I met Harlan Ellison the day before his wife, Susan, met him, in 1985, in Glasgow. I interviewed him. I didn't get to meet Susan until 1989, when I went to see Harlan in LA. She and I became friends incredibly fast. She was the most direct person I knew. Our first actual conversation, while Harlan was answering a phone, began with her saying, "So. I know you're a writer. I don't know anything else about you. Gay or straight? Married or unmarried? Children or no children? Who are you?" and so I told her everything I could think of, and I kept answering her questions for the next 31 years.
Ellison Wonderland is now quieter than before: the vast, high-ceilinged office where Harlan did his writing, the pool table beneath Stadium-level speakers, the secret rooms that once helped hide Vietnam war objectors on the run to Canada, the toys and the meticulously painted figurines, and the room that was built just to hold all the mugs he had collected…the stacks of awards and manuscripts and tens of thousands (yes you read that number right) of books carefully and lovingly maintained and read and honored.
The rooms remember being filled with love and music and important conversations about trivial things and trivial conversations about important things, and laughter, and the living souls of Susan and Harlan Ellison, who together brought something ineffably beautiful into the world.
And now they are gone.
And I have no words that will tell you what that really, truly means.
Harlan's words stand alone.
Susan Ellison's 8-4-20 LOCUS MAGAZINE obituary can be found HERE.