Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Woman of Words and Worth ...

AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) - Best-selling author and columnist Molly Ivins died today at her Austin home following a long battle with breast cancer. Ivins was 62.

Her obit is posted on the Web site of the Texas Observer, where Ivins was an editor more than 30 years ago.

Ivins was a sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to President Bush as "Shrub." Ivins made a living poking fun at Texas politicians, whether they were in her home base of Austin or the White House.

She revealed in early 2006 that she was being treated for breast cancer for the third time.

More than 400 newspapers subscribed to her nationally syndicated column, which combined strong liberal views and populist-toned humor.

MIDLAND, TEXAS - I never met Molly Ivins ... wish I had.

Hers was a style of writing that reached out to a person. She spoke much as we spoke, just a little better and - sometimes - a little stronger than we would be comfortable with.

She was a populist in the noblest sense of the word ... she and her work gave expression to the populists at-large, to 'we, the people' ... especially those of us who were, you know, 'THOSE kind of people' ... without connection, without pull, without a voice. Oh, how the political establishment hated her, and hated how she encouraged us all to rear-up on our hind legs, and bleat OUR mind, rather than THEIR spin.

I never met Molly Ivins. But she figures in one of the significant days in my career as a writer and a journalist. I recall - with pride - that day that her byline and mine appeared in the same issue of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. True, hers was an op-ed piece in the paper's A section ... while mine was a feature about the Odessa Meteor Crater, in the paper's B section.

I've associated with far worse people.

"I have a grandly dramatic vision of myself stalking through the canyons of the Big Apple in the rain and cold, dreaming about driving with the soft night air of East Texas rushing on my face while Willie Nelson sings softly on the radio," she wrote in 1976, as she bid farewell to the Texas Observer, to take a job with the New York Times, "or about blasting through the Panhandle under a fierce sun and pale blue sky …."

"I’ll remember, I’ll remember…sunsets, rivers, hills, plains, the Gulf, woods, a thousand beers in a thousand joints, and sunshine and laughter. And people. Mostly I’ll remember people."

And we'll remember you.

I'm not alone ... not by a long shot ... other tributes on the blogosphere can be found at Sticky Doorknobs, Texas Trifles and Pertinent Verge, to name a few


Cowtown Pattie said...

Wonderful tribute, Jeff. Yes, we'll remember Molly.

Jeff said...

Thank you for stopping in, Miss Pattie. Next time the family and I come to Fort Worth, maybe we can meet you and K-Man at Purple Cow, and hoist a shake in her memory (or we could go to someplace else and hoist a beer).

DarkoV said...

Gorgeous post, sir. I'll be linking to it, if you don't mind.

Jeff said...

Darkov, and the same to you, sir ... good post on Molly. And, I'm thrilled to have you link to my post ... Thank You!