I am reposting this from my personal blog, because in that continual feeling of helplessness that comes with loss, I chose to share how wonderful my friend was to honor her name.
Two days before this past Thanksgiving, I lost a friend. I am still having a really hard time dealing with it. The "situation" surrounding her death has left me questioning things in new ways. As of right now, I haven't come to any sense of peace with any of the possible answers, and I ache for the three little children she left behind.
That said, I have found some comfort in my memories. She called herself my first fan. I had taken about a decade break from writing when I had my children. Getting back into it was scarey, of course. Carolyn always encouraged me, and therefore she was my only friend to read that first manuscript. She took this "honor" as she called it very seriously. She called me with her page of notes after. She gave me the honesty I needed, good and bad for which I will ever be greatful. That was the first story I sent out, and so it was also my first rejection. But, my friend was so encouraging. She said, with her unfailing faith in me, that when it did get published she wanted a signed copy that was written to "my first fan."
When I did get my first contract (which was not for my first story, of course) I will never forget the moment I told her. It was outside of our son's school, and she shook and cried with her excitement as she hugged me. Her reaction touched me and will ever stand out in my mind when I think of that time.
When I got to hold my first printed book in my hand, it took it awhile to dawn on me that in that anthology was a greatly revised version of that first story Carolyn read for me. It made it even more bittersweet. Despite my unanswered questions, I will always keep with me her happiness for me. It was such a gift. Now, I can't give her that signed copy, so I guess I am writing this to her instead.
To Carolyn, My First Fan,
Thank You for your help, your encouragement, your excitement and your friendship.
You are one of the few who helped this book truely to be.
I will love you always,