Remembering Heather Armstrong

My email archive contains dozens of postings in which Heather Armstrong* and I are among those writing, receiving, mentioning, mentioned, cc’d or otherwise included. Most postings are from the ’00s and between bloggers in the brief age before media got social and blogging was still hot shit. Heather, with her Dooce blog, was the alpha among us, but never snotty about it.

Heather wore her heart, her head, her life, on the Web page. At humorous, opinionated, and wince-worthy self-disclosure, Heather even out-raged Chris Locke, aka RageBoy. Heather, Chris and I might have met for a panel at the 2006 SXSW, had Chris made the trip. Wrote Chris, “I was nearly as bummed as Doc said he was that I wasn’t there in Austin today on the ‘Cluetrain: Seven Years Later’ panel. What can I say? If God had wanted people to fly, he would have given them upgrades.” Best I recall, that panel was the only time I met Heather in person. She was fun.

Her final post was on April 6. It is mostly about, and for, her daughter Leta Louise. The closing line is “Here at 18 months sober, I salute my 18-year-old frog baby, she who taught me how to love.” According to news reports, Heather had fallen off the wagon. Whatever the reason, she fell all the way, and we will be forever lessened by her loss.

*On her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts, all branded Dooce, she identified as Heather B. Hamilton, her birth name.

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3 Responses to Remembering Heather Armstrong

  1. david strom says:

    I was a big fan of Dooce from the early days, a truly inspirational writer that took blogs to new heights. So sad about her passing, it is a loss for us all. I never met or corresponded with her but appreciated her nonetheless.

  2. Francine Hardaway says:

    She always me feel an obligation to go deeper in my own writing, because she was so good at it. She was authentic before authenticity was a thing. Funny the nostalgia this awakens.

  3. Doc Searls says:

    Thanks, both of you.

    I loved and felt a bit shamed by Heather’s sharp honesty about her life. Because I held back. Not much on my old blog (1999-2007), which was totally mine. But some here (2007-Now), because this blog is Harvard’s as much as mine. I appreciate and respect that. And there are other places on the Net where I can share stuff without constraint. Still, I could have shared more.

    But now my wild days are far behind me, and most of the time I think there are just better things to talk about here. A difference with those better things is that lately I think lots of other people cover the ground well. (Including both of you!)

    But Heather was best at talking about herself and her struggles, and stuff in the world she inhabited fully. It bums me hugely that what she shares now, and forever, is her absence from the world. Feels a lot to me like it did when Aaron Swartz took the same exit. We are starved of the good stuff both would have kept giving.

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