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Literary Arts News, Readers, Writers

In Memoriam: Cai Emmons

Literary Arts was saddened to learn of Oregon author Cai Emmons’ passing on January 2, 2023. Cai lived in Eugene and was the author of the novels His Mother’s Son (Harcourt), The Stylist (HarperCollins), and Weather Woman (Red Hen Press), and a sequel to Weather Woman, called Sinking Islands (Red Hen Press), UNLEASHED  (Dutton), and LIVID (Red Hen Press).  Her story collection Vanishingwinner of the 2018 Leapfrog Fiction Contest was published in March 2020.  

His Mother’s Son was awarded the Ken Kesey Award for the novel, as part of the 2003 Oregon Book Awards.

With her family’s permission, we are sharing a letter from Cai that she sent in an email earlier this week. It can also be found on her website at https://caiemmonsauthor.com/

Cai will be greatly missed. We will follow her instructions, and remember her with joy. Here is her farewell letter:

Farewell

Dear Friends and Readers,

Happy New Year! I feel an unexpected optimism about what 2023 might bring. I’ve seen promising signs recently of the backlash of love against hate, and I think that backlash is likely to grow. No one can say for sure, but my fingers are crossed.

It is January 1st, 2023 and I am planning to depart from life as I’ve known it through death with dignity on January 2, 2023. I have had a rewarding life and I love everyone who has been a part of it. Remember me with joy.

My body has become so weak that I have lost agency over my life and need help for most activities. We all have a line we draw in the sand regarding how much helplessness we can take, and I have reached mine.

I do not dread death. In an unexpected way I have come to look forward to it. I have no idea what awaits me–my only regret is that I won’t be able to share it with you.

The timing of my demise is odd because my career is currently in an upswing. Since 2018 I have published five books, and I am completing a new one now. There is interest in turning my blog posts into a book; a Hollywood producer is interested in optioning three of my books; and a documentary film is being made about me. It is not a bad way to go out, though I regret that I won’t live to see these efforts fully realized.

I can also see from my perch on the cusp of death that no amount of worldly success matters in the end. It is such a cliché thing to say so, but the thing that means the most now is human connection, friendship, and love in all its manifestations. I have a feeling that I’ll be returning to haunt a number of people–in a good way. So be on the lookout for me!

I encourage you to keep reading my books and to look for a new book (as yet untitled)–or books–from me down the line. My blog will be active until my death, and it can be found on my website www.caiemmonsauthor.comMediumFacebook, and Twitter.

So, farewell all, and thank you for the various ways you have supported me. Whether I’ve met you in person or not, I feel entangled with you all.

Much love,
Cai



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