A Writer’s Writer
Last week we lost a “writer’s writer” from the literary world, Richard G. Stern. Chris Al-Aswad was a friend of Richard Stern and his wife, the poet Alane Rollings. Chris considered her a mentor and turned to her for advice and moral support, and she attended the memorial service for Chris’s mother at the Art Institute of Chicago. Chris visited the Sterns at their home when they were both teaching at the University of Chicago, and his personal library contains their books—Alane’s poetry, Richard’s novels.
In May of 2006, Chris wrote in his journal, “I take solace in the fact that I have as many years as I need to write this novel. Patience. I want to write it all in a day, but this project will take years. Man is in need of patience, especially this man.”
That Chris, who died at 31, did not have all the time he needed is an irony and a sorrow for Chris’s friends and family. But there is indeed solace in the fact that Richard Stern lived a long life and was admired and respected by his students and fellow writers during his lifetime.
We send sympathy to his widow, Alane Rollings, to his children, his family, his friends. And, of course, to his readers.
Richard G. Stern’s Obituary in the New York Times
Alane Rollings at Escape Into Life