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A Literary & Poetry Column
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

What I Learned from Carolyn See

West coast writer and amazing supporter of literature and other writers died this week of cancer at eighty-two. I was surprised to learn how old she was. I didn’t know her well but she had an aura of perpetual youth and energy. Perhaps it was her passion for the literary world.

We both served as instructors for UCLA Extension’s renowned Writers’ Program. But she was a veteran and I was new and feeling insecure. She showed up at a panel I served on at the venerable (and ancient by independent bookstore standards—more than 100 years old!) Vroman’s in Pasadena. When I introduced myself she grinned. “I know who you are,” she said.

It was one of the small indications of her generosity to her readers and other and to other writers. There it was. A casual remark that makes a fellow writer feel good. The other gift, of course, was showing up at the event.

So, I’m using this short column to remind both readers and authors to show up and be kind. It’s a pass-it-forward kind of thing. In honor of Carolyn See.

And, Oh! I can’t resist. In lieu of flowers or tears, do yourself a favor and read her Golden Days. That’s the best kind of gift we who love literature can give to another.


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