Carrie Fisher, gone five years yesterday.
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 anymore if I’d actually known her.
To Fisher’s credit, she did not show resentment towards the films that made her an icon, although she was not above poking fun at how ridiculous the entire experience could be at times. In a recent interview with CBC News, she scoffed at the idea that the “Star Wars” films were somehow a drag for her or a drag on her career, saying, “I got to be the only girl in an all-boy fantasy, and it’s a great role for women. She’s a very proactive character and gets the job done. So if you’re going to get typecast as something, that might as well be it for me.” Her struggles with mental illness and drug addiction are well-known. One of the funniest stories she tells in “Wishful Drinking” was when she learned that a photograph of her as Princess Leia was on the page opposite the Bipolar diagnosis entry in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. She said, “So not only am I a Pez Dispenser, but I am also used as an illustration in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.”
You cannot make this stuff up, and Fisher, a brilliant social critic with a screwball sense of humor and sharp eyes that saw everything, knew it. So, finally, thank goodness, she picked up a pen and started writing it all down. Our lives are the richer for it.