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From the Bird's Beak

Remembering Ann Crispin

Remembering Ann Crispin

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My friend of 38 years and co-author, Ann Crispin, died this morning after an arduous battle with cancer. Ann was so many things to so many people, it's hard to define her. She was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, and a loving friend to more people than I will ever know. To try to grasp a sense of how many lives she touched in her brief time on this Earth, visit her Facebook page and glance at the hundreds of tributes there.

Ann certainly had a profound and positive effect on my life. I would not have enjoyed the last 31 years with my beloved partner, Anne Moroz, if not for Ann Crispin. My partner and I met at a baby shower that my friend Teresa held for Ann C. when she was pregnant with her son. So, I literally owe the happiest years of my life to her. The picture I'm posting, which is from our wedding, shows me(the short one) and my wife (the middle one) with Ann Crispin; one of our happiest days.

Ann was a fine, fine writer, with numerous bestsellers to her credit. But perhaps, more importantly, she was also a teacher who put a lie to the expression, "Those who can't do, teach." I would not be a writer today if not for Ann Crispin. My attempts to sell my writing professionally were not successful until I followed Ann's advice. I am only one of many pro authors Ann helped. Ann once told me the story of a woman who approached her at a convention years ago and thanked Ann for her advice and for a writing class she'd taught that this woman had attended. She told Ann that class had been instrumental in helping her get published. That woman was Jean Auel, who wrote the bestselling Clan of the Cave Bear series. Ann's annual writing workshops at DragonCon were always sold out and for good reason.

Ann didn't just teach others how to be better writers; she fought for us, too. People use the word "hero" too easily these days, but that word isn't big enough for Ann. Ann was a superhero. She didn't need a cape or an Iron Man suit. She had something better; she had her words. Like Zorro, whom she wrote about, or the Lone Ranger, she fought for the underdog, battling evildoers in the real world. She and her friend, Victoria, posted a series at the Science Fiction Writers of America website, called Writer Beware (also on Facebook), where they exposed unscrupulous frauds who earned their dishonest living taking advantage of inexperienced writers. Ann worked with the FBI to expose the worst of these charlatans, people who'd stolen thousands of dollars from their victims. She even testified in court as an expert witness. Like other crusaders, Ann suffered harassment and even death threats from these parasites. It didn't stop her. She kept on fighting them, even when they spread malicious lies about her through the Internet in an attempt to tarnish her name. Like most superheroes, she never received any compensation for that work, efforts that took hours away from the writing that earned her a living wage.

Still, there was so much more to Ann: she was an animal lover, a cat lover, a horsewoman. She was a terrific and inventive cook. She was a Star Trek fan who broke through the professional publishing barrier with her very first book, Yesterday's Son, a Star Trek novel. She had a wonderful sense of humor, sharp, and smart, and so very clever, which she kept right up to the very end. And she was a friend, a wonderful, loving, giving friend with an open heart, who never really knew how beautiful, and smart, and clever, and special she really was.

Her last fight was the one she couldn't win, though she used every weapon at her disposal. She was a soldier, these last two difficult years, in a war not of her choosing. She faced her mortality with all the anger and fear and despair and frustration any of us would feel, and yet struggled to move forward every day. And those of us who could only watch her battle from the sidelines stood in awe as she valiantly tried whatever new treatment the doctors suggested, whatever procedure, no matter how difficult, they thought would help. She fought hard to the very end. Even in this she was a role model, a teacher.

So, whatever else you do today, think of Ann Crispin, and reach out to your friends. Forget those petty annoyances, get over that stupid argument. Let those people know how special they are. We all think we have so much time. Time to do everything; time to say everything. But I am telling you the bitterest thing I learned today: there is so precious little time. Don't waste it. Make that phone call; heal that rift; find time to visit. And never be afraid to say, I love you, my friend. Ann and I said it to each other every time we talked. It was the very last thing I said to her, the simplest of truths: I love you, Ann.
  • Oh, Flamingo, you've written before of how much Ann means to you. I'm so saddened that she has lost her battle.

    {{{hugs}}} to you and Anne
    • So sorry it's taken me awhile to respond. Your virtual hug warmed my heart. Thank you, my friend.
  • Ann Crispin was an amazing writer—Yesterday's Son and Time for Yesterday are among my favorite ST novels—but your beautiful tribute tells me she was an even more amazing human being. My deepest sympathies on your loss.

    Thank you for your gifts of words and of heart, Ann Crispin. Rest in peace.
    • Sorry it took me a while to respond, Baby. But your kind words meant a lot. Thank you. I appreciate it.
  • So sorry to hear about your friend Ann, Flamingo. My deepest condolences to you, your Anne, her family and friends. Thinking of you all at this sad time. Take care.
  • F, I've heard you tell a few stories about Ann in the past and this tribute is loving and so heartfelt. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and Anne at this time, having lost your wonderful friend.

    So many hugs for you.
  • Beautiful tribute, beautiful message. You were so lucky to have had Ann's friendship, and she was so lucky to have had yours.

    I'm lucky to have your friendship, too, and I love you dearly.
  • I'm so sorry for your loss, and all that we've lost, as well. I've read some of Ann's books, and enjoyed them very much. But as a reader, you have only a glimpse of the person behind the words. Thank you for this amazing tribute, which I'm sure was both easy and very difficult to write. You've done her proud. *Hugs*
    • Thanks so much for your kind words, my friend. Forgive my delay in responding. Your virtual hug was a comfort to me.
  • Ann

    I'm so sorry for your loss and for the world's loss. She sounds like a beautiful person! Hugs.
    • Re: Ann

      Thanks so much for writing. Your virtual hug was a comfort to me. Forgive the long delay in responding.
  • I've read some of Ann's books and enjoyed them. Bless you, Flamingo.
    • Thank you so much for letting me know that. I'm sorry it's taken me awhile to respond. Always great to hear from you, Nyssa
  • I am so sorry, Flamingo. Your tribute to Ann is beautiful and moving. My thoughts are with you.
    • Thanks for your kind thoughts, my friend. Forgive my delay in responding. It's always great to hear from you.
  • I knew of Ann through her books, and later her work with fellow writers. She was a phenomenal woman, an inspiration. She will be missed.
    • Kimberly, thank you so much for your kind words. Forgive my delay in responding. Your words were a comfort. Much love...
  • Dear Flamingo-

    I am reading this poignant and beautiful tribute with tears in my eyes and so much love and gratitude for you in my heart. I remember hearing stories about Ann from you on some of our road trips. I remember when we went up to see the Dave Matthews Band, and you gifted autographed copies of Silent Dances to Stefan and to Ron. Ron reported back that Stefan read his cover to cover, and that the group of women at Sundance read it together while the men were away dancing. I am grateful for the legacy Ann left for us in her writings, in all of the hearts she touched, and in the togetherness of you and Anne.

    *You* are a friend worthy of your fallen warrior mentor and friend. So much of what you wrote about and loved in her also lives on in you.

    Love and light to you and Anne.

    With deepest condolences and respect-

    Angel and David xo

    • My dearest friend, please forgive the long delay in my response. Your words were a comfort to me! And I miss you terribly. Let's talk soon. So much to catch up on! With love...
  • What a wonderful tribute! I'm so sorry to hear of her passing. You're absolutely right; there is so precious little time. {{{hugs}}} and thank you for your friendship for these many years.
    • Hey, buddy, forgive the delay in my response. Your words were a comfort to me. Thanks so much for writing, and thank you for being a good friend all these years!
  • I am so sorry for your loss and the loss to the writing world. She seemed like a wonderful woman.
    • I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond. Thank you for your kind comments. It meant a lot to me.
  • What a beautiful message. I never met her and I never read any of her books, but I met her in your stories and she was amazing.
    • Thanks, Nicky, for your lovely note. Sorry it's taken me awhile to respond. Your comments meant a lot to me.
  • This is a really lovely tribute, and I'm so sorry for your loss. Ann was a wonderful writer, and her books meant a lot to me, but it sounds as if she was an even more wonderful person.
    • Carmen, I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to respond to your note. Thank you for writing and for your kind words. She was a wonderful person. Knowing that her books meant so much to you is the best tribute she could have asked for.
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