Yesterday evening, I found out that author James Oliver Rigney died yesterday after a long struggle with amyloidosis (a disease where your body deposits insoluble proteins in its own tissues and organs). Mr. Rigney was better known under a variety of pennames; the one that touched my life the most was Robert Jordan, author of the best-selling Wheel of Time fantasy series.
At one point in my life, I was extremely active in the rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan Usenet newsgroup. We’re talking ancient history here — at least a year and a half before I was married according to Google (and I think they’re missing a lot of the older stuff). My participation in that group filled a huge gap in my social life at a really shitty time in my life. I don’t even remember how I got introduced to The Wheel of Time, but I do remember that I was just in time to read the first three and start waiting for the fourth book along with everyone else. My days of Usenet participation are long past, but I still have a handful of active friendships from that group.
More importantly, that group –and thus Robert Jordan — is directly responsible for me deciding to move to Tacoma and thus be in the right place at the right time to meet the woman who would become my wife. I stopped reading the books many years ago (maybe I’ll get into my reasons some other day when it won’t just sound like bashing the departed, and if people actually care) but they brought me from the worst place in my life to the best place in my life. It took a while for the news to hit me, but hit me it finally did last night. Robert Jordan introduced me to many neat people, including the person who is my best friend, my lover, and my partner in all ways.
Thank you, Mr. Rigney. You have been loved, you will be missed, you have touched my life, and I send you back to the Light with sadness and gratitude.