The last 24 hours have been a quiet one in our household. Yesterday I broke the news through tears to my husband who then wandered the house repeatedly mumbling “Shit, shit shit. Well shit” to himself before disappearing into the bedroom to take a 3 hour nap (this is how he processes things). I cried myself to sleep next to him. We both idolized Carrie Fisher. The engagement rings we wear around our neck say “I love you” and “I know.” The His/Her towels in the bathroom read the same thing. Images of Carrie as Leia Organa are in every room of our house. Posters, book covers, my favorite coffee mug, even the handmade fleece blanket on our couch. She has been my hero since my dad first watched Star Wars with me when I was a kid. She’s everywhere I look. There’s no escape.

carrie fisher

Not that I want one. I want her in my life forever. A constant reminder to be as unapologetically me as possible. Wild, crazy, loud, truthful. A princess. A huttslayer. A general. A queen in everything she did. Her acting made her famous, her words made her inspiring, her personality and boldness made her larger than life. My fierce love for her spirit doesn’t end with her passing. She made it her mission to be honest about everything: her life, her mental illness, her past. She was an open book and never once apologized for it. I want to live like that. I’ll work towards that. To be an advocate like her. To be a beautiful, wise, fierce warrior princess with wit and charm that strike as sharply as a blaster pistol. It takes work. But Carrier Fisher did it all. The galaxy is emptier now without her.

carrie fisher

“I laugh a lot, actually. A lot. I’ve gotten to an age where I enjoy my life. I’ve spent enough time struggling with it, and at this point it’s living on one side of the magnifying glass; I stay on the side of making big things appear small. I enjoy myself and I have a lot of good friends, good relationships. You learn to get there. Having gone through a lot of stuff I’ve gone through—I don’t want to do that stuff anymore. I take care of myself best as I can. I do the best imitation of maturity I can possibly muster.” – Carrie Fisher

I will take care of myself best as I can and I will do the best imitation of maturity I can muster. Her legacy will not be forgotten. Thank you for everything, Carrie Fisher. You will always be royalty to us.

15727224_638069861827_8439810064102300157_n

EDIT: 12/28/16 8:00pm – Debbie Reynolds, I’ve just learned, miss her daughter so much, she joined her. I’m stunned. I can’t believe how fast people pass. How easy it is for someone to be here and then just gone. My heart and love and support go out to Debbie and Carrie’s family, friends, and fans. I’m looking forward to 2016 being done. This is just. Too much.

Eulalia! R.I.P. Brian Jacques

When I was in sixth grade, my cousin introduced me to a book series that changed my life. Walking into the library of Phoenix Middle School, I would make a beeline to the bookshelves that lined the wall on the left. Second bookshelf in, second shelf down. I was more familiar with this area than any other and I’m pretty sure I checked those books out more than anyone else.

Redwall by Brian Jacques. The first website I ever created housed my Redwall fanfiction and fanart. I had a page of Redwall quotes and book reviews. That artwork and that “Redwall Story” I wrote were the first things I ever posted online. The first forum I ever took part in was in the ROC (Redwall Online Community) and the very first character I ever RP’d was Mara Treeflyer – a squirrel maiden that lived within the walls of Redwall Abbey.

While the site and fanart and fanfiction dwindled after I went to college, I never stopped reading every book Brian Jacques came out with. The Sable Queen came out last year and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’ve stayed up to date with his books since 1997. There is nothing better than curling up with a big blanket, and a dog, and a Redwall book on a rainy afternoon and losing myself to the stories of Martin the Warrior and Constance the Badger and the great hares of Salamandastron.

So when I heard the news yesterday, that one of greatest and most inspirational children’s author that ever walked this earth had passed away, I was dumbfounded. Of any author (other than, perhaps, Tolkien), he has made the biggest impact on my life. That first story, that first artwork, the very first WEBSITE (!) I ever showed anyone other than my family were all based on Redwall. My best friend? I met because of a forum where I posted Redwall-inspired artwork. I most likely wouldn’t be where I am now, a writer and illustrator and web designer, if I hadn’t read the Redwall series and been inspired to take part in the ROC.

I won’t lie. When I heard the news I cried. I felt like a dear, old friend had passed away. His voice lulled me to sleep many times while I listened to my Redwall tapes. No on in the world could speak Mole speech like he could. I remember road trips with my dad while we both listened to the story of Cluny the Scourage. When I was in high school, I took home my first First Place Ribbon in 4N6 with a fun reading of Cluny and Basil Stag Hare. Redwall is entwined in my life.

Brian Jacques, thank you for every word you ever wrote down. Thank you for Cornflower and Jess Squirrel and Gonff. Thank you for Samkin, Triss, Basil and Constance. Thank you for Salamandastron and Mossflower and Loamhedge and, most importantly, for Redwall Abbey, where all the stories are told. And thank you for Benn and Denmark, too. I wish there had been more stories about those two. Thank you for introducing me to some amazing friends who have changed my life and who have made me a better artist and writer. Thank you for the amazing life you shared with us.

“Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.”

Eulalia.

Images from my favorite Redwall illustrator Christopher Denise.