Laura Eilers, 1969–2023

Laura B. Eilers, the entirely lovely and often effervescent founder of The Frumious Consortium, died in mid-July — suddenly, absurdly, unexpectedly, and entirely too soon. She built community wherever she went. Frumious began as a project to bring together some of her friends from around the world with a slightly writerly bent, give them a platform, and encourage them to gyre and gimble in this virtual wabe. She had such fun sending and receiving things through the mail, encouraging others across the continents to do the same with art and flair, that she set up a web site to help people do just that, and to share their artful efforts online.

She was an ardent Captain America fan, apparently well known in their online forums. She traveled to London in 2018 specifically to see her Cap people there. She was kind enough to share some of her time in London with me. We hung out a bit, had dim sum, and took in a performance of Hamilton, not least because she had discovered that great seats in London cost less than half what mediocre seats would have cost in the Washington DC area where she lived. I’ve been trying to remember when I had last seen her in person before that, and I can’t really. She moved to DC after I left, so it probably wasn’t there, and before that I dunno. Online was a natural habitat for her, and since we found each other again — first when e-mail became common and then more strongly when social media came along — we carried on our sporadic conversation with the ease of old friends who are looking forward to knowing each other for a long time to come.

When I wrote asking whether she knew there was a Laura Eilers who was a podiatrist in Belgium, she replied “We’re a diverse lot. We also won Miss Virginia, sell vitamins, and coach cheerleading!” Picture bright blue eyes and a sly grin to go with that, and you’ve got Laura to a T.

We had known each other since middle school. She was central to a sprawling group of friends — smart, arty, off-beat people who didn’t feel that we really fit in with 1980s south Louisiana. Not everybody did all of the things, but a lot of us played D&D, read comics, read fantasy and science fiction, wrote and drew fannish things, played in the school band or orchestra, did dance, went to Rocky Horror. There were group politics and youthful drama, but there was community for teens for whom it might have otherwise been in short supply. Seeing how Laura kept connecting people throughout her life, I can’t help but think she was a big reason why. Then we finished school and practically all of us left Louisiana. Some are mathematicians, some are carpenters’ wives, as the song goes. I do know how it all got started, and though I don’t know what they’re all doing with their lives, sharing the news of Laura’s passing has helped me find some of them I hadn’t heard from in years. And there she is again, building community, even in death.

And so Frumious will keep on keeping on, like the jubjub bird that flew, writing just for you.

Permanent link to this article:


1 pings

  1. Laura might not have been the first person to ever believe I could make a go of this book criticism thing, but she was absolutely the first to give me material support for it. Between creating this site to give us all a platform to talk about books and connecting me with so many resources, including my current employer, she did more to launch my career than anyone else. She was a living example of faith being nothing without works.

    The thing is, we never even shared a lot of time together in person. We met at a Spycraft RPG table, and bonded not only over role-playing, but over my knitting. She would hold my wool while I wound it as we played. She was always so quietly supportive, and made sure to reach out from time to time with emails after our RPG group broke up. I’ve never met anyone as generous and thoughtful with her time and efforts as Laura. The world lost a light with her passing, but her legacy lives strong in the way she inspired so many of us to keep shining.

  1. […] of this may be due to how eager I am for 2024 to get into gear. 2023 was HARD, y’all. The founder of The Frumious Consortium unexpectedly died, leaving me and Doug to muddle through as best we […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.