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OryCon!

OryCon starts Friday, and I’ll be there! Here’s where you can find me. I’m also doing NaNoWriMo this year and would be interested in meeting people for writing dates during the convention.

NOVEMBER 18 • FRIDAY

3:00-4:00pm: Steampunk! Explain It! Salon C (LL1)
Stephen Couchman (m), Ann Gimpel, David Levine, Rhiannon Louve
How much Steam is required in Steampunk? Is alternative history a must? Is it fantasy, or SF, and/or a lifestyle?

NOVEMBER 19 • SATURDAY

10:00-10:30am: David Levine Reading Hawthorne (2)
David Levine
I will be reading from Arabella and the Battle of Venus!

11:00am-12:00pm: First Page Idol Douglas Fir (3)
Curtis Chen (m), Annie Bellet, David Levine, Doug Odell
Submit the first page of your novel to our talented author panelists, and listen to them read aloud that first page (keeping the writer’s identity anonymous) and give thoughtful reactions. E-mail your first page submission (please omit the author name) to: ww@orycon.org.

2:00-3:00pm Finding Diverse Voices & Characters in SF/F Salon C (LL1)
Jeffrey Cook, David Levine, Deborah Ross, Caroline M. Yoachim
Diversity in the physical, ethnic, cultural, sexual identity, and socioeconomic backgrounds of characters and writers of speculative fiction has become more important to readers and writers in recent years. Where do we go to find these characters and authors? Who are the writers (no matter their background) who are penning accurate and authentic experience? Do we find these books in the SF/F sections or do we need to look to other areas of the bookstore or library?

4:00-5:00pm The Davids discuss how to research alternate history: Mining real history for good fiction Douglas Fir (3)
David Levine (m), David Boop, David Dvorkin, David Weber
What are the methods and sources for researching an alternate history story? Where do you find the information you need to sell your twisting of history to readers?

NOVEMBER 20 • SUNDAY

11:00am-12:00pm Feedback Workshop Douglas Fir (3)
David Levine (m), Curtis Chen, Richard A. Lovett, Susan Matthews, David Weber
A hands-on workshop on how to apply the feedback you get from readers, editors, writer’s workshops, critique groups, etc. Bring your questions, manuscripts, critiques, etc.

Where I am, where I’m going, where I’ve been

At the moment I am at the airport, heading to beautiful Columbus, Ohio for the World Fantasy Convention. I had been waffling about attending, due to some issues with the program and communication by the committee, but I really need to be with my people right now.

At the con I will be appearing on panel “Costume Makes the Character” on Thursday at 5pm in Delware CD (along with Delia Sherman, Madeleine Robins, Cinda Williams Chima, and Mercedes Lackey) and I have a reading on Friday at 1:30pm in Union D. Apart from that I will mostly be in the bar and otherwise hanging out. Kate was always the one who set up dinner dates for us, so please don’t be shy about asking me along if you need a lunch or dinner companion.

I’ve been keeping myself busy, being social and spontaneous. I haven’t been alone very much, which is a good thing. Most of the time I am okay, though I get walloped by grief as much as a couple of times a day. Being suddenly without obligations, after nearly two years of increasingly burdensome responsibility, feels like my mainspring has snapped. I have also been making plans for the future: Wordstock, OryCon, and Thanksgving with Kate’s folks are coming up soon, and I’m already thinking about next year’s travel.

Kate’s funeral last weekend was lovely. We had 120 people, who fit comfortably into a chapel with a nominal capacity of 100. Ellen Klages did a fabulous job as officiant, and the funeral director said she had rarely heard so many heartfelt, articulate tributes. I learned a few things too — many people described Kate as “adventurous,” which is not a word I would have used but, upon reflection, she really was.

The eulogy I delivered and a photo of Kate’s urn in its mausoleum niche are below. The urn, as you see, is in the shape of a stack of books, and is accompanied by a photo of Kate in Austria (her face is behind the flowers at the lower right).

Knitting is connecting. Our word “knit” is related to “knot,” and both are derived from an Old English word meaning “to tie with a knot, bind together, or fasten by tying.” A hand-knitted sweater like this one is basically a giant knot, tying together many skeins of yarn into an amazing complex thing that is warm, comforting, practical, and beautiful. Kate was a brilliant knitter, of course, but she was a connector in so many other ways as well. In the past week I have heard from so many people saying that they were new and alone at a science fiction convention or a square dance or a knitting circle and Kate welcomed them in. She was always inviting people along to dinner at the wonderful restaurants she managed to find in every city we visited. She spoke many languages and engaged with people all over the world, through science fiction fanzines and amateur press associations and blogs and mailing lists and Ravelry.com as well as through her travels. When I look out at all of you here — readers, writers, dancers, knitters, friends and family — I see the many communities that she brought together just by being herself. And you don’t break that kind of connection easily. You can probably all see the ragged hole in my soul, with the wires sticking out and spitting sparks, where Kate was attached. You have all been so helpful to both of us during Kate’s illness, and I’m going to need your help in the coming weeks and months. Thank you so much for being here, and for your continued support. Kate would have been so happy and proud to see you all here.

Niche

Thank you very much for all the support you have offered. It is greatly appreciated and will continue to be needed.

Funeral tomorrow, at home today

Just a reminder that Kate’s funeral is tomorrow, Sunday 10/16, at 1pm at Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial Funeral & Cremation. All who loved Kate are welcome. There will also be a less formal memorial gathering in January or so, details TBD.

My plan for today is to stay at home and receive visitors. Please txt me at 503-806-7562 before coming over, in case we are out at lunch or some such.

Thank you all so much for your love and support. It is greatly appreciated.

Kathryn Lynn Yule 1961-2016

Kathryn Lynn Yule (nee Barbara) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to William and Marilynn Yule and died of brain cancer at her home in Portland, Oregon at the age of 55. She attended Kennewick High School and Lewis and Clark College, where she majored in foreign languages and spent a year abroad in Munich. After working for the Red Cross as an administrative assistant and then for some years as a clerical temp, she retired early and spent her time knitting, traveling, square dancing, and attending science fiction conventions with her husband, science fiction writer David D. Levine. They were together for thirty-two years and married for twenty-five.

Kate was passionate about travel, languages, and reading. An accomplished speaker of German, French, and Spanish, she also studied Japanese, Italian, Dutch, Czech, Gaelic, Catalan, and American Sign Language. Countries visited included England, Scotland, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Australia, and Singapore. She wrote and edited the science fiction fan magazine Bento with her husband, and several square dance publications with her friend Allan Hurst. Although glioblastoma cruelly stole her ability to speak and write, she kept reading in multiple languages to the end.

Kate was also active in the knitting, gay square dance, and science fiction communities. She founded a neighborhood science fiction book group and the weekly stitch-and-bitch at Happy Knits, and served in various capacities in the Portland Science Fiction Society and Rosetown Ramblers square dance club.

Kate is survived by her husband David D. Levine, sister Susan Yule, nieces Isobel and Alexandra Wright, brother William A. Yule, and parents William D. and Marilynn Yule. Funeral services will be held on Sunday October 16 at 1:00 pm at Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial Chapel in Portland, Oregon (wilhelmportlandmemorial.com). Contributions in her name may be sent to the Multnomah County Library Foundation (libraryfoundation.org). She will be greatly missed.

Kate with Wombat

Kate’s funeral: Sun 10/16, 1pm

Kate Yule’s funeral will be held on Sunday October 16 at 1:00 pm at Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial Funeral & Cremation in Portland, Oregon. Anyone who loved Kate is welcome to attend. The ceremony will be officiated by Ellen Klages, and there will be an opportunity to share your memories of Kate if you wish.

We also plan a memorial gathering in a few months, most likely in January, so if you can’t attend the funeral there will be another opportunity to celebrate Kate’s memory.

If you would like to make a charitable donation in Kate’s honor, please give to the Multnomah County Library Foundation to support the library’s literacy programs. Kate volunteered for years with SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) and was always passionate about books and reading. Please mark the gift in memory of Kate Yule and indicate that the acknowledgement should be sent to my address (email me if you don’t have it). Your donations are tax-deductible.

I have found myself at the epicenter of an enormous outpouring of condolences and love since Kate’s passing. I am just overwhelmed with gratitude and wish I could respond in kind to everyone who has reached out to me and Sue in this very difficult time. Your support is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

DSC 1411
Photo by Janna Silverstein

Update on Kate 10/3

Kate has basically been asleep for the last couple of days straight. She hasn’t been able to eat or drink anything, and can no longer swallow pills. We are now giving her only the most critical medicines, in forms that can be absorbed through the tissues of the mouth. She is resting peacefully and we are adjusting her drugs as appropriate to keep her comfortable.

Visitors are welcome; please txt me before coming over. Kate’s parents have gone home, but Sue is still here and my father is with us for a few days. The house can be quite crowded at times (at one point this morning we had ten people, including two friends, a caregiver, a nurse, a home health aide, and a notary). If you do visit, you should not expect Kate to respond to your presence, although she may open her eyes and look at you. She is not quite conscious, but not exactly unconscious either. We think it is soothing to her to have calm voices nearby.

Thanks for your help and support.

Update on Kate 9/29

Kate is getting a little weaker every day. She can no longer get out of bed and is having even more difficulty communicating than before. She’s sleeping a lot, but her pain is under control. Her sister Sue is here for the duration, her parents are here right now, and my father will be coming this weekend.

We have been getting excellent support from hospice, with nurses, drugs, and equipment all just a phone call away. The social worker and chaplain (for some reason when I reach for the word “chaplain” I always get “cleric”) have been helpful with those difficult end-of-life conversations, and the home health aide comes by three times a week to give Kate a bath. Our third-party home health care provider is now sending someone for four hours every day and overnight every night. Everyone has been compassionate, skilled, and supportive.

Visitors are welcome, but please txt me before coming over, because the house is sometimes kind of crowded with health care people and sometimes she just needs a rest.

Thank you all very much for your support and good wishes.

Important update on Kate 9/18

I haven’t sent out a progress report in several weeks because there hasn’t been any progress to report. Kate has had two infusions of Avastin and has not been improving — in fact, she’s been getting worse. She is now extremely weak and, despite using the walker indoors and out, has been having falls and near-falls almost every day. The aphasia is also very bad, and there are other problems.

This has been extremely hard on me. I am not physically strong enough to pick Kate up by myself when she falls, and I’m having trouble maintaining the patience and compassion I need for all of the other caregiver tasks I have to perform. I am exhausted, and emotionally I’m near the end of my rope. I have been getting more help from in-home health care and friends, but it’s not really enough.

With all of this going on I called Dr. Lufkin for help Tuesday, and he got us in Wednesday morning. His assessment is that the Avastin is not really helping and could cause harm (it causes bleeding, which could be very bad in case she has a serious fall), so he recommends stopping it. Unfortunately, there are no other treatment options left. Avastin is the last FDA-approved treatment for recurrent glioblastoma, the Foundation One genetic tests didn’t turn up any additional options, and she isn’t eligible for any of the available clinical trials. Therefore, the next step is hospice care. Kate needed a little time to think it over, but she signed the paperwork on Friday.

Hospice doesn’t mean just waiting to die. Hospice means that a wide variety of at-home care services become available to make life easier for both of us. We have a dedicated team of nurse, social worker, chaplain, and home health aide, and access to other specialists from bereavement counselors to animal therapy. Any drugs or equipment we need will be delivered to the house on short notice, and it’s all covered 100% by our insurance.

There is explicitly no timeline here. Every patient is different and every tumor is different, so there’s no telling how long we have. With more support and a focus on comfort and in-home safety, she may actually live longer than she would have with treatment. Some patients remain on hospice care for a year or more. Some patients even come off of hospice care. We will just have to make the most of however much time we’ve got.

Thank you very much for your support and good wishes.

Two SFWA Pacific Northwest Reading Series events this week!

Sandra Odell, Django Weller, and I will be appearing at two events in the SFWA Pacific Northwest Reading Series this week:

  • In Seattle, on Tuesday August 30, 7:00-8:30pm, we’ll be at the Wilde Rover Irish Pub and Restaurant, 111 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033.
  • In Portland, on Thursday September 1, 7:00-8:30pm, we’ll be at the Lucky Lab on Hawthorne, 915 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214. <– NEW LOCATION!

Hope to see you there!

Sfwa