Hallelujah Crocodile: Blue Boogie for Ellen
Hallelujah Crocodile Blue Boogie for Ellen is the story of a short life and a long one. It is a sad story but not always a gloomy one. In these pages, bereavement becomes a pilgrimage for the reader, as it was for the author.
In 1989, the author's older daughter was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. After a four-year remission the cancer returned. Ellen Manson died April 8, 1994. At the time, mainstream media was almost routinely covering stories of angel sightings and near-death experiences. Says the author, "I wanted to be in touch with Ellen, but this seemed to presuppose very specific beliefs in a spiritual reality. How did one enter such a reality without adopting the tenets of traditional religions and philosophies?" In contemplating her daughter's death, the author began to think about her own: What does it mean that we all physically die? What is death? She asks age-old questions and looks for answers in her own direct experience.
After three years of trying on evenings and weekends to write this memoir-tribute-song, Manson realized that such a book required her best energies; she needed to make some life changes. The first was to leave her job. In August 1997 she went home to her computer and began to write full time.
Hallelujah Crocodile Blue Boogie for Ellen is the result. Part biography, part philosophical exploration, it is a work of discovery. Says Manson, "As I 'found' Ellen, I began to find myself."