I never met Dewey - I simply don't have a long enough pedigree, I'm afraid, to have been here long enough. Amanda, I know, had read her blog a few times, but was again too late in the game to really know her that well. So, I don't really even know her second hand. I only knew her thirdhand. Sometimes 4th, or 5th, or 6th hand. Which means that you any tribute I offer is going to be kind of obtuse. Since I know and love so many people who DID know and love her, I apologize if the tribute comes off that way. In fact, I will admit that (like most of the other mini-challenges), my general timidity and laziness (and to defend myself a bit, the fact that I've been engrossed in some very delicious books) had suggested to me that perhaps I should just skip this challenge. In the grand scheme of things, I'll feel kind of blushingly silly anyway, if I win a prize for writing a tribute to someone I never had the opportunity to meet. And that last opinion does still stand - I am TOTALLY not accepting the prize if my name comes out of the hat. But. Nonetheless, despite the fact that my readership is so tiny as to make a tribute insignificant, despite the fact that the word 'tribute' makes me longwinded, thus negating the possiblity that most people will have time to read it on a day like readathon, and despite, agian, my terrible ignorance on the subject, I have this little nagging desire to write something up about Ms Dewey. I never met her. I've met a number of other, I guess, pillars and old priests and priestesses of the book blogging community, who knew her, who talk about her, who love her (present tense, yes). But I never met her. As a book blogger, even in the strangest smallest little way that I can call myself one, this has a strange feeling, it is something like growing up and suddenly getting sufficiently old to realize that your mother is dead, that you never knew her. There is a hole in your family, a hole that the ones you love feel keenly and openly and honestly. And yet... it's a whole that you don't know how to trace, a hole that you cannot even imagine the feeling of filledness about, a hole that you feel desperately as if you'd like to love, but that when you move to go and kiss the cheek there, there is no cheek, no face, no warm mother arms, just a chair, a chair that is empty, that has always been empty, that in your small, child's sense, will always be empty. There is a hollowness, and still a raw one there, a hollowness that's very inscrutability speaks to the depth of the one who filled it before it was empty, and a sense of very bashful loss to that, a loss you cannot really put into words - and that, really, you'd feel silly trying, since you know you cannot ever FEEL that loss with the reality of the ones who were there, the ones who saw the chair before it was a raw and empty wound. Perhaps... perhaps I make something more of it than it is. Chairs, like the place of mothers in families, will be filled, in some sense, I suppose. New matriarchs find their footing, families learn to walk around the craters left behind. But still, there is the feeling, the strange and glassy sort of sadness, of finding momentos of things you cannot remember, locks of hair from a head you've never seen, rings and gloves from a hand you've never held. It is not a thing to think much of for yourself, but it is the only small way, that little people, like me, can understand the little deweyness of the eyes (and ironically, I didn't originally intend that as a play on words... ) of the people that we DO know and love, the people that we DO look up to, who do come and tend us when we scratch our knees. IT is the sort of hole that becomes a poem, in one way or another, that becomes one stitch in Ms Debi's crocheted pumpkins, or one ribbon in Ms Nymeth's Bookmarks, one little word of Ms Eva's careful, crystal prose, and maybe, just a tiny bit, the tiniest echo of a far off syllable ringing even down through a little blog like this. Ms Dewey, though I never met you, I'm happy to have the privilege of missing you, even in my little way.