I’m privileged to be part of a group of writers that meet up, a few times a year, for weekend retreats at the home of our fearless leader in Northampton. It’s that rare group where the friendly and sincere compliments that we give each other on our work aren’t, for the most part, just being polite. We like each other, and we like each other’s writing, and that’s a recipe for a good time, and for good friends: the kind of friends with whom you can spend a few weekends a year and feel like it’s been forever. In a good way.
A few retreats ago I met Andrea Coller, a writer, singer, songwriter, and all around swell person. She’s one of those artists, if I may throw the term around, who’s good enough to almost piss you off. You wonder, how did she get so good? Does she know how good she is? She can’t possibly, or she’d be much less pleasant to be around.
Several months ago, Andrea read us a short memoir piece that blew me away, and I wasn’t particularly surprised to learn that a longer version of it won Glamour Magazine’s non-fiction writing contest. Read it for yourself, and trust me when I tell you that everything I’ve ever heard that she’s written was this good.
No, go on. Read it.
It’s pretty nearly unutterably sad that Andrea died yesterday, at age 29. I was honored to have been able to partake of her talent and to claim her as a friend.
Update: Jennifer Weiner, one of the judges of the Glamour contest, blogs briefly about Andrea.