Terribly sad to report the passing of friend, family, and also infinity plus author, Kit Reed.
Over on Facebook, Keith Brooke posted this:
Kit Reed saw something in me, and for the longest time I puzzled over what it might be. Why me? What was it that elevated me to the level of someone Kit noticed and included? Kit, who so sadly died at the weekend, surrounded herself by truly great people, to the extent that it was impossible for her to tell an anecdote without it sounding like namedropping – but for Kit and Joe, “When Joss said this”, “When Daniel stayed over”, “When Sigourney/Chip/Brian dropped in”, this was normal, day to day life. So, Kit Reed, legendary writer of stories no-one else could even approach being able to write, had seen something in me and brought me into her fold.
Over the years, Kit and I did so much together, it seemed. She was a constant in my life, always enriched it, and was an absolute inspiration. We’d go for weeks without talking, then there would be flurries of messaging by email, MOO, Facebook or whatever the current medium was. Bitchy, insightful, wonderfully funny; supportive, warm, and always telling stories – life was story to Kit.
So many happy, inspiring memories of meeting up with Kit and Joe over the years. Dinners with friends and family. Sitting in the sun while Joe sketched Colchester Castle in his hardbound notebook and we’d all share stories and plans. That time after spending too long with a rather boorish colleague when we hid away in that splendid Lawn Avenue house and watched Guardians of the Galaxy like giggling schoolkids. All those evenings when I’d get home from my dayjob and log on to the online environment where I was guesting on Kit’s anonymous writing class and we’d spend hours debating and fine-tuning story with ‘the kids’. Turning up at London’s Reform Club and being refused entrance because the only pair of trousers I had that weren’t jeans were still too jeans-like for their dress code – Joe had to come down and wrangle my entrance with his don’t-dare-mess-with-me charm, and then we sat at a table with a view and watched the comings and goings of the club’s members for hours. Lunch in the Algonquin, and then chatting on the train ride all the way back up to New Haven, Kit managing to simultaneously provide a running commentary on the passing scenery, tell brilliantly funny stories, and write story critiques on her tiny laptop along the way. And, our most recent visit, Debbie and I stopping over in the wonderful Middletown house on the first proper night of our honeymoon, Kit taking us through the steps of cooking and eating lobster because she knew we’d be eating an awful lot of it on our three-week drive around New England. And we did. We ate an awful lot of lobster and we ate it well, because Kit knew exactly how to equip us for our journey with the most important skills – and just how many of Kit’s students, collaborators, friends and colleagues can say exactly that? She equipped us all.
The real lesson is, Kit didn’t just see something in me. She saw it in everyone (except for the fakes: she was merciless with them). We were all special to her, and all capable of genius, of greatness in our lives, and she was adept at bringing that out in people. Kit just happened to be one of those people who delivered greatness on a daily basis.
Kit, just as you wished, you’ll be remembered in the spaces, those gaps when you would have chipped in with a story, those pauses when someone else would have been sympathetic and you’d just tell us to get the hell on with what needs doing, the times when there’s no message from you waiting in the in box any more.
And now, as Kit would no doubt tell me, I have work to do, stories to tell, and no-one else is going to tell my stories but me.
I think it was Mack who described us all as Kit’s co-conspirators in life. I can’t think of a better description, and I’m incredibly proud to have been a co-conspirator with Kit.
Friend, collaborator, family, inspiration, and sorely missed.
Of course, one of the best ways to celebrate an author is to read their work, and for Kit, the best way to do this would be to dip into her ‘Great big book of stories’, The Story Until Now (Wesleyan), or her latest novel, Mormama (Tor, published this summer). She was bloody good.