Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Friend's Next Chapter

A decade ago I would not have come to know Irene, a recent virtual friend and colleague. That was long before I had any inkling I’d write a memoir, no less have it published. But through the last few years one choice led to another: the choice to enroll in an MFA program and focus my thesis on surviving my husband’s premature death, the choice to move from high school to college teaching, the choice to publish the memoir.

Enter Irene, just after Staying Alive: A Love Story became available on Amazon and bn.com. As the managing editor of an online company that reviews and promotes independently published books, she had unique expertise in an area I knew nothing about: marketing. Within weeks the book was reviewed and Irene wanted to interview me – on her radio show.  She’d tape our conversation over the phone, me in CT and she in TX.

It took no time to realize I was working with a smart woman committed to promoting quality books in a growing independent publishing market. Now I was being introduced to Irene, woman to woman. First she called “just to chat” and prepare me for the phenomena of long distance radio transmission. We spoke the way women of similar ilk speak, easily and familiarly. She liked that the book portrayed my children and me as survivors, not victims,. This conversation assured me I would feel comfortable with her in the ensuing taping.

Irene tempered the daunting task of selling myself. We stayed in contact. I wrote for her blogging authors’ site.

When Irene was diagnosed with cancer we talked again. She remembered the story of my own bout with kidney cancer shared in my memoir. Over long distance, she continued to encourage me, professionally, as I did my best to encourage her to wellness.

After a number of extreme treatments Irene was declared cancer free. I was elated. Yet, the elation vanished yesterday when I received sad news from her family. Though Irene appeared to have won a battle or two against the insipid disease, she ultimately lost the war that escalated through her body.

After my interview aired, friends remarked Irene and I sounded like long-time friends. I wish that could have been so. Yet my one-year association with this great gal from Texas has had a greater impact on me than many I have had– for years. I’m a better professional – and person – for having known her.
If I hadn't gotten to know Irene the way I did, I'd be inclined to say Rest in Peace about now. Yet, having come to know her vim and vigor in getting important work for writers and readers done, I'm going to go with Rest in Perpetual Purpose, Friend.    

CLICK HERE for my interview with Irene.

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