Jay passed this morning, June 1 at 5:45 (PDT). Lisa and friends were with him. He will be missed.Jay Lake had many, many friends -- he was generous with his time. And thousands more who, like me, saw him at a few cons and voraciously read his daily blog posts. His Link Salad -- a term I stole for my Astronomy classes -- was a daily fixture. And several times items I came up with were linked by Jay.
So no, I was not a close friend of Jay's. Haven't even read his novels, though lots of short stories. But Jay has been part of my daily blog reads for over ten years.
And in 2008 he announced that he had colon cancer. What happened next was extraordinary. He talked about it. I mean he REALLY talked about. In a myriad of blog posts, he talked treatments, remission, spread. He talked about the details of being a cancer patient and answered questions you didn't even know you wanted answers to. He showed graphs of various diagnostic tests. He talked openly of the effects of cancer drugs on his mind and body. TMI on GI issues? Hey, when it dominates your life and no one else is talking about this -- why not? Bitterly noting when his rapid writing skills were impaired and the stories he wanted to tell couldn't come out.
He talked about the science. He crowdfunded a full genome workup of his DNA and that of his tumors. Some of this was to see if a cure could be tailored to his own treatment. But also, he took advantage of his visibility to help expand the knowledge base. Recently he traveled several times across the entire width of the country to participate in an NIH trial. It didn't work, but science was achieved.
The LJ brain icon above is Jay Lake's brain. He had his brain scanned and shared the results.
Jay might not have invented the term, but in the SFF community his battle cry of "Fuck cancer" has taken hold. And though he was in no way happy with his situation, he attacked problems in typical Jay Lake fashion -- having his head tattooed with a phrase along the lines of "If you can read this, it means my cancer is back." He had Cancer's astrological sign tattooed on his arm for each recurrence.
But Jay was not cancer. And he worked hard to not be just a voice on cancer. He was a father, an essayist, an amplifier of causes and news, a frequent guest at conventions, a lover of food, and a SFF author. And he could throw a party. The wake was last year.
6 June 1964 - 1 June 2014. Just days shy of his first half century.
Good night, Jay.