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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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Oct 4th, 2007
Since posting the report on Robert Jordan's funeral, I've come across some more items I'd like to share with you. (With permission from RJ's family of course).
First off, Tom Doherty and Wilson were kind enough to share the words they spoke at RJ's funeral with us. Tom is the president of Tor Books (who published the Wheel of Time), and has been a friend of RJ's for 30 years or more. Here's what he said at the eulogy:
"He came like the wind. Like the wind touched everything and like the wind was gone."
Jim Rigney, Robert Jordan, friend, doer, dreamer, maker of dreams, one of the great storytellers of the 20th and I believe time will prove 21st century as well. His Wheel of Time is a towering epic of power and scope. After praising it extensively, The New York Times said of it:
"—the evil laced into forces of good, the dangers latent in any promised salvation, the scenes of unavoidable onslaught of unpredictable event—bear the marks of American national experience during the last three decades"
Truly Jim wrote for us all.
And Harriet, the love of his life, what a team, Harriet is the finest editor I've ever worked with. Working together they produced wonderful things. His first two books, Fallon Blood and Fallon Pride were published by her company, Popham Press as a joint venture with Ace where I was publisher and she had been Editorial Director. And then at Tor, another Fallon, Conan and the Wheel of Time. The Wheel, which has touched the lives of so many millions and down the generations will touch so many millions more.
Jim was a man of courage and heart and vision. He was my friend of 30 years. He's gone ahead of us now. Beyond that last horizon to a place we cannot yet see. But I think he can see us and he's glad we're together and he's already thinking of stories he's going to tell Harriet and then the rest of us when we get there.
We miss you Jim. Thanks for all you've left behind.
Thank you, Tom, for sharing that with all of us.
From Irish Cream,
by Father Andrew Greeley
"The issue," said the little bishop in him homily, "is whether the tombstone or the flowers are more ultimate. It is perhaps odd that we Americans celebrate our day of the dead just when life flourishes and summer begins. Somehow we have our symbols confused. My parents called this festival Decoration Day because it is the day when we used to put flowers around the tombs. Now we put them everywhere and perhaps forget about the meaning of the festival and tombs. We honor those who died in the country's wars-millions of young men whose lives were cut short before they had a chance to flourish. All war is foolish. Some may, however foolish, also be necessary. That is not for us to decide today. We must rather consider those long rows of white crosses-and Stars of David-and think of how much those young men might have contributed to the life of our country if they had been given a chance. We must also think of the parents, the wives, the sweethearts of those who are buried in the military cemeteries and how much their lives were blighted by early and sudden death.
"It might be said that they died for their country. It is more likely that they died because they were drafted and had no choice. They may also have died because political leaders or military leaders made tragic mistakes. We must not use this day of the dead to glorify war but rather to sorrow for those who died and for those who lost them.
"We must also ask God, with all due respect, why he permitted all these young lives to be cut short with such tragic results. We don't expect an answer but we must ask the question. Indeed he expects us to ask the question and not to lose sight of the tragedy.
"Yet we put flowers on the tombs and we surround our homes with flowers. Hence the question: Which is more ultimate, the flower or the tomb? Death, which the white cross represents, or life, which the flower represents? Do we just make the tomb pretty or do we defy it?
"I put it to you that we defy the tomb. We do not pretend that there is no tragedy in all these deaths. We do not turn away from the stupidity, the futility, the ugliness of death, of any and every death. Because of our faith we seek to transcend it. Love is as strong as death, the Song of Songs tells us. It is a kind of draw between the two. If, however, love cannot prevent death, so death cannot prevent love and thus in the end love wins. Consider the lilacs here on the lawn: they ought to have been wiped out long ago by the wind and the snow. Yet they reappear every year at this time to remind us that there is beauty in the cosmos. If there is beauty then there is Beauty with a capital B. And if there is Beauty, death is not quite the end. There is yet more to be said. Beyond that today we cannot go and we need not go. All the beauty of this wonderful day once again defies death and we join in that defiance. Life is too important ever to be anything but life."