Friday, January 6, 2017

Maggie Jochild, 8/5/1955 — 1/6/2017

Hello, You Came Back -- Death, from The Endless, a series of graphic novels.

Goodbye Maggie: Beloved, Brilliant Writer, Colleague, Friend

Maggie Jochild changed my life.

Maggie Jochild, 1980
Bean Hollow Beach, near Pescadero, Ca
Maggie was a brilliant writer — of blog posts, of poetry, of fiction. She was a fierce advocate for women, children, the disabled, dykes, people of color, for the underprivileged.

Maggie's novel Ginny Bates is an amazing exploration of life lived intentionally by women, as free of the patriarchy as possible. It addresses issues of class, sexism, racism, and anti-semitism, all inside the family-by-choice lives of lesbians and their families. It is appropriately called "The Great American Lesbian Novel."

I hope whomever now holds artistic control of Maggie's writings, facilities the novel's publishing as soon as feasible. Ginny Bates deserves a permanent spot in the pantheon of great genuinely American novels. More importantly, its publication to a wide audience would be an enormous contribution to schools and young people.

A serialization of GB is on Meta Watershed. Her other (all amazing) novels are also serialized and posted there.

Maggie in 7th Grade
Maggie came to write at Group News Blog in 2007-2008 during the first Obama presidential campaign. She made an immediate difference.

Her writing helped GNB in ways public and private. It is fair to say Maggie's writing was core to the respect and fierce devotion our readers gave GNB at its peak. In addition to her public contributions Maggie as a person, as a force of nature, caused numerous behind the scenes changes at GNB which made us better writers, better advocates for our readers and mission (which mission she helped redefine), and better with each other. She made us better people.

Personally, Maggie's writings and friendship were instrumental in revealing to myself my own automatic investments: in class privilege, male privilege, white privilege, straight privilege, in revealing privilege. I was not the only one. She also gave of herself unstintingly. Weeks of her time were spent helping myself and others learn to deal powerfully with our disabilities.

Even with (or more accurately, because of) her radical and courageous feminism, Maggie was kind, compassionate, willing to hear, understand and forgive the sins of childhood and upbringing. She was a good friend, someone whom it is a lifelong badge of honor to be able to say that I too was privileged to know Maggie, to live and fight by her side.

Maggie Jochild, 1999, Austin Tx
Photo by Harper Vinkemulder
We were colleagues, collaborators, and for some years, close friends. For the decade I knew her, even after our lives drew apart, she remained dear to my heart.

Maggie's medical condition has been serious to dangerous the past decade, including hospitalizations and surgeries. Recently, she was placed on palliative care at the University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin, Tx.

Maggie Jochild died Friday morning, January 6, 2017, at the age of 61. She was predeceased by her family, including her mother Mary Jo and her younger brother Bill. She is survived by her beloved Margot Williams, and a vast network of loving friends, cyber and tofu, in Austin and around the world.

Bill and Maggie, Summer 1964
Houma, La
All week long friends and loved ones of Maggie's have been saying goodbye — in person at her hospital bedside, on Facebook, through blog posts, emails, messages and texts, in conversations with each other, and in our hearts. The enormous outpouring of support has been appropriate to the life Maggie lived and the contribution she made.

She really was that great.

I am grateful for the gift Maggie's writing was to our readers, and the greater gift her friendship and gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) corrections and coaching provided.

Today I am a different and better person because of conversations with Maggie: more gentle, more honest, more human, more able to love and care for others.

I will miss her. As will everyone privileged to have known her.

Tat Tavm Asi.

Further Information
Many additional poems and writings are inside the following sites.

Maggie Jochild — Facebook
Margo Williams — Facebook

Maggie's blog — Meta Watershed
Maggie's earlier blog — Maoist Orange Cake

Maggie's posts — Group News Blog
Maggie's tweets — Twitter

Search on: Maggie Jochild — Google

1 comment:

  1. Jesse, bless you. Maggie was the love of my life, as, as many have assured me over these last days, was I hers.

    We will talk.