A.C. Crispin

*sigh* Ann Crispin has publicly announced that she is (to borrow the words of another SF writer earlier this year) very poorly. Her battle with cancer has gone badly, and she’s dying.

I’ve actually known this for weeks, having become close with her over the past months and having had the chance to talk to her on the phone a couple of times. I’ve been–this sounds awkward, but it’s true–I’ve been hoping she would decide to tell people before it was time for her husband to post and say she was gone. After watching the outpouring of love for Iain Banks, I just…I wanted Ann to see that same kind of response from her readers before she died.

And she is. There are hundreds of comments and posts on her Facebook page, expressing their love for her and her writing, and for the ways her stories and advice have touched people over the years. I’m so glad of that, because she’s meant a great deal to me, and I hoped others had similar stories to tell. There are so many of them, too, that are being posted.

I’ve written any number of times about her influence on me, about the letter I wrote to her when I was fifteen, and the four-page, legal-sized handwritten letter she responded with, encouraging me to write and telling me anecdotes of her own early adventures in publishing. I came across that letter recently and should probably take the time now to actually dig through that giant box of correspondence to find it and get it scanned before it’s too late.

On a professional level, I’m crushed, because I’d still harbored the hope of writing a StarBridge novel with Ann someday. On a personal level, I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve gotten to know one of my writing heroes, even gotten to talk to her on the phone. I wish like hell I’d been able to meet her in real life. I hope the last days and weeks of her life are gentle, and I’ll miss her very much.