Sad news came last night that Dylan Williams, our friend and the publisher behind Sparkplug Comic Books, passed away at the age of 41. Dylan was one of the most genuinely kind, generous, and inspiring people I’ve ever known. I can’t think of anyone less deserving of this fate, and I’m trying my best to make sense of what has happened.
A few years ago, my sister and I went to see a psychic (say what you will, but I am and have always been very interested in what would be categorized under “metaphysics” at Barnes & Noble). My sister asked the psychic about her middle son–parenting him was always difficult for her, and in general they just didn’t really get along. I often think about the psychic’s response to her question, which was that they were brought together to learn from each other. A few years after this reading, my nephew was diagnosed with leukemia. The ensuing year of chemotherapy, radiation, and everything related really pushed their relationship to its limits. Fortunately, my nephew recovered and today he is healthy and creative and popular (let’s not lose focus of what is most important!), but I have no doubt that my sister has been and continues to be transformed by having him in her life.
I’ve found much comfort in that psychic’s advice for myself too. For all the difficult people I’ve dealt with, my assorted rejections and failures, and all the terrible, unfair things that happen in the world, it helps just a little bit to think that I’m supposed to be learning something here. I would put Dylan’s passing in the category of a terrible, unfair thing happening, but he has taught us all so much about how to live. I can’t count the number of people he has influenced directly and indirectly to follow their dreams and fly their freak flag proudly. His kindness and generosity are unmatched, and anyone lucky enough to know him while he was here has been transformed by that privilege.
Sorry to go back to metaphysics, but as I was putting Sally down to nap earlier today, I noticed that the color green was all around me. I had put on a green shirt this morning, dressed Sally in green, wrapped her in a green blanket, and was facing a part of her room where I had inadvertently collected a disproportionate number of green items. I also have been noticing a lot of butterflies in my environment today (see the sunglasses in the photo, for one). Again, say what you will, but I can’t help thinking that these symbols of growth and transformation have presented themselves to help me come to terms with what has happened. It feels awful to imagine visiting Portland or going to the next Alternative Press Expo without Dylan in the picture, but I’m so thankful to have known him and am forever changed by having him in my life.
One more tangible way in which my sister and her family have been transformed is that they now do a great deal of fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you have any cash sitting around, you might consider donating (Dylan had lymphoma). Or if you have spare marrow (I know you do!), you might want to register with the National Marrow Donation Program. And to support Dylan’s legacy as well as the people he left behind with what are undoubtedly astronomical medical bills, you should definitely buy some comics from Sparkplug Comic Books. (I recommend Passage by Tessa Brunton and Eschew by Robert Sergel, for starters, but he had impeccable taste and anything you buy will be excellent.)
So goodbye, Dylan. I will love and miss you always and I will do my best to follow your lead. See you on the other side, friend.