Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Writers Leave A Gift To Be Opened Many Times

My state writers' organization, Kansas Authors Club, sent a sad notice recenly to let members across our state know about the death of one of our members. Ursula Turner was born and grew up in Germany, married an American and came to the USA where she spent the rest of her life. I did not know her well but I have her book, My German Christmas, and enjoyed it so much when I read it. The book is a combination of memoir and German Christmas traditions. We see Germany through the eyes of a young girl. She wrote other books and was a columnist for her local newspaper in Coffeyville, KS. She self-published several books.

In the week since I learned of Ursula's death, I have been thinking about what happens when any writer passes on. The hand that wrote thousands of words has grown still. There will be no more funny lines, or poignant passages. No more stories that teach and entertain readers. Readers cannot say Oh, I can't wait til his next book comes out for their will be no next book.

When Maeve Binchy died, I felt sad about her passing but I was also devastated that there would be no more books written by this outstanding Irish author. A door had closed, a curtain had fallen and the long list of her works had been completed.

Even so, the words any deceased author has written can live forever. Whether the writer gave us poetry, short stories, novels, essays, memoir or creative nonfiction, we can hold the book or magazine in our hand and read again and again. Or we can find the writings online and read to our heart's content. The deceased writer has left us a gift that we can open many times.

Knowing that these writings live on softens the sadness of losing a writer we know or one whose work we love. Someday soon, I will read My German Christmas once again, and I'll think about the kind woman who wrote the book.

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