This past week may well have been the most incredible sequence of days I've ever experienced. I feel incredibly lucky and happy, but have also been hit by some sad news.
Here is the happy and lucky part: as Jacqueline and Patty very kindly announced, I found out early last Friday morning that I've been nominated for an Edgar award for best first novel. I am still in profound but giddy shock about that, to the extent that I remain prone to bouts of Snoopy dancing around the living room:
My fellow nominees have written very, very fine books, and I am honored to have my own work considered worthy of inclusion among them--especially in a year during which there were so many remarkable debut novels in our genre.
I am fit to bust with pride in our Paul, and so so so happy he'll be at the Edgars banquet in April. GO PAUL!!!
I've also heard wonderful news from two great friends over the last few days: First, Sandra Ruttan told me over the weekend that she and Ken Bruen will be co-writing a novel. On top of that, Heidi Vornbrock Roosa called half an hour ago to tell me that she's signed with my agent Rolph Blythe, who is tremendously (and justifiably) excited about her novel Taking the Village, which I read last week and was completely wowed by.
I am weepy with joy for both of these chicks--fine writers, but even finer people and friends, the pair of them. And Ken Bruen is just completely awesome all around, which goes without saying but I'm saying it anyway because he IS.
But in the midst of all this wonderful stuff, I read something on DorothyL that knocked the wind out of me, honest-to-God as literally as if I'd just taken a roundhouse punch to the solar plexus. This post contained the awful, horrible, awful awful awful news of Barbara Seranella's death.
I just stared at my computer monitor and started sobbing, which made my husband and daughter run into the living room to see what had happened to me. I couldn't even speak to tell them for a couple of minutes, and then finally said, "I didn't even know her... except she gave me an onion at a convention this one time and I could barely even say anything when she did because I wanted to know her so damn much, and I'm so stupid because I should have just told her right then how much her work means to me, and how much I admire her... and GODDAMN IT, she was so cool and such a survivor and IT SUCKS THAT SHE'S DEAD!!!!!!!!"
And it does suck.... shit shit shit shit it does. There are not enough writers in the world like Barbara Seranella. There are not enough people in the world like her--the ones who you just know have a take on the world, when they walk into a room, that changes everything... that changes you, just by being around it and them. I don't know how to describe that, to do it justice, what she had. The cliches--that she had an old soul... that she was wise--don't cut it.
I can only say that she had a depth of compassion so palpable it had become luminous, as though she had perfected alchemy, transmuting pain into light.
There is not enough of that. There is never enough of that.
When Julia Buckley interviewed me for her blog two weeks ago , she asked which writer I would most like to meet at a conference. I said Barbara, adding that I was sure I would just blush hugely if I were introduced to her, then say "Dude, you are so awesome," and then faint.
Louise Ure emailed me to say she'd be happy to introduce me to Barbara at Left Coast Crime, as long as I promised not to say "Dude, you are so awesome."
Here's the thing:
Dude, she was.