Jen's visitation will be from 4-9 pm Monday at Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church. Services will be held in the same church at 1:30 on Tuesday.
The way I met Jen was emblematic of how she did things. About two and a half years ago, she walked up to Andrew and I in the Broadway Goodwill and said "I thought I knew all the bike punks in Louisville."
I didn't like her at first. There's even an entry in my diary in which I fantasize about challenging her to a fist fight. But something changed. I don't remember what it was. We started to get along.
At some point I told her I'd written a novel. A fantasy novel for kids, about a girl who unwittingly becomes the carrier of something with the power to save the world. It's called "The Courier." I let Jen read it, and because she was Jen, she loved it. She wrote commentary and notes of encouragement or suggestion throughout the manuscript. Honestly, I didn't use most of her suggestions; her writing style is a little more baroque than mine. On the last page she wrote "Will this flower be an important talisman someday? Way far in the future? Can a bicycle courier name her bike after Estni's horse?"
So how could I not write a sequel after that? I based the main character on the three biking-est women I know; Liv, Jen and myself. She had Liv's height and freckles, Jen's haircut, tough warrior spirit and slightly prickly personality, and my reticence and bicycle. (Side note: Liv was hit on her bike last year, sideswiped in the rain while riding to her job in Bloomington. She was all right, but her bike was totalled.)
And at the end of the story, the main character doesn't die. She has too much love for her country and her people, so she tranforms herself, at great cost, into a protective, nurturing spirit who watches over all the land.
Jen never got to read the sequel, but I think she would've approved.
I can't really make much sense of Jen's death right now. I hadn't realized that in writing the character's transformation, I'd written what Jen in there as well. She was a protective, nurturing spirit, who loved this city and her friends. There was magic in everything she did.