Sandra Moran’s Three Things (because there are always three)
by Elizabeth Andersen
Author Sandra Moran wrote eight blogs for Women and Words, and she inevitably offered up three things … (because there are always three). As many know, Sandra learned that she had Stage 4 cancer last October. On Nov. 7, 2015, she passed away surrounded by family and friends.
It seems fitting to offer three things about Sandra (because there are always three).
The first is her newest book, which she had completed just prior to finding out she had cancer. All of Sandra’s books, including State of Grace, will be available for sale at the Golden Crown Literary Society Conference in Alexandria, Va., July 6-10. All royalties from the sale of her books are being donated to the Legacies of lesbian Literature project.
She attended the GCLS conferences in Dallas, in Portland, and in New Orleans. Anyone who saw her breeze into a room, race into a lobby after a 5-mile run in the early morning, smile from ear to ear at a new friend, or stop to hug an acquaintance knows our loss. She was a world-class hugger.
Second, the Legacies project is being launched by Marianne K. Martin and Cheryl Pletcher, Sandra’s wife, at a session at the GCLS conference. Marianne and Sandra were keynote speakers at the National Women’s Music Festival in June 2014 in Madison, Wis., presenting on the history of lesbian literature.
As Cheryl says: “Sandra was working on this project with Marianne and was extremely passionate about it. Marianne and I are very driven to make this concept a reality for the same reason Sandra wanted to see it materialize but, now, also for her.”
As explained on the website (www.crowdrise.com/legacies-of-lesbian-literature-project), “the Legacies of Lesbian Literature project will culminate in a comprehensive documentary that examines the history of lesbian literature and how society at large influenced key authors’ works and how their works in turn influenced the genre and also society.”
I first heard Sandra give a talk on the history and evolution of lesbian literature at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in November 2014. She loved to research, to read, and to discuss LGBT literature, which leads us to our Sandra-related topic No. 3.
In January 2015, I invited Sandra to co-host The Tenth Voice with me on occasion. It is an LGBT public affairs show that has aired on KKFI since 1989. She proposed interviewing some authors, including Marianne K. Martin, Georgia Beers, and Melissa Brayden. She was also interviewed several times and was a natural at radio.
She was invited this past summer to become a show host every second Saturday and was encouraged to come up with some ideas. She was unsure about the time commitment because she wanted to do it right. At the beginning of September, she told me and our producer that she wanted to do a book club on the radio. I did not tell her my initial skeptical reaction to her proposal. However, Sandra being Sandra, I believed and applauded her idea of doing a straw poll on the concept. I did point out that she was such a star on Facebook (still is) that she could have a vocabulary segment on LGBT foreign words and people would listen.
When she was in the hospital she told me that she would like the book club show to continue if I would agree to host it. I said yes, and she asked me to make it my own. I disagreed, saying that I would be the caretaker of her show: The Sandra Moran Alphabet Soup Radio Book Club (she thought of the title, and I added her name).
She was touched by that and pleased that she had planned seven months’ worth of shows by selecting authors, books, and panels. “I’ve left you a template!” she said.
Her first show was scheduled to air at 1 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2015, the exact hour and day of her Celebration of Life. She had an uncanny sense of timing and perhaps would have enjoyed that.
To date, seven book club panels have talked about Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, George Hodgman’s Bettyville, LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s Jam on the Vine, Julia Allen’s Passionate Commitments, Mary Doty’s Fire to Fire, Thomas Page McBee’s Man Alive, and Sara Farizan’s If You Could be Mine.
We have had, or have booked, panelists from the full LGBTQIA alphabet, which would undoubtedly please Sandra. She said there were three (3!) aims for her radio show:
1) To showcase well-written LGBTQ books by gifted authors;
2) To elevate the discussion of our community’s literature; and
3) To bring attention to The Tenth Voice and KKFI.
Sandra said that she had three goals for her life. She wanted to be good and kind and to make a difference. Because she was the former, she achieved the latter. She is greatly missed, but her books, the Legacies of Lesbian Literature project, and her Sandra Moran Alphabet Soup Radio Book Club Show survive.
Elizabeth Andersen is grateful that she has been able to live with words her entire career. After teaching English composition, she was an editor at Andrews McMeel Publishing from 1984 to 2001. She hosts the Sandra Moran Alphabet Soup Radio Book Club and is grateful to Sandra for bringing her back to her first love: literature.