RIP: Jay Lake

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If you haven’t heard yet, Jay Lake passed away this morning.  Most of us who were paying attention to his struggle with cancer knew this day was coming, especially after his latest (experimental?) treatment resulted in his entrance into hospice care.  Regardless, learning of his passing still came as a shock to me, as I’m sure it did to those who knew him much better than myself.

I won’t pretend that I was good friends with Jay or that I knew him really well.  What I will say is that I was enormously privileged to have met Jay a few times in person and to have interviewed him on The Skiffy and Fanty Show.  That interview is very personal for me in part because I am also a cancer survivor, and it was because of Jay’s frank discussion of his struggles that I started to blog a little about my own cancer journey.  It was also one of the best interviews I’ve ever conducted, for which I give Jay all the credit.  He was always a joy to talk to.

In person, Jay was friendly, kind, and hilarious.  I had a handful of interactions with him (he even remembered me, which was cool) and even got to see a rough cut of his documentary about his cancer journey, Lakeside, at Worldcon last year.  It was a beautiful thing, even in rough form.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room, which says a lot about the power of Lakeside.

Most people, however, will not have met Jay.  Most people won’t have had any personal experiences with him or, as a small few will probably discuss this week, have been good friends.  Most people will remember Jay for his enormous body of writing.  In a way, he left behind a little piece of himself for all of us to remember.  We should enjoy that piece as much as we can because it is beautiful.

I’ll miss you, Jay.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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