I took this blog down for a time. I wanted in part to let Nina’s memoir, The Bright Hour, stand on its own, without this as precursor. Nina used her material from this blog in the book, of course, but she edited, restructured, altered, and otherwise transformed it, and I didn’t feel quite right having a parallel text out there to square with the final product. But then I thought: this was the starting place. This is where the wheels got turning that ultimately led to her writing the book—turning a few dozen pages of blog posts into over three hundred pages of memoir in about four months’ time, all while dying of cancer.
Nina finished The Bright Hour only about six weeks before she died, just over four months ago. I feel like I’ve lived four years since then. But at the same time, just two weeks before she died, back in early February, we were on a trip to Turks & Caicos together—our last vacation—touring the island on a Vespa. It’s like laying next to a quickly moving stream. So close, so quickly gone, all at once. She’s obviously started to recede from my everyday life, the way people do when they are gone. But in many ways I feel her immanence too. In pictures, in things my kids say or remember, and of course every time I open her book I feel a connectedness that reminds me our life together is not so impossibly far in the distance behind me. I love when I get a message from someone who’s read The Bright Hour. In part I love it because it’s like a sympathy card—a gesture of pure kindness. But I also love it because most of those people have just “met” Nina for the first time! It’s like a little renewal, a small recursive going back and touching on her while my life without her still moves forward. And it is one of many things about Nina’s book project that aids in my grieving and memory of her.
So I’ve decided to pop my head back into Suspicious Country. I made the blog public again and I wanted to post this here to say: please enjoy her book, her blog, and all her writing, and feel free to comment or send messages as you’re moved to do. Those of us Nina left behind appreciate tremendously all your kind thoughts, remembrances, celebrations, and discussions of her life and work.