Emyl Jenkins Stole Our Hearts With Style

[Note: Emyl Jenkins Sexton passed away earlier today. She was a friend, mentor and longtime VPW member.]

Dear Emyl,

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 have happy thoughts of other evenings at your home, joking with you and your husband Bob about which car I drove. And that’s all I’ll say on that subject!

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.

5 thoughts on “Emyl Jenkins Stole Our Hearts With Style

    • To everyone who commented and sent emails, know that all of us who knew and loved Emyl spent the weekend celebrating this remarkable woman’s life. As was said at her service, she was an honorable woman in many ways. She taught us so much and we will do our best to follow those lessons. And so I lift a glass of writer’s fluid to you Emyl. Cheers!

  1. hey, Cynthia…I am so sad to hear this news. Emyl was one of the folks who pushed me and challenged me and supported the writing and publication of my book. She invited me to Danville to speak before there WAS a book! She is the one who traded ideas with me, and who first published my work in a book — I am proud to have pieces in her Traditions and From Store Bought to Homemade collections. And just a couple weeks, I’d emailed her re: how her readings were going, and now this.

    Thank you for the sweet words and sharing of your friendship. I know her family will cherish it.

  2. Clara Cartrette says:

    Good morning, Cynthia, Even though I did not know your friend Emyl, I now feel as if I did after reading your tribute. This is the only down side of making NFPW friends…sometimes we lose them.

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