Playwright Wendy Wasserstein has died.
There are a number of beautiful obituaries for her on the web right now and I'm sure they'll continue as the day goes on, but the one I find the most comforting is from The Miami Herald.
I loved Wendy Wasserstein's work. I loved them for their wit, for their ridiculous humor, for their unabashed blatant political statements. I even loved them for the things I hated: the similar characters and dialogue, the whining, the pseudo-man bashing. Maybe it was because I could see their flaws and respect her work anyway. Maybe it was because I, too, am a Jewish girl with overprotective parents. Maybe it was because her characters saw what they wanted and went after it-- a character trait I admire. Whatever it was, her work inspired me to continue writing.
Sometimes it's about timing. She caught me at the exact right moment with The Heidi Chronicles, a pick from my 10th grade English class. Her plays led the life I wanted (well, except for the dead-end romances with schmucks), told with the sense of humor I stole as my own.
I followed her career as my own began, even forgiving her missteps (An American Daughter, which disappointed me when I saw it on Broadway) because every interview I read of hers was a delight. She was a woman I admired; a woman I wanted to befriend.
I never did, but I thought about writing to her a lot. To tell her that her words danced across my mind, reverberated, making me feel dizzy and real. To tell her that her feminism was my blueprint; that her work and her life meant something to me even though I later discarded her brand of identity for my own. That her books sit on my office's inspiration shelf and that even now I thumb through them on bad days reminding myself why I write.
Her death makes today one of those bad days. Yet, even though she is no longer with us, she still inspires me and reminds me why I write. This time, it is to her.
Ms. Wasserstein, you'll be sorely missed. Thank you for all you've done for me.