I know I don't have to explain the enormous influence of Terri Windling to most people who visit this blog, but seeing everyone's posts about how important she's been to them–whether they know her personally or not–in relation to the Magick 4 Terri auction bonanza has been so incredible, I can't resist joining in.
It's hard to quantify, exactly, the ways in which a luminary like Terri impacts the artistic community she's engaged in. Some of her contributions have been as a fabulous editor, bringing to light the work of many, many writers at both the longer and shorter length, in a way that truly helped shape–and reshape–the field. Some have been as an author herself, including of the marvelous novel The Wood Wife, which I highly recommend. Still more, as an artist of gorgeous mythic art, and as one of the major forces behind the Endicott Studio and the Journal of Mythic Arts. Perhaps most of all as someone involved and invested in the speculative fiction and broader literary community through all of the above, and with the brilliant light of her personality and point of view.
I don't know Terri well, but she's always present in my life in a number of ways, small and large, that she doesn't even know:
– At the first Wiscon I went to, at Ellen and Delia's clothing swap, I came away with a dress that had formerly belonged to Terri. I feel like that dress is borrowed magic, and I still have it.
– The lion's share of the art in our living room is by Terri; a giant study for a larger piece we scored at a Tiptree Auction, personalized by her, and two smaller pieces framed together. In my office, there's a print celebrating the Endicott Studio and its support for at-risk children. These pieces bring me joy every time I look at them.
– Her marvelous blog, filled with wit and inspiration and pointers to fascinating things, and, of course, pictures of Tilly. Terri makes an art of life as a creative process, and shares it with the rest of us.
– Perhaps most of all, the row of Year's Best Fantasy and Horror volumes on our shelves. To say that Terri's editing hand on selecting the best fantasy pieces of the year was important to my getting to know the field would be an understatement. Her taste, along with Ellen Datlow's as the other editorial half of the series*, had a very real impact on not just what was considered "the best," but what was considered to be part of the fantastical conversation at all. There are many, many writers I might not have discovered until far later–if at all–without this resource to look to, and it played a huge part in helping widen our field's borders, and broaden the conversation. (This is not even to get into all the other anthologies Ellen and Terri have edited over the years and their wonders. They have also been trailblazers in including YA as part of the larger SFF field. And I'm still so honored that my one published short story appeared in Terri and Midori Snyder's Journal of Mythic Arts YA issue.)
All of this by way of saying, our community truly wouldn't be the same without her. I wouldn't be the same reader or the same writer. Apparently, she and her family have been going through a tough time, and need some financial support. So go check out the amazing auction her friends have organized and bid and/or offer something, or just donate. (I'm trying to figure out what I could offer–a bourbon and books selection, tailored to the winning bidder, maybe? I dunno.)
Terri's already given plenty to us all. It's a pleasure to have an opportunity to try and repay even a little of that.
*And Kelly and Gavin's later, when they took over for Terri.