What ended up being a fantastic FenCon ended with… not as much greatness. During tear down and the Dead Dog, I started catching up news feeds, then as Rand Bellavia of Ookla theMok put it… “I see sadness.” The sadness has continued into this week. I’m really tired of doing Memorial Spotlight posts.
I’d started seeing that someone had died over the weekend. Someone involved in the SF/F and Convention Communities had died… it wasn’t until later I found out it was Eugie Foster. I only met Eugie once in person, but we’d been acquainted online through first LiveJournal and then through the transition to Facebook. I want to say it was 2005 when I made the trek through the Habit Trails of Dragon*Con to the offices of the Dragon*Con Daily to finally meet her in person. It was a brief encounter – and then again in the Dealer’s Room, but she’d always made an impression.
I was thrilled to see her success. We wrote in the same genre but in very different styles. She was also upbeat and encouraging – even when her “wingstumps” bothered her. And when she was diagnosed with cancer, we all hurt for her. This decline was a shock. Where Jay Lake’s battle was a marathon, this seemed more a sprint. I’ve never bonded with a FenCon GOH through tears, but I was happy to hug Carrie Vaughn and toast Eugie’s Spirit Sunday night.
Then on Wednesday I saw the news of another Sweet Spirit who’s gone too soon. Lonnie Mitchell had a motorcycle accident on 183 on Tuesday and didn’t recover from his injuries. Lonnie was a long-time customer, Friend of Faire, and simply FRIEND from Scarborough. We looked forward to seeing him and his wife, Natalie, every year we were out there. They collected Allen Williams’ Cute Dragons. They bought stuff from Ruth Thompson. They hung out with us in the booth and carried the “animatronic” Dragon puppets on their shoulder. Lonnie was part of the Scottish Guard and marched in parades. Faire will not be the same without him – he was one of those people we all looked forward to seeing every day.
These are two people I will miss seeing in person and in grandeur. These are holes in my sphere of community and tribe that are and will be palpable for a long time to come. I know there are those who know both Eugie and Lonnie better and more closely than I did – and I grieve for the pain and loss they’re dealing with – but please take comfort in knowing those of us in the “Outer Orbits” grieve with you and are mentally hugging you now until we can hug you in person later.