We all have people in our lives (special, wondrous people) that make an impact far beyond what they should or intend.
For me, that person was Anne McCaffrey.
I’m not sure many of you know that Ms. McCaffrey passed on after having a stroke on the 21st of November, 2011…and the world is a darker place for it. I have lost one of my true heroes.
In 7th Grade, while preparing to drive across Kansas yet again (when you live in Missouri, it seems EVERY trip you take involves crossing one of the most bland states in the country – aka Kansas), I begged my Mom to buy me a book to keep me company. She relented, and when I saw the cover for Dragonsdawn (with Sorka in her yellow flight suit, arms outstretched and tiny dragons circling around her) I was sold.
That little paperback (and yes, I still have it) kept me busy all that night and the next day. Kansas flew past in a blur…and I could not read fast enough to keep up with my desire to know what happened next. I slept with the book curled in close to my body, afraid I would lose it or my place in it as we worked our way back home from our latest vacation.
This was my first real exposure to Science Fiction/Fantasy. I mean, I’d read the genre before, but I was a reader of all things at that time, letting my undeveloped reading palate come into its own…but the moment I began reading McCaffrey, it was over for me. I was hooked on Science Fiction/Fantasy.
Worse yet, I was hooked on writing.
I didn’t know it at the time, I could not have named it if you talked to the younger me, but that book…and the woman who wrote it…set me on a path in which I end up on this blog today. I am happier for it, I am better for it, I am blessed because of it. I am able, through writing, to express and explore things that might otherwise hide inside me…and that would be a shame. I doubt I could be who I am (emotionally open, mentally willing, and brutally aware) had I not found that love of books, that love of genre, that love of writing…and all through the words of one woman.
Now we…I…have lost that woman, and my heart is broken because of it. Still, her words live on, her world lives on, and not just through her son…but through her contemporaries…through her fans…and through amateur writers like me, that can pin the beginning of our long twisted journey to publication on one of her books.
Here is to Anne McCaffrey…the original…the granddame…
Not gone, just gone between.