Reckoning with and making sense of loss was Jennifer Simpson’s topic of choice. I read remembrances of her this morning on Facebook, not quite yet believing that it could be true that she has left the material world. In 2018 I started making short autobiographical comics and as I tentatively shared each one she gave me positive encouragement. I’ve been the hosting Dime Stories since 2016, coordinating with her on that and keeping the WordPress install healthy. In January before Covid she came to San Diego for a brief trip — was it a writing conference? — and I managed to wrangle a brunch at The Mission with her and the talk was smart, funny, sardonic, and always encouraging. The wit was mostly on her side of the table. She started the Dear Writer Plume kickstarter and a patreon and I managed to kick in some bucks for those. When she started the Monday evening Zoom writing sessions I went to a few of those and she was a great facilitator. I remember when my first marriage was ending in 2002 she invited me to a poetry event, despite my misgivings, and she made me feel unashamed to share some sad bastard rhymes. I think we got cheap tacos too. She made so many people feel like their story was worth sharing. And of course she’s right, even now.
Godspeed, Jennifer. The world is better off because of you.