With deep sadness, I must let readers know that my dear friend Tailahr Winnikow passed away on Wednesday from respiratory failure due to asthma. Tai was the scripting magician who made Spyralle creations “DO things” as well as unfailing support for customer service when I could not be there.
More than that, she was the best creative “brainstormer” I’ve ever worked with. We could bounce crazy ideas off each other for hours, howling with laughter (at least I howled), sometimes to the exclusion of actually getting things done that needed to get done, but it was always worth it. I have a long list of ideas and projects we hadn’t had time to make yet; I’m sure many of them will see the light of day eventually – and bring back memories of those happy times.
Indeed, Tai was a superplanet whose gravity bent the trajectory of what I created, changing the direction of Spyralle over the last five years or more. It happened so slowly and smoothly I hardly knew it was going on, and I don’t think she knew either. Her generosity and sense of fun helped me return to creating for the pure joy of it and stop worrying about the stuff that wasn’t truly important. There is hardly any direction you can look in Spyralle that does not hold something she scripted, made or contributed to in some way.
In addition to all she did on the Spyralle team, Tai spent uncounted hours creating wonderful inventions in world – most of which she shared freely – including the hunts, rides and games enjoyed by many at Mieville events these past few years and, in our early SL days, at parties for the Myst/Uru communities. The great Halloween Boxbot Costume Party of 2008 still comes up in chat as one of The Most Fun Things Ever. Her final project, the Zero’s Bones Game, is currently running at Mieville’s Nightmare Before Halloween event.
Tai’s Mieville friends have set up a memorial for her. There is also a memorial in the Uru themed region, Eder Gira. It is a little tricky to get to, so I’m not providing a SLURL, but if you want directions, contact me privately or ask in Spyralle Studio group chat.
I smile to think how annoyed she would be at all the attention she’s getting right now. It was her preference to stay quietly in the background, always ready and eager to be helpful to anyone who needed it, especially on grid hunts. But as we encounter her absence, it comes home to each of her friends and colleagues what a major presence she was.
At Spyralle, location of her own shop Tai’Dyed, I’ve set out a small gift as a memento of her creativity, spirit and generous heart. The little bird shown above is a special edition of the Little Da Vinci Bird I made and she scripted for Burn2 in 2016. Her favorite color was purple (mine, too!), which she playfully called “purkle”. Find your way down to the garden level and up the steps into Tai’Dyed and touch the portrait of Tai for your Purkle Bird.
In the air above the river that cascades through Spyralle, a flock of large Purkle Birds hovers ready to fly out to sea. Beware of clicking on one – you’ll find yourself sitting on it. Guess who is responsible for that!
Fly free, Tai’lahr. We will miss you. Safe journeys!