Once a discussion with some of my author friends wandered toward immortality. We asked “if we were immortal would we ever become tired of living?” Most said probably, that they’d run out of things to do, places to go. I agreed.
One woman strongly objected. Her name was Sue Ann Bowling, a local science fiction writer. She graduated from Harvard in Physics and when she applied in 1963 to be the first woman graduate student the Geophysical Institute here in Fairbanks, they considered giving her a separate entrance exam. They decided against it and when the results came back, she had the highest score and they realized they should have given her a harder exam. She became the first director at the Alaska Climate Center. She sussed out a rare fatal gene in the Shetland Sheepdog line, helping breeders avoid it. She would do research and teach at the Geophysical Institute for 30 years before health issues contributed to her early retirement.
She loved such varied things as dogs, horses, snowflakes, writing and outer space. She wrote and self-published two great novels, Homecoming and Tourist Trap. They both got five star reviews from Clarion Reviews and they don’t give many of those. Both were set in a fascinating universe where slavery was common and the protagonist was a freed slave fighting politically to peacefully end it. I chose to start this blog promoting my novel because she had an author blog through WordPress and I knew she would be able to help me if I had questions.
She began the third book in her series when the cancer came back the second time. She still came to authors meetings with her walker, and battled blood sugar and the vision problems she had come down with, but we thought this sassy stubborn woman would pull through. She finished her manuscript just a few days before she passed away peacefully, watched over by a friend.
Yesterday, I went to her memorial service. There were people from the Geophysical Institute, the Tanana Valley Kennel Club and the Community Writers Group. Her relatively short life taught me two things; never stop learning and doing new things, and now, I know I don’t have forever. With the right attitude, we could be immortal never get tired, and with enough motivation, we can do great things no matter how long we live.
More about Sue Ann- (1941-2014)