I learned this morning about the passing of one of my former students, our MFA alum, Kim McCoy, who many of you knew as Kim Vann. She was young, and talented, and sweet, and kind, but, of course, none of those things, as much as we might wish they could, can save your life. And so I find myself trying to avoid those thoughts of unfairness and a missed future, and trying instead to simply acknowledge my own sadness and the sadness of those who were close to Kim, and for who there will forever be, someone who is missing and missed. Sometimes, I think so much about my students' futures; it is hard not to consider Kim's unfinished novel--about people living in a house that was on fire (an idea so good I had to sit on my hands not to steal it--still do)--and her unpublished short stories (her thesis was one her committee members and I still talked about some 4 years later). But I am trying to remember, that what matters really is not a student's future, but their present. That for the three years they are members of our MFA program, it is our job--my job--to help them live those three years as the gift that they are. I know Kim valued her time spent with us, as a writer and a teacher of writing, amongst a community of writers many of whom became her treasured friends. Kim only got thirty-three years, and I really value that for three of them I got to be alongside her. I know all of us who knew her feel that way.
You can read more about Kim here.