Laurie and Debbie say:
Pat Diggs was a close friend of Laurie’s, and also a friend of Debbie’s. She died last month after a protracted illness. We thought we’d take a moment to tell you some of the ways she was special.
As early as the 1970s, fan fiction (fiction based on written for pleasure rather than money, often featuring romantic relationships between pre-existing characters from TV and movies) began to flourish underground, apparently starting with Kirk/Spock fiction, in which Captain Kirk and the Vulcan Spock were often portrayed as lovers. It had to be underground because the copyright holders for Star Trek and other franchises were deeply opposed to its existence, let alone its publication. So the stories circulated (on paper, of course, in that period) from hand to hand, or from cardboard boxes under tables at science fiction conventions. Pat Diggs was an early writer, reader, and illicit distributor of Kirk/Spock and other fan fiction of the time, and a mother of a phenomenon that has, in the last 50 years, grown into an entire subculture of its own.
Pat was a multi-talented woman. She told us once that she had been studying t’ai chi, and become very good at it, but she had to give it up when she focused her artistic energy on singing. For some decades, she sang in the chorus of the San Francisco Opera. She loved the music, and she loved being part of the performance. Shes also taught singing.
She was fluent in Japanese and traveled to Japan.
While she was writing fan fiction and singing semi-professionally, she also worked for the Social Security Administration for most of her life. When Laurie asked her to pose for Women En Large, she took the astonishingly proactive step of asking the SSA for permission to pose nude. The process took a long time, but Pat was patient and persistent. Eventually, the agency decided that they couldn’t think of a reason to refuse her request, though they wouldn’t allow her to use her full name. So she’s enshrined as the opening photograph in the book, with just her initials to identify her.
She was always a welcome feature at Bay Area science fiction conventions and events, often helping some publisher out behind a dealer’s table, or organizing a panel on some topic that interested her. For several years before the pandemic, she acted as greeter and admissions taker for the popular SF in SF reading series in San Francisco.
For those who see this post in time, there is a funeral ceremony tomorrow, October 5, at Duggan’s Serra Mortuary in Daly City, at 1:00 pm. If anyone in the science fiction or opera community (or both) arrange for a later memorial service, we will let people know here.
The smile in the picture at the top of this post is precisely typical of Pat; always welcoming, always engaged, always connected and connecting. She is much missed.
Debbie is no longer active on Twitter. Follow her on Mastodon.
Follow Laurie’s Pandemic Shadows photos on Instagram.