Today is the anniversary of Carrie Fisher’s death, so a lot of folks are posting about Leia on social media. I get it. I’m an introverted dork, so of course I love Star Wars. Leia was the only princess I ever wanted to be growing up. I made J dress up as Han Solo so I could be Leia one year for Halloween. As an adult. (She choked Jabba the Hut to DEATH with the chain he made her wear. There IS nothing more bad ass than that.)
(No. I’m not gonna put up a photo in the gold bikini…because she fucking hated it. Besides, look how absolutely beautiful she is as Leia in THAT one.^^^^)
And a lot of people are (thankfully, rightfully) talking about her advocacy when it came to addiction and mental illness. And I have anxiety that I struggle with often. So I am so grateful for her openness and stigma-busting. For her courage. For her ‘this is me and if you don’t like it, fuck YOU’ attitude. She was funny and creative and an amazing writer. If you haven’t read Postcards From the Edge, read it. (The movie with Meryl Streep was good, but…as nearly always…the book is better. Read the book. You’ll read it in her voice. I did. It was pretty awesome.)
I looked up to Carrie Fisher for so, so many reasons (and she obviously still inspires me).
But if I’m honest, my favorite thing about her were her supporting roles. A lot of folks gloss over them, because they weren’t (to most people) iconic like Leia, or even her public figure status as herself.
Remember this one?
Yeah. It was a comedy. She was funny. She was an overblown caricature of a jilted girlfriend. But Carrie Fisher still taught me not to let a man trifle with my feelings.
How about this one?
Again. Comedy. She played the straight woman to Tom Hanks’ classic freak out (nobody does a comedic freak out like Tom Hanks…except maybe Kermit the Frog). But Carrie Fisher taught me to stick by the people you love, even when they’re acting a little ‘off.’
And of course…there’s my favorite one. (I AM a sappy, wannabe romance writer, after all. Who doesn’t love Nora Ephron?)
Carrie Fisher was a great friend in When Harry Met Sally. Maybe the BEST ‘friend of the female lead’ EVER. And her sidebar love story with Bruno Kirby wasn’t the top billing in the movie, but it WAS the healthy relationship. Carrie Fisher taught me what a healthy romantic relationship looks like. When I was 12. And damned if I didn’t grow up and marry a guy and have a life that looks almost just like this. None of the big drama like the main characters endure. Just a quiet, peaceful, mutually supportive existence.
I mean…I can see J and myself really having this conversation. ^^^
It SOUNDS like something we’d do/say.
<her phone rings, she answers it>
Him, to her: No one I know would call at this hour.
<his phone rings>
Him, answering his own phone: No one I know would call at this hour.
<both have awkward conversations with friends>
Him: I know.
Her: Tell me I’ll never have to be out there again.
Him: You will NEVER have to be out there again.
I’ve gotten a lot of comments from readers of the fiction I write that they enjoy my ‘supporting casts.’ That I write good ‘side characters’ and ‘subplots.’ That’s honestly because of Carrie Fisher. Her supporting roles, to me, always stole the show. I hope I still do justice to the leads in my stories, but when I write, I want to make sure the supporting cast gets its due. Where would main characters be without friends and families to be there for them in times of trouble to help them make it out? Or help explain to us where they came from and why they are ‘that way?’ Where would any of us be in reality without our supporting casts?
Anyway…thank you, Carrie Fisher. I still miss you every day.
(Still photos from The Empire Strikes Back, The Blues Brothers, The Burbs, and When Harry Met Sally, respectively).