From HAL BENNETT
May 30, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California
Over the past year and a half, Susan had become a friend. I am an author and writing coach and Dave Smith had introduced us, hoping I could help her write her memoir.
When Dave contacted me yesterday (May 29, 09) to tell me Susan died in a small plane accident in Utah, I was stunned. My first words at the news were expletives, probably much like the last words that pilots record in those black boxes when they crash—outrage at the suddenness and randomness of violent death. And later I would speculate that Susan, being Susan, probably uttered similar words in the final seconds of life in her friend’s plane.
The last we met on her book project was sometime near the end of April. After months of struggling with the project, she announced that she’d had a breakthrough. She emailed me a new book proposal that started with the following—which I believe she would have loved to share with her friends and loved ones, though probably with some hesitancy and, certainly, modesty. These are her words. I’ve edited them only for minor typos (she was an impatient typist):