Sunday, January 12, 2014

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye

by Darlene Ryan
aka Sofie Kelly and Sofie Ryan

I was going to begin by saying that everyone dislikes goodbyes, and then I remembered one of my mother’s friends, who always said she didn’t mind goodbye because it just put her a little closer to hello again. This is my second goodbye to Poe’s Deadly Daughters. The first time, I knew the blog was going to continue. I knew I could drop by. I knew that I was just a few cyber-steps from hello again. This time however, it really is so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye.

My first post on Poe’s Deadly Daughters was as a guest in January of 2007, seven years ago. It feels a lot longer than that. Later, I became a weekend regular on the blog. I almost said no to that invitation. I was a Young Adult author, intimidated about being in the company of women who were more accomplished in a genre that I used to joke I couldn’t break into with a crowbar. But I swallowed down those fears long enough to say yes. And quickly discovered that I had found my tribe. I wasn’t just surrounded—figuratively if not literally—by five women who were doing what I aspired to do—publish a mystery novel. I had been embraced by five women who were happy to share what they knew, and to encourage me not to give up on my dreams.

In 2007, I had five books to my credit, but my first mystery wouldn’t be published for four more years. Now I have thirteen published books, with two more coming out later this year. That’s close to 700,000 published words and even more written and discarded. Back then the only name I wrote under was my own. Now I’m Darlene Ryan, Sofie Kelly and Sofie Ryan. (The Sofies have better hair than I do.) Sofie Kelly has made it into the top ten of the New York Times paperback bestseller list. That was a dream I would never have shared with anyone back in 2007 because it seemed so farfetched.

Seven years ago, I was the mother of a nine-year-old with a mouth full of braces. Today I’m the mother of a beautiful sixteen-year-old with straight, white teeth. Her orthodontist has gone to Vegas five times in the past seven years. I’m pretty sure I know who paid for those trips.

Four days before my first Poe’s post, my smart-beyond-his-years great-nephew was born. He’s either going to grow up to be the next Bill Gates or a real-life Iron Man. Any day now he’ll become a big brother for the first time: a joyous hello. Sadly, his great grandmother—my mother—who was so delighted by his birth, can’t remember that a new baby is going to join the family. Alzheimer’s Disease takes away another little piece of her each day in a long, slow goodbye.

There is a quote, often attributed to Chaucer, that reads, “There is an end to everything. Good things as well.” Poe’s Deadly Daughters is one of those good things. Thank you to the original daughters, Sandy, Liz, Julia, Lonnie and Sharon for letting me be a small part of what you created here. I hope this ending just puts us that much closer to hello again.


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Lovely post, Darlene. Hello and so long and I hope hello again to you too. Seeing your name (any name) on those bestseller lists puts a smile on my face every time. :)

Julia Buckley said...

This is lovely, Darlene, thank you.
It was nice working with you!

I'm sorry to hear about the Alzheimer's--we've gone through this with two family members, and I know how difficult it is.

Good luck in all your writing endeavors!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Darlene. This is really old home week for us, and we love hearing how you and your family are doing.

mz. em said...

I loved your post. Congratulations on your published books. Sorry to read about the Alzheimer's. My mother has dementia of some type and it is a sad thing.