True! nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story.
By the dark of the night, far past the English witching hour, I put the final touch on the death of Niki Flynn. Yes she survives on in memory, Google is filled with pages of links to her images and even some of her words. Amazon continues to sell her books. But Niki’s site is no more.
Do I have your attention yet?
Okay, then that’s probably enough of the gothic for now. I’m afraid I lack the flare for it. But what I wrote is true enough. Late last night I did click the “delete” button on Niki’s Not Blog — Paul removed it from the ‘net at her request. If you go there today you’ll get the Laughing Squid “page not found” message. Those who have been following her blog writings are probably not surprised. Niki announced she was leaving earlier this month. Galleries had been disappearing even before that. The blog already was closed for comments. Still I’m sure some people are surprised this morning / afternoon / evening to find it gone altogether.
This chapter of my friend’s life is closed.
Earlier this week I read Ludwig’s insightful thoughts on Niki’s demise — both his last interview with her and a final blog entry on her leaving and wondered if when the time came I’d have anything to say. Clearly I’ve found something.
My thoughts are a little different than some who’ve known Niki Flynn. She was a surprise to me despite (or maybe because) I’d known the woman behind the masks of Niki and Fiona years before they appeared on the ‘net or in text and know her still. For all the mystery behind Fiona Locke, she seemed to evolve organically as an author / ‘net identity. Quirky, reclusive and oh so fine a writer, I knew her of old as it were.
Niki, emerging, as she did, out of my friend’s need for an alternate identity as she made first one film and then more and more, was someone else entirely. She was not the mad writer in the garret or a lost little woman-child. When I met her at her first Shadow Lane appearance, I was dazzled. Don’t get me wrong, she had always been beautiful and sexy but Niki radiated a sexual confidence (and just a general confidence) I hadn’t seen before, especially when meeting people. Niki was definitely another aspect of my friend — a public one, seen, as it were, through a glass brightly. I’d seen the pictures and films Niki was making, but this was my first experience of her as a distinct personality.
The same sense of the surreal washed over me as I read (and re-read) Dances With Werewolves and Over the Knee. I know a few people have commented that people should have guessed sooner based on the writing style, but I disagree. Even knowing they were both penned by the same person and having read other writing by her, the author’s voice in Dances With Werewolves has always seemed distinct from Fiona’s work. There’s a easy confidence and even extraversion to Niki I’d never associated with the woman I knew. That said, both, of course are her. Niki was just, to paraphrase Tori Amos, pieces of her I’d never seen –but was glad to know as I grew to recognize her voice (as did so many of us) through her blog.
I do believe closing and deleting the blog and site is the right thing to do. Niki isn’t writing any more and the site was always intended to be for fun (no money was made of it — indeed I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it was a break-even proposition) and a way for her to get feedback from others in the scene. In the almost three years it was up, it was never neglected by its author, this despite her having told a number of us when it started that she didn’t see herself as being much of a blogger (hence the name “Not Blog”). Rather than let it lapse into dis-use and be taken over by spam or become a chore rather than a pleasure, it’s better for it to be gone.
Nothing on the ‘net is ever really gone — Niki in archived form certainly won’t vanish. Even knowing this though, I did feel a tiny twinge of guilt as I pushed “delete.”
A final note. As Ludwig pointed out on his blog, our friend has opted for privacy — she removed her site and didn’t leave a forwarding address. Don’t write to me asking me to forward any mail. It’s not that I can’t — it’s that I won’t.
[…]ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears; but still they sat, and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct : I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definitiveness — until, at length, I found that the noise was NOT within my ears.
No doubt I now grew VERY pale; but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased — and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound –much such a sounds as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. […] Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men, but the noise steadily increased. O God! what could I do? […] It grew louder — louder — louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly , and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! — no, no? They heard! — they suspected! — they knew! — they were making a mockery of my horror! — this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! — and now — again — hark! louder! louder! louder! Louder!
“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! — tear up the planks! — here, here! — it is the beating of [her] hideous heart!”