Everyone knows what a rare treasure a really good friend is. You know the kind – the ones who tell you, with love, the painful truths you REALLY don’t want to hear. The ones who love you no matter your failings. The ones who help you improve by showing you the faults you can’t see for yourself. The ones who seem to know what you need before you ask. Such friends are difficult enough to find in person, but when one arrives via the Internet, someone you never actually meet or even see via Skype, yet who still manages to connect instantly with your soul, that person is the rarest and most valuable of finds.
Well sadly, this weekend I lost such a friend. Gerry Dailey, who lived with her husband and family in Chicago, was the most loving, trusted and loyal friend despite the fact I never met her in person. We shared many loves, amongst which was a love of books and writing, and although she didn’t write herself (at least, not as far as I know) yet she has had a hand in the writing success of many authors; among them, I believe, Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind.
I first came into contact with Gerry two years ago via Authonomy, the HarperCollins peer-critique website. Her Authonomy profile-name was Ancient Reader. She read King’s Envoy when it was still being edited and despite loving it, gave me many insights, pointers and suggestions. When she learned that there were eight other books in the series, she was overjoyed, and enthusiastically read every single one. I made some important changes due to Gerry’s loving criticisms, and one of my major characters, Rienne, even owes her lovely name to Gerry. She also gave me permission to use an endorsement of hers on the book’s cover, for which I am very grateful.
I know there will be many, many people right now grieving for the loss of a true friend they never met. This post of mine is partly in tribute to Gerry and partly to say, if you have a friend like her, not only are you extremely privileged, but always make sure you tell them how deeply they are valued. Friendship is a precious thing and not to be taken lightly. The gift of someone else’s heart is the strongest, and yet the most fragile gift you could ever receive. If I can touch just one other person’s spirit with my writing as deeply as I touched Gerry’s, I will feel very special indeed.
God bless you, Gerry Dailey, rest peacefully in His arms.