a moment of silence

I would like a moment of silence for Linda.

None of you who read this know Linda, except maybe Kit Tunstall and Starr Rathburn, but I think both of them were gone from the Writers' Circle before Linda came. Linda went by the moniker TheCritic on Writing.com, which is where I lived before LiveJournal, Facebook and Twitter. And when Kit and Starr left, Linda took over the WC.

The Writers' Circle taught me more about writing than anything ever had, including college. I was hiding from an unhappy marriage by writing short stories filled with sadness and horror. They told me what worked and what didn't. They watched me write my first flailing attempt at a novel and encouraged me when I tried to give it up about nine times. When I got my first book contract, they cheered me on. It is one of my great regrets that the WC has mostly fallen to pieces, with posts becoming fairly rare and most of its members moving on to greener pastures.

Linda was a sweet lady who devoted her time and effort to keeping the WC alive. She offered friendly but helpful critique and unflagging encouragement for new writers. She wanted it to remain a safe place for new writers to learn and grow, just as I had. Granted, my membership in the WC has been mostly symbolic for the last five years. I have so many other things going on that I would forget to stop by the forum for months at a stretch.

But Linda kept it alive. She kept renewing her paid membership on Writing.com so the group would have a host account. She offered several times to step down if someone else could bring the group new life, but of course we all shuffled our feet and stared at the floor, so she kept the job. She prompted us all to keep working and keep posting, and the only reason the group is nearing 10 years of existence is Linda.

I knew she had been ill. I didn't know it was cancer. I was not paying enough attention. I dropped by today to see how things were going in the old WC.

It was stage 4 cancer, and she died in her husband's arms in May.

Today I will light a candle for Linda, whom I never met in person but whose strength and love of the written word kept alive the writers' group that is most directly responsible for the career I have today. These connections we form online seem tenuous at best, and our non-connected family and friends might laugh at them - they can't be "real" friendships if you've never seen the person. But you and I know differently.

I don't expect you to mourn for Linda, or feel her husband's grief. But I ask you, in her honor, to reach out today to someone. Someone you haven't spoken to for a little while, because time passes and memory fades and you just haven't had the chance. Go to that corner of the internet you haven't visited in months, blow off the cobwebs and see what's going on. Reach out to that person and simply say hello. Ask how they're doing, and listen to the answer.

Because you never know when the sand will fall through the hourglass and the chance is lost.


  1. Anonymous9:32 AM

    I mourn with you.

  2. This makes me so sad. Yes, I corresponded w/ Linda quite frequently even after I left the WC. I agree: she was a sweet lady indeed. It IS too easy to lose touch with friends; look at us, my dear "Reannon."

    It's strange that I even found this: I'm on my daughter's PC, started out at Google,and from there was led to something new to me, called http://www.kosmix.com/topic/Starr_Rathburn
    I've always remembered your advice (given at WC, I think) that we should Google our own names regularly.
    I may not have seen this post otherwise. Funny how friends can run into each other on the web. Maybe it's not as big a place as we think. hmmm.

    A beautiful tribute to our friend Linda. Glad I found this. I didn't know about her illness either.

    As ever,



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