“Bend down,” she said. “Bend down so I can get over you.”

About a month ago, I found myself, by complete chance, at a book signing for Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist at the Strand. It was 30º and they made us wait outside for two hours. “The things I do for my heroes,” I complained.

We only spoke for a few minutes, but it was worth it. I told her Surrender the Pink was underrated, and one of my all time favorites. “It’s about Paul!” she whispered, but it came out as more of a shout and I laughed and nodded. I said all the things you want to tell your heroes: how I was a writer, too, how her style has influenced mine, especially her novels, even though I write non-fiction, how I just wanted to thank her for everything.

She stopped signing, looked up at me, and did this thing that not every older writer who I say that to does — because how many girls like me say they’re writers, but they just *aren’t*, you know? — and she may not have realized it, but it meant the world to me. She looked me dead in the eye, almost like how an animal can smell one of its own. She was a little amused, but mostly serious. She said a thousand pieces of advice in that one look before she earnestly told me to keep at it, to write what I want to write, and to never let anybody get in the way.

This loss hurts a lot. This hurts deeply, to the point where I haven’t said all I’d like to say, but I just can’t form the thoughts. Carrie Fisher is one of my few heroes. She made me laugh. She made me cry. She taught me to be brave and unapologetic. She taught me to tell anyone who didn’t like what I did to fuck off. She taught me how to write. She taught me so much more. To say I am devastated would be an understatement. Rest in piece, Carrie. Your influence will not be forgotten.

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