I got to push Anne McCaffrey’s wheelchair once.
It was at an event in Seattle–the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, I believe. One of Anne’s researchers was a friend, and I pitched in to help that weekend, as well as to attend the ceremony.
The best part was standing next to Anne, in front of a glass case holding the typed manuscript of Dragonflight. I’m not gonna lie: I cried. It was that beautiful. It was something I never in a million years I thought I would have a chance to do. It was magic.
Anne was warm and generous, with an ever-mischievous twinkle in her eye. We emailed a bit. I will never forget how gracious she was to a starting-out author. She told me she liked the Watcher series and the Danny Valentine books. I’d sign copies for her, and her researcher would send them to Ireland. It made me warm and happy inside to think she was reading them–that I could maybe, in some small way, give her a tiny bit of joy in return for the great gift of Pern, the dragons, Restoree, the coelura…such richness she gave us, so unstintingly.
Anne passed away today. The world is sadder, duller, and a little more frayed. The dragons are mourning, and the harps are stilled.
Rest peacefully, ma’am. Thank you for your books, and thank you also for having time to be gracious to a scared newbie writer. You were endlessly kind, and I thank the gods we still have your books.
Thank you. Thank you so much. Sleep well.