Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

There was a full moon over Austin the night Molly died. I had flashed on her that day, and actually sent out an update on her health to everyone I thought might be interested. I took a few minutes to enjoy the moon on the way home from work that evening, and woke up to NPR Thursday morning to the news that she had passed away at 5 p.m. the day before.

Thursday morning I went to the Texas Observer Web site, to read their beautiful piece, and scanned the comments section, noting many friends. I wanted to gather my thoughts before commenting, and when I went back to the site on my lunch break I was astonished to find that the volume of comments from friends and even strangers who recognized what a truly courageous and great writer she was had totally crashed their server. Her last post was true essence d'Molly and is her most passionate ultimate rallying call ever. She makes me believe that the pen is mightier than the sword, especially when it speaks the truth.

Articles and memorials are pouring out all over the Internet for this remarkable woman, one of my three greatest sheroes--Molly, Ann Richards, and Barbara Jordan. They did more for me in my life and career than anyone outside my family. They taught me courage: they showed me that Texas women don't have to cave in to the typical "old boy" slings and arrows, but can take a place at the table with wisdom, humor, reason, sanity, compassion, and grace. They gave me hope. They gave me role models.

I met Molly on several occasions at friends' homes, but never had the honor of moving closer into her circles. She did "bless my heart" when I told her that of all the writers I knew, I kept up with her even while living in Australia for two years, and that I counted on her to tell the truth about what was really happening.

So many of the posts express loss, and I also wonder "who will write the truth for us now?" The answer, of course, is that there is no one who can write like Molly. She was a "one-off," with more influence and fans than she probably ever realized. We can't let her down. We must get out our pots and pans and long-handled chuckwagon chili spoons and beat them until they hear the truth in Washington. We can't let her flame go out.

I like Bill Moyers' post the best so far. He wrote it for the Observer, but I read it in Common Dreams. Another indication no other person's passing has seen such a deluge of loving posts than Molly's.


cchang said...

I love this line from the Moyer's post: You have inspired us earthbound wretches to keep trying to live up to your legacy in the hope of joining you there one day.

Her humorous candor will be greatly missed. I feel so fortunate to have experienced her live during the Prairie Home Companion tour when they passed through Bass concert Hall.

Rhea said...

I knew her only through her writings. But I saw her give a talk once in Cambridge, Mass. She was fabulous and died too soon.