Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Movin' On - Vickie Lane

My friend Vickie Lane died in the wee hours Dec. 18th, 2010. I would have posted sooner on this, but today's the first day I can even wrap my mind around it without crying.

Vickie and I were co-worker at the Daily Camera first, then friends, then frenemies, then slowly friends again. I won't pull any punches; Vickie could be tough to get along with sometimes, which was probably why we spent about six months shooting barbed evil eyes at each other and not speaking. Neither of us had a reverse or retreat option built in, so we butted heads on more than one occasion. However, she was as loyal a frenemy as she was a friend, and eventually we both came around, finding we had more in common than not - in both the strengths as well as weaknesses department. She had a wickedly sharp tongue, incredible talent, strong opinions, a great sense of humor, a quick temper, and a good heart.

Vickie was the only person I knew that loved books - not just the reading of, but the particular enjoyment of owning books - as much, if not more, than I do. Vickie loved to write as well, and could be found at any point in time dragging around several ongoing journals in her backpack, each one filled with her own particular illegible code of cramped, capped scribbling.

Oh, we also had in common our crush on Robert Crais after we had our books signed at the Rue Morgue Bookstore. He totally knew it, too. I think it was all the girlish giggling and breathless sighing that gave us away. Or it could have been how we sat on the front row giving him the bambi eyes and clutching our books to our bosoms the entire time he spoke.

HA! Good times... good times...

Over the last couple of years we'd spanned the geographical distance between us with a collaborative art journal. I would send it to her in the snail mail with three prompts, and she had two weeks to create a piece from one of the prompts and whatever else she could manage to squeeze in before time expired. Then she would mail it back with three prompts of her own devising for me to choose from, and so on.

Grief is so weird. This morning I was looking through some books on Amazon, and I came across one on art journaling and collage and thought, "Ooo. I bet Vickie would like to read this when I'm done. I should send it to her after... oh...."


OK, I'm doing that thing where I'm holding my eyes open real wide and sending upward huffs of air to dry them out and fanning them with my hands. Like that actually does any good.Thank goodness I have emergency office mascara in my desk.

Quick now, before I start tearing up again, I want to post a few pages from our art journal. She would probably hate that I'm doing this, as she was a particularly private person. Frankly, she never thought her writing or her art as good enough to share with other people. Her two long-standing requests upon her death were "Take care of my cat and burn my journals", if that tells you anything.

Vickie was a good egg. I'll miss her. Its tragic that she never came to the realization that her work was always more than good enough. (Dare I say, genius?) I knew it. The people who were familiar with her work knew it. I just wish she had known it, too.

The Art Journal Cover

Vickie's button-pushers: Cruelty to animals and kids, willful ignorance,
women talking baby talk, bicycles on sidewalks (She was a hard-core pedestrian and
public transportation person. She didn't even own a car.), and slow talkers. Grrr! :)

Vickie contributed the book in the center and I wrote around it.
The prompt she gave me was "Name your magic spells".
This was inspired by the Harry Potter movie we saw together the last time I was in Boulder for a visit.

Vickie selected my prompt "What is your magic wand made of?"
She wrote, "We are Word Witches. This is our magic wand.
We cast spells, weave webs, evoke dragons and then slay them.
As for Prince Charming - we customize!"

Using my prompt "Bird", Vickie came up with two pieces.
One was an idea she had for a children's picture book
and the other was also her original poetry in a more serious tone.

This one was generated by my prompt, "Write your biography in six words".
She came up with "Defined by my breasts. Brain optional."
Those who knew Vickie will find this one amusing.

 This is one of my favorite pieces of hers. The prompt was "Your lucky charm".

This is the backside of the guitar flap, and a poem called "Empty Rooms and Promises", which would make a fantastic country song. The picture is of Vickie the day her dad gave her his guitar.

The tiny envelope in the bottom right contained a guitar pick - her lucky charm

Empty Rooms and Promises
by Vickie Lane

Empty rooms and promises,
That's not how I want to live,
But empty rooms and promises
That's all you have to give.
You've shattered all my memories
Scattered all my dreams
Ripped away these loving arms
Torn this life at its seams.
The kids are cryin' tears
I'm just cryin' songs
It's time I started movin' on.

Titled: "I am an unfinished work-in-progress."
 "Tell me what it is that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? A ship is safe in port, but that is not what ships are for." --Mary Oliver


  1. That is beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you two were more sisters than friends.

  2. Thanks, Jessica. She was one of a kind.

  3. I had no idea you had experienced such a crushing loss. I am so sorry. Just so sorry.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss, but what a treasure to have those journals!

  5. She does indeed sound like a beautifully good egg. And you one for sharing something so personal with us all. Thanks, Holly, and thoughts and prayers sending your way.

  6. Oh, Holly, I am so sorry. Those journals are simply beautiful though. I really liked the one about the magic wand, I loved the quote she put with it.