At the moment I am at the airport, heading to beautiful Columbus, Ohio for the World Fantasy Convention. I had been waffling about attending, due to some issues with the program and communication by the committee, but I really need to be with my people right now.
At the con I will be appearing on panel “Costume Makes the Character” on Thursday at 5pm in Delware CD (along with Delia Sherman, Madeleine Robins, Cinda Williams Chima, and Mercedes Lackey) and I have a reading on Friday at 1:30pm in Union D. Apart from that I will mostly be in the bar and otherwise hanging out. Kate was always the one who set up dinner dates for us, so please don’t be shy about asking me along if you need a lunch or dinner companion.
I’ve been keeping myself busy, being social and spontaneous. I haven’t been alone very much, which is a good thing. Most of the time I am okay, though I get walloped by grief as much as a couple of times a day. Being suddenly without obligations, after nearly two years of increasingly burdensome responsibility, feels like my mainspring has snapped. I have also been making plans for the future: Wordstock, OryCon, and Thanksgving with Kate’s folks are coming up soon, and I’m already thinking about next year’s travel.
Kate’s funeral last weekend was lovely. We had 120 people, who fit comfortably into a chapel with a nominal capacity of 100. Ellen Klages did a fabulous job as officiant, and the funeral director said she had rarely heard so many heartfelt, articulate tributes. I learned a few things too — many people described Kate as “adventurous,” which is not a word I would have used but, upon reflection, she really was.
The eulogy I delivered and a photo of Kate’s urn in its mausoleum niche are below. The urn, as you see, is in the shape of a stack of books, and is accompanied by a photo of Kate in Austria (her face is behind the flowers at the lower right).
Knitting is connecting. Our word “knit” is related to “knot,” and both are derived from an Old English word meaning “to tie with a knot, bind together, or fasten by tying.” A hand-knitted sweater like this one is basically a giant knot, tying together many skeins of yarn into an amazing complex thing that is warm, comforting, practical, and beautiful. Kate was a brilliant knitter, of course, but she was a connector in so many other ways as well. In the past week I have heard from so many people saying that they were new and alone at a science fiction convention or a square dance or a knitting circle and Kate welcomed them in. She was always inviting people along to dinner at the wonderful restaurants she managed to find in every city we visited. She spoke many languages and engaged with people all over the world, through science fiction fanzines and amateur press associations and blogs and mailing lists and Ravelry.com as well as through her travels. When I look out at all of you here — readers, writers, dancers, knitters, friends and family — I see the many communities that she brought together just by being herself. And you don’t break that kind of connection easily. You can probably all see the ragged hole in my soul, with the wires sticking out and spitting sparks, where Kate was attached. You have all been so helpful to both of us during Kate’s illness, and I’m going to need your help in the coming weeks and months. Thank you so much for being here, and for your continued support. Kate would have been so happy and proud to see you all here.
Thank you very much for all the support you have offered. It is greatly appreciated and will continue to be needed.