As writers, we explore the depths of our light and dark sides, searching for universal truths and hoping for common bonds with our readers. On occasion, it’s hard to pull back from that darkness, which is why studies show so many writers and poets suffer from depression. And sometimes, the light goes out while you’re slogging through the night of your own soul; famously, as with Ernest Hemingway or Sylvia Plath, or quietly, anonymously, as with Lynn VonDemfange. She took her own life last week, and while people mourn and ask why, fellow explorers of the inner sanctum will understand her next-to-last act: she wrote her own obituary, a very writerly thing to do. Really, what writer wouldn’t want control over the final public words summing up their experiences, accomplishments, and legacy?
Looking at the list of professional achievements she left behind, one might hope to gain that much success. She had edited magazines, including a stint at Country Home, worked for Hallmark Cards, and wrote her own column for a while at the local paper.
But sometimes, the bylines aren’t enough. I only knew her by the words she wrote, the honest opinions she gave. I didn’t know her personal story or her pain, but I do know that she was a talented writer, and no matter what anyone says, we can always use more. The world is a little less literate without her.
So, thinking of