I met Diana Wynne Jones about twelve years ago, purely by chance, in a small antiquarian book shop. I don’t remember ever feeling quite as comfortable with anyone within the first ten minutes of meeting as I did with her.
I remember talking about research, about writing and the funny story she told me that had us both laughing… but it wasn’t until we were saying goodbye that I realised I’d never said how much I’d enjoyed her work or how much I was looking forward to her next.
I didn’t have to.
I discovered she’d written a short note, along with her address and telephone number on the back of a book mark and slipped it into one of the books I’d purchased.
We exchanged but a handful of notes since that time. I treasure them, as I do the memory of our first meeting.
When the telephone rang that fateful Saturday this past month, hearing the voice of a friend at home in Manchester tell me that the word had just broken of her passing, I was numb for hours and felt adrift for several days.
There seemed no words adequate to the task then, and there still aren’t.