I won’t even try to turn this into anything coherent. I’m not sure I can. First part is behind a cut-tag, because It’s a somewhat self-oriented review of getting the news.
- Got the call from filkerdave yesterday at 4:16pm. filkergem and kyttn‘s house had caught fire. filkergem did not survive.
Stunned. Shocked. Can’t believe. Can’t be true. I remember stammering something, questioning the news. But we don’t know anything yet. Maybe we misheard? Too early, don’t know enough. kyttn is apparently in the hospital but otherwise unharmed. News came from her daughter lovensong87.
- Was playing World of Warcraft at the time of the call. Came back to vent to let people know what I’d just heard. One of the things I love about my guild is how much of a family we are. The people in my group were very concerned. Asked if I wanted to continue what we were doing. Decide to continue. One nice thing about WoW is that it’s immersive. Easy to concentrate on the game and not on what’s churning in my brain.
- kitanzi comes back from the store. I tell her the bad news. She is as stunned as I am. We hug each other a lot.
- More news comes out, with more details. Worst fears are confirmed.
- Unlike many people, I don’t have to imagine this horror. In 1998, the apartment that deidrecorwyn and I were sharing burned to the ground, and we barely made it out. For a few surreal moments during that event, I was convinced we wouldn’t. I was the only injury. Much of the aftermath of that is a blur, but the actual escape from the building is indelible. This news triggers flashbacks of that night.
- I think the Wellbutrin must be working for me. I can’t imagine how I’d have reacted to this before my meds were switched.
- Missed a call from telynor. Probably about this. Didn’t check voicemail until much later.
- Got a call from cadhla to make sure I’m ok. Everyone at Conflikt has gotten the news. Agreed with her that the universe can fucking well stop taking our friends away. I love you, sweetie. Thanks for checking on me.
- Cheeseburgers for dinner. We watched an episode of Ace of Cakes and a random stand up comic on Comedy Central. Light fare is just what we needed. (I still have four unwatched episodes of Studio 60. I loved that show. We should really watch them.)
- sweetmusic_27 calls. We hold each other as best we can over the phone. At times like these, we reach out to the people we love, reminded how quickly the world can change. Love you bunches, Amy.
- More WoW. 25 man raids require a lot of concentration, and that keeps me from thinking too hard about anything else.
- Went to bed. Slept fitfully; couldn’t find a comfortable position. Considered taking the day off, but decided against it. At work now. Work can also be immersive, if you let it be. I have much to do.
Greg was one of the first regulars on #filkhaven, even back before fleetfootmike and I set up filknet.org and moved it there. In recent years, he hasn’t been on as much…many of the really early people that defined the #filkhaven community have gone away, much to our loss, but he still would pop on every now and again.
Greg and I were very much alike in some respects, and very different in others. Mostly, we shared geek/computer interests and similar tastes in reading. We differed on matters of politics and religion, but that was okay. It’s ok to have different opinions about things. It never kept us from being friends.
I think my fondest memory of Greg was on #filkhaven, nearly 10 years ago now. He and Amanda Marlowe and I were all chatting about random things, as you do, and they got to talking about an idea for a Barrayar filk that one or the other of them had an idea about. I politely listened to them toss ideas back and forth, and finally said “What on earth are you two talking about?” They both turned to me incredulously. “You mean you’ve never read Lois McMaster Bujold??” they cried. I admitted that I hadn’t, but that I’d just acquired a copy of Barrayar from bedlamhouse and ladyat, who were purging duplicates from their library. I put it on top of my to-read pile, and immediately upon reading it started scouring used bookstores for more.
I remember that at that time Greg was only just starting to date Maya, taking long breaks from channel to talk to her on the phone and them coming back very happy and excited. I got to meet both of them in person at Gafilk…..3, I think. He was a very easy person to sit and chat with.
My most recent memories are two weekends ago. Greg was pulled onto the My Filk panel at the last moment, to fill in for someone who had vanished from the room. Debbie has a great photo of him on the panel, laughing uproariously. That’s how I like to remember him — laughing. He had a tremendous unrestrained laugh, and clearly took great joy in being at the con and surrounded by his friends. Larissa and I had breakfast with him and Maya and Beth and Michelle over at the Barbecue Kitchen, and they thoughtfully covered our tab until we got back to the hotel when I had forgotten that the restaurant only took cash.
Through him, I got to know Maya over the years, and she is also a dear friend who my heart is aching for now. She was absolutely the light of his life, and he loved her absolutely and completely. Anyone who ever looked at him look at her could see it in his eyes.
Godspeed, friend. I will miss you.
by John M. Ford
The worm drives helically through the wood
And does not know the dust left in the bore
Once made the table integral and good;
And suddenly the crystal hits the floor.
Electrons find their paths in subtle ways,
A massless eddy in a trail of smoke;
The names of lovers, light of other days—
Perhaps you will not miss them. That’s the joke.
The universe winds down. That’s how it’s made.
But memory is everything to lose;
Although some of the colors have to fade,
Do not believe you’ll get the chance to choose.
Regret, by definition, comes too late;
Say what you mean. Bear witness. Iterate.