Leslie Harpold has died, and I only knew about this through a website.

I guess that’s appropriate, since I met Leslie through the web. This was back in ’98, with all its unencumbered enthusiasm about the future and how the web was going to be the medium of change. I had met a lot of people through Fray and felt saucy enough to go to a conference that, by all rights, I had no business attending. It didn’t matter: I was going to meet My People, and Leslie was one of those names I saw on all the sites I went to. We all were standing around, holding our bags of schwag, and she looked at me and said, “You’re Adam Rakunas.” Just said it in a tone that I should use every time I’m feeling unsure of myself. Hell, if this woman I’d never met knew who I was, why couldn’t I?

I owe Leslie for something, something that really didn’t come bubbling back until I saw Jason’s brief post. During lunch, we all were talking about doing Something Worthy, and Leslie planted what I thought then was a seed of Something Worthy: I would make my own game, designed off her idea (it would be called Cubicle Wars, and you’d run around an office, shooting each other with staplers). That wound up going nowhere, and I went on to do a whole bunch of video games that were anything but worthy.

But the thing is that it wasn’t a seed, but a bulb. A bulb has to grow and die for a few seasons before it blooms, and you’re never sure what’s going to come up, but you always hope it’ll be something wonderful. That idea, to do Something Worthy, came from that lunch and from talking with Leslie, but it’s bloomed into something else. I still write because Leslie Harpold just said, up on the patio at Moscone Center, “You should do it.”

I didn’t know her as well as others, but I mourn her death. And I thank her for being so sure. Good bye, Leslie.