Two of my favorite (and disparate) authors died this week - Maeve Binchy and Gore Vidal.
Binchy was always very self-deprecating - she sold more than 40 million books, but said she was "lucky to be living in the age of the mass-market paperback" because she knew readers used her books for escapism. Having Irish roots, I devoured her detailed descriptions about life in Dublin and other parts of Ireland, where I would love to go one day.
Is reading for escape a bad thing? Binchy was a private person, but from the glimpses that the outsider could see, she'd had her share of trying times and disappointments, but she remained cheerful and charitable until the end. Her books tended to have happy endings. And what is wrong with that? Writing can be an equal escape, I'd argue.
She said the best advice she had ever heard came from a British TV series: "Get over yourself."
On the other end of the spectrum, Gore Vidal - champion of individual and civil rights, intellectual giant, huge gossip (so we knew he was human.) Critic of the status quo and adamant that a patriot's duty was to participate in and hold their government accountable. But humorous all the same.
I know my own world was enriched by these two people I had never met, and I'd thank them if I could.