ECW and a misFit book mourn, with the literary, performance, film, art and LGBTQ communities, and with colleagues, friends and family, the loss of RM Vaughan. May the gift of his creations, ideas and love live always in the minds and sprits he’s helped shape, and the hearts he’s touched.
Richard Vaughan led a life that must be celebrated. In recent hours and in the coming days and weeks much has and will be said about his contributions both to Canadian culture and the lives of others. And every word of it is true.
He had a keen critical eye and a sharp tongue. A mischievous sense of fun and a refreshingly honest, self-aware ability to put everything and everyone in the proper place. He championed innovation and beauty and all the best parts of human beings. He was a force and an icon and a rock.
I first met Richard in the early 90s. I worked with him at ECW and with Insomniac Press. He got a few publications out of it—but I received much, much more. Over the course of two decades and 7 different books, poetry and novels, he introduced me to words and perspectives that challenged me to do, and be, better. We saw plays and danced at Buddies. Shot pool on College Street. Walked and talked and drank lots of coffee and tea. He introduced me to writers and artists, books and works of art I will always hold dear. He shared his friends: always fostered real “connection” before that was a word that meant anything. He always gave gifts—and almost always made them. He let me feed his fish: and even that did more for me than for him.
He was classy and smart as fuck and wore the hell out of a scarf before that was a thing.
Richard’s first full length book of poetry, A Dazzling Selection of Scarves, was published in 1996. The cover features mug shot/passport-sized photos of miniature wax or plastic toys. There’s a soldier, an astronaut, a Mountie and a 1984 LJN WWF Superstars Series 1 Big John Studd… In so many ways, Richard was the best kind of warrior, protector and explorer.
The wrestler? This morning I realized that was his way of both saying thank you and putting me in my place.
Thank you for everything you did for ECW, dear friend. Thank you for everything you did for me.
— Michael Holmes, Executive Editor