Jennifer Cayley announced today that her wife and wonderful human being, writer and storyteller, Jan Andrews, passed away.

Here’s the Facebook announcement:

Wrong story. 

I can’t agree with that statement more.

Jan was a force of nature. She was an author and storyteller with very strong opinions on both artistic pursuits, and I had the honour of working with her on The Iliad and The Odyssey gigantic performances that she and Jennifer produced and directed at the National Arts Centre. She taught me a lot, like how to embrace my masculine side when telling the epics.  She made me aware of my body movements, my voice, my stance, my cadence.  She and Jennifer pushed me to be better, to do more, to continue to grow.  I consider them both mentors, and to lose Jan is a hard blow.

There was still so much to learn. But then, there will always be more to learn than allowed by the span of one lifetime, any lifetime.

I consider myself lucky to have seen Jan at Pride just last Sunday, the day of her accident. We hugged and kissed, and chatted a bit. I don’t even remember about what.  I was annoyed at an issue with the QueerCon table, and I was just bone tired and still had a full day ahead. But I remember her warmth, and how happy I was at seeing this little crew of storytellers – friends in the sea of loud and colourful strangers.

We were going to get together.


Too late.

Jan, I’ll remember your warmth. Your stubbornness and enthusiasm. I’ll remember how you held down my hands as I spoke of Ithaca, how you dragged me around the room as I bled out on the fields of Troy, how you pushed me to see what I was telling, to imagine the rotten masts, to smell the dead of the battlefield.

Our telling styles were always very different, but you made me a better teller. You forced me not to tell as you did, but to become better at telling like I did.

That’s a gift I’ll always cherish.

And you will always be missed.

You were the right story, so very right, with the wrong ending.

So very wrong.

My love to Jennifer, and to you, Jan. You will not be forgotten.

Your story will live on, in so many storytellers and readers. I have no doubt that your powerful voice will echo for a long time yet.

Facebook profile picture, taken circa 2010. That’s the way I’ll remember Jan. Loving the stories.