Sandra Moran
December 20, 1968–November 7, 2015

 

“You’re the nudge.”

This simple revelation comes near the conclusion of Sandra Moran’s epic work Nudge. It points to a certain, yet unseen outcome that stunned the book’s protagonist, Sarah Sheppard. But the pronouncement came as no surprise to the reader, or to any of us who were fortunate enough to know and love the book’s charismatic author. Reading Nudge, we perceived that something extraordinary was happening—that things could unfold in no other way. And that we, too, were bearing witness to a sequence of events that would change the way we understood the shared landscape of our lives—and our literature—for generations to come.

That’s where the rubber meets the road in this landmark work of fiction. And that’s where the rubber met the road in the short but profound life of Sandra Moran. Through her writing and by her example, she made us look deeper within and further afield than we were accustomed to do. She adopted themes and explored ideas that illustrated and amplified the ways we are bound to each other as wayfaring pilgrims—but that also lay bare the historical, spiritual, and ideological differences that conspire to keep us apart.

We are like and unlike. We are real and imagined. We are kind and we are cruel. We are enlightened and we are unredeemed. We are whole and we are flawed. But mostly, we are human. And through Sandra Moran’s process of careful, insightful observation—employing the best practices of art and science—we began to understand ourselves, and our plodding journey through time. Under her tutelage we learned that with very good luck and the just the right dose of perspective, we have the potential to live our lives without repeating the same mistakes that got us where we are.

This was the mantra of Sandra Moran, the author, the scholar, the teacher, the woman, and the ultimate observer of humankind. It is certain that her published works, Letters Never Sent, Nudge, The Addendum, All We Lack and the forthcoming State of Grace will continue to gain recognition as seminal works in the canon of our literature. These books herald the arrival of the next wave in our collective discourse. And they presage a period where we begin as a culture to turn our gazes inward, and reflect on the stories and histories that have boldly carried us to this crossroads along our march into history. Under Sandra Moran’s microscope, ruminations about where we will go take a backseat to a thoughtful and engaging examination of how we arrived—here, in this new place, where we finally are at liberty to ask the questions.

Sandra carried her great curiosity into realms beyond the pages of her books. She was first, last, and always a scholar and a teacher. Her fieldwork encompassed more than the anthropological digs and classroom exercises that informed and motivated her students and enriched her writing. Her legacy as one of our best emissaries of serious lesbian fiction, and her unselfish drive and willingness to teach, talk, travel, and share the best and brightest of our stories and our shared histories with all manner of audiences has opened countless new channels of accessibility for readers who previously would not have looked twice at LGBTQ fiction.

I was honored to be her colleague. I was blessed to call her friend. And I will forever remain humbled to have been among the many legions of readers and writers who benefited from her hard work, her great mind, her endless generosity of spirit, and her unparalleled talent and vision.

Rest in peace, my dear friend. You left us far too soon. But the gift of your words, the warmth, energy, and goodness of your spirit, and the passion you brought to everything you did will be a legacy that endures forever.

***

A native Kansan, Sandra Moran was born on December 20, 1968. Her varied employment history spoke to her sense of intellectual adventure. She worked as a political speechwriter, a newspaper journalist, and an archaeological tour manager. In addition to her writing career, Sandra served as an assistant adjunct professor of anthropology at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. Sandra was diagnosed with stage IV cancer one month ago and passed away in hospice care on Saturday, November 7.

 

 



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16 Responses to “In Remembrance: Sandra Moran”

  1. Ona Marae 10 November 2015 at 11:41 AM #

    Sandra was my beloved teacher in the GCLS Writing Academy and a friend as well. Her books will school me long after she will be able to teach me physical classes. She taught me that I can aspire to any height in literary fiction and still be in the LGBTQ canon. I will miss her so much. Our world is a great deal brighter and a great deal sadder today. One of her Queerleaders, Ona.


  2. Jeanne Magill 10 November 2015 at 11:59 AM #

    An eloquent tribute to a bright, beautiful soul we were gifted with too briefly. I will never forget her grace and will treasure her friendship. Thank you, Ann, no one could have said it better.


  3. Lynn Ames 10 November 2015 at 12:02 PM #

    This is an eloquent, fitting homage to our dear friend and literary birght light. Well done, Ann McMan. Thank you for capturing Sandra’s essence and impact so perfectly.


  4. Beth Mitchum 10 November 2015 at 1:08 PM #

    I teared up reading this tribute to Sandra Moran. She had a valiant heart, a brilliant mind, as well as a radiant smile. I will remember her courageous spirit and her great sense of humor always.


  5. Vicki Thomas 10 November 2015 at 1:36 PM #

    Beautiful tribute, Ann.


  6. Anne 10 November 2015 at 2:34 PM #

    Thank you Ann, for your beautiful and obviously heartfelt tribute to a wonderful writer and remarkable woman taken from us far too soon.


  7. Mary Rose Cassavant 10 November 2015 at 2:39 PM #

    Thanks for your eloquent words. The shock of her diagnosis and passing is slowly easing. Your words help to put her life into perspective, not focusing on her passing, but rather on her contribution to literature and our lives. I am deeply touched by your strong words. Thank you.


  8. Chris Parsons 10 November 2015 at 4:13 PM #

    Over the past few days I have read so many wonderful tributes to Sandra Moran. I only had the honour of meeting her in NOLA at the 2015 GCLS Con but I will forever remember her smile, her laugh, her wit. The fact that the likes of Lynn Ames and yourself, Ann McMan, deign to call her Sister, speaks volumes about her. Thank you for this beautiful tribute. I wish I had known Sandra like so many of you did.


  9. Jessie Chandler 10 November 2015 at 8:27 PM #

    Ann, your words speak so many truths. Thank you.


  10. Lori Janos 12 November 2015 at 12:07 AM #

    Thank you Ann, for this touching and fitting tribute. I thought all my tears had been shed, but I was obviously mistaken. She will be missed…..


  11. Elizabeth Sims 13 November 2015 at 10:03 AM #

    This is a wonderful piece, Ann. You’ve done justice to a woman who was special to so many. Thank you.


  12. Anna Furtado 13 November 2015 at 12:31 PM #

    A lovely tribute to a star, now shining brightly in the sky, Ann. Thank you.


  13. Lori L. Lake 14 November 2015 at 1:53 AM #

    I feel *SO* cheated! Sandra was new enough on the literary scene that I had only just begun to get to know her, and now I will miss out on all the lovely things that her good friends got to enjoy. At least we still have her books to turn to – which is no small solace – and I look forward to her last novel’s arrival. Do not rest in peace, Sandra — please continue to be a very active Writing Angel to all of us left behind. I’m okay with being haunted a bit if it helps us all write a little more and better.


  14. Cheryl Pletcher 16 November 2015 at 12:58 PM #

    Thank you, Ann, for writing this wonderful tribute to Sandra but, more importantly, for being such a good friend to us both. I will miss her every day of my life.


  15. […] SANDRA MORAN Award-winning author, professor, and joyful spirit Sandra Moran never met a stranger. To know her was to love her, and to read her work was to love her, too. Sandra was diagnosed with a horrific cancer in October 2015. She left this world on November 7th at the age of 46. In honor of her contributions to literature and to the communities in which she lived and worked, Bedazzled Ink Publishing is offering a set of Sandra’s books to a winner, EBOOK or PAPERBACK (US only). Those include Letters Never Sent, Nudge, The Addendum, All We Lack, and State of Grace (this one’s available spring, 2016 — don’t worry, BI will keep you on file). […]


  16. […] SANDRA MORAN – Winner Abbey S Award-winning author, professor, and joyful spirit Sandra Moran never met a stranger. To know her was to love her, and to read her work was to love her, too. Sandra was diagnosed with a horrific cancer in October 2015. She left this world on November 7th at the age of 46. In honor of her contributions to literature and to the communities in which she lived and worked, Bedazzled Ink Publishing is offering another set of Sandra’s books to a winner, EBOOK or PAPERBACK (US only). Those include Letters Never Sent, Nudge, The Addendum, All We Lack, and State of Grace (this one’s available spring, 2016 — don’t worry, BI will keep you on file). […]



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