Another forgotten writer. And this one really is inexcusable.
Ridley was one of the first writers I interviewed after moving to the features section of the Baltimore Sun. I think the piece was assigned to me, but perhaps I lobbied for it after reading the press materials on Pearson.
At any rate, I remember it was a lovely autumn day and he was staying at the Radisson in Baltimore. For some reason, I even remember what I was wearing, a pale green dress from Banana Republic. We went to lunch or coffee for the allotted hour. Deep into the interview, I asked a question about outlining.
Ridley said: “Do you want to write?”
I admitted that I did, and had a novel in progress. He proceeded to give me all sorts of advice — enthusiastic, positive, brimming with optimism. He was very kind, but I tried to steer the conversation back to him. As a journalist, I tried to keep my aspirations secret from the writers I interviewed, for all sorts of ethical reasons. (Later, I’d be equally mum about publishing, but I began getting ratted out by publicists and media escorts.) But the very fact that Ridley was kind enough to ask, and then kind enough to be so positive, always meant a lot to me.
I’ve seen him a lot over the years, most recently at BEA in Chicago, one table away at the BookSense luncheon. He is as he always was — enthusiastic, kind, brimming with optimism.