It is a sad day, that I find myself writing about the death of a friend, a mentor, an inspiration to me for the past eight years, but I remind myself daily that it is not my loss alone. She is all of those things and more to everyone, who came into contact with her world of the creative arts, did anything with her, was fed the nutrients of her encouragement and constructive comment, and produced creative work for her publications. She was a magnet for creative people, but more so for those who were, in some way or other, engaged in this great human need to rid the World of the ravages of greed and self interest and fill it with a will actively to seek processes that foster peace, sustainability and social justice. There was another side to her character, perhaps one of the most attractive of her traits … she would often tell people “you are valued” and she might critique, but never judge, even if you had fallen short on a commitment. It was always enough to impart a warm glow of being a part of something important and, above all, a genuine feeling of love.
I only knew her for no more than eight years, but in that time I had many exchanges with her, both publicly and privately, centred around her seminal on line presence in the form of her inspired publications and her writings. She has been a force for good in my life as well as in many other lives and I feel now more than ever a huge sense of privilege and gratitude for her invitation all those years ago to be a member of her core team. I was there at it’s transition from her original concept, ‘Into The Bardo’, which became The Bardo Group Beguines and eventually The BeZine.
I do very few references and testimonials, but when, some years ago Jamie asked me to write a testimonial for her blog ‘The Poet By Day’ (that used to be called ‘Musing by Moonlight’, that echoed the days when she would have to go out to work at a day job, to earn her corn). In response I wrote the only tribute I could imagine …
“ There are blogs and there are blogs. There is writing; there is poetry; there is art; there is human endeavour and there is ‘The Poet by Day’. Rarely, if ever, have I come across a web log like this, of such towering integrity. Seldom have I encountered such a willingness to subjugate self for the benefit not only of the art of the written word, but also for the benefit of poets and writers everywhere. Here be a deep well of inspiration.
This is enhanced, in a major way, by her own invention, a blog called ‘Into The Bardo’ (which became a collaborative blog, ‘The Bardo Group Beguines’ and publishes ‘The BeZine’). This represents the noblest of goals, an aspiration to connect all life on Earth spiritually; to unite the World in one grand scheme, which, if it achieves little else, fills us with hope.”
More testimonials can be found at ‘The Poet by Day’.
We at the BeZine have been overwhelmed with messages of appreciation and love for Jamie as well as submissions for inclusion in this issue that glow with evidence for her incredible influence on creative writers and artists around the World.
I would also like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the BeZine, to thank Jamie’s son, Richard and daughter-in-law, Karen for being so generous with their grieving time to hold an on line service that a handful of us BeZiners were able to attend, and, with Jamie’s cousin and lifelong friend, Daniel Sormani, for sharing so much of her life story with us. It was very special. Both Richard and Karen have continued to be very supportive of and communicative about the future mission of the BeZine, for which we are eternally grateful.
Please stop all the clocks, shut the doors, unplug your phones, switch off the TV, remove all other distractions and enjoy what follows, a selection from a veritable cornucopia of tributes to the uniquely inspirational G Jamie Dedes.