Thanking Jay Lake and Frank Wu, Twelve Years Later

This is a snippet from the speech I’ll be giving at Continuum at the end of next week. When I saw that Jay Lake had entered hospice care, I thought it would be good to share here as well.

I ended up going to World Fantasy Con next…because apparently a little local con wasn’t overwhelming enough for me. Once again I showed up, got registered, and wandered aimless and lost. I sat in on a few panels, because panels were both informative and safe. And then a little later, I found my way to the con suite, where I spotted author Jay Lake and artist Frank Wu, two people I had heard of from those online bulletin boards.

It took an absurdly long time for me to work up the courage to go introduce myself, but eventually I did. They were kind enough to invite me to sit down and join them. We chatted for a bit, and they asked if I was new to the con scene. And then they did something I’ll never forget. They took me around and introduced me to some of the other fans and writers at the convention.

That was the first time I started to feel welcome in fandom. I don’t know that either one of them remember that day, but I will always be grateful to them for that kindness.

I did get to thank Jay at Worldcon in 2012, a decade after that first meeting. I don’t think I’ve had the opportunity to do the same with Frank, at least not in person.

I’m not sure what else to say here, except that even small kindnesses can make a tremendous difference in another person’s life.