Hello Reading Family,
Monica Jackson .
On May 16, 2012, the literary world lost another one of its powerful voices--
On Saturday, May 26, a memorial service was held for Monica in her home of Topeka, Kansas. Her mom and her daughter asked me if I would write a tribute to my friend for her service. I was honored to do so and for those of you who were blessed to know her I would like to share this tribute with you. . .
When I was asked to write a tribute to my friend Monica, I was humbled. A million thoughts went through my head. What should I say? Where would I begin?
There are so many memories that I have of Monica. When I tried to recall how many years it has been that we have been friends, I couldn't remember because it seems like always.
I do remember our first meeting, though. It was at a romance writer's conference. We sat together and started talking. You know that feeling when you meet someone for the first time and you CLICK? That's what happened when Monica and I met. We clicked. We talked throughout that conference, shared all kinds of crazy ideas for stories and I knew ... this chick is brilliant!! And from that very first meeting and the sharing of ideas we remained friends throughout the years.
The kind of friends that don't have to see each other every day or even talk to each other every day, but rather the kind of friends that know we are in each other's corner.
Of course the Internet made our long distance friendship close and immediate. When I would sign on to my email account I would look in my buddy list for Monica. I would always be alerted when she signed on by the creaking door noise that her sign-on name made. And then we would chat back and forth for hours, bringing each other up to date on what we were doing, what we were working on and figuring out ways to get each other out of whatever current dilemma we were in!
Monica was always working on something, some new web design, a blog, a way to market her work and the work of others. She was always in tireless in pursuit of finding that open doorway of acceptance for black romance in the marketplace. She was outspoken, determined, our voice.
She was just as relentless and creative about how she lived her life. She was strong and innovative and adventurous. She worked the traditional job when she needed to, found loopholes to fill the gaps when she needed to, and picked up and moved when the mood hit her. And always, always at the top of her list, whatever plan she had Amethyst always came first.
There was rarely a conversation that we had over the years when Ame's name didn't pop up-mostly in a good way! LOL. Even though it wasn't until recently that I actually met Monica's beloved Amethyst I felt as if I knew her and watched her grow up over the years.
Our first meeting happened during a blizzard in New York. Monica and Ame were returning from a warm cruise only to land in New York during a major snowstorm. When Monica called from the airport saying they were stranded in New York, we decided that they would stay with me and my family. Always industrious, Monica managed to get a cab and direct them to Brooklyn. This was the very first time that I had actually been in Monica's presence since the first time we met more than a decade earlier. But it was like we saw each other every day! And the added treat was that I got to finally meet Ame.
The visit was fun but much too brief. The intrepid Monica was determined to "not impose" on me and get to a hotel close to the airport so that she could get her flight back home.
It was the last time I saw Monica and I am so incredibly grateful for that snowstorm. Of course once she returned to Tokeka we resumed our Internet relationship and our ongoing quest to "be famous" or at least make enough money to pay the bills from this writing thing that we so loved!
As a writer I should have all of the words to express how much Monica meant to me, how much she impacted my life on a regular basis. I wish that I could find those words. There aren't any words for the special place that Monica will always have in my heart and on my spirit.
I am grateful to my friend for taking me into her life, for sharing parts of herself, her pain, her fears, her joys, her ambitions, her vision with me. She made me a better person because of who she was. I only pray that the things that I learned from her about being better, being fearless, I will be able to share with others.
I will miss you deeply, my friend.