Remembering John Lovas

I want to join Cindy, Samantha, Mike, Jenny, Collin, Joanna, Derek, and Jeff in expressing my sorrow at the passing of John Lovas. I plan on reading and contributing to the festschrift, but for now, I don't know what to say. Too soon. He did what he loved -- taught writing -- until the very end. He cared so much about all of us. About his students. They kept in touch with him after they took his classes. He was proud of them; you could tell by the way he wrote about them on his blog and the way he talked about them in person. I only met him once, last March at CCCC. I'm glad I did.

At the beginning of his CCCC presentation, he made some remarks about his reasons for starting blogging. From my notes on his session:

John's presentation was titled "A Writing Teacher's Blog: New Knowledge and New Colleagues." In it, he talked about his motivations for starting his weblog. He said he was hearing "time's wingèd chariot hurrying near" and was worried that his words wouldn't end up having an impact. He has a wealth of accumulated knowledge about teaching writing, having done it for forty (!) years now, and he was concerned that what we as writing teachers do isn't understood well by the public (he referenced the "Well, I'd better watch my grammar around you!" joke we all know). So he decided to start a blog.

They did have an impact. I'm so grateful that he started and maintained his blog. I am a better teacher for having read his words, for having known him. I'm sure I'm not the only one. One time one of my students wrote something on the class blog that alarmed me, and I was afraid it would have a negative effect on the class morale. John was the person I emailed in panic, the person I trusted to give me the best, fairest, most caring advice, and he wrote right back and made me feel much better.

He will be missed. He already is.