If you were expecting Troy, then I’m sorry to disappoint you. This is Big Dog, former Booklikes member, Facebook user, and sporadic blogger at best. Some of you may know me, some of you may not. Suffice to say he’s been my best friend for nearly 20 years, or near enough to make little matter.
This begs the question, what am I doing here on his blog? Good question. Fair point to you for asking. I think the best thing I can do is to answer it by telling a story that starts last Friday. Much like the rest of you, I learned that Carrie Fisher was rushed to UCLA hospital after having a heart attack. I’m not going to report the news, because if you have any access to the internet, you pretty much know the chain of events. For the parts of the day that I was at the house, I was constantly checking for updates on her condition. I wanted to know what was going on as soon as I could find out. What I found was that many people were posting various get well soon messages, and some real assholes were posting RIP messages. I was taken back, because how dare they pull the plug on her. At least, those were few and far between. Still, I was trying to find my own words. All I could say was please, not her.
Saturday came around, and even though I tried not to keep looking at the net, I was constantly going back to see what her brother, her daughter, or even her mother had to say. The news that they were going to stand back and let the doctors work seemed like the best thing they could do. Which means that it was going to be some time before any real news could be passed around. At best, they might tell us she was stable. Stable doesn’t mean out of danger, but it was some thread of hope. I was looking for that. So I added my own prayers to the mix, because I believe in positive energy. I’ve seen miracles happen before, and she was tougher than tough. So I decided that the prayer I’d offer up is the my memory of meeting her. I told people that most individuals only do this when someone passes away. I understand the practice, but at the same time, these stories can be very positive. If they are, and can create the very energy we’re looking for, then isn’t it a prayer in of itself? A wordy one perhaps, but it’s still a prayer.
In 2011 my life turned to complete shit. My wife and I had separated, someone who had been my constant companion for 8 years, and I didn’t know which end of the world was up anymore. One thing that always pulled me out of the doldrums was the idea that in May I would be in the company of the fan community meeting Leonard Nimoy and Carrie Fisher. I was so excited. My adrenaline was pumping like crazy about the very notion. It meant that not only would I be meeting these two, but it meant I needed to get to work, and right away! I had it all in mind. For Mr. Nimoy it would be him in his black Vulcan robes. Why not his Starfleet uniform? All I can say is that I loved that look on him when he was in his downtime. Besides, it was a really nice robe. As far Carrie Fisher, I could have gone with the buns or bikini, but neither of those looks made me fall for her. I had it in mind, the quintessential moment where you see tough as nails meets someone who was vulnerable. It was the scene in Empire Strikes Back where she’s staring at Han from across the control center. She was absolutely beautiful in that moment. Not that she wasn’t anyway, but it was the very first time I noticed. Mind you, I was not even 4 when I had this thought. It was romantic or lustful, but a mere child who saw a strong angel-lady. It took a lot of hours to get it to look right, but I was dedicated in getting it done. First drawing I did looked more like Cobie Smulders rather than Carrie Fisher, but once I got the pencils down, I went straight to work on the marker coloring. I fought hard on a couple parts to make sure it wasn’t off, but it was so worth it.
When we got to the convention center we were pretty much straight to the Leonard Nimoy line. It was long, and it seemed like it would be impossible for him to get everyone through it. In order to combat that, he started signing 30 minutes early and was all smiles while doing it. I was so pumped after that, I was riding high on adrenaline when I ran out of his line and straight into Carrie Fisher’s. She sat there in her own little room, her people on either side and wearing sunglasses. She was giving a few minutes of time to every person in her line which meant a great deal to every fan in there. When I moved up to her, the person who took the autograph fee was complimenting me on my work, which made me smile. As soon as Miss Fisher spotted it, she gave me the “Oh, wow” and asked if I had done the work. I confirmed that I had, and she asked to see my other pieces. Like I was going to turn that down! I showed her with a smile on my face, and told her I only did these when I knew the celebrity was going to show up. It made it special to me to have their autograph, and it meant more being on my work. The entire time, she’s not looking at me through the sunglasses, she’s looking over them. She told me thank you for giving her that nice pissed off look, which I smiled from ear to ear about, and went upon my merry way. She gave me the moment, she let me love her and she loved me back for that small amount of time. We weren’t best friends. She wasn’t going to call me and ask to do lunch. Outside of a convention, we’d likely not meet again, but she made me want to know more about Carrie Fisher the person vs. Princess Leia.
I delved further into her story after that. Of course I’d heard stories already, but it’s nothing compared to actually going through her autobiographies (the second of which came out that year) and getting to know who she was as a person and what all happened to her life to lead to so many problems. Careful when you ask that question. I have a fond saying that people rarely ask questions they want answers to. What I mean by that is someone usually asks an uncomfortable question and another person obliges with a just as uncomfortable answer. That’s the sort of thing I was asking, and she delivered those answers as uncomfortably, but truthful, as she could in her autobiographies. There was no apologies to her stream of information, but what there was showed so much humor, hope, and heartache. She would have me laughing hysterically one moment and in tears the next. If anyone else were to tell you this story, you would likely call them liars, but from her it was completely believable. It was all her, and it was all exposed. So much of herself in that Hollywood world. Royalty of that life, and yet so much like us that she was accessible. She had to go through a lot to find that part of herself, but she did and it was beyond amazing.
I told a very abbreviated version of this on Facebook, but it was in the hopes that somehow or some way that she would recover from this horrible event and that somehow I would be able to tell her thank you. Thank you for being there at a time in my life when everything was going to Hell. Thank you for showing me that I really wasn’t alone, and that it could be so much worse! Thank you for sharing how it could get better, and still managing to give so much of herself in personal appearances and entertainment. That’s a lot for anyone, ANYONE.
Now to answer the question as to what I’m doing here. I sent Troy the picture above. The very piece I had her sign for me. I asked him to post it for me, because I wanted to share this with the many people out there that loved Carrie Fisher as much as I know he did and as much as I did. So instead he decided to let me speak my peace as I have no blog of my own to do so.. Thank you for that, Troy. I guess on occasion I can now throw out an opinion or two as I see fit. Hopefully, you’ll understand why tonight I was compelled to.
She’s gone now, and my heart is broken. As much as I have said, about this all I could say was that I hoped beyond hope that it wouldn’t come to this. Her life was cut far too short, like so many others this year. Still, as much of a fighter as she was, I truly thought she would make it. I will never get the opportunity to tell this all to her face, and I’d have paid to do that all over again. I’ve read many stories from those that knew her, and those that have had similar experiences as I have. It’s connected us all. Rest in peace, Carrie Fisher. You have more than earned that peace. Much love to you, you will sorely be missed.