“My friends are my estate.” Emily Dickinson
I was going to write about something else today, but my friend Linda had other plans for me. You see, today, August 10th, is her birthday. She passed away earlier this year after a treacherous bout of cancer and I miss her every day. Last year on her birthday, I gave her among other little gifts, a pink journal emblazoned with the word “Starting” on it. This year, well, this year is different—I’m writing this in her honor.
Linda was one of the smartest, strongest, wisest and wittiest people I was ever lucky enough to meet. We first found each other when our kids, my son Alex and her daughter Natalie, were in the second grade. In fact we met on a school trip to a play somewhere. Linda was one of the designated drivers for the parents on the trip and I had the good fortune to grab a spot in her backseat. She kept us all laughing the entire trip and from that day forward, we were friends. Over time, we truly became sisters in spirit.
It was Linda who told me about the “Land of Possibilities,” a phrase I love and often use in my posts. When I would be waiting to hear about writing I had sent out or for something sense, Linda would say, “Now, you’re in the Land of Possibilities.” Anything can happen was what she meant—the world was full of opportunities and wondrous events.
Linda taught me so much! Her last name was D’Amico and she would regale me with stories about growing up Italian in Brooklyn. She even taught me a few Italian words I absolutely loved. One was so great: “embroiliamente” (I have no idea how to spell this, but you get the picture!) An “embroiliamente” was just a big mess where everyone was all hot and bothered. What a handy word—how apt and all-encompassing!
My dear, dear friend was also a constant booster of my writing. She would sometimes say to me, “Karin, you know how to spin gold out of straw,” or in my freelancing heyday, “Karin, you’re the only person I know who can write for PriceWaterhouse in your flip-flops.” She loved my children’s fantasy and often read pages for me and gave me ideas. She also loved my play about Sojourner Truth, DUST OF EGYPT,” and I know she’s thrilled that it’s been accepted into a festival.
Multi-talented doesn’t begin to describe Linda. She was a wonderful editor, who helped others, including me, shape and sharpen our words. She was also a gifted writer. While a returning student at Montclair State, she wrote many stories about her life. They were so compelling that I encouraged her to put them in a book. We spent hours in her kitchen working on this. I even taped some interviews with her. But somehow, this project never panned out. As we all know, writing is hard work and you have to really stay with it. For Linda, life often got in the way of the gifts she had.
Linda loved life, but life didn’t always love her. She had many tough times, times I did my best to help her through. She did the same for me. Now, for me, she’s past all that. Her burdens have fallen away and she is pure love and light. May her angel’s wings brush my cheek, touch my heart, and make my pen mighty! Bravo, Linda! Write on!
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