Short version: Check out the magick4terri auction community to find some amazing things being offered up to help writer, editor, and artist Terri Windling during a difficult time.
Long version: Back in the late 80s, my college friends and I found ourselves suddenly discovering books that were different from the fantasy novels we’d mostly been reading since then, books that had something of the magic and mythicness we were already reading the best of the fantasies we knew set in other worlds, but that were also firmly grounded in the contemporary, without requiring their characters go elsewhere to get ahold of this magic. We learned how to find these books pretty quickly (starting with Charles de Lint and Emma Bull, as I recall, reading all their acknowledgement pages and spreading out from there), but it took a while before I became aware of the term urban fantasy. It took longer to realize just how many of these stories I was loving had a single editor, Terri Windling. It took longer still–because I was a young reader, and what I was reading soon came to feel like what I’d always been reading–to realize just how much those books Terri Windling’s editing was changing the entire fantasy genre.
The term urban fantasy and the genre it’s part of have shifted and evolved and branched out in all sorts of fascinating ways since then. But without Terri’s work getting this whole thing started, I’m pretty sure the fantasy field as a whole would look pretty different right now–less like the sort of place where I can so joyfully read the sorts of stories I want to read and tell the sorts of stories I want to tell. (I wrote the opening of Bones of Faerie in 1993, a time when I was seeped in that first wave of urban fantasy novels. Some influences take longer to take root and grow than others.)
And I’m incredibly grateful for that work, for those books. Which is why I want to point everyone toward the magick4terri auction community:
Terri Windling and her family have been coping with health and legal issues that have drained her financial resources at a critical time. Due to the serious nature of these issues, and privacy concerns for individual family members, we can’t be more specific than that, but Terri is in need of our support. As a friend, a colleague and an inspiration, Terri has touched many, many lives over the years. She has been supremely generous in donating her own work and art to support friends and colleagues in crisis. Now, Terri is in need of some serious help from her community. Who better than her colleagues and fans to rise up to make some magick for her?
There are some amazing things up for auction there, with more likely to come (especially if you all join in and offer same!), so it’s worth visiting regardless. But if you’ve enjoyed or been inspired by a contemporary fantasy novel in the past, it’s also to my mind a small way of acknowledging that, and saying thanks.
Please help spread the word!
I’ve also offered up a few things, but this post is getting long, so more on that next post.