My friend Emily Salzfass has been gone for two weeks now. I wasn’t planning to post about her – other people have written about her better than I could, and talking about friends we lose feels like something that is more meaningful and cathartic face to face.

But Emily is huge on my mind. How could she not be? She sat in my living room every 2 weeks for our writing group, if a human lightning bolt can be said to “sit in my living room,” and her voice was intense and uncompromising and unfailingly kind. That’s a rare quality in an editor, kindness, but it’s what made her such a good one: you listened to her, you didn’t flinch, because when she wanted you to change something, she let you know, and she was always right — but when she loved something, she let you know too. The last thing I ever said to her was by email, and it was thank you. The first 9 chapters of my book are better because of her help. I honestly do not know how to finish it now. I wish I could read the rest of the book she was writing. It was fast and sexy and challenging in the best sense – it challenged me to consider what I really believed about revolution and art and it was hopeful in a way I could never predict, and I didn’t know how badly I needed that until it was taken away.

When I heard Emily died, all I could do was play songs. I guess it’s because she was the same age as my younger brother, and the way there was something about her under all the fun and toughness that always made me want to give her an umbrella or a big dish of macaroni and cheese. But this is the song I would sing for her if I still could.

 

 

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