So, I kind of want to gush about how supportive and patient you all have been, but if I do that now and it will become a whole thing and I don't want to do that right now. I have another thing.
Last year I was working on the next two chapters concurrently, and gearing up to do that last few rounds with my betas. You might know, my betas were were the incomparable Stray-the-Grey and Kestrel Sparhawk. I was feeling really anxious and upset about the whole NOT POSTING thing, and trying to power through it, being like, BITCH WE IN QUARENTINE, NOW IS THE TIME. I basically wasn't posting because I got very intimidated mixed with writer's block, and what I was writing was not good. But, I had finally found my groove, and was doing much better.
And then, well.
I regret to inform you all that Kestral Sparhawk died last year of Covid-19 related complications.
I couldn't find anyone to beta the first two chapters of HiaH for a long time. Eventually I did get two betas to give it a quick SPaG look, but not much more of the content commentary I needed. I posted those chapters anyway thinking, 'what the hell, no one will probably like it'. And then Kes and Stray offered their services, and my little fic sort of exploded.
People, this fic wouldn't be what it is today without them. Those first two chapters were rough, in need of a good editor, which is what those two ladies were for me. I wouldn't be the writer I am without them. They took me to task, gave me freedom where I needed it, and constantly cleaned up my crappy punctuation. I cannot overstate their contributions to my own skill and this fic.
Kes, in particular, became a very good friend. She was an older lady, in her sixties, she'd been a professor, and activist, and had an ongoing political column. I kept AIM open, so at any time during my day Kes would ping me to see if I was around, even late into the night. We talked a lot; about fandom, feminism, sexism, trans rights, psychology, other media, education, history, jam-making, pets, writing anything and everything. There were a lot of years between us, but we were kindred spirits. When AIM closed, we started talking on the phone. She was a wonderful, intelligent, and warm woman. I miss her very much.
Frankly, I couldn't even look at her last edits she sent me.
I haven't heard from the Stray_the_Grey, either. I don't know if she even knows; Stray, if you're out there, give me a heads up?
This week that post came across my dash again; the one about the person with the only copy of a Star Wars Mara/Luke fanfic from the 90's that was printed in a three-ring binder, and then in the reblogs people show their book-bound physical copies of fanfiction. And HiaH haunts me, rears up in my hindbrain like the tell-tale fic frequently. I mentally scuttled back, but then I thought Isn't this what she'd want, tho'? For me to finish this lurching monster? Even if it's drooling and malformed, she'd want it to have an end. She was always bugging me for fresh chapters, enthusiastic but not nagging. So, I'm gunna. I could write some gay porn for Kes. Kes, no shit, did her thesis on Kirk/Spock in 1989. Two dudes in love is a really good tribute to Kes. She'd have cackled about it.
Chapter 11 is mostly done. Chapter 12 needs finishing. And work. But...I don't think this fic will be what it could have been with Kes, and that's on me. I will probably regret it forever, that I didn't just DO it, that I let myself be swallowed by anxiety and life. But, that's sort of how life goes, so I carry that.
It means I will need an incredibly brave beta/s for any future chapters. Someone who can edit me nicely but firmly, cheerlead, be ready to help me keep my world-building straight, and not be afraid to tell me when something really isn't working, but also respect the direction my story goes. Someone who can stand in that shadow. If you think you might want this thankless job, elbow me on Tumblr. Yes, it remains the only platform I'm on.
Thank you all so much for the support you've consistently shown, and please, send some good energy out into the ether for my friend Kes. She was one bitchin' lady.