Farewell to an American original
I just heard about Molly Ivins' death. I had read that she was gravely ill, back in the hospital, but I was hoping we wouldn't lose her yet. As a writer she was one of my idols, a truly original voice. She cut against the grain for so long that she finally wore a groove in her own direction. I love that a journalist who failed to fit in at the New York Times could so brilliantly create her own path elsewhere.
You can read about her passing in her home paper, The Texas Observer, CNN.com, the New York Times, and thousands of other places if you care to do a google search.
I had the pleasure of hearing Molly speak in Greensboro, North Carolina in August of 2004. In a benefit for the ACLU, she told long storied about the Texas legistlature, and a lobbyist named Jack Abramoff and a scandal involving Tom Delay. With her Texas perspective, she promised that this had better become big news sooner or later. I'd never heard of Jack Abramoff before that day, but I took her word for it that she was onto something. Good call, Molly.
After a long talk and Q&A, when the questions started to get sentimental, she stayed true to her pithy self. She was asked how it felt to be on the brink of turning 60, and what wisdom she had learned in her six decades.
She looked thougthful for a second, said, "I have learned: Never plant bamboo." With that inscrutable yet inarguable closing thought, she left the stage, and graciously stayed around to sign books and pose for fan photos.
Molly was a true American original. She can never be imitated, but rather serves as inspiration for every eccentric, opinionated writer trying to find her own voice.