Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rest In Peace Anne McCaffrey

I've come out of my blog hiatus because Anne McCaffrey has passed away.

I learned about her death this afternoon from a facebook update by Brandon Sanderson. At the time I was sad and horrified, but as the day has gone on and the reality has set in, I've realized how truly sad I am.

It's not just that a legend has died. It's not just that a woman who changed how women were viewed in Science Fiction died. It's that someone who personally affected my life has died. I can't think of middle school without thinking of going to the library and checking out a Pern book.

I can't express how those books have affected me. I tried to express it somewhat in this post. But I don't think that post does it justice. I don't think anything can.

Anne McCaffrey taught me that women can be strong and that they can succeed in a society in men. Not by being bullies or purposefully defying them, but by just being awesome. Menolly didn't have to overthrow Harper Hall to become great. She just did her best and strove to be great.

It was from Anne McCaffrey that I first learned that often the biggest fight being a woman in a man's world is not with men, but with women. Most of the male apprentices accepted Menolly, but the female singers shunned her for thinking she could be a harper, for thinking she was better than them.

I'm not sure this post is making any sense. Maybe its because I've spent the entire day staring at my computer. Maybe its because I kind of just want to cry that a woman who has been like a mentor to me, even though I've never met her, has died.

Anne McCaffrey shaped how I view women, and how I view my place in the world as a woman. I am a woman in a man's world--the man's world of engineering--but I know I can succeed because Anne McCaffrey taught me about the sorts of barriers I will come up against and the appropriate ways to handle them.

So thank you, Anne McCaffrey. You will be missed. I will miss you.

And now I'm going to curl up with "The Smallest Dragonboy" and remember the woman who has shaped the woman I am today.

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