I’ve recently been going through all my books, seeing which ones ‘spark joy’ and are worth keeping, and which ones have served me well but no longer offer wisdom or bring satisfaction to keep.
As I started sorting through my collection, I got to looking at a series of books I had read as a young adult (really, a child - it’s was probably inappropriate for me to be reading these back then). They were a series of books written for teens, written by an author by the name of Lois Duncan. The most famous of these books is I Know What You Did Last Summer, but many of them were quite well-known back in the 90s and earlier. As a kid, I used to absolutely adore these books. They were sharply written, suspenseful, dramatic, and I always felt a bit more mature while reading them. It was like I was getting away with something I shouldn’t be doing.
As a kid I remember first getting an email address, using the dial-up internet connection my Mom used to keep the books for a volunteer fire department with an old Gateway 2000 computer. With my new email address in hand, I did the first thing I could think of. In the back of some of those books, in the author biography section, there was an email address to contact the author. So I typed up a gushing email as fast as my fifth-or-sixth grade fingers would allow. To my absolute amazement, a few days later, I had a reply in my inbox. From her. It was actually, honest-to-god, written by her. It blew my little mind. I mean, this was a celebrity! And the internet made it possible to talk to her! And how kind and gracious she was. I wish I still had a copy of that email somewhere.
After thinking back to that glorious moment in my life, an awful thought occurred to me. So of course, I did what anyone would do nowadays - I visited Wikipedia. And there it was. The end date. 2016.
I felt guilty. It was almost an Schrödinger’s Cat situation - if I didn’t check Wikipedia, she was both alive and dead. By merely checking to see if she was dead, it was as if I had caused her to die. What had I done?!?
I don’t know the point of this blog post, really. I know people age. I know people die. That’s life. But it will always be weird to me that someone can be so alive, so capable of doing something as mundane as sending an email - and then poof, that’s all she wrote. Literally.
Thanks for the entertaining reads, Ms. Duncan.