Three years ago, I was the only young-adult author I knew. I think of that time as Before: before I discovered how many other young-adult authors live here in Portland, Oregon. Amazingly talented writers who are passionate about their work. About the teens they write for. About the world of young adult fiction. And about each other.
We go to each other's book launches and readings. We celebrate successes, commiserate over writing woes, are outraged for each other when publishing doesn't treat us well. We laugh a lot. And lately, we've cried.
In February we lost one of our little community, Lisa Madigan, to pancreatic cancer. And then, last week, Bridget Zinn passed away.
Two years ago, Bridget was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. Shortly afterward, she married her longtime love in a ceremony at the hospital. Her agent sold her debut novel. Bridget went through rounds of treatment. She revised the novel. She and her husband bought a house. More treatment. More revisions. She died before her book could be published. She was only 33.
I didn't know Bridget as well as others in our little group, the Portland KidLit. But every time I saw her, I was in awe of how happy she was. She laughed so much. She seemed absolutely steeped in love. Brimming with it. Appreciative of every good in her life, no matter how small.
Her good friends and fellow Portland KidLit-ers Jone MacCulloch, Lisa Schroeder, Laini Taylor, and April Henry, and her agent, Michael Sterns, have all written about Bridget much more eloquently than I can.
I hope her book continues on to publication, so that her words live on after her, so that the world has the opportunity to discover her.
And I try to remember: Be grateful now, this moment, for all I have that is good.