Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

The Saddest of all Sad News

My friend Abigail Frost was found dead this afternoon in her flat. Apparently she had died in her sleep, either last night or the night before, possibly from complications of her cancer or possibly from side effects of her medication. I spoke to her only a few days ago - on Monday.

I am too devastated to say very much at this point, or possibly ever. I had known her since about 1971 and had been pretty close friends all of that time - and more than friends for a while, just before I transitioned - which was a fairly bad idea in retrospect. Abigail and I did not always treat each other well, but we managed to get past that. Not all of the people in her life managed that - she hurt some of her male lovers quite badly and others broke her.

The world is not kind to intelligent, talented women without a clear sense of direction - she wrote some brilliant journalism about ceramics and textiles, and a lot of very funny fan-writing in zines, but she never found out what she wanted to do. She never acquired any internet skills and never got involved in the on-line culture that ought to have been her natural home. Similarly, she never found a project that engaged her enough to dedicate herself to it - constituency politics a little, perhaps, but New Labour broke her heart a little and the ousting of Oona King by George Galloway a little more, much as she hated the war.

You should all have known her at her best, jabbing away with a perpetual cigarette, cracking wise as if she was at the Algonquin, slightly tipsy and slightly out of control and combining her part-Italian heritage with a very English dryness.

But it was not a story that was going to end well, I guess, and it could have been worse than it was. Thin consolation, though.

She was 57 and I really hoped to know her for another thirty years.
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I didn't know her, but I am sorry for your loss nonetheless. madrobins is right: we don't need to lose any more smart, articulate women to the void.


May 4 2009, 21:42:26 UTC 10 years ago

I'm saddened to hear this news, Roz, and sorry for your personal loss. I always got on well with Abbie (at least on the occasions I wasn't too drunk to remember) and thought it regrettable that difficult circumstances and an all too understandable misjudgement led to her estrangement with fandom. I'll always remember her for her witty conversation, deft writing, and for the Pickled Herring Affair.

Terry Hunt
This is very sad news. I've thought from time to time in recent years that I should try getting in touch with Abi because I was concerned with what had become of her after the Taff thing. She stayed with us in Minneapolis during her Taff trip, and I remember enjoying her company during the dance at the local convention. She had been fretting a lot during her visit, but we danced together, and she smiled and became quite happy for that little while. We chatted quite seriously a bit later at ConFrancisco, and she gave me an update on her trip, which had become quite, er, interesting by then.

I am very sorry for your loss, Roz.

ps - I voted for Abi because among the reasons for running stated in her platform was: "It will get right up Avedon Carol's nose."

Jeff Schalles
That is a damned shame. (I heard from autopope on Friday night.)

You have my sympathies, for what little it's worth.
Damn. That was actually me, under another ID.
Roz, I never met Abi but have "known" her in fandom for the last couple of decades and as others have said can only echo their sentiments of a feeling of sadness and loss directed at you and all of her circle of friends and family.

so very sorry, Roz. :(
sending transcontinental <3 to you.
I just read this, thanks to Mike Glyer's File 770 link. I wrote this there: Huh. I'm very sorry to read this. I hadn't even known she had cancer, and hadn't heard news of her in many years.

"You should all have known her at her best, jabbing away with a perpetual cigarette, cracking wise as if she was at the Algonquin, slightly tipsy and slightly out of control and combining her part-Italian heritage with a very English dryness."

That was the Abi I first met, when she visited NYC and stayed with me on her TAFF trip.

I was also one of the few people who could understand the circumstances she wound up in, since I'm one of the few in fandom that have shared her conditions of major clinical depression and extreme poverty, desperation, and unforseen circumstances.

I'm very sad to know that she's gone. I'm also sad that more people won't have had the positive experiences with her to make them sad, as well.

-- the entirely non-anonymous Gary Farber
Abi was brilliant and she was one of a kind. I'm sorry for your loss,
and wish I could say it in person.
-- Spike
Dear Roz,

I'm so sorry to hear of Abigail's passing. I used to work with her at Pell and Bales, and on a couple of occasions went drinking with her.I loved her intelligence, also much overlooked her dry wit, which could be very amusing. Besides, the stimulating conversation and keen social observations. I always got the impression she was a lost soul,and disappointed with life? She had so much to offer talent, intelligence, wit but didn't seem to know how to channel these energies. I noticed there were many individuals, who didn't understand her personality or intelligence. Although, Abigail was a committed feminist,ironically most of the ridicule and vitriol she received came from other women! I wish I got to know her better (whilst at P&B) but other work offers meant I had to leave. Abigail, will be sadly missed by all that knew her.

Brian M
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