One of the best people I know passed away on the last day of January.
Aiki Flinthart was on the cusp of becoming truly famous. She was going to run her ‘Fight Like A Girl’ workshop at WorldCon – and people might think that the Covid lockdown had postponed that until WorldCon could be safely run again. However, Aiki found out well before WorldCon2020 that she was living on a shortened schedule. In January 2020, she discovered she had tumours in her brain, her lungs, and liver, and she was dying.
Aiki – being Aiki – didn’t let this slow down her plans, just alter them. She managed to put together an AMAZING anthology, with people like Neil Gaiman and Robert Silverberg. Seriously, go buy Relics, Wrecks, and Ruins. Aiki was an editor’s editor. She kept coming to meetings of our writing group, inspiring us all to keep writing NO MATTER WHAT. She managed to get an Aiki Flinthart residency up and running at the Queensland Writers Centre. She kept writing the whole thirteen months she lived after the cancer diagnosis.
She was worried the brain tumours would strip her of her intellect. That didn’t happen. She was still signing books and making plans right up until the last week in January, when the cancer was steamrolling its way through her body. I could never be so brave!
On a personal level, we had some phone calls that made us both weep. And laugh. And swear. She gave me a crown to remind me that I am a queen of writing. We got together for coffee and gossips, and can’t I tell you how much I appreciate her sharing some of her precious time with me.
Other people have written eulogies that surpass anything I could say about Aiki. She was a fighter, physically, she lived twice as long as first advised, but being a fighter was also a part of her personality. I don’t mean she was a grump that picked arguments; she fought to be a better writer, a better friend, a supporter of the writing community, a better wife and mother, and she shone like a bright, brave blade in a drawer of plastic knives.
I was very lucky to have known her, and even luckier to have her as a friend. I would wish that on all of you, to have a friend as wonderful as Aiki Flinthart, but there will never be another Aiki.