A Tribute to Tham: my memories of one of fandom's brightest

In April of 2007, we lost a wonderful writer, an intelligent woman, and a dear friend.

I met Thamiris nearly ten years ago. She was the worldly listmistress of Ksmithares and I was a wide-eyed, innocent little Midwestern girl who'd only discovered fanfic a few months prior. She welcomed me to the list, made me feel at home, drew me right into the ongoing discussions and kept me talking when shyness would've shut me up. Looking back on it, I can see how painfully young, inexperienced and plain naive I was; I know I used to tease her about corrupting me, shocking the conservative Midwestern morality right out of me, but really, that's exactly what she did. And my god (of war), was it a fun trip. I needed a good shaking up, something to draw me out of my introverted shell and throw me straight on into the big wide world of fanfic. Tham did that for me, encouraged me when I took chances in my writing, was one incredibly awesome beta reader, and didn't hesitate to tell me when I was being an idot/jerk/clueless twit on a personal front.

We didn't always agree on everything; she was very opinionated and I was, and still can be, a stubborn bitch, but we had more than enough common ground that things were always smoothed over. It seems odd to me now, looking back on it; Kevin Smith and his characters were her number one interest, while I was quickly seduced away to the Joel Tobeck and Strife side of things. Polar opposites in taste, really. But it ended up being a fun sort of rivalry. I still have so many fond memories of the Iphicles vs. Strife wars, the badly dyed wig vs. the pale worm. Even now I can still laugh about it. And I know, despite where her interests took her in later years, she still had a great fondness for both KS and that silly old debate.

We went through three incarnations of the list, from e-groups to Onelist to Yahoo, and there were so many emotional ups and downs with it. I know not everyone had the awesome experience I did there, but to my memory, it was like one big family with Tham at the head. The late 90s are the best time of my life, as a result. Fanfic flowing like a river, creativity everywhere you looked, good friends and acquaintances and Tham was a huge part of all of that. She was one hell of a friend.

Due to personal issues, I dropped out of fandom back in 2000 and honestly, I never thought I'd come back. But then in February of 2003, on the anniversary of Kevin Smith's death, I found myself thinking of Tham, remembering that she was his number one fan and wondering how she was dealing with it. So I wrote, not really expecting a letter back -- it'd been over two years, after all. But she sent me an email straight away, so open, warm and friendly, and that was just like her. And she mentioned this thing I'd never heard of called "LiveJournal," said that's where the action was these days, and wondered if I wanted to hop on the bandwagon. She ended up pulling me back into fandom.

Unfortunately, the fandom I still held a great love for was one she'd since lost interest in. She'd found the attraction of Smallville and while I was fond of it, I couldn't love it the way she did. So while we did communicate for a while, we eventually lost touch again. And I think I'll always regret that.

I knew at some point that she'd been sick, but not what it was, and I thought she'd gotten better. But she hadn't. She flocked her LJ to talk about it more privately, and by then our interests had diverged to the point where I didn't make the cut. I'm not good about reading LJ anymore, either, not nearly as obsessive about it as I was even a year ago, so I didn't hear the news. Not until nearly three months after the fact. She'd fought a long battle with cancer, but in the end, on April 4th, 2007, it won. And someone who, for me, was a foundation in the Herc-Xena fandom, is now gone.

I can honestly say I wouldn't be here now, doing this, without Tham. She encouraged me to stay in fandom when I might've otherwise been frightened away, she gave me my love of good grammar (and the fact that it's spelled with an "a" and not an "e." God, that can still make me laugh), and she helped me broaden my horizons, both in my writing and in real life.

When I first entered fandom, I was barely in my twenties and Tham seemed so much older than me. But now, nearly a decade on, the ten year difference in our ages feels like nothing. I wish so much that we'd talked more, I think now we would've had even more in common. She was so young. Just so damn young. And taken from her family, from all of us, far too soon.

I'm going to miss you so much, babe. I'll always love you for the great friend you were, the awesome writer, the woman with a love of language so great that your LJ posts sometimes awed me and had me pulling out a dictionary. None of us will ever forget you, Tham. And so many of us are picturing Kevin Smith, in full Ares regalia, waiting to welcome you on the other side; the kind of fun you guys must be having right now. You're in our hearts, babe, always.

Read her LiveJournal here: Thamiris' Glossolalia
Visit Tham's site here: Odysseys and Ecstasy
Join the KSares list here: ksares
Visit the old KSA archive here: The KSA Archive
Visit the new Ksares archive here: Ksares Archive

Be nice, and if you can't do that, be an asshole with style -- Thamiris