This time of year is bittersweet for me. The excitement of WorldCon and another Strange Horizons anniversary is great, and a bunch of cool people have birthdays and wedding anniversaries this time of year (including some famous writers, such as Dorothy Parker (1893) and Ray Bradbury (1920)—whose shared birthday was the first day (Friday) of the Oregon workshop, and I wish I'd remembered to mention that at the time—and Mary Shelley (1797), whose birthday is this coming Saturday). But balanced against that is remembering Alex; the anniversary of his death is coming up in a couple days.
He's come to mind a couple times lately: over the weekend, because one of the workshop stories had to do with male puberty (Alex was born with a medical condition that resulted in his body not generating testosterone, a condition that nobody noticed until after college); and again yesterday, because I got email (addressed to one of Alex's identities) from an online friend of his, who noted that she hadn't heard from him in a long time. I had set up a spam filter (in addition to Pair's filter) that dumped all mail addressed to Alex into my spam folder, because for months all of the mail addressed to him was spam; luckily, the subject line of this particular message caught my eye and I read it instead of deleting it. I've now changed the filters around so non-spam mail addressed to Alex doesn't get counted as spam, though it's pretty unlikely that the situation will come up again.
So, prompted by brief correspondence with this friend of Alex's, I finally went and did a little cleanup on the memorial page I'd set up a couple years back and then never touched again, and I finally included a link on the main Kitsuneyama page to that memorial page. (Btw, if any of you who remember him would like to add remembrances to the memorial page, I'd be happy to post them; just email 'em to me.) I still haven't done anything with Alex's files that weren't already online; maybe one of my umpteen zillion sabbatical projects will be taking a first pass through those files and posting a few of his anecdotes and academic papers.
He was doing some really fascinating work about online identity, combining solid academic research with his extensive online-roleplaying life (or lives). I hope some others have picked up where he left off.
I still get angry, sometimes, that he didn't have enough of a sense of perspective about his life to keep going; and that so many things went wrong all at once, at a time when he was moving to a new grad school and thus had no local support network at all. But mostly I'm just sad.
It occurred to me recently that he would have absolutely loved everything about the Jokka stories, especially "Unspeakable." I wish he'd had a chance to read them.
I never did write up the memorial that I'd intended to. Life is messy and full of loose ends. The impulse to try to order them into something neat and coherent and structured is strong; it's closely related, I think, to the impulse toward Story, and Alex had that impulse in abundance. But this is real life, and I'll have to leave these loose ends still loose.