Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sad news

Oh, man. I'd hoped I was wrong, but it appears my suspicions were correct:
Peter's mother died in her sleep at a little after 8 PM on June 24th, 2006, at the Salem Lutheran Home in Oakland, California. Details up shortly.

How can I post about the death of Peter Beagle's mother, Rebecca Soyer Beagle, without trivializing it? According to the time posted at Conlan Press, she would've passed away right as Peter and I were wrapping up the interview on Saturday night. I'm glad I was able to finish up and leave prior to that phone call coming--some things shouldn't have an audience, no matter how sympathetic and well meaning.

Before I left, however, I set a time to get with Beagle the next day to take a set of photos for use with the interview. After his panel, he asked me to meet him in the dealers' room after he'd checked in with his business manager, Connor Cochran. I went to the restroom and when I came out, I saw two members of the concom engaged in serious discussion with Beagle. I got that uncomfortable, prickly feeling. I approached one of the concom, and they told me only that he'd gotten some personal news that he didn't want to get out during the convention. I immediately thought of his 100-year-old mother. I didn't know of course, but part of me was inclined to just pack up and leave the convention right there, and leave the man in peace (amidst the 500 or so other convention goers). But then he saw me from his table and told Cochran we were off to take some photos, so that was that.

I managed to get a few photos of the man of far higher quality than I have any right to expect, and we had a friendly conversation about nothing in particular. But I still felt slimy and vulturish, something I hadn't felt since my days as a working journalist in newspapers. Confirming my suspicions today does nothing to minimize those feelings. All I can do is wish Beagle peace of mind in this time of mourning. His mother sounds like she was a marvellous woman.

Now Playing: Dave Davies Bug


  1. You absolutely should NOT worry, Jayme. Having practical real-world things to do all day in Houston really helped Peter a lot -- there wasn't anything he could do about the practical issues of his mother's death until he got back home, and nothing was going to speed that up, so it was good that he had people to talk with and commitments to fulfill. All of it helped keep the shadows away while he started to find his own internal ways to cope.

    -- Connor Cochran
    Business Manager for Peter S. Beagle

  2. Thanks Connor. Intellectually, I know that, but at the gut level I still feel that guilt of intrusion. I had that all the time when I was a full-time reporter, even when the people involved wanted to talk to the media. Heck, I absolutely hated having talk to the coach of a losing team after a tough game for the same reason. Different gravity entirely, but that's just how I'm wired, I guess.

    Thanks again for all your help over the weekend. It was great to meet you and talk with Peter. Hope that cold is better!