Friday, March 24, 2017

Fare thee well, Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I was quite saddened to learn the other day of the death of Amy Krouse Rosenthal on March 13. She was 51. Amy was a writer of children's books, a maker of videos, a presenter of Ted Talks, and a Beckoner of the Lovely. 

She also wrote two of my favorite books: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I so admired her generous spirit. I was inspired by her creativity and kindness. I am glad I got to know her through her words and actions and ideas. I feel as if I have lost a good friend.

Here is what I wrote in May 2015 upon my introduction to Amy.

Image result for encyclopedia of an ordinary life

I admit that I am as enthralled with the idea behind Amy Krouse Rosenthal's book as I am with the book itself.

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life is her memoir, of sorts, presented in the form of an encyclopedia...A-Z. So we have entries such as Answering Machines; Anxious, things that make me; Monopoly (like me, she hates the game); the relief of a Rainy Day; memories of a Red Gingham Tablecloth; and Writing Tools - hand, typewriter, computer - and what influence they may have on a writer's style.  

There are plenty of entries detailing some of her quirks that I can identify with:

**She fantasizes about getting rid of everything in her closet except for an outfit or two.

**She not only eats when she is hungry, but also if she is worried that she will be hungry. For instance, if she determines she will be in the middle of watching a film at dinnertime, she grabs a sandwich before she goes to the theater, even though she is not yet hungry, to eliminate any future hunger discomfort.

**She returns again and again to the photo/bio of the author on the flap of a book she is enjoying.

I have done all those things. 

The entries are almost all short which appeals to my diminishing attention span. I swear, I found myself laughing out loud at an entry, nodding my head in agreement at another, and getting misty-eyed at the next one.

It seems I am always on the quest for a way to record my life, 
(see this post) and looking at it in the form of an encyclopedia certainly has its appeal.

Perhaps my first entry could be:

Encyclopedia - A word I learned to spell from a little ditty that was sung on Mickey Mouse Club. Jiminy Cricket taught us to chirp EN CY C LO PEDIA. To this day, I have to sing the letters to myself whenever I write or type the word.

And although Ms. Rosenthal didn't make an entry for Z, I would have to write:

Zero tolerance - for barking dogs, cigarette smoke, heat and humidity, rude service people, radio and television commercials, and magazine advertisements.   

Anyway, I adored this book. And as I sometimes do, I fell in love with Amy (which is why I now feel obliged to call her by her first name).  She would make a wonderful best friend! I found out more about her via a couple of her Ted Talks and her short films on YouTube. 

She loves a bit of wordplay, watches out for synchronicity everywhere, and wants to save the world by Beckoning the Lovely. 

She also has created a journal just for us - An Encyclopedia of Me: My Life from A to Z - so we can write our own record of an ordinary life.

Amy - woman to thank.


  1. I enjoyed her books very much, and was sad to hear of her death, too. She seemed like such an interesting and delightful person. I'll have to go check out her TED talks.

    1. Kathy, I was so shocked to read about Amy's death. I had no idea. Her 'Textbook' had just been published last August.

      She wrote a 'dating profile' of her husband that was published in the New York Times' Modern Love column. It was published just 10 days before her death. It caused quite a stir - in a sad way. It is online as is her obituary.

      Her website - WhoIsAmy(dot)com - has a collection of her short videos. Two of my favorites are The Money Tree and 17 Things I Made. She was quite an artist.

    2. The dating profile of her husband was reprinted in our local paper only a few days after she died--that's how I learned about her death. I'll have to check out her website. I texted a photo to the book site as part of the interactive Textbook Amy Krause--it's part of the Green/Blue Gallery.

    3. Found your photo, Kathy. That must be Tank in the corner. Nice one! I sent in a Purple Flower Moment last year when I read Textbook. I hope no one ever takes her website down...