Friday, June 27, 2014

A Washington Star

Someone I used to know died yesterday. A former Washington Post writer-- her original title was gossip columnist but she far exceeded that--Diana McLellan and I worked at the same newspaper, the long-defunct Washington Star, in what now seems like another lifetime. She retired years ago but remained a vibrant presence until her last breath, brightening everyone in her path with her personal resilience and over-the-top candor.

I remember being wowed by her when she underwent a facelift many years ago, long before it became a rite of passage for aging starlets and rich suburban housewives. Diana wrote a first-person account, complete with gory details and accompanied by unflattering pictures, that was published in Washingtonian magazine. Over the ensuing years, whenever I bemoaned my sagging face in the mirror and considered having the procedure, I flashed on Diana's story and decided against it.

Now well beyond my facelift dreams, I consider her advice about writing when I am fortunate enough to get a paying gig: “Collect info sober, write drunk, and edit after coffee. Also, keep expenses as high as possible or they won’t respect you.” 

The fact that this whirlwind of energy and creativity was felled by disease is another (bleak) reminder that we too shall die, including the best among us. So however you can, make today count.

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