Clare-Marie Grigg was the first editor of Imperica. She passed away last weekend.
We weren't really looking for an editor at the time. The magazine was too young and cashflow was tight. This situation changed very quickly when an email arrived late one morning, which Wendy and I looked at with some interest.
An experienced copywriter and editor had just moved back to Oxfordshire from several years in Canada. Her CV featured highly successful stints at newspapers in Newfoundland, and winning a hell of a lot of business for a communications agency. "Very well", we thought... let's invite her in for a chat.
After Clare had that initial chat with us, it was clear. She was going to be our first editor. We announced it. Let's see how she gets on.
Oh, and she delivered in spades. Her first article was really a litmus test - to see if she "got" what we were trying to do. The answer, as we quickly found from Clare regarding, well, anything we put to her - was a resounding "yes".
From then on, the articles just kept on coming. A dedication of love to John Grant. A profie of Clare Reddington. Incisive nuggets with Georgina Voss. Clare had a beautiful way of gently getting under the skin of people, and honing in on what they're about. There were no ulterior motives; it was simply a wonderful thing to experience, in person and in writing.
I don't have a specific, favourite memory of Clare. That might sound strange, but it's actually because I have many favourite memories - perhaps hundreds. They all centre on one reaction - that perfect smile coupled with her devilish laugh. She had a wonderful, spiky, irreverent inner core - but it complimented her personality and humanity so... beautifully. Sweet and savoury. Yin and yang. It all flowed within her, and she wasn't afraid to show it.
But, Clare, now you've gone.
And, we miss you. We miss you terribly.
You achieved a tremendous amount in your short time on this Earth - your journeys, your stories, your ideas, your... whole idea of what a human being should be about.
And, with that, we're truly grateful that you chose to spend your too-few minutes, hours, days... with us.