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Writing About Ira

When I was writing a lot about Ira, this blog would sometimes appear at the top of the page under "related blogs" in the google blog search results for her name. I always had mixed feelings about that. For a brief moment, I would feel excited that my blog had that kind of exposure. Then I would immediately think that it wouldn't have that kind of exposure if Ira hadn't died.  I felt a little like a scavenger, even though I knew I would have written about her without getting the google hit. 

 My experience illustrates how many ethical pitfalls there are when writing about the recently deceased. The death of a beautiful and beloved young woman certainly makes for a compelling story. And there's nothing wrong with telling that story, especially if the young woman is worthy of being remembered (as Ira certainly was).

The danger of course, is forgetting that the subject of your story is a human being with people who loved her, and treating her as nothing but material. I hope I haven't done that with Ira, and that knowing her personally offered me some protection from this mistake.


an incubator for unpredictable discussions, an apt setting for writing everything from a grocery list to the great American novel, and even home to a tragic but inspiring ghost.

The "ghost" in question is Ira. Later in the article he writes

Jackson's Java also boasts a ghost, a beautiful and innocent spirit with a story as tragic and compelling as any on you'll hear on those "ghost walks" so popular these days from Asheville to the Tower of London.

This is one of the most distasteful things I've ever read in my life. The ghosts in Asheville and London have been dead a lot longer than three years. No one is still mourning their deaths. And nobody at Jackson's Java "boasts"  of Ira. She is not a tourist attraction. She is a dear friend who is fondly and sadly remembered.

She was also a compassionate and forgiving person, so she would probably want  me to put my rhetorical bullwhip down at this point and show Mr. Boekelheide some mercy. And to mention that he  responded personally and apologetically to a friend of mine who sent him an angry letter. He is probably more of a careless person than a bad person.

Maybe he has learned something from all this. One can hope.