Today I heard that Sara Douglass, author of The Wayfarer Redemption series, passed away. I’d never met her, although I always wished I could have had the opportunity, and it struck me a little hard to know that there wouldn’t be that chance now. The news comes on the heels of other losses. This year we’ve also lost Brian Jaques, Diana Wynne Jones and L A Banks, people who wrote marvelous books loved by readers the world over. There’ll be no more stories of Chrestomancis, no more tales of Redwall Abbey. The Timekeepers won’t have any more adventures, and the Neteru will hunt no longer. It’s a tragedy that the stories have to stop.
But do they really? Of course not. As long as the books exist, the stories exist, and the authors remain alive in the hearts of the people who read their words.
We talk a good bit here about why we write. We write to quiet the voices in our heads, to get the stories out before we explode. We write because we have to. But we don’t usually talk about why we want to be published. Sure, making a living doing what we love is a very important reason, especially when the mortgage is due and there’s a kid in college and Christmas is coming. But we also want to be published because we want to reach other people, tell them our stories and watch their eyes widen in delight at the words we managed to put together. We want to be remembered. When we’re gone, our stories will remain. If the books go out of print, there’ll be copies in libraries waiting for new readers to discover. When the libraries cull the old books from their shelves, there’ll be a copy of our books in some private collection, like a hidden treasure for the next generation to happen over. It’s a way of living forever.
So I’ll be honoring the memories of our lost compatriots by continuing to write today, creating my own immortality.