Another star has fallen, this one right in our backyard.
It doesn’t seem right to be writing an obit for Beth, Moviehole’s original co-creator. Someone with such life, someone who gave so much, and someone who spoke recurrently and fervently of the future. Alas, as my stinging heart and pastel face will attest, I know it to be true. She’s gone. And the world is a little less sunny today as a result.
It wasn’t long after I left a job at Disney to return to college that Beth – who I had connected with, literally and figuratively, in a chat room (movies, of course) online – and I decided we needed to get a website going. We both loved film and music, saw every darn film that came out, and had a passion for writing. We hoped people would like hearing what we thought of this movie or that movie as much as we liked hearing about them from each other. We were driven. Helped too that I’d picked up some website building skills in recent months. ‘Moviehole’ would be an online portal where you could hear from two voices – one a male, one a female, on the same movie. Those different perspectives might make for interesting reading.
Much to our surprise, Moviehole slowly but confidently began to find it’s audience – as well as it’s staff (around the time, if memory serves me right, were Duncan, Kimberley, Lori, Tosia, Gareth) – and Beth and I would soon find ourselves presented with some pretty great opportunities. Whether it be doing spots on radio or TV, or freelancing for magazines and newspapers, the website became a calling card. Our portfolio. And while I’ll never be quite sure whether it was because of our writing and personalities or just the simple fact that there weren’t many other movie websites around at the time (not here, anyway), we owe it- and our friendship – a lot. Beth decided not to pursue entertainment journalism, beyond Moviehole, but until her final moments claims it to be one of her proudest achievements. It was one of the few things that made her smile. As I write this, I can still see her messages, saying how proud of it was she was… but mainly me, for going on to do what she believed were amazing things, as she watched on the sidelines applauding her old teammate. It hurts to continue on that, so let’s leave it there.
It’s customary to sing the praises of a person after they’ve gone, but believe me, Beth really was the goods. A bright, bubbly, intelligent and sincere woman – one of those selfless beings that constantly put others first (more on that later) – Beth wanted to be there for everyone and usually was. She was a real rock. A couple of minutes on Skype with her, and she’d turn that frown around. She was the human equivalent of fireflies in a jar – concealed and slightly sheltered but always sparkling, forever giving people the best of her. She wanted people to be happy. Like those fireflies, buzzing about and knocking themselves out for the sake of others pleasure, there was something sad behind the eyes. Beth couldn’t breathe in the joy, she could only breathe it out.
Anxiety isn’t anything to be ashamed of, nor does it make you any different to anyone else. If anything, you are even more special – you feel emotions at a much higher degree than others do. Please believe that. Please never be afraid to talk about it, or seek support, because even when it might seem so, you really aren’t alone. It breaks so many hearts to think of you out there struggling, hurting so significantly on the inside, and fearful of what may lie ahead. Ask for someone’s hand to hand. I know I’ll hold it. And I know others will too.
You mightn’t immediately recognize Beth’s contribution, but if you’re an avid reader of Moviehole I’d like you to. She was our first-ever female contributor, part of the brains behind our amusing name and our very first design, and predominantly, the one that set the kind of humorous, lighthearted say-what-you-feel tone that became one of our calling cards. Her writing was intelligent, personal and honest – and no surprise, Beth was a Yahoo! Of music and movies, titles, names, awards and chart success engraved in her head. Having spent most of her younger years, into her twenties, around bands (some even quite famous) and actors (she knew Christopher McDonald quite well), her knowledge and love of the industry just flowed through her veins. And don’t even get me started on how she knew so much about her crush Timothy Olyphant. She was indeed the perfect person to run an entertainment website. To all those readers who’ve gotten something out of reading the site every day to the staff who’ve used it as a launching pad for their own careers, from time to time please remember the woman who helped make it possible.
Business aside, Beth was my friend, the kind of rare, self-sacrificing being that would simply ‘check in’ every couple of weeks just to see how things were going. In recent years, she was there through my divorce and helping me navigate my way back to singledom, and with her tips and unrestricted advice, she helped me become a stronger and more confident single parent, and when ill, there was barely a day she didn’t check in on me.
Last week, realizing I’d been so busy with work I hadn’t been in contact for a few weeks, Beth dropped me a quick line just to tell me to please take care of myself, because “you’re important”, and not burnt the candle so heavily on both ends that it undoes me. As it would turn out, the only flame that extinguished this week would be Beth’s – but that doesn’t mean she’ll always burn bright, especially in my heart.
Sleep well my friend. I’ll miss you.