The forty-seventh writer on the blog is…

The forty-seventh writer on the blog is Gayle Reynolds.

I don’t use the word “friend” lightly. I have always reserved it for a very few people; the larger group of what many people call friends I have always seen as “acquaintances I like a lot”. or “people whose company I enjoy”, but not as friends. Thirteen years ago, I would have instantly dismissed the idea that a friend could be someone I had never physically met. But then I took part in one of Web Lab’s experiments in small group dialogue. There I met, purely on-line, a considerable number of people. A smaller number kept discussing, after the experiment ended; and from that smaller number, in time, emerged five who became … yes … friends.

Kentucky artist Gayle Reynolds was one of those five.

In the years since, I have marvelled at her elemental energy, stamina, compassion and endurance. I have seen her fiercely unstinting support of parents, spouse, children and grandchildren through every kind of crisis. I have been amazed by her single-handed feats of home improvement (I shall never forget the rabbit hutch which became a water-bed … or did it become a Moroccan style dining room…?), with whole rooms ripped out, remodelled, reconstructed and redecorated. I still have, in a case on the wall, the exquisite bejewelled Harry Potter quill which she and her grandson made for me; my daughter in law treasures the charcoal drawing of  herself with her two-year old son which Gayle sent to her. I have wondered at her prodigious capacity for correspondence. I have admired the uncompromising moral commitment of her politics.

All of which is to say that she is one of the most heroic human beings I know.

– Felix Grant

Gayle will make posts on the blog from 6th to the 12th of August. A big thank you to Felix for his posts, especially the last one which reminded me of my time in school and my own tendency to seek those moments of solitude when I take on too many things.