in the aftermath of Work In Progress day, and remembering Gerald Cope

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Yesterday, in response to a query from Ilie Ruby, I posted a few lines from a novel in progress and then invited all my Facebook writer friends to do the same. I wanted to shatter, for that one day at least, the loneliness that can stem from writing. I wanted to celebrate those who had published and those who will soon publish—to make it clear that we are all of the same yearning community, no barriers between us.

The response was enormous. Friends told friends told friends, and Facebook became a map of beginnings, a crest of awe, a wild fire net of encouragement and surprise.

Late in the day, my husband and I headed down to the city to take part in another act of essential community—the memorial service for Gerald M. Cope, the theatrical and compassionate leader of the architecture firm (Cope Linder Associates) where I worked as a new graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and where I met my husband before he left (within a handful of weeks) for graduate work at Yale. We would make enduring friendships at this place. Gerry, and his son Ian (who now leads the firm) would come to our wedding. My husband would return to work at the firm for many, many years more. Yesterday, at the Union League, we saw these old friends again for the first time in a decade, more.

Those who spoke at the memorial service—Gerry's children, his brother, his friend, his wife—brought Gerry back to tangible life, reanimating this glorious man who was committed to engendering joy. Gerry understood, one person said, that it wasn't what you said that would be remembered, or what you did. It was how you would make others feel. Gerry Cope had a way of making us all feel charming and charmingly important. He united us, and yesterday we were again all friends once more.


Katrina said...

Beth, So sorry I missed the fun yesterday. I've been so disconnected, electronically at least, for the last two weeks. Lots of coastline, long walks, not much Facebook. Heading back east today, ready to resume the work at hand. Thank you for the invite! Maybe I can still jump in. . .tomorrow?

Sarah Laurence said...

Thanks for hosting the WIP day. I really appreciated that you invited us yet unpublished writers along with established authors.

I’m so sorry to hear of your loss of your dear friend.

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