May 12, 2008

Nuala O'Faolain Passes Away

Washington Post story here

I have little to add to the litany of remembrances that have been and will be written by those wiser and more familiar with her work. I saw Ms. O'Faolain a few years back, at the Courant's National Writer's Workshop. One thing she said stuck with me: writing it down tends to "set ones condition in amber".

That remains with me to this day, and, I think, will advise my desire to write and my choice of subject matter for the rest of my life.

From the Post article:
"As soon as I heard I was going to die, the goodness went out of life," she told host Marian Finucane on RTE Radio One. She turned down chemotherapy because "it reduced me to such feelings of impotence and wretchedness and sourness with life . . . and fear that I decided against it."

Will I face my own mortality thus - with resignation? Or with a more peaceful acceptance? Or will I rage against the darkness, struggling for one more breath?

It is spring, a time of renewed life. Yet there is much darkness and death about: the cyclone in Myanmar, the tornadoes in the Midwest, the earthquake in China. The undertoad, as John Irving called it in Garp. Waiting for us all.

Rest in peace, Ms. O'Faolain, a peace that you did not perhaps find in this world.


Kathy KatDancer said...

Thank you for reminding me of stories that I have to write. And of the profound revelations that come with touching deeply the journey of a loved Irish Catholic father.
Through the disease's, meds' and chemo's
"impotence and wretchedness and sourness with life . . . and fear"
Through each of these in their own due times:
"mortality..resignation..peaceful acceptance..rage against the darkness..struggling for one more breath"
onward and upward to the re-discovery of the "goodness".
Namaste Papa Namaste

jwc said...

So you were in that cold, leaky tent as well? I was immediately drawn to Nuala, a gem.
And later, Halberstam. Fabulous. An he's gone now, too.

I wonder if you were in the power outage with Katherine Lamphert? She just kept on plugging...


Jude said...

Leaky tent, yes. Halberstam and O'Faolain, loved 'em both. Although I did not notice the tent leaking.

Power outage with Lamphert - nope.