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Friday, January 30, 2004


Over the last few weeks, Buhbuhcuh Fairchild has been building a massive, vaulting structure in Welsh, and with its gleaming, flying buttresses, it looks for all the world like a house of worship.

"It's not really a church," he tells me. "I have wanted to play with the idea of flying buttresses for a while. Unfortunately we always associate buttresses with cathedrals and other big, gothic church-type buildings; I just think it's a neat architecture."

But during construction, the outside world intruded with grim news: Buhbuhcuh's real life father had been killed in a tragic accident.

So Fairchild created a plaque in memory of his father, and installed it at the base of the building's foundation. "[M]ost of it I did the afternoon and evening after I heard about the accident," he says. "Creativity has always been therapeutic for me, and the emotions I was feeling after finding out were very much a driving force."

He told a handful of in-world friends the news, but for the most part, let the plaque speak for itself. "I felt I needed to tell someone that it had happened... but once I made it, I pointed it out to a few people, but not many. Just having it somewhere where people could find it was enough."

They did. "Look at BBC's plaque to his father," Maggie Miller told me by IM. "He hasn't said a word...just put the plaque there." Others got wind of it, too. And when BuhBuhCuh returned from the funeral services, and visited the construction site, he found several vases of flowers, left by residents beneath his plaque.

"The flowers were unexpected and lovely," he says. Over the last week, more appeared. Someone added a candle, too; another, a glowing sphere that read, "Your love and memories of each other will always shine bright in your heart."

So what began as Buhbuhcuh's project to create a new home for himself became something much more than that.

"He was pretty religious," he says of his father. "His father and grandfather were ministers (he was a chemist though, but very active in the church). All the inspiration I had was I wanted to build something beautiful; the design of the buttress was done before I had found out [about his death]. But I knew it would be good, and after I found out, I decided to continue it in his memory."

"So the whole thing became a tribute to him, in memory of your father?"

"Yeah, kind of for him," Buhbuhcuh tells me, "even though I imagine he would rather have me get outside and do something."

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