The world lost a true original on Monday. Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal passed away at the age of 51 from ovarian cancer. Many of us in this community of memory keepers are mourning the loss of a woman who inspired us to take note of the little things; to see the beauty in the seemingly inconsequential. A woman who truly beckoned lovely with her words and actions.
In 2005, my friend Stacy told me to check out a book, “an encyclopedia of life,” she called it. She said it would inspire me to tell more stories.
As a scrapbooker, I had always felt the pull to document my story and reading Amy’s Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life was just the push I needed to really explore my version of being alive in scrapbook form. At the time, I was invited to teach a class at a Creating Keepsakes Albums workshop and I needed to come up with a concept for the class.
After reading Amy’s book, it became clear: we’ll make an encyclopedia of our lives. I wanted to encourage my students to turn the lens of focus onto themselves. What reflected their experience of being a human and alive on this glorious planet? I wanted women to scrapbook their stories.
Of course, I needed to get in touch with Amy to find out if I could take her concept and teach a class around it without infringing on her work or wholly original ideas.
Amy was nothing, if not gracious and generous when I made my pitch to her. She was not familiar with the modern memory keeping movement and said:
The scrapbooking movement is really interesting to me,and I have to say, you’re my first official ambassadorinto it. You’re right–i didn’t imagine it to be whatit actually is. It’s just very cool and special andas far as i’m concerned, ABSOLUTELY the way to go interms of preserving photos and capturing the essenceof family life.
She gave it her blessing and I taught the class at two events in 2006.
Since then, it’s morphed into other versions of other classes, but this post isn’t about me and how I took someone else’s inspiration and capitalized on it—it’s about her brilliance as a writer and how it inspired so many people and continues to do that today.
A few weeks back when I first learned of Amy’s illness, I spent time watching her Ted Talks and other videos, feeling overwhelmed with grief for a woman I did not know personally, but alas, she is one of those special individuals that makes you feel as though you did know her.
Amy had contacted me last spring to tell me about her new book, Textbook, just to say, “Once upon a time you liked my first memoir and maybe you’ll like this one too?” Of course, I bought it sight unseen and have loved reading that book, too.
Our time here… it’s so short, really.
I just wanted to say thank you to Amy, and to send peace and love to her family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.
It serves to remind me to, as Amy once said, “Make the most of our time here.”
Thank you, Amy, for creating such lovely things.
Please check out all of Amy’s amazing books here.