Feb 13, 2014

Maggie Estep: The Beat Goes On, 2.12.14 by Richard Boch

Maggie Estep in her favorite shirt by Kate Simon, 2013
Maggie Estep was beautiful. Standing at a microphone in the early days of slam, she could spit fire and coo in the same breath. Sometimes it scared me—other times it made me laugh—along with everybody else. Wit, wisdom and words, she was a Marshall-amped Dorothy Parker—without the gin Martini.

Maggie Estep, 1963-2014
Fame came along and Maggie took it on the road. I’d see her around every now and then—we’d smile, stop for a few minutes, and keep walking. Paths crossed but headed in opposite directions. Years went by, I put on a bit of age and Maggie just seemed to get younger. When I spotted her across a room she flashed that million-dollar smile. She said, “Hey” and I gave her one back. We knew all along we’d become friends.

Maggie and I read together on several occasions. She was the pro—well respected, well published and well spoken. She could take pause, riff on a thought and dive back in. I was the hack, still trying to figure out what I was doing. We were a great double-bill and for me it was both a comfort and an honor. She told me I was a good writer. It meant a lot to me and always will. Then the phone rang and she was gone.

Looking back there’s so much to think about. The smile and the encouragement, the sharp, funny and often loving words of a gifted writer and friend—all the great work that was still to come.

When I spot Maggie across the room again I’ll say, “Hey.” She’ll laugh and send it back at me. I’ll be smiling. The beat goes on.

Richard Boch 2.13.14

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