Friday, February 25, 2011

The Death of YA Author L.K. Madigan: What can we learn from it?

If you've been on Twitter over the last couple of days, you may be aware of the passing of L.K. Madigan (aka Lisa Wolfson), young adult author of Flash Burnout and her most recent release, The Mermaid's Mirror. I have The Mermaids Mirror on my TBR list, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. And then I learned of her death. She was only 47, a wife, mother and breast cancer survivor; a disease that manifested itself in her life 20 years ago. She figured she had it beat. She passed the five year mark, gave birth two years after that, then published two well-received books, one which won critical acclaim. In January, she posted about the malevolent force (my words) that reared it's wicked head in her life once again, what we now know would be for the last time on her blog.

I decided to look through the archive of her blog, which goes back to 2004. She was a huge proponent of the creative writing process and other writers. It was fun to read of her excitement as she shared her overwhelming joy of becoming a published author for the first time; her journey of how she began the agent hunt and the process of finding the agent that was just right for her...

Death always sets me to thinking. It's the beginning of the end on one hand, and the beginning of something new on the other. Much depends on how you view life and if you think our existence here, now, is all that there is. I have definite thoughts about that too, but that's not the focus of this post. So, what is? Consider this. It's something I've been thinking about and Lisa's passing brought it to the forefront of my mind.

I'm an aspiring author. So are many others. Some are not aspiring any longer. They've "made it"; some even capturing the Holy Grail on their first lap out of the gate: the New York Times bestseller's list. The YA community is a tightly knit one; one in which writers in various stages of the publishing trajectory connect and intermingle. We read and comment on each others blogs; relate tales of struggle, pain and sadness about rejections; try to put just the right words together in just the right way to garner the perfect agent, secure that elusive book deal... Often it becomes all-consuming; sometimes it feels overwhelming and we can develop tunnel vision and tune out all else in our quest for literary gold.

I endeavor to stay balanced; keep life in it's proper perspective. Death always brings me around. It makes me realize that writing and securing a book deal is awesome and a goal worthy of pursuit. But, it's not all there is. We need to remember that. If we get published-super. If we don't, life is still worth living. We're wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and friends. Life is multifaceted. For so many people in our lives and in the world, writing and being published, doesn't even enter their consciousness. They're just trying to survive, stay alive, be there for the ones that need them.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, let's all try to remember what's important in life and not let any one desire overwhelm us and overshadow the rest.

Lisa had an important wish and that was for her son, Nate to get a college education. A trust has been set up with that in mind. It's a tough economy these days and money is tight, but if you have a little extra to spare, consider contributing to this child's education. The particulars are here. You reap what you sow. What you give to others, comes back to you in one form or another. Be a blessing and get blessed.



  1. I read about her in our local paper. She sounds a very interesting person, as well as a good writer.

  2. Very touching post. Makes you think about priorities.

  3. Sheila, Charmaine...thanks for dropping in girls. Charmaine, yep. It's all about priorities and making sure we don't lose sight of the right ones.

  4. I was shocked and saddened when I heard the news this week. :(

  5. Yeah. It was definitely hard to digest Medeia.

  6. That was so sad about L.K. Madigan. She seemed to have a life full of joy as well as sorrow.

  7. I know. It's incredibly sad isn't it Patty...


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