25/05 Update: I am very sad to announce that Aunt Judy passed away last night. She was told of all your eviltry on the weekend and it brought a smile to her, so thank you for that. If you would, please continue with Evil for Judy and leave a comment. It means a lot to me. ~S
ETA: Obituary and arrangements can be found here.
You may not realize, in this world of horrible people being horrible, that some human beings aren’t like that. Some human beings are extraordinarily kind and change the lives of everyone around them.
Judy Bagshaw is one of those people.
And as it goes sometimes with our world’s truly extraordinary people, terrible things befall them and threaten to take them far sooner than necessary. Judy was hospitalized some weeks ago and recently received a fairly devastating diagnosis. She’s very ill right now.
Immediately upon talking to people who know her, everyone was upset. Everyone. Because there is not a single person Judy has ever met who hasn’t been positively influenced by her. As an elementary school teacher for many years in a rougher neighbourhood, she had kids in her class for just a year who would come back as adults praising the influence Ms. Bagshaw had on them. New writers she has mentored over the years went on to do great things, readers’ lives were made better by her size-positive romance novels.
And then there are people like me, who has had her in my life since before I was born.
Aunt Judy read all of my stories and gently helped me improve; she always supported all my creative endeavours; she pushed me to submit to publishers and hone my craft. She gave me a place to live when I was homeless. She taught me to turn my (great many) faults into virtues. She saw the good in me when there absolutely was none whatsoever.
Judy Bagshaw is the very best human our species is capable of producing, and I say that without a hint of hyperbole.
Almost immediately, people have asked me what they can do–if they can send flowers, gifts, cards, etc. She’s in Critical Care, which I think disallows flowers, and in her room today I found there wasn’t really space for cards and that. Until such a time as she can receive those things, I think I have a good solution.
Evil for Judy
Oh god, Skyla, you’re going on about evil again–
HOLD UP. I’m not asking you for money this time. Previously, as part of the ELEW, I’ve helped with major fundraisers, first raising money for Crestline School after a fire, and then last year for Julie Butcher when her husband wrestled a bear (aka chainsaw).
Judy needs our evil, just not the financial kind.
What I want you to do is what Judy has done during the entire sixty years of her life: commit wanton acts of eviltry for others. (Okay, this is Judy, so we can also call them “random acts of kindness” but c’mon, stick with the proper lingo here.) Try something like…
- Tell a child–your child, a niece/nephew, any one as long as you didn’t steal them–how amazing he or she is. Really sit down with them, look them in the eye, and tell them what an extraordinary human being they are.
- Buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you the next time you’re at Timmies.
- Go to your local animal shelter and ask to take one of the dogs for a walk.
- Give someone deserving some encouraging words.
- Give a child a book and offer to read it with them.
Do something equally awesome that I’ve not thought of because I’m tired.More ideas! Like…
- Leave a server a large tip.
- Write to a former teacher who had an impact on your life.
- Donate clothing you don’t wear to charity.
- Cook a meal/do some laundry for a friend who just had a baby.
- Leave some extra quarters at the laudromat.
Do one of these things, these little random acts of eviltry/kindness–just ONE thing!–and leave a comment here on my blog. Tell me what you did. You can leave your name or be anonymous.
When I go to see Aunt Judy next week, I will read them all to her. I will show her how her influence is continuing even when she’s unwell in the hospital. I will show her how she will always live on.
Well-wishes are nice, but SHOW, DON’T TELL, MOTHERFUCKERS. Do something Judy would be proud of.
If you don’t know Judy, maybe you know me. Maybe you’re here because you follow me somewhere, or you’ve read my books.
Folks, I would not be here without Aunt Judy.
No one has ever believed in me the way she has. If you have one of my books, open it and check the dedication or acknowledgements–you will see her name. I don’t put just anyone’s name in there and I am not exaggerating the influence she’s had on my path.
If I have ever done anything, even once, to brighten your day a little–to offer support or encouragement, or some act of kindness I was never aware of…that was Judy.
If you’ve read and enjoyed any of my books, you would not have if not for Judy.
You HAVE met Judy just by being near me, even if you never realized it.
So please, help me with this. Please do a random act of eviltry for Judy. Even if I don’t have the opportunity to read them all to her, I have to believe she will feel the love wherever she is.
Standard Evil Explanations for Newbies:
Wait, what’s this about evil? I’m a member of the Evil League of Evil Writers. Everything we do is evil, including charitable acts.
Aren’t charitable endeavors inherently good? Judy has fostered evilty in many children, including me, who co-founded the ELEW. Also, by supporting this endeavour, that might make people cry happy tears. Making people cry is of course evil. See? It all comes back to evil, folks.
As a friend said, when the universe kicks one of us, we kick back twice as hard.