On Monday, November 21st our world, our realm, lost a lovely voice in story telling. Anne McCaffrey has left us. Though we all realize that death is inevitable it is with a moment of poignancy that I recall a piece of the harper’s song from her Dragon Rider’s Series:
Your voice is sad and your hands are slow
And your eye meeting mine turns away.
Like so many others, Anne touched my life deeply. The first time I read one of her books I was seventeen and had started on that bumpy path of a maturing young woman. Her stories and the themes in them became a part of the fabric of my life.
Anne’s characters are role models with which we can shape our own lives. They offer each of us encouragement that we can overcome difficulties to grasp our dreams. Just look at three of my personal favorites.
Lessa was an intelligent young woman who had endured life-threatening danger by disguising herself and surviving by her wits.
The uniquely talented Menolly was very unappreciated. She escaped the pigeon hole she was being forced into and with the help of some devoted fire lizards found her niche in her world.
When Killashandra’s dreams were shattered she grasped what opportunity she was given and reinvented herself with outstanding success and happiness.
Anne McCaffrey’s characters are my heros ..but her stories are simply cool. It doesn’t matter the age or gender of the reader, the stories are timelessly universal.
When my son was young he had difficulty learning to read and was falling behind in school. He was a bright child with an atypical learning modality and was getting very discouraged. The easy reader books were okay but the plots didn’t capture his interest. Knowing what he liked I started working with him using my old copies of ‘The Dragon Riders of Pern’ series. It was way over his reading level but was just what he needed to capture his interest.
Every evening we would sit together, in the warm lamp light, and take turns reading to each other from Anne McCaffrey’s captivating stories. We celebrated the successes of the characters and absorbed the nuances of the plots. As the weeks went by his reading improved and the characters ability to overcome adversity and triumph.. became his victory also. Confidence in his natural abilities reasserted itself as it had for Menolly and like on dragon’s wings.. he could fly. It was marvelous.
As a mother I would have given him a dragon if I could. That was not an option but with Anne McCaffrey’s lovely stories I was able to help him find his wings.
To celebrate his achievement I did make him a toy bronze fire lizard though.
There was a small part of me that always wanted to put the little stuffed fire lizard into a suitcase and fly to Ireland, show up at tea time and thank Anne McCaffrey personally. That wasn’t to be .. but I send my thanks and appreciation to you, Anne, where you have gone ‘between’ on dragon wing.