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Warner: Another promising life lost of coronavirus - Boston Herald

Warner: Another promising life lost of coronavirus - Boston Herald

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The phone rang right at dinner time. I recognized the number.

“Hi Dad,” my son said. “I am cooking so I won’t take much of your time. I just wanted to let you know that Lisa died of the COVID because, well, you knew her and I thought you would care.”

“Oh my God,” I replied. “That is awful. Just awful. It is horrible When is this damn virus going to leave us? Lisa, my God, so much tragedy and then the COVID. It is horrible.”

I never met Lisa, never saw her, never had a casual conversation with her, but I knew her tragic story, felt her pain, discerned her sound knowledge and high education. But mostly I discerned her determination to heal herself and others.

I knew her only through her tragedy; a tragedy that I assumed would be the only one she’d ever have.

Lisa was writing a book about a murder that had torn her life apart. She was, from the time I first knew her until our parting, in total distress. This was over several months.

Her brother had killed his lover, bashing and mangling her until she was unrecognizable. Even veteran cops said they’d never seen someone so brutally pummeled. Lisa arrived at the scene shortly after the killing, and took it all in. Then she began mourning, regrettably in her opinion and with feelings so mixed that I guessed they’d never be untangled.

She was a friend of my daughter-in-law, who thought I could help out when Lisa started the book between days when she visited her brother in jail before he was tried and sentenced to life in prison.

The manuscript, which Lisa emailed to me, was as bad as the crime, not just because it told a horrible story but because it was so poorly written.

There was no form to the story, no theme, often no sense, and without even the minimum of a writing technique designed to appeal to readers. She was using the book to heal herself.

I read the book and gave her my honest opinions, plus dozens of hints on how to fix things, how to form a theme, how to try to make sense out of something that made no sense.

I also told her that I couldn’t help with her project any longer. Life was getting difficult in my old age and I did not have the psychic energy to do a good job.

I thought Lisa would be angry and hurt. Not so. She took my criticism and my ideas to heart and began rewriting the book, all on her own.

I have not read the entire revised book, but she did email me a couple of chapters and they were astonishing. She had transformed herself from an ignorant, undisciplined writer to someone who could tell a story any reader would be moved to follow.

Now, though, Lisa, wonderful and talented Lisa, is gone and I don’t know when I have felt so sad.

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