What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jessica Thompson: A Remembrance

With a heavy heart, I revisit these words from a blog posting just a few days ago.

With Demand I truly feel like I’m part of a company and a community, and I’m not talking about getting the warm fuzzies over corporate America and a shameless march toward the almighty profit. I’m much more talking about the relationships I have with some of my fellow copy chiefs and a small handful of the editors in my charge.

After the minor fecal storm that my year in review created, I’d planned on treating Demand once again with the anonymity typically afforded to my other clients. I was likely going to do that anyway.

In retrospect, however, the above paragraph inadvertently made the posting into something meaningful.

One of my fellow copy chiefs died yesterday.

Jessica Thompson, whom I knew only through the series of tubes, died in an accident at her home in Cambodia. She’d gone there last fall for a bit of adventure: a six-month copyediting gig at the Cambodia Daily.

I only knew Jessica through a bunch of email exchanges--mostly of the snarky, informal kind that circulate among a group of friends--and then some side emails that spun off from that. Such is workplace friendship in the virtual world.

Jess came across as a lively, curious, intelligent, very funny woman. I’m stunned to think I’ll never have the pleasure of meeting her in real life. I believe in my last side email to her, I’d told her that if in her worldwide travels she ever found herself driving up I-81 through Appalachia, we were only two miles off the interstate and there’d always be a place for her here.

She spent some time writing for the Times of India, from the perspective of a young, female American in New Delhi. When we first started working together, I checked out some of her posts. Here’s an excellent example that generated a lot of comments. More are available by searching “Jessica Thompson” “Times of India”:

Her bio on that page reads, “Jessica Thompson is an American journalist living and working in New Delhi as an editor for Times Internet. She is not from Chicago, but says she is sometimes because more people know where it is. She is actually from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jessica lived in New Delhi for four years in the 1980s as the child of a Foreign Service Officer, and returned last October to pursue her dream of escaping the American media collapse.”

The news is still coming in on what happened to Jessica. I think I can speak for all the copy chiefs by saying we miss her already.


moi said...

How tragic. I'm so, so sorry.

Also: I've never heard of "Eve teasing" before. Doubly tragic that my enlightenment came through her death.

Kim K. said...

Well said, Bob. We've lost a member of our team, as well as a virtual friend.

Lance Vien said...

Knew Jess as a teen into adulthood. So many great times and fond memories. And now, extreme sadness. She was one of a kind.

czar said...

Tragic, yes. If you look at some more of her columns, she obviously had style and more than a little of a gift for insight. A loss for us all, even for the words we might have read that she'll never write.

I'd been thinking that for all of the people who go through this Demand universe, our little team of a dozen or so had never lost a member. Even though Jess was planning to leave, I'd still have been thinking about her wit and her approach to this strange task we do.

You're the luckiest and the unluckiest of us all -- for having known her personally and well, and now for your deeper loss. Our condolences to you and all who knew her.

Lance Vien said...

Thank you for sharing this. I've linked to it on Facebook so others can get another window into how great she was as well. I can't believe she's gone.

Unknown said...

My first impression of Jessica was that she was an absolute delight. She was SO intelligent, kind, creative... A lovely person. This is such a tragedy. My son, Charlie, and Jess went through a lot together. In MANY ways, she changed his life. She will be greatly missed (by me too). So very very sad.

Haaris Shaikh said...

Tragic… I work with her to design and replicate the special sections 'General Election 2009' and 'Your Voice' on maharashtratimes.com. She was intelligent, kind and creative person. RIP Jessica…

Anurag Varma said...

Sad, we have lost a great journalist and friend.

czar said...

Lance, Pam, Haaris, Anurga: My thoughts go out to all of you. I received a description of the service held for her in Cambodia, and it sounded simultaneously solemn, freeing, and in a way, hopeful. Service to take place this week in her U.S. hometown as well.

Unknown said...

Czar: Can you share more on her service in Cambodia? I will be attending the one in Minneapolis on Saturday.

Also, does anybody know anything on the cause of Jessica's death? Is the man she was with still alive? Talking?

czar said...


Send me an email and let me know who you are. I'll let you know what little I know and what I'm comfortable sharing, in respect of her family. I only knew Jessica briefly, and I feel a little awkward giving out information. I hope you understand.

Unknown said...

czar - I totally understand!