I’m still knocked off my stride after hearing last night that Dooce had died, that she could no longer just go on living. And I’m not the only one; even after she’d dialled up some unwise* posting recently, her death has struck seismic shudders into a community of online readers for whose shared world Dooce provided one great pole star.

*‘Unwise’ was at least a strong flavour of her brand, after all.

I kept her RSS feed in my newsreader when her blogging sputtered. I’m not her therapist, or confessor, or friend, but something in what I heard in her sharp, self-deprecating, demanding, witty, obliquely honest (honest, but not exactly honest) held my attention even in her silences. She wrote, and felt, and thought, and loved in crackling torrents. Sometimes I shook my head and questioned her judgement, but hey — her decisions weren’t my job, and she could write out her follies with magnetic force.

I was surprised to read about her alcoholism when she first opened up about it, but in retrospect it fit the picture (and it wasn’t as though she had been writing about drunkenness for years). I wasn’t surprised to read about her experiences fighting for stability and for freedom from the deep bonds of trauma. She walked in fire, and told her readers about it, and every now and then she clambered above the smoke and flames to shout out to us in triumph.

We got to know her, and her families, in her long, intense posts: Jon, Leta, Marlo; Former Congressman Chuck, Coco, ; her mum, The Avon World Sales Leader, and her dad; GEORGE!; Tyrant LaCaze; Pete, her companion at the end. My heart goes out to them.

(I’m going to leave this incomplete now, and come back to it during the day.)

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