I usually post on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but this Saturday I will be at Maggie Estep’s funeral in Hudson, New York; so I am posting this today and will see you all next Tuesday. This blogpost is dedicated to my friend Maggie, who along with my wife Danusia gave me a lot of inspiration to write.
I first set eyes on Maggie 14 or so years ago when I heard her tell a story about an infected hip joint and having 14 boyfriends and riding horses and being surly. I thought she was very clever and funny and sexy, and yes, maybe a little surly. I had no idea she was a performer and a writer. She was always with another woman, who wasn’t as vocal but did have a bigger smile.
That turned out to be Jenny Moradfar Meyer. I eventually became friends with both, but Jenny is an especially close friend.
My “Pirate Jenny” picture of Jenny.
At some point in the past 14 years Jenny posted some pictures of she and Maggie one Halloween of the two of them as thing 1 and thing 2; the Dr. Seuss characters. I thought it was very cute, and every time I saw them together I thought of Maggie and Jenny as thing 1 and thing 2.
Thing 1 and thing 2.
I always assumed that Maggie would be thing 1, Maggie being Maggie and quite the natural leader. When you were with Maggie you did what Maggie wanted, that’s just the way it was.
But no, Jenny was thing 1 and Maggie was thing 2. A generous arrangement, and generous Maggie was.
When I first started writing this blog and Maggie heard about it, she became one of my first regular readers. She had to twist my very good friend Jenny’s arm to get her to read it.
Maggie read and commented (mostly on facebook) and even lifted a line from one of my blogposts and put in into hers (rewording it slightly). I was very flattered that she thought enough of my writing to lift a line.
When that happened it reminded me of what T.S. Eliot had said, “ Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal, bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.”
I’d like to think she stole and made it into something different. And to have her steal from me was most flattering, so thank you thing 2.
I remember going to a reading of Maggie’s some years ago in Coney Island, and after the reading we all went to eat ice cream and ride the Cyclone, something I hadn’t done since I was in my 20’s. I really didn’t want to do it, being scared of heights and sudden drops and all, but as I said, Maggie can be very persuasive.
Tess Kelly and Maggie after riding the Flume.
In the end it was fun, and I’m glad I went. And seeing Maggie read, and reading her stuff gave me inspiration to write, or to at least show others what I’d written. So thank you for that too, Maggie.
Maggie liked to call herself “an emotional idiot,” and though she was very childlike and playful in her view of life she displayed a lot of wisdom, caring and maturity in her blog.
We used to exchange snarky and surly comments to each other on facebook, and that was always fun. Sometimes we’d drag Jenny into it, sometimes other people who I only know as friends of Maggie’s from upstate, but as I said, it was always in the spirit of fun.
To me Maggie was like a combination of Peter Pan, Maggie the cat and Edna St. Vincent Millay all rolled into one. That’s a pretty good combination to be, smart, sexy and childlike. I will miss her big doe eyes and Mick Jagger lips, and her wry, sometimes unsettling humor.
On Tuesday night I heard from a friend that Maggie had had a heart attack, and I immediately texted Jenny, because if anyone knew, Jenny would know; and she confirmed it. I asked that she keep me posted. Wednesday morning Jenny called to tell me Maggie hadn’t made it. I cried and told Danusia and we cried for Maggie together. All too sudden, but that’s what life and death is, I’d guess, all too sudden.
But Maggie’s spirit will always live on, in the things she’s written, and in the lives she touched, and I consider myself lucky to be one of those.