lagilman: coffee or die (rose)
My Aunt Judy, my mother's younger sister, died earlier this week.

Her funeral is this morning, in New Jersey. I am in Washington. Time and available energy conspired against me, and discussion with family members made it obvious that flying 6 hours, then driving 2, and then turning around and doing it again twelve hours later back to the West Coast wasn't a logical thing to do. So I am 2500 miles away, saying my goodbyes.

If matter cannot be lost, only transformed, then nothing that matters can ever be lost, only transformed. What do we then become?

News of Judy's death came the morning I handed my current novel back to my editor. This is relevant. Judy and her husband were long-time fans, members of NESFA from its early years, and when my parents were bemused by their youngest child's fascination with this "sci-fi stuff," they stepped in, taking a then eleven-years-old me to my very first SF convention, and turning me loose for the weekend.

My life changed.

If you're here, reading this, because you read my work, Judy is part of the reason why that work exists.

When I speak of my mother's family, certain characteristics always come to the fore. Determined, certainly. Smart. Witty (some might even say wiseass). Loving. But Judy added another to the list: gentle. In a family of strong-minded individuals (that is to say: stubborn and opinionated), dealing with us couldn't have been easy. But she did her damnedest, and even when illness began to consume her mind, and her life, that gentleness remained.

And that is what I will remember.

What do we become, when we transform? I think, maybe, we become what others remember.
lagilman: coffee or die (bye-bye)

As legacies go, this week gave us strong ones. We need to remember that.

That said, this week can just fuck off now.

Alan Rickman, 1946-2016


Sir Terry

Mar. 13th, 2015 08:29 am
lagilman: coffee or die (bye-bye)
Everyone's remembering Terry Pratchett, who has left us - not of his own will but under his own terms - too soon, at age 66, one step ahead and one finger raised to the Alzheimer's trying to destroy him.

My memory of Terry Pratchett is not Discworld-related. I came very late to the Discworld books. No, I first met Sir Terry (not yet Sir Terry)  when I was a very young assistant editor, and we were handling the paperback edition of GOOD OMENS: The Nice And Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.

Yeah, I met Sir Terry and Neil Gaiman the same day. I played pool with them both at the launch party for GOOD OMENS, and came away with a signed hardcover. And I wasn't starstruck because I was a professional, and this was cool but not all that amazing.

And then I sat down and read GOOD OMENS.

There are perfect books. There are not many perfect books. This is not one of them. But in the glow of that reading, in the glow of my cackling, wondering joy of reading is perfect and it will always be perfect.

Individually, both Neil and Sir Terry can impress the hell out of me, and I have a pocket of fondness forever for Samuel Vimes.  But nobody will ever convince me that there was a more magnificent madcap impossibility of a book than GOOD OMENS.

And I leave you with three of the more classic quotes, so you can see what I mean, and maybe run out and grab yourself a copy too, if you don't already have one.

“God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.

It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”

“25 And the Lord spake unto the Angel that guarded the eastern gate, saying 'Where is the flaming sword that was given unto thee?'
26 And the Angel said, 'I had it here only a moment ago, I must have put it down some where, forget my own head next.'
27 And the Lord did not ask him again.”
lagilman: coffee or die (scotch)
Graham Joyce has lost his fight with cancer.
The world is a less-well-lit place, now.

Graham was the first -and to this day, only - writer I've ever shamelessly fangirled, interrupting him at a solo lunch at World Fantasy to tell him how much I loved REQUIEM.

The next time we ran nto at each other a year later at the next World Fantasy, he was deep in conversation with someone else, so I didn't interrupt - and forever after he teased me about that, saying I was a love 'em and leave 'em girl.

That was eighteen years ago (!).  Graham was smart, and sharp, and funny, and his books more often than not left me in thoughtful tears at the end, for the sheer beauty of what he could say - and not say - with his prose.  And fuck cancer, for taking all that away from us.

In memory: a photo taken many years ago at Necon, wherein Christopher Golden tried to turn cricket-playing Graham into a softball player (i didn't take very well - he kept forgetting to drop the bat when he ran for first base).

old friends

Jun. 1st, 2014 06:17 pm
lagilman: coffee or die (bye-bye)
If you were online in SF-social areas today, you know that Jay Lake lost his six+ year standoff with cancer.  I've been trying to come up with a blog post that would be meaningful, would say something about Jay and his impact on so many lives, those of us who knew him, and those who only knew his words. But everything feels trite, and I said my farewells to him already, before the fact.  The immense exhaustion he - and his family - felt at the end, I can only imagine, and sympathize with. But Jay would not give an inch until death took the mile.

Two things I'll always remember about Jay: 1) the slyly gleeful look on his face before he dropped a bon mot into the conversation, and 2) the advice he gave when I was stressing about a new, risky project - "fuck that, just do it."

Joy and determination. Two pretty good legacies to leave, I think.

(Jay was militant about not believing in god, or any 'afterlife' he didn't have decent evidence for, and so I'd ask that anyone commenting here refrain from even the most heartfelt of heavenly/better place platitudes. It feels disrespectful, somehow, to me.) 
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
Shirley Temple Black has died, at age 85 (somehow, I'd thought she was older).  I always found her movies far too Precious, but set in a historical context, they were amazingly positive and useful films, and she always seemed very aware of and pleased by the important role she played in American social history.  Plus, she's a solid example of how child stardom doesn't have to lead to wrack and ruin once you pass puberty.

Rest in peace, madam.

In other news....

Tax guy appointment this afternoon. Despite having 90% of the forms and information needed, I'm still certain he's going to give me that Heavy Sigh and tell me he's going to file for an extension...

(we go through this every year. He's so horrified by the rest of my work schedule, I think he just likes getting me an extension on deadlines where he can...)

Last year was a bit of a disaster, money-wise.  I did well enough in terms of monies earned, but there were so many unanticipated expenses ($5,000 in vet bills alone, for Pandora) and so many checks not arriving on time (and some that STILL haven't arrived), that I had to shuffle through the savings account more than I'm comfortable with, and I'm still trying to recover.  Which also means that my record-keeping slacked off from my usual standards.  Bad meerkat, no cookie.  Need to do better this year.

Also need to re-jigger my spreadsheets.  There are things that made sense 5 years ago that no longer make sense, and new categories and allocations to consider...

When it comes to taxes, are you a careful-keeper, or a shoebox-receipt-thrower?
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)

Reports surfacing that Peter O'Toole has died, at age 81.




Magnificent in so many roles, but for me he will forever be Alan Swann, of My Favorite Year.

I will be in mourning for the rest of forever.

lagilman: coffee or die (rose)
Not unexpected - she'd been ill for a long time, and warned people earlier this week the end was near - but I still feel like I've been gut-punched.

I've known Ann my entire professional career - I was her editor's assistant on the Starbridge books, and in fact inspired at least one alien species with my "meerkat" nickname. So that's... twenty-five years. More than half my life.

Ann was smart, funny, occasionally impossible, and had a heart too large for one body to contain - Writer Beware was how it expanded outside her. She will be missed.
lagilman: coffee or die (rose)
My darling Pandora, my sweet, snarky Duchess.
1999 - July 2013

Pandora and snow, December 2008
I do not approve of this snow.
Talk to the paw!
no photos!

I love you, human.
pandora relaxed

You were the best tiger-tabby ever.

lagilman: coffee or die (scotch)
Word came today that horror writer Rick Hautala died of a heart attack.

I knew Rick via NECON, a convention that I haven't been able to get to in recent years, due to finances and scheduling, so likewise I haven't seen him in a while. But the idea that he's gone is just.... I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the idea. He can't be gone, because ...

because, damn it.

Rick Hautala. 1949-2013
c. 2006 Jill Bauman (via Nick Kaufmann)
lagilman: coffee or die (rose)
Jack Klugman left us this week, after a lifetime of damned fine performances. And one performance that never got the attention it deserved, and has been near-forgotten.

It deserves to be remembered.

Jack Klugman’s secret, lifesaving legacy
lagilman: coffee or die (scotch)
Farewell, my friend. No more pain, no more exhaustion. May the roads you ride be interesting, and the wind always at your back.

Some day, we'll have that beer together at the end of the road, and all this will be a laugh and a memory.


We are watching Return of the King tonight. As I sit here dealing with the news, we've come to the scene where Pippin sings for the Steward of Gondor.

"Home is behind, the world ahead
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadow, to the edge of night
Until the stars are all alight

Mist and shadow
Cloud and shade
Alll shall Fade
All shall fade."

I'm...just going to let the moment stand.

For Josepha

Sep. 5th, 2012 09:02 am
lagilman: coffee or die (bye-bye)
Since I couldn't be at Jo's memorial, being off to WorldCon by then, I asked a friend to read this for me. 


I've known Jo...more than half of my life. We met when I was a wee newbie editor, and she was, well, she was Josepha. Full of life, vitality, and chaos. Over the years, we became friends, co-workers, co-writers....

The last time I saw Jo, I was still living in New Haven, and she was in Milford. I'd picked her up at Ikea, and driven her and her packages home, as I made a habit of doing -- I had a car, and she didn't. We picked up food on the way home, and were settling into her then-new apartment to eat, and then put together the stuff she'd bought. I remember thinking that she, as usual, was trying to cram too much Stuff into the space, but Jo... you could tease her, but you couldn't change her.

I got sick midway through lunch, and had to go home. If I had known that was the last time we would be face to face, the last time we would meet...

But we're not given that kind of knowledge. Soon after that I moved back to NYC, sold my car, and our connection was limited to emails and the occasional phone call. And then came the slow deterioration of her condition, until those phone calls seemed to do her more harm than good.

And now she is gone.

Knowing that a death is coming, that it will not be averted, makes it no easier to bear, diminishes the bitter sorrow not a drop.

I miss her, my friend, my co-writer, my companion in mischief. I hope she knows, now, that she was never forgotten. That she will never be forgotten.

lagilman: coffee or die (dandelion break)
Knowing that a death is coming, that it will not be averted, makes it no easier to bear, diminishes the bitter sorrow not a drop.

Rest well, my friend, my cohort, my companion in mischief, my author and co-writer. You were never forgotten, you will never be forgotten.
lagilman: coffee or die (bye-bye)
Harry Harrison has died.

1925-2012 - such a relatively short time, to create so much.

And yet, I think, we should not mourn for the space he left behind - it is not empty, but filled with the characters, wild ideas, and wonder he gave us.
lagilman: coffee or die (dandelion break)
You did, indeed, touch the sky.

Also: #fuckcancer. 61 is way too damn young.
lagilman: coffee or die (naptime)
BEA did not kill me, although it did its damndest. Next year, anyone who has a signing at the SFWA table is putting in volunteer hours, too. *looks stern, and also exhausted*

BEA ended on Thursday. Friday was vacation day, although much of it was spent going over our BEA report with SFWA PR flack extraordinaire Jaym Gates, and plotting for next year. And I had puppy-sitting duties that only ended this afternoon. So yeah - home. Exhausted, and aware that I've lost an entire week of writing-time. But I think/hope it was worth it.

Related: While manning the booth, we received word that Ray Bradbury had died.

I had the excellent good fortune to sit next to Ray one year at the LA Book Fair, and he spent about fifteen minutes talking to me. I have no memory at all of what was said, only the fact that Ray Fucking Bradbury was treating me like a peer.

I will not mourn the death of a 91 year old man who had been in ill health for a while now. We should all leave such a hole in the world, and be remembered with joy, not sorrow.

And now I get to console the cats (who were abandoned while I puppy-sat) and triage the email, and oh yeah, write a couple of books....

If anything important happened last week, sing out here, cause there's no way I'm going to be able to read all the back-posts!
lagilman: coffee or die (dandelion break)
I had an entire post about the lovely past 24 hours planned...

And then I came home to the news that K.D. Wentworth has died.

I just... I can't. I just can't.
lagilman: coffee or die (dandelion break)
Anne McCaffrey was... I'm not sure anyone who wasn't there can understand what she meant to me, to female fantasy readers my age and older. She was one of the first women to make it "big" as a genre (SF/F) writer, openly, with no apology for her gender. She was the first to hit the New York Times list. [and, I am reminded, the first woman to win a Hugo and a Nebula]. She wrote huge books, filled with incredible things, and short stories that could make you cry and think (at the same time), and if I didn't always agree with her on everything, I admired the hell out of her.

And then when I was at Ace I got to work with her, first as her editor's assistant, and then later as her editor. She was fierce, and strong, and smart, and fearless, and she inspired me to never take shit I didn't deserve, or apologize for work I believed in.

I haven't seen her much in the past decade - a convention here or there. I knew that her health wasn't good, and the news today didn't surprise me. But it saddens me, that I will never hear her laugh again. She was one of those people with a full-bodied laugh, nothing held back.

Farewell, Dragonlady. Clear skies.


I got the news that Anne had passed, and sat on it for a while, not wanting to be the first one to say anything, before confirmation. When I saw others starting to talk about it online, I posted a farewell. I'm still not sure if I did the right thing - should I have waited for an Official Annoucement? And yet, Anne was ours, too. Readers and writers alike, we owe so much to seemed wrong not to share the news, in a way that did not infringe on her family's grief.


lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Laura Anne Gilman

October 2017

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