Goodbye, Molly

    Today was a journalism day — no fiction writing at all. (I miss Marc and Sophie!) I didn't sleep all night because I have a bloody sinus infection. Even Starbuck's couldn't energize me.

    I spent the day interviewing local and national celebs to create a tribute piece for late, great columnist Molly Ivins, who died of breast cancer last week. I met Molly twice — once as a cub reporter when I interviewed her and once several years later when I was an award-winning columnist and newspaper editor and was attending a conference where she was the keynote speaker. Both times I was touched by her immense intelligence and her kindness.

    The first time I was so intimidated by her. She was already a syndicated super-star at that point, and I felt like a a complete newbie — tongue-tied and stupid. She talked about issues and people I didn't know, making jokes I didn't always understand. I did my best to take notes — those were the days of taking notes by hand — and to make sense of what were obviously pearls of wisdom from a master.

    The second time, I was attending a conference for newspaper editors and publishers. The group was made up almost entirely of men and their trophy wives. Journalism is largely a men's game, particularly at the top, and I found myself relegated to talking with wives who had little more than their next Botox on their minds. But Molly was there as keynote speaker. She handled the almost exclusively male audience with ease. I ran into her outside after her speech and enjoyed the only real conversation I had during the entire conference. She had almost no hair, having just finished her first round of chemo, but she was remarkably upbeat. Sadly, I can't remember our conversation, only her encouragement to "keep fightin' the good fight."

    It broke my heart when I heard she'd died. She had a way with humor that few can even hope to immitate. I always felt humbled when I read her columns, always wondered why I hadn't thought of that. So this week, I'm putting together a tribute to this woman who has touched truly millions of lives with her wit and wisdom.

    Goodbye, Molly, I'll miss you.

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