] Elizabeth Fisher • Photo by Scott Beadle
When this posts, she will be going…or gone.
Earlier, she sent an email that’s just…so her. > at 11am zurichtime, whatevertime, your time, give a cheer, hey, cause
off i go and it’s all good.
It seems weird to say that someone will be dying at a specified time, but Elizabeth Fischer chose assisted suicide when she found out recently that she had terminal lung cancer.
From that interview:
You’ve been really open about choosing suicide. How have people responded?
My demise has become a community effort, and that makes me feel pretty good. People in my coop, in my musicians’ community, the artists’ community, have been really kind and supportive. I’m being love-bombed, and it’s kind of overwhelming, because I had no idea they cared so much. [laughs heartily] They all think that I’m being so brave, though I don’t think of it that way. I’m just too smart to want to die in a hospital, racked with pain, tied to IVs, utterly humiliated.
I can’t remember precisely when I met efish on the EFNet #scientology channel (which, despite its name, was mostly a channel of critics), perhaps even before I became a channel op sometime around 1995 or 1996. I just remember her always being there, usually the cheerful one. Often talking about dancing, singing, writing, art, goulash, Hungarian, or the strange trip she’d taken through life.
Like many people in our lives, even when I no longer hung out with efish on line a lot and wandered away from Scientology criticism for quite a few years, I thought of her a lot.
We saw each others’ comments on Marty Rathbun’s blog in March 2014—this post, in fact—and reconnected via facebook and, briefly, IRC. Mom and I took a trip up to Vancouver Island this April, but we had to do it at breakneck speed (which turned out to be fortuitous; my mother became very ill almost immediately upon our return), so I sheepishly told Elizabeth I’d be back.
In retrospect, I feel foolish. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to carve out the time.
Her recent book, Orphans and Dogs, which includes quite a lot of her own pieces as well as her translation of Humorom by Attila Balogh, a Hungarian Roma poet.
Cover to Animal Slaves album Dog Eat Dog. She did the cover and was a part of the band.
Singer for Dark Blue World. You can listen to some of their music here. I find the song “On a Wire” particularly haunting tonight.
iTunes: Album link. Song link.
It’s obvious there’s a hole in the Vancouver arts scene where she used to be.
And now, a prose piece from efish about what it was like to be a refugee from her homeland. Illuminating for those of you who aren’t old enough to remember other large refugee crises, here’s a primer about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The refugee crisis was the first to be televised.
In terms of some since, it was far smaller than Syria (or Vietnam), so it was, relatively speaking, easy to find places to accommodate 200,000 people, 180,000 of whom fled into Austria. But that was by no means easy for those who were displaced…sometimes several times.
In that sense, assisted suicide—choosing the date, time, and place of one’s demise—makes a curious sense for someone blown about the globe by the whims of others at the earlier end of her life.
Hungary, 1956, mother, father and me don the family underwear and scramble off across the border to Austria. Onto Austria, where every hungarian arrives heroically freedomfighting, and from which one can only be shipped off to Argentina, where – according to mother – far off relatives await with open arms. And there they are the far off relatives but no open arms await cause they see the underwear and it makes them nervous.
There we are then, flowing sewage in front, rendering plant in back. Father works in a factory and amuses himself by teaching everyone how to swear in hungarian. And then comes home and announces okay, but he’d much rather kill himself. So mother stops the nine months long weeping and removes the one family jewel pinned to the family underwear and goes to sell it.
In the meanwhile, I attend school in spanish. A catholic school run by nuns, where during religion classes I get to sit on a bench in the yard and play with the flies.
So mother sells the family jewel and buys a ticket back to Europe, come what may. And we iron the underwear and embark on a french ship. French cockroaches rove our bodies and father states that the french are shits so we will definitely not be going to France. Mother nods and continues to weep.
We arrive back in Austria where everyone is sick of heroes and freedomfighters. So there we sit at the nearest refugee vacation facility, a fuck you gesture in austrian dialect.
A yearlong vacation, twentyfive to a room, the family underwear on a clothesline. Sporting events abound cause with hungarians, arguments are deemed sporting events. Mother weeps, father amuses himself with teaching the camp director choice hungarian obscenities.
Me, I attend school in german. And on holidays I am put on exhibit dancing rustic folk dances with a wine bottle on my head.
In the meanwhile, father’s skills in matters of hungarian language become popular. Here comes a swedish red cross rep and says he’s interested in higher learning. Okay, says father, but then how about a swedish visa. That’s hard, sighs the swede, cause everyone hates hungarians. We for example, only take persons with life threatening illnesses. That’ll be just fine, says father, look at mother there in the throes of fatal weeping. Don’t you think a rest in a fine swedish sanatorium would do her some good. Well, says the swedish rep, maybe it could be arranged, but then you’ll have to teach me something extremely exotic. Cause me, he says, I like to deeply explore foreign cultures. And then father reaches deep indeed and brings forth the most exotic of exotic cultural treasures, hidden gems from within, ancestral bon mots gingerly cradled all the way from his village of birth, exotic Babocsa, population 500, paragon of extreme hungarian cultural endeavours.
Once in Sweden, mother is carted off for a rest cure at a sanatorium. Father and I to a cute little refugeecamp by the sea. We have ourselves a great time cause no more hairbrushings and such, seeing as hygene is also resting with mother. After three weeks, mother is released from the sanatorium and continues where she left off. Weeping, she shakes the sand out of the family underwear and brushes the knots from my hair.
It is very nice in Sweden but fucking dull. Having nowhere else to go, we hang around for four years. No one to teach hungarian to cause the swedes are a very polite people. They quite politely hate all foreigners.
Me, I attend school in swedish. There are no religion classes and also no dancing.
After a while, father has had enough of all this fine innertia. He decides he wants to live in Canada. There are many refused canadian visa applications. Mother weeps. So then he decides to write a letter to the english queen. In the letter he says he has had enough of all this joking around. That he would love to leave the family underwear behind. Please allow him to live in Canada, where he, the hungarian Fischer Pista promises to sell zippers and be perfectly happy doing so, respectfully yours, your future subject, Mr. Steven Fischer. Post Scriptum, hogyha nem enged be akkor maga igazan egy hulye nagy barom es le van szarva.
And she lets him in.
The rest is less interesting. Well, okay, maybe a little bit interesting.
— © elizabeth fischer
Fischer’s laugh, a recognizable alto chortle, is almost as notorious locally as her dark Hungarian scowl. The only child of Holocaust survivors, she first ventured into the Vancouver arts scene by running light shows for rock bands during the psychedelic era, and then progressed into leading her own bands via punk. The Animal Slaves were an anomaly during the days of D.O.A. and the Subhumans, featuring as they did actual musicians playing morbidly intricate tunes behind Fischer’s complex and poetic lyrics; more recently, Dark Blue World fused rock energy with improv jazz, again by way of a rotating cast of A-list players, including Tony Wilson, Cole Schmidt, Skye Brooks, and Pete Schmitt. Fischer also painted marvellous if not always flattering portraits of her friends, often in acidic greens and yellows; made several memorable LPs and CDs; fought against persecution of the Roma in her native Hungary; and, more secretly, was a quietly spectacular knitter, whose crocheted “baldguy caps” are fetish objects for those lucky enough to own them.
About assisted suicide, a subject she’s quite passionate about:
“When my dogs got sick, I made sure they didn’t suffer,” she says. “So why can’t the same thing happen for me?”
Elizabeth Fischer singing “Learning to Live” with the Animal Slaves.
When does something become an “attack” online?
Let’s say that two people, Jane and Cait, are both authors.
Jane says something that involves Cait, only she uses a word incorrectly. Cait responds that, hey, that word used that way and applied to me in that context is offensive. And Cait’s right.
Why is Cait then accused of “attacking” Jane?
After all, these are words, the tools of both of their craft. Is not their increased understanding of them in both of their interests?
Wouldn’t one typically expect Jane to apologize for using a word incorrectly and hurting Cait’s feelings by doing so?
Let’s take a more complex variant of the above.
Sarah hears Jane say something that involves Cait, using a word incorrectly. Sarah understands it to mean the common meaning of the word. She writes about it, but doesn’t name Jane.
Ken reads Sarah’s comment, then says something about it where Cait hears. Cait responds that, hey, that word used that way and applied to me in that context is offensive. And Cait’s right.
Then Sarah says I wrote that, and the person who said it is Jane. While Sarah misunderstood part of what happened, what she did not misunderstand was the word.
And there’s a huge pile-on, in the middle of which Jane reveals that she hadn’t used the word the way Sarah, Cait, and Ken understood it to be used (i.e., the way it is commonly used), and that Jane was using the word in a non-standard way.
Yet, were it not for what Jane said, and others’ over-reading of the intended meaning because of Jane’s misuse of the word, none of this would have happened.
Substitute names as appropriate, and you have the skeletal structure of what happened 1-2 days ago.
When you use the word “attack,” you absolve yourself and the people you see as your allies of apologizing or behaving well.
I’m considering removing anyone who uses the word in a non-physical sense from all my social media. I’ve been guilty of this in the past, too, and I know it’s a hard habit to break.
Instead, try to consider what actually happened in that moment without characterizing it, either to yourself or to others, as an attack.
Often I see “attack” used for criticizing the content of what someone said as opposed to criticizing the person.
I totally get how it can be hard to separate the two, especially when it happens to you. Been there, made that mistake. However, it’s one I’d expect writers to be, on average, less likely to make given the prevalence of Clarion-style critiquing.
I incorporate by reference this brilliant post from Jim C. Hines.
If I have information that will clarify a situation, regardless of whether or not I like the person it helps and also regardless of what it will cost me in so-called friends, I will bring it up. Principles before personalities. (Am I perfect at this? No, of course not. I also don’t seek things out, so I can and do miss such opportunities.)
Also, if I’m in contact with you, there is something I admire about you. I’ve been friendly with very contradictory sets of people, and I’m able to accept that everyone’s a mix of good and bad—and hold that complexity in my head.
If you’re one of my contacts, I don’t expect you to like everyone else. I don’t expect you to understand what I see in other people.
“Attack” used this way also carries the connotation of “unprovoked.”
If, instead, we look at the events above as a misunderstanding and clarification, rather than an “attack,” we can learn from it.
You know, build a community rather than destroy it.
Just a thought.
The header image background is a photo I took of the battering surface of an M60 Patton tank. It seemed an appropriate choice.
If the expected added benefits exceed the expected added costs, do it. If not, don’t. — Marc McNeil, my econ prof
Several people have responded recently to a guy’s failure to understand why his ex-girlfriend wants no contact. I was particularly moved by Ferret’s response.
I have something of a secret: I’ve never actually dated in the traditional sense. I always went out with people I’d gotten to know already, so it was more a “Hey, I don’t just like talking with you, I’d like more” thing. Given that, cutting people off was (and is) really hard because it typically meant straining my social group, too.
When I was in college, I dated a guy. Around Christmas that year, he seemed to be reluctant to make plans. I found out he’d started seeing someone else before ending it with me. I called him repeatedly to try to figure out what was going on before I knew that.
He, rightfully, cut me off.
He wanted to start a relationship with someone else. Granted, he handled it badly (he did not communicate that he wanted to see other people, plus we had made tentative plans then he went radio silent about them), but so did I. I still have no idea what happened from his perspective. Would I like to know? No one likes that kind of a mystery hanging. But if that’s the kind of person he was, it wouldn’t have worked out even if I’d been more perfect. Clearly, from his perspective, I wasn’t what he needed.
As it happens, I was wondering what happened to him the other day and googled. I found out his mom had died a few years ago, and the description of her in her obit made me smile. She’d been into surfing until late in life, and made Hawai’ian shirts and ran a beachwear shop for a living after I’d known her. It made me wish I’d known her better.
On the off chance he ever reads this: L, I’m sorry I was an ass.
This one’s really hard to write because there’s so much to it.
I was working for Scientology when I met X (not his initial), who was working as tech support for a program I was using at Scn to write our payroll software. (Scientology payroll is its own weird beast.)
X was, and is, a born-again Christian. So, let’s put it this way: the fact that we were not compatible in that respect was known at the outset. However, X was lapsed, so we started seeing each other. Then, when we started getting serious, he stopped wanting to have sex. He’d realized that his faith was important to him. Suddenly, it was crucial. So to speak.
So then I started going to church with him for a while, and there was a moment that made me realize that I definitely wasn’t in the right place nor with the right person. We were at his church, and they were singing Old Rugged Cross. He was crying.
I was trying hard not to laugh.
I’d never heard it as a hymn. But I’d heard Leslie Fish’s filk (“Stone Dance”) set to the tune; the chorus is:
So we’ll dance ’round the stone menhir ring,
‘Till the flames and the fire have died down.
We’ll emote, slit a goat’s throat and sing,
Then get dressed and drive back into town.
That was the moment when I accepted that I was just never going to fit in anywhere—and that was okay.
It was a few weeks before I ended it. He really genuinely never understood. He thought that if I’d just convert to Christianity, it’d be all better. What he never seemed to get was that the person he wanted wasn’t me.
So we remained friends, after a fashion; we’d started a business together and I still wanted to make a go of that. I started dating D some time later, and he was mean to D, and I just snapped at X.
The problem with that kind of behavior is that it fed who X was.
As a born-again Christian, X had bought into the idea that men should be the head of household and the wife should submit to the man. Catch is, X was a sub and into humiliation. (And I am not a domme—or a sub—but that’s another story. I will say that probably the most common BDSM practice I genuinely don’t get is, in fact, humiliation.) So he had an intractable problem in that his choice of faith was at odds with who he was, and his preferred life partner was at odds with his choices and needs. His life started a downward spiral at that point.
Because it was intractable, he wasn’t dating. Also, he hadn’t given up on me yet. The only way to get his needs met was to have a significant female in his life chewing him out.
Which led to bad behavior (e.g., how he treated D) and my response to it. Meanwhile, I can be a mean person, and I was all too happy to have an outlet for that. Except that he was creating drama and I was feeding off of it.
This went on for years. I moved across country, had several significant relationships, and married. Then was suddenly widowed. After that one-year period when you’re not supposed to make significant life changes, I decided to move back to Orange County and got a job offer.
I did, but then I needed a place to stay. X had a room available. He was living alone in a 3-bedroom house at the time. His hoarding had gotten so bad that he wasn’t able to live in his bedroom any more. (Later, it got even worse.)
I got him a job interview at the company I started at. He was hired.
His parents invited me over for Easter dinner that year. It became obvious that he’d told them that he expected us to resume our relationship and that he was going to ask me to marry him.
One morning, I found him outside my bedroom door hovering. I woke up suddenly. It was creepy.
I was in an awful situation. I’d paid out everything I had for my late husband’s final medical bills after his stroke (and there were more bills than money), I’d just moved across country, and I had $60 left when I arrived. I couldn’t afford to move again.
I wound up asking my employer (who’d already given me a signing bonus that I used to get out of my lease and move everything) for an emergency advance so I could afford to move again. I spent my work days pretending that my ex hadn’t been inappropriate so I could demonstrate that I could work with the ass. I did, however, tell my closest work partners (and my boss, embarrassingly enough) so that they would have my back.
It didn’t end then. I wish I could say it did, but it didn’t.
A few years ago, I realized that, for many, many years, there’d been nothing positive for me in the relationship. I missed the good parts of who he was back when I met him, but I have other friends who share those things with me now, and I don’t need that from X any more.
Instead, a flaw in my character exploited one of his needs, and he also took advantage of that. Unlike a true domme, though, I wasn’t doing it out of a place of respect or control. I had no intention of taking the relationship further, but he kept not giving up hope. In that sense, cutting him off would have been kinder to him.
I don’t miss his racism. He’s one of those Limbaugh-listening Republicans, so I don’t miss that either. (This was not how he was when I met him, to be clear.)
Clearly the reverse isn’t true. I’ve gotten LinkedIn requests, Facebook requests, and follows on Google Plus.
No. Just no.
If I’d cut him off at some appropriate point earlier on, I’d have been in a better place. I should have, and I didn’t. Lesson learned.
Between the time when I left X and moved back to the area, I dated a guy I had a total crush on. We’ll call him P.
In my “I’m not thinking about the implications of what I’m saying” moments, I said something that, truly, is the kind of thing no one should ever say to anyone. Worse, when he angrily called me on it, I got defensive and made it worse.
There was something about him that changed my life. It truly was an inflection point of my life, and I have no idea why. It wasn’t, however, an inflection point for his.
That’s another valuable lesson, though: just because someone is that person who can reach in past your boundaries and cause your little house of cards to shift irrevocably does not mean you do the same for that person.
Should he ever find this: I’m sorry I was a total jerk. I’m sorry I made it worse. Thank you, you really did change my life for the better. I hope yours has worked out.
I’ve also talked about a fourth case where I cut someone off. The other point: in terms of longevity over years, he’s the person I dated the longest apart from Rick. I even dated him around X and P. Which—should tell you something. He never was that person in my life. If he were honest, he’d admit that I was never that person for him, either. I wish that we’d been able to be friends and talk about things we enjoyed, but we can’t be.
The me of today would date exactly zero of these four people, though I’d be most tempted by P.
If you can actually genuinely be friends with an ex and that works for you, then go for it. But realize that there are two (or more) people involved, and those people may have different answers and for different reasons. Respect that.
No one owes you an answer.
No one owes you insight. Corollary: The insight you have about why is likely wrong.
When Rose Lemberg and I ran Vera Nazarian’s fundraiser, we each had our own reasons for helping.
I’ll link to Rose’s below, but here are mine.
In 2003, I befriended another person on a forum where we knew each other anonymously (this forum required pseudonyms). Let’s call him Cas. He lived in the Portland, Oregon area. I can’t remember exactly when we first met face to face, but I believe it was 2005. Cas was in town for business (he was a mid-level manager in electronics), and he, Rick, and I had dinner.
In 2006, I took a traditional chairmaking workshop in Portland for a week. Cas and I went out for dinner to his favorite Chinese restaurant, which was a very informal place, but very tasty. In 2007, Cas was once again in my area for business, and he, Rick, and I went out for dinner again.
At that time, Cas was at the very end of what would turn out to be his last job.
Look, I’m going to say it, because I think the truth needs to be said when I’m talking this stuff (which is part of why I’m giving you a nick and not his real name): he was not the most ethical person. I don’t know the whole story, and I don’t care, but he’d done something wrong (and by “wrong,” I mean big ticket wrong) in the past where wound up with an IRS bill of over a hundred grand that was not dischargeable in Chapter 7, only Chapter 13. I believe the rules have subsequently changed, but those were the rules in place at the time.
However, in between when he’d incurred that debt and when I met him, he’d straightened up a lot. Not completely, but a lot. (For me, growth is a more important trait than perfection.)
And he’d had a Chapter 7 years and years before, but this IRS bill was weighing around his neck. In 2005, he filed Chapter 13. Even after he’d lost his job, he’d kept paying on the Chapter 13. His wife had to file Chapter 13 also just so they could keep the house (because they could defer other bills and reduce their household expenses). She had chronic illness, so that was yet another complicating factor.
If he’d gotten a job again, it would have been bearable, but he never did. Months turned into a year, and everything started to fall apart. His creditors asked for relief from the bankruptcy stay beginning in March 2008, right as I got my job at Apple.
Cas never told me.
I was so high on having gotten the job I wanted, I wasn’t really aware that he was deflecting, something he hadn’t done with me before. Only much later, when I looked back, was I able to see that our conversations started shifting at about that point in time.
In August, his bankruptcy was dismissed. He still never told me. Then he started to really withdraw, but I was so busy at work, I honestly barely noticed.
The morning they came to foreclose upon his house late October 2008, he shot and killed himself.
His family called, and I spoke to his brother.
I felt horribly guilty. No, it wasn’t my fault, but I feel guilty that I wasn’t present enough to call him on his withdrawal. I felt guilty that he’d previously trusted me with stuff, and, for whatever reason, maybe I’d lost his trust at a time when he needed someone most to vent to. I regretted not being there.
Even more horribly, I got why he did it. The house was solely in his name, and, in his own weird way, he was trying to protect his wife in a non-community property state. Undeniably, he was sending a big old “fuck you” to the bank foreclosing on the house, knowing they couldn’t sell it as is. That would be a very Cas-like approach. Part of me respects that.
The IRS debt was also solely his and from before marrying his wife, so the innocent spouse rule applied. If he died, she was free from it.
You know what? I miss my friend.
So, when only a few weeks later, someone else I knew sent out a bat signal that they were going to lose their home to foreclosure?
Of course I helped Vera. I felt like I’d failed Cas, but I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. I didn’t do it for Vera anywhere near as much as I did it for Cas.
I’d seen Cas grow over the years I’d known him.
What I haven’t seen is Vera’s growth, and I’ve known her longer.
Cas never asked to borrow money from me (or manipulated money out of me), even when he desperately needed it.
Vera, on the other hand, is all about other people giving her money by whatever means. I’m not actually sure what verb applies to what Vera did, so I’m not going to go there, especially not when strict liability for libel may apply.
It’s not a happy verb, though.
I will say, however, one of the things Teresa Nielsen Hayden said once that has really stuck with me: “the long con is a narrative form.”
Since I posted about Lizard’s situation last week (mostly about his wife Beth), thought I’d give another update.
It concerns Beth’s medical situation and Lizard’s not posted publicly, so I’m going to be vague about details he hasn’t shared publicly except for the one positive one.
The one thing Lizard’s asked is that people do not call. I completely understand. Dealing with concerned people’s phone calls is very spoon draining, and he has no spoons left. It also poses a very real risk of missing a critical call from the hospital.
It’s just heartbreaking.
If you can spare some thoughts, prayers, or some extra $ for the gofundme, he’d appreciate whatever. So long as it’s not a phone call.
He’s now made more information public, so I’m linking to it. Short version: she went in for routine surgery. She’s now in the ICU and not very responsive.
We are visiting her every day, even though she’s not aware of us. She occasionally partially opens her eyes, or seems to react, but there’s no way to tell if it’s due to our voices or just random neural action. Supposedly, she is showing slightly more responsiveness; we’re going back again tonight (12/28) and we’ll see.
If you can spare some thoughts, prayers, or some extra $ for the gofundme, he’d appreciate whatever. As if all the above weren’t enough, his job went bye bye and his house flooded.
If you have any thoughts and prayers to spare, @LizardSF would love to have some for his wife. She’s in the ICU. (That’s all he’s said on Twitter, so that’s all I’m going to say.)
Lizard’s my ex (we lived together in NYC and Raleigh, NC), and, when Rick and I met his wife Beth, I could see that she fit him in ways I never did. (Not the first time. Once I bowed out of a relationship.)
Back in 1999, I was living in Irvine, working in Torrance (for Honda), and had a job interview at Apple. I wrote on a technical mailing list for the (San Francisco) Bay Area wondering if anyone wanted to go to dinner. Rick volunteered to pick me up at the airport, and I said okay.
Rick asked, “How do you know I’m not an axe murderer?”
So I called up the only person I knew in the Bay Area at that point, Lizard.
“Oh, Rick? He’s our network guy.”
I went to dinner with the both of them, and moved to the bay area a few months later. Not long after that, Lizard met Beth.
I considered the posts that I read and saw nothing in them but anger and suffering. If Jay feels that there is more to his life now than suffering, he should post that more often than complaints about his GI tract, his inability to write or even function cognitively at a level that allows any degree of productivity.
Just because I, or another person, wouldn’t choose (from where we’re sitting) to make the same choices doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice.
Once upon a time, I dated a doctor. His father was terminal (in several senses) and wanted to die (I heard the father say so multiple times). Yet, he didn’t want his father to go. There were durable powers of attorney and no support for end-of-life decisions other than surviving, and, essentially, he forced his father to live. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to watch, and it was one of the core issues that destroyed the relationship. I felt that I would never be truly listened to on important issues like that. After we broke up, he went around telling people I was suicidal (not true) simply because we’d had discussions about what end of life meant. And disagreed. I lost friends who believed him instead of me.
As this comment suggests, it’s not always easy to know if an expressed desire to die is out of some kind of frustration or hopelessness, or out of a real desire to die. However, in the father’s case, it really was that he wanted to move on.
I think it’s remarkable that Jay’s been so public about the struggle he’s had with cancer, and it was very hard reading his recent post about having a couple dozen tumors. We don’t get to see into the lives of cancer patients very often, and the stories we do hear tend to be the better ones or ones without the detail Jay provides. I know I posted a particularly good cancer story a few years ago. Most aren’t like that, though. Far more stories are like Jay’s, with no one listening, with no one understanding, because we’d rather all sweep it under the rug.
I heard earlier this afternoon that science fiction fan and convention runner, Kathryn Daugherty, passed away. She’d had a reoccurrence of colorectal cancer and had recently had surgery and started a second round of chemo. She’s been married to James Stanley Daugherty for almost 40 years.
She was a friend and a mentor, and I’ll really miss her presence.
She had been the programming head for ConJosé, the World Science Fiction convention in 2002, and I worked for her as her staff, then as her second for BayCon the following year. I also worked as her autographing staff at a later Worldcon.
She loved to read, and kept her Goodreads list up to date, though some of the side effects of cancer had slowed her reading down at times. She loved to collect autographs and literally had a room full of autographed hardbacks. I think she kept Amazon.co.uk afloat in the early years with her love of British SF imports.
Like Rick and me, she had a great love of travel, having lived in several places around the world, including New Zealand and St. Croix. I’d turned her on to the Traveler’s Century Club and she and her husband James had planned their trips around attaining membership on the list. I know she passed Rick and I in country count some years ago, but I’m not sure if she ever got to 100. She did get to Million Mile status on United, which is a bit easier when you have multiple houses near United hubs.
Her hobby of love, apart from building or renovating houses, was needlework, and she had a needlework blog.
I’ll miss her, and I know others will as well. I know she was also a mentor to Seanan McGuire, who wrote one of Kathryn’s favorite books of recent years.
Last night, Rick and I went to Borderlands Books for the launch of Seanan McGuire’s book One Salt Sea.
Now, it’s not just a reading, it’s an event. We stayed for two of the three musical sets plus the Q&A session. Sadly, by that time, we were hungry, so we left before the actual reading part of the evening.
It was awesome fun. If you get the chance to see one of these events of Seanan’s just go.