I am not the first in our community to publicly express my sorrow over the passing of Angela Vaughan (aka EricIzMine). But I felt the need to add my voice to the others. We lost a truly wonderful part of “us.” But–more than that–we lost a wonderful human being. I cannot even imagine the pain her family and friends are going through. I only hope that they can read some of what we are saying about the wonderful authoress whose stories we grew to crave. I hope that our words of appreciation give them some comfort–even if it’s just a little bit and even if it doesn’t happen for a while.
I read Saints and Sinners quite a while back. It is such a lovely all-human fiction–one of the first AH stories I really got into. I smiled so much when I read it. And when I wasn’t smiling, I was biting nails (in that good way). Saints and Sinners was one of the stories that started me thinking about writing an all-human story of my own.
[So–you see, Angela, you affected my life and my writing. You enriched me.]
I will admit that I put off reading the Multiverse stories (except for Bored to Death) until this summer. I sensed that I would be absorbed and that I would face tons of sleep-deprived nights because of Ms. EIM. And–guess what–I wasn’t wrong! One after another, I read the stories of the Multiverse. There were a few nights when I didn’t get any sleep at all. My favorite of the series? Nuclear Winter.
Now–as I think about why that story is my favorite of them all–I recall the way that EricIzMine made me feel the Eric in this version of the story. In it, Pam has been killed and Eric is living a life that is full of mourning; in other words, it is a life without life. Enter Sookie and her children. Eric bonds with Sookie just for the chance of seeing Pam. I remember my heart being tugged relentlessly because of the story’s premise.
Nuclear Winter is still “in progress,” but–as with all of the MV stories–I never minded the fact that EIM would move on to something else–pulled somewhere new as if she were “skipping.” And–even though she’s gone and the story will stay as it is–I still don’t mind. She let us delve in and out of the versions–as if we were in the braid with her. She made us a part of it. She gave us the tools to imagine what could come next.
[So–you see, Angela, you pulled us into your writing with you. What a gift! You made us imagine. You gave us possibility. What a priceless gift!]
The thing that struck me most about Nuclear Winter didn’t strike me until a couple of days after I was done reading it. (I’d already moved on to Death’s Door by then, so I had to backtrack.) Anyway, I realized that Eric had never actually been reunited with Pam in Nuclear Winter, yet he learned to go on. He learned to seize a new version of life. In other words, he decided to live.
I’ve been thinking about–and re-reading–this story since I heard about Angela’s passing. I just re-finished it. I found that I was smiling at the point where the story left off. It ended at a point when EIM’s beloved Eric and Sookie have just discovered that their legacy is extending beyond their children. It ended–quite literally–with a discussion of Hope.
This realization–I’m not ashamed to admit–left me in tears, and I am still in them as I write this.
[So–you see, Angela, you moved me. And you move me still.]
So if you haven’t yet read the work of the wonderfully gifted–the wonderful gift–EricIzMine, I encourage you to. If you’ve already read it, read it again.
After 9-11, I heard a quote from Queen Elizabeth (though I’m not sure who wrote it). It goes like this: “Grief is the price we pay for love.” Those words stuck with me. They stick with me now.
Angela, I gladly pay the price of grief because you have left me with so much to love.
I will remember you.
If you want to donate to Angela’s family, go here.
To read the amazing stories of EricIzMine, go here.
Feel free to share your favorites of EIM in the comments. I think she’d like that.