[Note: Emyl Jenkins Sexton passed away earlier today. She was a friend, mentor and longtime VPW member.]
I’m writing…. I know you would be proud. I’m thinking happy thoughts, too, although it’s not easy. We missed you at the VPW conference Friday. I’ll miss you at this week’s library event. But I’m taking your words to heart, and so I wanted to share my happy thoughts with you.
The first time I met you was at a VPW meeting so many years ago. You were speaking to us even though you had a temperature. We chatted and from then on you were giving me advice and encouraging me about my writing and finishing my book.
There’s a photo on my writing desk of Adriana Trigiani, you and me taken at one of her book signings. Such happy times.
I remember the 2007 NFPW conference held in Richmond, Va. You dear lady hosted the board at your lovely home and made everyone fall in love with the Southern delicacy of ham biscuits. I may not eat ham, but those biscuits… oh my.
I remember attending the Library of Virginia Literary Awards this past October as you presented the award for fiction. It’s always a fun evening and it was more special with you presenting.
I am thinking happy thoughts remembering my first James River Writers conference. You were introducing a panel on mystery writers and spent a few minutes talking about the panelists. And then you said that in the audience was another mystery writer — me! Oh, how my heart sang to think that one day I would be a published mystery writer. I will make you proud, I promise.
And just last month Jann Malone, you and I enjoyed a Thai lunch catching up, sharing stories, solving the problems of the South. I’m glad I didn’t know then that it would be the last time I saw you.
So Emyl, we all have our memories and we all miss you. I will think happy thoughts but you will forgive me if there are a few tears, too. And to you I raise a glass of writer’s courage.