Sunday, May 27, 2012

Interrupting the trip for sorrow

I am having a wonderful time re-living my time in Tibet, but that is only part of my days these days.

2012 has its own rhythms, joys and sorrows. And one huge sorrow came yesterday with the passing of Ellen Levine.  Ellen was a good friend, a wonderful writer, passionate for justice for the powerless, the least, the lost. She was thoroughly engaged with life and full of joy.  (I will never forget her delight in her snow pants the winter she came to Hamline). The world is a lesser place without her.

We can keep some of Ellen's voice with us by keeping her books alive. Here's a list from her website:

Picture Books
Henry’s Freedom Box 
(which won a Caldecott Honor Award, announced during our Hamline winter residency, 2008. We were all much excited).

Seababy: A Little Otter Returns Home (March 2012  !!)
In Trouble

Last fall, while battling lung cancer, Ellen talked about writing a controversial book like In Trouble at the Boston Book Festival.  If you want to read this talk and--almost--hear her voice again, here it is.

Nothing erases loss. It's a  fact. Like a rock. But there are memories to throw up against it--of a life lived with courage, laughter, passion, and honesty.  Thank you, Ellen, for all you gave us, all you taught us.


  1. Dear Jackie, I have been meaning to read your post about Ellen for weeks now. Today I play catch up and as I read your entries about your trip, I am filled with joy for you that you experienced such exhiliration and challenge as you took that trip that ended up in your amazing book. How wonderful to read the entries along with your picture book.

    And such sorrow to lose the voice of Ellen in the world. She was so inspiring at Hamliine. But even more I was touched at the friendship and love between all of you - Phyllis, Liza, Jane and you. I lost a dear friend Debbie this spring also - another terrible journey with cancer. It's hard to see our friends suffer, isn't it? Thank you for honoring Ellen and her work. I know she will be honored in readings at the Hamline residency, too. Godspeed.

  2. I'm sorry for your loss Claire. We'll miss you this summer. But I hope you are getting lots of writing done and generally having a wonderful summer.