March 26th, 2011


Diana Wynne Jones RIP

Diana Wynne Jones is gone.

I met her a couple of times (most memorably in Minneapolis, at an early Fourth Street, where she was very kind to me), but mostly I knew her through her books.  Her imagination was unconfined, her characters particular and living, her voice unmistakable.  Archer's Goon has given his name (and his purpose) to a loose network of writers who send one another pages once a week (in writing season) mostly to keep each other moving on first drafts of novels.  In my world, a Goon is a chapter or a portion of a chapter from a friend, and I think of Diana whenever I send or read one (it has to be turned around fast, and "I WANT MORE" is the only allowable response).

All unknowing, through writing books I've read and re-read until their rhythms have become part of my brain, she has taught me how to put a book together, how to reveal what must be revealed and not a detail more, how to take chances, how to hang in there, writing the books she wanted to write, until the wider world caught up with her.  She was a remarkable woman and a remarkable writer, and she'll be much missed.

And now I think I'll go and read Charmed Life again.  Or maybe Witch Week.  Or The Pinhoe Egg.  Something, anyway.

More Precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world

I've lost a lot of friends in my life, many of them in the 80's, when AIDS swept through the gay communities of Provincetown (where I was spending summers) and Boston like a tsunami.  I've gone to funerals and heard elegies, and the thing that I remember about many of them is the number of times I heard some variation on the words "I loved him/her.  S/he was there for me/made me laugh/drove me nuts in wonderful ways.  I wish I'd told him/her before it was too late."

Well, I did it again.  Diana died without my having told her how profound an influence she has had on my life and my fiction, how well I remember our meetings, how grateful I am to her for the gifts she has given me, both consciously and unconsciously.  And I wish it were not so.

My reaction to hearing that someone whose life touched mine has died is an overwhelming rush of affection for all my friends who are still alive.  Being a lot more reticent by nature than you'd probably believe, I don't immediately write or call them to tell them how much I appreciate their presence in my life.  But I should.  And I intend to.

I'll begin with you, my lj friends.

You have read my reviews, my trip reports, and my general effusions, and you've commented on them.  You have answered questions technical, historical, and bibliographical.  You have replied to my comments on your journals.  You have posted about your lives and your opinions so that I can understand and come to know you better.  In short, you have welcomed me into your community, made it my community as well.  For that I thank and honor you, the friends I haven't met in person as well as the ones I have.  I'm fond of you all, and love many of you well and truly.  And will tell you so in person, next time we meet.  It's a promise.