My favourite author, Maeve Binchy, passed away on July 30, 2012. It's hard to believe that someone could feel affected by another person's passing when they do not even know them. Maybe through her books I feel like I've known her, but truth be told, I do not know her at all.
I was in Victoria, BC, last week and went in to a bookstore that is closing. Everything in the store was $1.00. I went to the novels section and the first ones I noticed were Maeve Binchy's. At one point I owned all of her books. However, when moving province-to-province I had debated, packed, rethought, unpacked, and finally repacked all the books and sent them to goodwill. I missed them. Of all the books I've read, the only ones I've ever desired to read more than once are Jane Austen and Maeve Binchy. It was at this store that I heard of her passing. The bookstore owner informed me that she had died about a week prior to my being there. My initial response was, "What! No!" He apologized for being the person to break the news to me and I simply said, "It's just so sad."
You see, Maeve Binchy was single-handedly the person that got me interested in visiting Ireland. Through her descriptions in her books of small-town Ireland, I was certain I would like it there. I didn't know until years (and 16 books) later that I would fall in love with it.
I found Maeve Binchy's website prior to leaving for my trip to England and Ireland in 2011. I found her email address on it and I wrote her an email, essentially asking her if I could meet her on my trip. But then, while looking over the email draft, I thought it silly to ask someone so famous for time out of their day to meet a fan. Plus, what would I say to someone incredibly talented with her words? And what questions could I possibly ask? In short, I felt inadequate to make such a request of her and I subsequently deleted the email draft. In hindsight, I wish I had at least tried. Who knows what would have happened.
Life is too short for regrets. Follow your gut instinct - you never know what will come of it.
For me, now, I will wait for the post-humous release later this year of her very last book, "A Week in Winter." Oh, and I'll probably re-stock my Maeve Binchy novel collection.