Dearly Departed: Carrie Fisher, 1956-2016

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“There is no point at which you can say, ‘Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap.’”

-Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking

Of all the great talents we have lost this year, this loss hits especially hard. I shudder to think of what more might be in store in these last four days of this watershed year.

Why this hits hard: when you’re an adult, yet you still dress up as Princess Leia once a year, that means the roles played by Carrie Fisher have transcended run-of-the-mill stardom in your life.

But it’s not just her integral part in the whole Star Wars galaxy. I’ve admired Carrie Fisher the writer for decades now. I remember reading all the promotional material around Postcards from the Edge when I was in college. She published the book during my first year, and the movie came out toward the end of my time in school. I took note of both her honesty and fearlessness.

It was also around that time that I discovered Carrie Fisher was a much-sought-after script doctor. Back then, I’m not sure I knew that such a vocation even existed. I wish I could say I have since become a script doctor or ghostwriter of some renown, but I would not be emulating Carrie Fisher’s honesty if I did. But the point is that I still have that aspiration, due, in large part, to her.

And of all the work she’s done in movies, either on the screen or as a writer, there is one tiny cameo role that stands out in my memory. It’s in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I think Carrie Fisher has less than two minutes of screen time. But the context, the comedic timing, the dialogue is all so pitch perfect; it’s hard to forget.

I’ll leave you with one last quote attributed to Carrie Fisher. I don’t know where it’s from:

I don’t want my life to imitate art, I want my life to be art.

I hope she realized before the end that she managed to accomplish this—in funny, fiery, and downright heroic fashion.

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