backAmong Johndan's Texts

from Cheryl E. Ball, in November

I am bowled over having just heard about Johndan Johnson-Eilola's passing on Sunday, Nov. 12. Clarkson U sent out an announcement that you can read on other C&Wers' pages. Doug and I had been talking a lot about Johndan last week, during one of our bi-weekly Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, Pedagogy book meetings, when we realized that—despite all the places we had talked about the origin story of Kairos, that story had never been adequately published. Johndan was part of the originating staff and was still an active editorial board member. I emailed him just last week to ask about some of the first-issue memories, and he reported back quickly that while he didn't recall much, he remembered that it was rushed (lol, so typical of Kairos's early years) and that he looked forward to reading the full history.

Johndan was a kind and mentoring soul who always seemed to make time for me when I needed something. He was the revered hypertextual pre-cursor who had graduated before me at Michigan Tech, and whose work was always invoked as an example for my own—examples I cherished because his thinking and writing could be very experimental, and that gave me the power to do the same. He was the instigation, perhaps even unknown to him at the start, for Scholarnames, because someone asked me backchannel how to pronounce his name. I thought about him way more often than seems reasonable for someone I've only seen a handful of times in the last 25 years, but every time I did it was in happiness and gratefulness.

I am surprised and grieving today, but I'm so, so grateful to have known him. His living spirit will continue on in etheric spirit for all of us, and I wish him and his family well in his passing.

That history Cheryl mentions is available on Publishing Digital Scholarship