Dear Mr. W.,
You'll forgive me for not calling you Carl. I'm a little weird about that, the same way that I can't bring myself to call former professors, now colleagues, by their first names. When a person is something of a mentor, a leader, an elder, I feel there needs to be an honorific. So please, forgive me for being a just a little formal.
Lots of folks have posted tributes since we learned of your passing. If we'd met--and I had hoped that we would--I would have told you this in person. Instead, I'll write it here, and hope the message gets to you somehow. I want you to know that you had profound and incredibly positive impact on my life. Admittedly, it's indirect--but it just goes to show how a person's actions, decisions and philosophies can ripple out far beyond his or her immediate circle.
Losing your faith can leave you feeling rudderless and hopeless. When this happened to me, I was lucky to find a book that restored my balance and set me on the spiritual path I'm still trying to map out today: Scott Cunningham's Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner. What a great book. Simple. Straighforward. Unpretentious. I felt like I'd found a friend between those pages. You are the reason I was able to find that book (at Borders, now gone too, alas). There were others. Pauline Campanelli's Wheel of the Year. Valerie Worth's The Crone's Book of Words. And then the countless other books that became well thumbed reference manuals as I stumbled my way through the Craft--but I was never alone. I had guidance, initially through books, because of you. And I'm pretty confident that thousands and thousands of other folks can probably say the same.
I went on to meet my first Teacher and Elder in the Craft thanks to you. I made countless friends and connections because of you--your books and authors connected us. I learned. So. Much. Because of you.
I wish we could have met, but this time around it didn't work out--even when I stopped by the Llewellyn offices when my family and I made the cross country drive that sparked the idea that turned into a proposal that eventually made it to the acquisitions table at Llewellyn. Yes--I will now have a book with my name on it because of you. Because you fostered an organization that is open to listening to all voices. Because, I learned as I read the many many reminiscences of people who actually knew you and talked with you and worked with you directly--that's just the kind of guy you are. You were always listening and looking and seeking and learning.
It seems insignificant, but thank you, Mr. W. Thank you for giving me this chance. Thank you for helping me to believe in myself. Thank you for being the champion of so many paths, so many authors, so many artists, so many beliefs. Thank you, to the moon and back ♥