Carrie Fisher died five years ago today. I still mourn for her, still get teary-eyed when this day rolls around and I read her daughter Billie’s annual tributes, and on some level, I know it’s crazy because I didn’t really know her. I met her once and spoke with her for about 90 seconds. I had a boyhood crush that became a middle-aged-manhood crush when she flashed those deep brown eyes at me across a book-signing table. But… it feels like I knew her. It feels like we all did. And how could we not? We grew up with her. Princess Leia was our big sister, our first crush, our hero. General Leia was our mom… and our hero… and maybe our continuing crush, too. And figuring out where Leia stopped and Carrie began was very, very difficult, even for Carrie. Maybe especially for Carrie.
I’ve written a lot of dead-celebrity posts on this blog over the years. Some of them have been quite good, if I say so myself. And they’ve all been from the heart; I always feel genuine emotion about the loss of the people whose work matters to me. But not like Carrie. Not like her. I’m not ashamed to say that when Carrie Fisher died, a big part of me went with her. A part that came from childhood and from adolescence, from my imagination since I was seven years old, and from the reality of the woman I once met and wished I could’ve spent more time with and really gotten to know as a friend. I don’t know how I could’ve loved her any more if I’d actually known her.
Here’s a photo of her that I particularly like.