Dave Eggers is the author of a bunch of books and the co-founder of San Francisco's 826 Valencia, the model for similar writing centers around the country, including 826 Seattle. The family of Kim Ricketts has requested donations be made to 826 Seattle in remembrance of her.
The flag of the world of books is flying at half-mast right now, mourning the loss of Kim Ricketts. She was a pillar of the Seattle literary community, which means she was a pillar of the world literary community. She was tireless, she was funny, she loved books, and she loved celebrating everything associated with books.
She was also my kind of bookseller. When I was a younger guy, overthinking everything, I found it unacceptable to do a simple reading, with a book and a podium and a mic. I had to have dancers, or exercise routines, or panels of astronauts and FBI agents. One night at Kim’s store, I called ahead saying I’d need a screen, because I was bringing along a whale expert who would be showing slides, and talking about where and how to see the giant mammals off the Seattle coast. There were some bookstores that weren’t so thrilled with these kind of hijinks, but Kim seemed genuinely into departures from the everyday. She readily agreed, got the screen ready, the projector and everything. Kim and I had a blast together that night, sitting in the audience, watching the whale expert from the back row.
At a time when brick-and-mortar bookstores are fighting for their lives, we need the likes of Kim. We need those who are open to possibility, who are constantly enthusiastic and inspired, who know books, love books, believe in books. Who will fight for books.
So it’s no wonder that when 826 Seattle came to be, Kim became one of the biggest supporters of the center. That’s what pillars do. They hold up the roof, they hold up the sky. I know everyone at 826 Seattle misses Kim already, and though I didn’t know her as well as you lucky Seattleites, I miss her too.