Sunday, January 04, 2009

In memory of Ellen Miller




I just learned that Ellen passed away on 12/22 after suffering a heart attack on 12/17. I first met her in 1993 at a workshop at the Westside Y in NYC. In 1999 we toured together with our books. We lived just a few blocks from each other when I lived in New York City. I'm sure I'll have more to say eventually, but not now.


From the opening of Like Being Killed:

We crowded around the rickety kitchen table, predicting how each of us would die.

Six of us sat under a naked lighbulb that hung like an interrogation lamp from a thin wire over Margarita’s chipped wooden table. We squinted and leaned phototropically into the empty center, noses almost touching, eyelashes fluttering against the force of the light like the wings of hovering moths. We were checking the count, raising each small, discreet, translucent envelope up to the stark whiteness of the blank bulb. Everything else disappeared. The count was good. The count was the only thing in the world. It was lonely. It was scary. It was fun. It was what I did now, without Susannah.

But before I could even finish thinking the words—with Susannah or Susannah is gone—she was no longer gone. She had materialized into language, inside my head, where it mattered.

2 comments:

Sharon Mesmer said...

Ken, I just saw the notice in Poets and Writers. How incredibly sad. Ellen and I became friends in '97 at MacDowell, and we read together a few times. If you find out what happened, please post the info? What horrible, horrible news.

Yes "materialized into language inside my head ... where it mattered."

With sympathy,
Sharon Mesmer

Anonymous said...

What a loss. Ellen taught me for a single term at the new school in 2000, so I knew her not at all, really, except as a generous & serious & very smart instructor.
I hope she didn't suffer so much.

thank you for announcing this.