Farewell, Princess Winter Spring Summer Fall

I didn’t know Leslie Harpold very well. We corresponded briefly in the early pre-blog days of the web when I was doing Enterzone and she was Smug (and later Hoopla). Smug was everything I wanted ezone to be: beautifully designed, cleverly written, artistic.

Leslie was always involved in all the coolest leading-edge web creative projects and communities. People I eventually met later all knew her before I did. She was always kind and friendly to me in email and later when we met in person.
We had lunch once near Sixth Avenue west of Rockefeller Center. We compared notes on freelancing, doing content strategy consulting, the dotcom boom, why zines were hard to keep going, the blog explosion, mutual friends. She was sweet and sarcastic.

We both read at the Literary Kicks Summer Poetry Happening at the Bitter end in 1999. She read her story Princess Winter Spring Summer Fall. I think Levi may have the video of her reading up on his Litkicks site somewhere. I’ll ask him.

I found out Leslie had passed away from Levi today. I was standing in a Kinko’s waiting to fax something and checked my gmail on my phone. Levi was complaining that I have too many blogs (he’s right) and looking to see if I’d posted anything in remembrance of her. This is it.

I thought I saw Leslie once in SFO when I was flying to New York probably to visit family. I sent her an email message asking if that had been her. It was. She was moving out to San Francisco. I remember thinking she looked unhappy or pained at the time. I was sorry I hadn’t gone up to her. We kept agreeing to have lunch or coffee and we never did. She was going to come to one of Gwen‘s Ladies (and Gentlemen) Who Lunch in Oakland but I think she had that new-to-SF thing I used to have about never crossing the Bay.

I haven’t kept up with Leslie well since then. I didn’t know she had moved to Michigan. I assumed she was out there writing, creating, making friends. I counted on her being around. It’s very sad to hear not only that she has died tragically young but also that she experienced a series of losses and setbacks in her time.

The explosion of memories and thoughts of her posted online since the news came out are a testament to Leslie’s spirit and the large number of people she touched through her heart and mind and soul.

Keep reading about her:

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One Response to “Farewell, Princess Winter Spring Summer Fall”

  1. Gwen Says:

    Oddly enough, I was thinking just last week that I’d met so many wonderful people through the lunches and can’t seem to get it together enough to see them without a group purpose like that, that I should do some again. Then this about Leslie, I feel silly and presumptuous saying anythng at all — I never even met her — but I have so many online friends who I know like this, the emails and comments back and forth, sometimes just on and off. It’s funny how people who aren’t even real live physical entities can mean so much. And, of course, she in particular has been so damn impressive in what she’s done with the web, her writing. She didn’t know it but she’s definitely someone I consider a mentor, and such an inspiration and part of the reason I do what I do, part of the reason I’m able to. It’s such a sad, sad, *unfair* thing. I’m just heartbroken. I’m going to do a lunch soon. When we get our January warm spell. I hope you can come.

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