Geeta Sharma-Jensen, the book editor at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is accepting a buyout offer from the newspaper to pursue other forms of writing and spend "time with neglected gardens."
In a moving farewell piece on the MJS website, Geeta recounts her 35-year journey at the paper, the changes that have come about in the newspaper business and what she will most miss about her job.
It has been a journey of sorts for me too. Geeta was the first book editor outside Philadelphia Inquirer to give me work, with Tarun Tejpal's The Alchemy of Desire. That initial encouragement was vital for someone from New Delhi trying to make a foothold in the American newspaper book sections. When I was unreasonable and got upset about her cutting a well-loved review of mine (The Indian Clerk), she was patient with me, allowing me to see my mistake, and when I apologised, she accepted it without issue and continued to give me work. I remember she said she used to be like that at my age, and so understood. Geeta, thank you for your kindness and maturity.
I wish Geeta all success in whatever she decides to pursue now on. I hope the free time allows her to indulge her interests in other forms of writing. And yes, I will be looking out for her freelance work every now and then—that particular muscular way of putting things she possesses that brings the page alive.