Monday, May 31, 2010

Jeanne Robinson March 30th 1948 - May 30th 2010

I met Jeanne very briefly in 2003 at TorCon in Toronto. I got to shake her and Spider's hand, get a picture with them, and that was it.

In July of 2007 I attend Robert Heinlein's 100th birthday party, otherwise known as the Heinlein Centennial, in Kansas City. There we met again, after she made a presentation about her plan and hope to create a short film featuring a zero-gravity dance. I asked her if I could help. I was looking for a new project and wanted to explore making a version of Stardance into an IMAX film. We hit it off and started working together on the project.

I won't recount the last three years for you - you can read through this blog from the beginning to get the gist. I'll just tell you that in the last three years Jeanne and I became very close friends. The last time I saw her in person was in January of 2009, just before she was diagnosed with Cancer – and just when we decided to forget IMAX and develop Stardance into a feature screenplay.

We had been working long distance, via skype and phone since then, making and postponing plans to get together as Jeanne rode the roller-coaster of treatment and recovery, relapse and more treatment. Our progress on the screenplay suffered as well, partially due to my loss of a collaborator much of the time as well as having painted ourselves into a corner adapting such a sprawling work into a filmable form. A few months ago we brought in author and screenwriter David Gerrold to ply his expertise to the project. Two weeks ago, David and I presented Jeanne with a new version of the story, and the first pages of the new version of the screenplay.

This was her response...

Dear David and James,

I’ve read the treatment, and I’m in awe. Applause, applause! It works on so many levels. You’ve distilled our over-sized opus into a manageable work of art that reads like a dream. It makes sense. It flows. It’s a page-turner. It’s fresh (even though the idea has been floating around for decades). What more can I say -- except deep bows of gratitude and love. Words can’t reach it. I’m just so happy to be sitting here -- overflowing with hope at this challenging moment in time. All thanks to you.

As you all know by now, Jeanne passed away Sunday afternoon (May 30th) at 4:45 PM Pacific Time. She is dancing free of this earth, free from the confines of body and gravity, and I am sure she is watching over all of us. David and I will finish the screenplay in her honor - and do our damnedest to get the thing made.

We love you , Jeanne.

Here are some moments I was privileged to share with Jeanne.

Jeanne, Spider, Me and Kathleen the night before the Zero-G flight.

Jeanne and I the day of the flight.

Jeanne at our at our booth during NewSpace promoting our project to potential sponsors .

Jeanne and I start the feature version of
the Stardance screenplay.

Spider sings to Jeanne in their home on Bowen Island. (The song he wrote to woo her shortly after they met.)

Spider, Jeanne and I waiting for the water taxi to Vancouver.


Cameron said...

Spider, James, Kathleen and all of Jeanne's loved ones - I weep as I write this...not for her, for she flies free of her earthbound body and it's illusion of suffering and pain, into the glory that awaits so great a soul. Instead I weep for you who loved her as her closest friends and family and for all of us who loved her from afar. Pain shared, is pain halved...we hold you all in our hearts and love, thoughts and prayers. A candle burns on our altar tonight, in memoriam for Jeanne and in light a prayer for all those left behind. May our greatest Stardancer fly high, forever!

Missbehavin' said...

I lack the words to express my sorrow at your loss.

The heavens have just gained one helluva bright star.