Friday, February 27, 2009

Remembering A Writer

I was saddened to hear today of the death of Minnesota author, Bill Holm.

I first met Bill while visiting friends in his hometown, Minneota, MN. The friend I was visiting was then the pastor at a local church that Bill attended from time to time. He told me that a first visit to Minneota wouldn't be complete without meeting Bill Holm - and though I'd never heard of Bill Holm at the time, I trusted that he was right. So we "popped by" his house and were fortunate to find him at home. A home that was jam-packed full of books - stacks and stacks of them - books about every subject imagineable. And I remember thinking as we sat around his kitchen table all afternoon how amazing it was that he could speak so knowledgably and eloquently about every topic that came up - and how amazing it was that hours had flown by as if they were seconds.

A year later, when Bill was the speaker at my church's anniversary banquet, he stayed at our home (which was then the church apartment, a former pastor's residence), and we were delighted to enjoy the company and conversation of this incredibly insightful and larger-than-life sort of man again.

He was simply one of those people you never forget once you've met him.

An excerpt from his 2006 holiday letter: "I recommend a half hour a day of Bach for the entire human race. Might save us."

And a quote from the local evening news last night:

"The world of letters has suffered a devastating loss today, with the death of Bill Holm ... Bill was that rarest of combinations: devastating in his critique of provincialism, militarism, and the abuse of power in all forms; but also profoundly tender, musical, and filled with compassion for all living creatures. His work will live on -- in Chinese, Icelandic, and Italian editions, not to mention ours -- but we will miss him deeply."

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