2016 was a pretty fucked up year, huh? Good things did happen, for me. I signed three books. I get to hang out every day with the most awesome friends on the planet. But there’s no denying this year was rough. Aside from the absolute and ongoing horror of the political world, we lost so many people. Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, George Michael. Scott Weiland died in December of 2015, but god, it was sort of the start of it, and it’s going to take me a long time to remember that the guy whose music I grew up listening to isn’t here anymore. And now Carrie Fisher has passed away.
If you haven’t heard me go on about how important the original three Star Wars movies are to me… then we probably haven’t hung out enough. Star Wars is one of the earliest movie memories I have- not a Disney film or some other kids’ movie, but this: a war going on in space, the battle between good and evil, character relationships that get all tangled together, robots and Ewoks and Wookies, a mystical Force. Really, my obsession with Star Wars probably tells you all you need to know about me. I loved it, that first time I saw it. I was maybe… six? Or seven? I remember I dreamed about it. It just so completely captivated my mind.
I still rewatch those three Star Wars movies every year, right around the holiday season. I’ve seen them hundreds of times- this is no exaggeration. My brother got the remastered box set one year (on VHS because… yeah, I’m old enough to remember when you had to rewind tapes) for Christmas and we watched it Every. Single. Day. For months. And I’m still not bored with them. There’s never a time when they come on that I don’t want to watch. They shaped me, you see. They shaped the way I write- the genres I want to write in, the stories I want to tell, the characters I want in those stories. But they also shaped me as a person, from that super young age. They changed how I think about things. They showed me what kind of person I wanted to be. And maybe that sounds dramatic, because they’re just movies. But I truly think most of my life has been molded by the creativity and art I’ve taken in, and Star Wars was one of the first of those. The first that made an impact. And it was a huge impact.
And Carrie Fisher had so much to do with that. Princess Leia… What an amazing character. So tough, so elegant, so smart. Watching Princess Leia on screen showed me what kind of person I wanted to be. She showed me I could do anything. She was a role model for me. She showed me it was okay to be whoever I wanted to be.
And when I saw Carrie Fisher later in interviews, when I saw how funny and personable and quick and kind she was in real life, I fell all the more in love with her. I still wanted to grow up to be her. I still admired her- admired her more. So you see, the fact that she is gone has left a hole in the fabric that makes up my world. And I am only one person. She touched so many people’s lives, through her movies, through her conversations, through her thoughts. (And wow, were a lot of holes getting cut into our collective fabrics this year.)
Anyway. I guess I’m not really sure what the point of this was. I really did plan to write something mushy and sweet and happy for the end of the year. Good things have happened to me. Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest person on the planet, to be surrounded by the best friends, to be able to write, to have made it to where I’ve made it. But I’ll miss Carrie Fisher. And I’ll miss David Bowie. And I’ll miss Prince and George Michael and Scott Weiland and Alan Rickman and everyone else who went too soon. They all had a hand in shaping me, in making my life better, in showing me what I liked and who I wanted to be and how I wanted to create. And I guess I just… wanted to say that somewhere.