Several years ago, a friend and I had coffee with Barbara Robinette Moss. This would not be so remarkable except that Moss did not know us and at the time she was recovering from a serious injury that made it difficult for her get around. Still, she graciously made time for us – two unpublished, aspiring writers – spending more time than simple politeness may have dictated.
I was in awe of her, an artist and accomplished writer. Yet, Moss was genuinely interested in what we were writing, asking questions, offering encouragement. My book club had read her memoir Change Me into Zeus’s Daughter. Before we parted, I shyly asked her if she would sign my copy. She thought for a moment and then inscribed this line – Be Brave – and mighty forces will come to your aid.
Some years later, Ms. Moss spoke at a luncheon I attended. By then, I was close to publishing my own memoir. I had returned to her inscription in my copy of her book many times. Her words had given me courage. I asked if this was a standard inscription she used. No, she said, it was something that came to her out of our conversation.
How she knew I needed courage, I don’t know. But she was right. I did. I am grateful she agreed to have coffee. She came to that meeting with her whole heart, just as she did to her writing. I remember her lessons when I meet with other aspiring writers.
Barbara Robinette Moss died on October 9. She had cancer. She was a talented artist and writer. More than that, she was a good person. One of the many ‘mighty forces’ to come to my aid as a writer.