had taken the prize. And we wrote more, and we read one another's books and found so many similarities between them, and we met at ALA and ate dinner and celebrated. I felt honored and fortuate to begin my writing career with her and the other writers around the table. We were all just starting out. It felt amazing.
I want to thank Lisa for being there with me in the beginning, for being such a kind and generous person with whom to begin this journey.
And, though it isn't anything I would have hoped for, I also want to thank her for her blog post, in which she wrote, "I’m not angry about the diagnosis. How can I feel angry when I had this gift of time? I’m not even afraid of dying. We all die, and I made my peace with that a long time ago." I'm not even close to being at peace with dying, so along with learning from Lisa the importance of reaching out, of building community, of extending congratulations to fellow writers, I have taken away a lesson about death, too.