We all lost Jay Lake this morning, and I am so sad for his daughter and partner and family and close friends, and for all of us who were friends with Jay or knew him or were touched by his life and words. There are an awful lot of us.
Several years back Jay told me he had a short story that was giving him trouble and he wondered if I might take a crack at it. Sounded like an adventure, so I agreed to it, and he sent me the story. It was a full, complete draft with a strange setting and colorful characters and a complex backstory and redolent with Jay’s rich prose. I said, “This story is done, Jay. All I can do is mess it up.” And Jay said he wanted me to mess it up. That’s what he felt the story needed. So I messed it up. I think his draft was better, but I was honored he chose to collaborate with me.
The last time I saw Jay was at San Diego Comic-Con last year. We had lunch, and on the way back to the convention center Jay submitted himself to the ministrations of a street hypnotist. The guy looked a little seedy, but Jay said he was terminally ill, so what’s the worst that could happen? The hypnotist did his thing, and he made Jay feel as if he were being tickled. Jay giggled uncontrollably, and his face was a delight to behold. Then we made our way back to the convention center, and we shared a big hug. I wish it hadn’t been the last time I saw him. I wish he’d gotten better and was still alive. But I’m grateful that he left me with a memory of smiles and laughter.
Thanks for everything, Jay. You were a very good man.