Sometimes in our lives, we meet a special someone who makes us travel to places in our hearts. They teach you things, show you kindnesses that help you grow and outgrow yourself. You are a better person for having known them. Loved them.
On Saturday August 26, 2017, WWA (and the world) lost a beloved writer: Ron Cramer, a kind, gentle soul. Our offices were side by side and still, we wrote extraordinary emails to each other over the last 10 years. I’m so glad I saved them all.
Nor, to whom Wounded Writers Ask: Am I Doing it Write is dedicated, loved pen names. He gave me Sequoia Lagoon. He also loved Hemingway and Churchill in equal measure, which is how he became Heminghill to me. But most of the time I called him Nor, which is Ron backyards. But backyards suited him.
On Tenure: “It’s ok to have some bull shit pieces on your way to tenure just to get there. Once there, write what is really important.”
On reviewers: “We will wait, like slugs looking for rain and if they don’t accept our work? Well then we’ll know they are cognitively and poetically impaired.”
On instincts: “Cherish your bear and your bear will feed your fire.”
On passion: “We must talk about this someday. It is a topic that gets my blood pounding.”
On a garbage writing day: “Cutting off the wrong foot is a good piece of garbage for a surgeon – especially if the cut is above the knee. I’m not sure what counts as garbage for lawyers; sometimes I think all their work is garbage (too cynical, I know). For funeral directors I suppose forgetting to check breathing before burying is a really big garbage day.”
On afterlife: “I’ll come back as the keeper of the keys to the kingdom of late starts.”
On computers: “I’m thinking I need to eliminate the letter ‘a’ from my writing since I cannot seem to push the ‘a’ key hard enough. How badly do we need this letter anyway?”
Nor loved talking about truth. “I am deeply interested in the truth of the human heart not the truth of facts. I have less and less faith in facts as a path that will lead to one truth. I am finished listening to the idea that if you just get the facts straight you will find the truth.”
And here I end with three Cramer truths:
On rejection: “Take it, learn what you can from it. And keep going.”
On parenting: “I have had no greater mission in life than to be a good father.”
On dogs: “I have always suspected, perhaps unfairly, that people who are unable to love an animal have something basic missing in their character.”
Just a few mornings ago we said good-bye to this incredible man who devoted 50 years of service to Oakland University. RIP my dear sweet friend. Thank you for being the writer in my life.
Your Sequoia, forever and always.