I am heartbroken. I am devastated in that way we mourn celebrities that we're sure would've become lasting friends if we'd ever actually met. It's a similar shock and sadness as when I heard that Prince and Alan Rickman died...they way many others felt about David Bowie or Carrie Fisher. I imagine, though, that this feeling is rarely reserved for authors.
But most authors aren't Amy Krouse Rosenthal.
I did actually meet her once. We didn't become best friends, though. I'm certain she probably thought I was crazy.
When the note from the school came home that Amy Krouse Rosenthal would be there talking to the kids and signing books, I begged the librarian to let me attend. She was a little confused by my enthusiasm, "Sure, you can come...but I don't have any idea who she is."
You hadn't laughed out loud or wildly shaken your head in agreement while reading Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life? You didn't snuggle under the blankets with your kids laughing with Little Pea (who couldn't eat his spinach until he finished all of his candy) or Little Hoot (who just wanted to go to bed early)?
The themes were so catchy that my kids emailed her their idea for a pig who wanted a clean room and eventually lived "hap-pig-ly ever after." Her response...
"look what book is coming out this spring...(Little Oink). i will be HAPPY to send your kids a special signed copy for coming up with the very same idea!"
...and she did.
Unlike movies, authors have the unique gift of connecting with us individually, personally...authentically. And, in Amy Krouse Rosenthal's case, interactively. She encouraged readers to connect- and they did- in texts, emails, pie, Beckoning of Lovely, and Textbook. She taught life lessons through cookies. She left notes and dollars bills and encouraged others to do the same- connecting with strangers she'd never meet. Random acts of kindness to the nth degree.
In a disconnected world, she lessened the isolation.
I have countless "saved" Facebook articles, one titled "You May Want to Marry My Husband." At the time, I didn't pay attention to who wrote it...if I had, I would've realized that one of my favorite authors was facing her final days.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal not only recognized our oddities, she connected us through them. She encouraged us to look at and dive into life. And, even in that final post she offered a challenge. She acknowledged that her "empty-nest" plans and reality now looked nothing the same. "This is when we entered what I came to think of as Plan "Be," existing only in the present."
Thank you, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, for making me laugh, for inspiring my kids' love of books (and thus extra cuddle reading time with them), for encouraging kindness, and your recognition of life's small, yet momentous moments.
Life often throws us shit. As I've said before, just when we think we have it all figured out, it chutes and ladders our ass back to the bottom. Maybe it's a reminder that life's not meant to be saved for the future...we need a Plan Be.
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