On Saturday the world lost a very special person. She was one of my favorite authors, and she's somebody I would have liked to have met. Many of you have probably seen (or written your own) blog posts remembering Diana Wynne Jones. This is my own brief tribute.
I had never read anything of hers until the past year or so. I started with Howl's Moving Castle. It wasn't like anything else I'd ever read. It had a different kind of magic, beautifully flawed characters, delight and whimsy. I loved it.
Since then I've read at least a dozen of her other books. All of them are wonderful. Through them she came across as someone who knew hard things, but who nevertheless chose to embrace the quirks of life and find humor in them. Indeed, from this autobiography (which I read last night for the first time), I get that exact impression.
I've seen so many heartfelt things said about Diana Wynne Jones since Saturday. Neil Gaiman's post was particularly poignant. There was one line that stood out to me more than any of the others: she “hated the telephone but would still talk to me on it if I called, albeit, always, nervously, as if she expected the phone she was holding to explode.”
I loved it because that's how I've always felt about phones. I didn't know that detail about her, but I'm so glad I do now. And I feel almost justified in my own dislike of phones. Knowing I had something in common (even such a small thing) with a person who has influenced my thoughts and writing is for me like finding a pattern where I always thought there should be one but had never seen one before. It feels right.
So now, goodbye Diana Wynne Jones, and thank you for leaving us with so many lovely stories.