Molly and me.
Creative writing and journ in high school were when I developed a desire to be able to write. I knew I didn't have the imagination to write fiction, didn't have the discipline to write a book, but found I could muster enough creativity, humor, silliness, or pathos to write columns in the school paper. I know they're not worldly authors, but I liked Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck, Anna Quinlan, Linda Ellerbee - liked their informal style.
Then I found Molly Ivins, who had an appealing style plus was going after the bad guys, plus she was a woman not writing about children and family. She became my heroine. Even when I wasn't familiar with Texas-specific issues or people, she made me laugh and think. I read her books as well as her columns, and she never disappointed. In 1998, she had me up to speed on Shrub, and I began to fear his likely candidacy for president. And we all know how well that worked out.
Molly represented what I wanted (and still want) to be: smart, funny, fearless, at home in her skin without being girly and gorgeous. I was in LA once for a seminar, and stepped into a hotel elevator with her. I didn't want to be a fawning pest, so I just said, "you are Molly Ivins, aren't you?" She smiled warmly and said, "well bless your heart, yes I am." So I fawned a little.
She died Wednesday night, age 62, breast cancer. The list of people I miss because of death or distance grows over time, and another breast cancer death makes me furious and fearful. So let's wash that away with a cold beer and thoughts of an afterlife where Molly is drinking and laughing, joining Ann Richards and saving us seats at their table. Cheers and thanks, Molly.