Earlier this week, I received the news that my writing mentor Reynolds Price, an esteemed writer of Southern fiction, passed away at the age of 77. At present, I’m still stunned and heartbroken, but his presence will continue to be felt throughout the years.

Mr. Price was the reason I started writing and he was a constant touchstone throughout college. My first interaction with him culminated in a personal correspondence when he invited me to a reading and from that point on I was a frequent member of the audience when he did readings. (I actually carried a picture of that event around in my wallet for many years until it faded out.) Reynolds was a voice of not only the South, but the world at large. His religious interpretations became one of my favorite components of his literary career and he was definitely responsible for me combining my Creative Writing minor with a Religion minor.

For the past few years, I hadn’t been able to see him as much because of scheduling conflicts, but he never left my mind. My bookshelf is filled with his works, I began his first fan webpage while back in college and I still maintain it, and every time I sit down at the keyboard it’s his voice that’s in the back of my mind. May you all find a writing inspiration as great as Reynolds Price. The world is a darker place with the loss of this great man.