Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How Does A Dragon Say Goodbye?

There are times when a picture can say it better than any words I can write.  It was a stormy day here in the Maritimes as the first heavy snowfall of the season played havoc with schools and road.  I also discovered that one of my favourite authors on the whole planet passed away two days ago.

I was a gangly 13 year old when I first read the Dragonriders of Pern trilogy and the sub trilogy of Dragon Song, Dragon Singer, Dragon Drums.  Somehow, between those pages where Anne McCaffrey wove such intricate and riveting stories,  I found hours of solace and comfort during my parents’ divorce, the adjustment to high school and the general trials that all teenagers face.  I know I was just one of many readers to long for a world with dragons in it.  Like Madeleine L’Engle, Anne’s stories challenged me to keep believing in those unbelievable and magical creatures that the rest of the world tends to want to stuff in a box marked “For Children Only”.  

I don’t think I would have loved Fantasy quite as much in a world without McCaffrey’s tales.  I know that drawing, designing and creating my own dragons flowed from those early images that her words would paint in my brain as I read each story or dreamed of slipping into that world.

I saw Anne McCaffrey at DragonCon in 2005 when I celebrated my 40th birthday by painting myself green and entering the Costume contest as She-Hulk.  While she looked frail, her eyes still sparkled and her son, Todd was ever at her side.  His stories set in the world she created will ease the loss I feel today... a loss that is such a pale echo of what he must be going through.

I am sure that dragons and fans are keening around the world right now...