Readers, I have some sad news. My husband, the oft-mentioned Mr. Fitzpatrick, was killed about 10 days ago in a bicycle accident. Those of you who knew him in person know what a true gentleman he was: brilliant, caring, incredibly generous, and invariably kind. He was kinda funny, too. Those of you who didn’t know him may not realize how much influence he’s had on Austenacious: he took the photos for our blog header, including the Halloween Jane-clone-fight, which was entirely his own idea, and he took many of the photos I use to illustrate our posts. And, of course, he was the source of much knowledge on swordfighting, dueling, and other manly topics. Hell, we might not have a blog if it wasn’t for his help getting us started on the technical end. He was so happy and proud of me, of all of us, for pursuing our vision for Austenacious.
To please me, Mr. Sci-Fi/Non-Fiction Fitzpatrick read Pride and Prejudice about two years ago. And of course he loved it. He appreciated Jane’s precision of language and thought, her keen eye for human foibles, and her subtly wicked wit. He often read lines to me that he thought were especially funny—and usually these were lines that I had never noticed, that I had taken for granted. He was distressed when a male friend saw the Keira Knightley movie and didn’t realize the story was supposed to be funny. I loved seeing the book through his eyes. I wanted him to do a post for you all, but he was waiting until he read a new Jane Austen book.
I’ve been trying to think which Jane Austen character was the closest match for Mr. Fitzpatrick, but she never wrote about anyone like him. He worked to make the world a better place, for ex-drug addicts, for poor children, and even for death row inmates. He was a tinkerer, a maker of all sorts of devices to make my life smoother or more fun. He was an explorer of secret places and secret societies, of ideas of all kinds. And he wanted to go to the stars.
I really wish she had met him.
Goodbye, my love.
Erik Fitzpatrick, 1975–2010.