Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Missing Julie: In Memory of Julie Cannon

I never met writer, Julie Cannon, and yet her death last evening feels like someone hit my heart with a hammer. Oh, I knew people she knew, went places she went, and lived only a few miles from her town.

My husband even preached a homecoming service recently in her church, but I didn’t have the opportunity to meet her that day.
I ran into one of her former editors at the recent American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Dallas. I'd planned on attending one of Julie's upcoming events.

"Tell her hello for me," the editor said.
I never had the opportunity.
I only know Julie through her writing. As a volunteer in the Athens Academy library when my children attended school there, I found her book True Love and Homegrown Tomatoes while shelving books one day. I checked it out, and fell in love with her characterizations and storytelling. Just beginning my own fiction-writing journey, I returned to the library and found her Mater Biscuit. I became a Julie Cannon fan. I recently read I’ll Be Home for Christmas and again found compelling characterizations.

I’ve yet to read her newest book released a few weeks back, Twang. However, you 'd better believe I’ll have it soon.

I don’t know how to explain this, other than to say her death feels very personal to me.

When an artist of any kind dies, though there work continues to be enjoyed, sometimes for generations, the living breathing person and creative genius who gave birth to a story, or a piece of music, or a visual masterpiece  is no longer there. We lose the ability to hear  in real time from the ones who’ve spun the words, or notes, or paint and caused us to stop our lives to see what they’ve done and through whose work our own lives have been enriched and changed. There's a real sense of loss.

Julie’s last blog post, “Jesus is just all right with me,” tells of her transition from writing in the general market to writing in the inspirational market. She informs us that Jesus will show up in Twang, but also warns that Twang grapples with the gritty side of life.

Jesus is just all right with me, too, Julie. And based on your testimony I read in another one of your blog posts, you’re having a fine time with Jesus right now.

We’re grieving those books you didn’t have an opportunity to write. We’re going to miss your as yet to be conceived one of a kind characters and stories,  but most of all we’ll miss you. Thank you for helping me and many others in our own careers by teaching us much about fiction writing.

And folks, if you haven’t read her books, get them today. You don’t want to miss her amazing work.

Our sympathy and many prayers go out to the family of this beloved woman, Julie Cannon.

"Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die..." (John 11:25).

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