On Saturday, I heard that my favorite author had died. Rest in peace, Diana Wynne Jones. May perpetual light shine upon her.
On March 2nd, I had a very strong urge to write fan mail to Diana Wynne Jones, to tell her that my daughter had discovered her work. I looked around online until I found a working email address (it would have gone to her assistant) and also there was an update on the site saying that her health had improved. I know the date because I opened a new email and inserted the email address, but then I didn’t write it.
I worked on finding the right things to say. I would have used the subject line “third generation fan.” I played with the words. I might have told her that whenever I have been interviewed about my writing, they invariably ask me for my favorite authors, and I begin the list with her. That I have read Archer’s Goon and Howl’s Moving Castle more than three times each. That my husband has read Howl’s Moving Castle to our two oldest, and when the time comes, the youngest two will hear it as well.
And I didn’t write the letter. I didn’t send it. There’s always time. Except when there’s not anymore.
I’ve been “warned” like that a few times in the past. Hearing my husband make plans with his friend for us to go visit him and his dying wife (also with cancer) they waffled between two weekends to make the trip. They settled on the later weekend, and I thought, That’s too late, but I didn’t want to say anything. How could I say, “Sweetie, I know you’re Patient, but what if death doesn’t wait?” She’d been doing better. Why change things just because I was paranoid? And two days before our visit, she died.
It’s happened other times too. Sometimes I even listen. But this time, not.
One of my pet-phrases is “Tomorrow is not a promise,” by which I mean it’s never a guarantee that we’ll still be here tomorrow. But other people’s tomorrows are not a promise either. So when you’re faced with something you ought to do to tell someone she’s appreciated — do it now, do it now, do it now.