In Memoriam: Liz LeSavoy

Writers’ Rumpus has lost one of our own. I was surprised to discover, when I looked back through our writing group’s attendance lists, that Liz LeSavoy had joined only three and a half years ago. I was sure she’d been around much longer. From her first meeting, Liz jumped right in, completely unafraid to say what she saw as the good and the not-so-good in a manuscript. But she did so in such a way that no one could be offended or discouraged. And she was a gifted writer. The first work of Liz’s that I remember critiquing was a middle grade novel. I am still impressed with that story: the humor of it, how well she nailed the voice of a young teenage boy, his quirky father, and the details of his home and neighborhood. Liz’s picture book manuscripts have a similar sly humor. Her five posts here on the blog include some perennial favorites.

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Liz, third from left, at a critique group meeting

Liz died this past weekend after a long struggle with breast cancer. She chose to keep her illness from our group. When she started missing meetings, most of us didn’t think much of it. We’d seen her at the spring conference. She’d talked about a trip to Europe. Plus she emailed critiques for the meetings she missed. When she introduced herself to newcomers at the July meeting (the last one she attended in person), she said she’d switched from writing novels to writing picture books “because they’re shorter, and they don’t take as long to write.” We laughed, because Liz meant it to be funny, and because we did not know how little time she had. But that was Liz: fully involved, contributing to the group, sharing the good while cloaking the bad in a wry joke—and above all, figuring out how to make it all work, in order to keep moving ahead.

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Some of us at the Spring 2016 NESCBWI Conference; Liz is front and center, fifth from the left.

Liz would have submitted her work for critique next week; it was her turn. She missed the September meeting, but she emailed her critiques just a few weeks ago. Liz knew she’d never live to see her own work published, and yet she reviewed her writing partners’ work. What an amazing act of loyalty and commitment. And an inspiring example. And a whole bunch of other things that sound cliché but are very real. I don’t know what else to say, except that I’ll miss her. We all will. And THANK YOU, Liz, for being so much a part of our group.

Liz LeSavoy, 1959 – 2016

Liz LeSavoy’s Website

Posts by Liz LeSavoy on Writers’ Rumpus:
Unblocking Writers’ Block
A Writer’s Best Friend (about SCBWI)
Page-Turner Devices
Writing in Rhyme
Interview with Author Susan Holt Kralovansky and Pelican Publishing’s Antoinette de Alteriis

Liz on 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge

20 comments

  1. Thank you for the tribute to Liz. I was apart of a small online critique group that she led. She was the heart of our group. She contributed greatly to all of us. We found her to be a wonderful storyteller. Although we never met her, we miss her.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you all so much for your beautiful tributes to my wonderful daughter Liz. As her mother, I am delighted to know just how much she contributed to your group and to the rest of her world as well! She was a fabulous caring person ! Arlene Galler

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful tribute sounds like a wonderful person, who will be dearly missed in your group, so sorry for the loss. It must have been a shock when you found out and so hard for her to carry that illness and keep it from everyone.
    Kath

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Liz, Marianne’s lovely tribute shows a few of the ways that you have made this world a better place. At the service when Richard shared anecdotes about how you and he had met on the subway in NYC, he commented that people are not supposed to meet that way. And the two of you conversed. Not supposed to do that either on the NYC T. Then he asked for your phone number…and you gave it. Your 35 year marriage shows that you knew when to bend the rules and that you had the courage to do what’s right for you. Marianne’s poignant description of your shielding us from your illness and powering through the critique group and Writer’s Rumpus responsibilities in spite of your dire situation shows what a woman of valor you were.
    One takeaway is the vivid mental image the rabbi at your service described of the glowing, vibrant colors of a sunset that linger like memories after the sun is gone. Your friendship and the way you lived your life is a glowing beacon for the rest of us. Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Liz was truly one of the bravest, warmest, most generous people I have ever known. On the first night she joined our critique group, I asked her to become my weekly writing partner. Over the past 3 1/2 years, we shared encouragement for each other’s stories and became exceptionally close friends. I will miss her more than words can say. Thank you, Marianne, for this wonderful tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing your friend with us. Obviously she felt a lot of love for this group. She sounds incredibly kind, funny, and brave – I am so sorry for the loss you and all her friends and family must be feel. Your group sounds like you all have a lot to treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you Marianne. Liz deserved every kind word and more. Her bright smile and wit was a gift to our group. I too will miss her intuitive critiques of my work. I too will miss her.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful tribute, Marianne. Liz sounds like such a lovely, brave, talented person. I’ve enjoyed reading her posts and will also visit her website. I’m so very sorry for all of her family and friends for losing her, and at such a young age.

    My work schedule has changed and I no longer work on your meeting night. Every once in a while I think about stopping in to see the group again, and now I wish I had sooner. Life can be much too short.

    Liked by 1 person

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