Nikki Delamotte, 1988-2018

“Those guys are being jerks” – a message from Nikki popped up as I was in the midst of dealing with something that every female writer has to contend with, but was new for me – being trolled and mansplained at the same time. “Well, I guess I’m officially a journalist now!” I said. “Baby’s first empowered white male trolling! Huzzah!” said Nikki. By the end of the conversation, not only did I feel better, I knew that I had a solid friend in Nikki Delamotte.

Like me, she was an arts and culture writer, and also like me, she hails from Northwest Ohio. Transplanted to Cleveland, we bonded over Toledo stories, writing, and of course cats – she absolutely adored my cats Fanny and Felix (she was their biggest fan, honestly). We supported each others’ writing, encouraged each other, laughed about ‘short-girl-problems’, and I can’t believe she’s gone.

Nikki left behind an incredible catalog of writing – a corpus of work covering the very best things that Cleveland has had to offer over the years. Some of my favorites I have saved in an email folder titled: “Nikki Stuff”. If I was going to write about something arts related in Cleveland, I always checked to see if she had covered it – and invariably she had – because Nikki was so amazingly prolific. Reading her articles was often a starting point for me. Her words were more than a resource, they were meaningful. Sincere. What some people may have considered a “puff-piece”, Nikki covered with all the seriousness and attention that it deserved. Nothing was a puff-piece to Nikki – because she knew the people behind the story. She took the time to know the people behind her stories – and not just to inform her writing, she did so because she was a truly good person. She was a fixture in Cleveland, a friend to many because she supported so many, well-known, well-liked… and so modest.  At her book signing a few years ago, she blushed when I asked her to sign my copy – at a book-signing… that genuine humbleness radiated from her. Always.

Currently I’m visiting my family in Perrysburg, Ohio – writing this in the house I grew up in, just a few miles from the Friendly Village Trailer Park, where Nikki’s life senselessly ended. We had so much in common, there’s so much to say – but I have no words to express this kind of loss. This senseless loss.

The amazing poet and artist Julie Ezelle Patton shared something she wrote about Nikki with me – and she has kindly allowed me to share it with you. In times when I am lost for words, I turn to poets, to music, to art – and I know that Nikki did, too. We will never forget her.



Amid the bad news

a female journalist…


I can’t say I person-

ally knew more than

saw or felt nearby…


Loss so sudden, pal-

pable, tragic an

implausible end


in the expressions

of so many

of my Cleveland based

friends and associates

blessed to have

known such



Yet this kind of

news so unkind



the mere ecology

of worlds

pinched out of “woods”

and “found” anticipate—

a loose auburn leaf, low

flying butterfly, or

lichen ruffled stem


tripped over

in the middle of

a sentence so

out of time and

line with what

one knew

of her “Kittenhead,”

says the most








p/robe senseless

news wide open

(as trumpets)


the wrong kind of


lying in wait


wings yanked



I pray she didn’t suffer, this

beauty loaded

language with gusto and

insight to get stories out, publish

a list of places


we should see

before we die


roads named after

the innocent, Delamotte

one of 101 places

to cherish now


Julie Ezelle Patton, 2018



The opinions expressed on CAN Blog are those of the individual writers. Art is somewhat subjective. Well, somewhat. But yes, everybody's a critic.