I read the dragon tales of Anne McCaffrey when I was young, and they have never left me. I had my problems with them, later, after I began reading between lines, but back then when I read them the first time, they were magicmagicmagic. Like TOlkien once said when he spoke about dragons, the McCaffrey books made me desire dragons with a profound desire. What better thing could there be than to have this fantastic creature of strength and power, linked to you through mind and spirit and heart, belonging to you as much as you belonged to it, great whirling eyes of wisdoem and beauty and wings that spanned the sky.
Anne McCaffrey taught me to fly.
She probably taught me to write.
I met her, once, briefly, at some convention. I screwed my courage to its stcking place and went up - she was in a wheelchair, being pushed by somebody gracious and self-sacrificing but of whom I have no memory whatsoever because all I could see was Anne McCaffey herself - and I went down on one knee before me so that she would not have to crane her neck to look at me, and I asked if I could take a moment of her time to just tell her thank you for the dragons. And she smiled and said something about being happy that the dragons and I had found one another. And then she smiled, and the minion pushed the chair, and she was gone. That was the only real direct contact I had with her.
But I will miss her presence in this world. Others have writen about dragons, in the fantasy worlds of their own creation, but McCaffrey's were the first ones that I truly met and got to know, and I am grateful to her for that. She taught me about courage, and wonder, and magic, and friendship, and beauty. She gave my imagination wings.
May golden dragons fly you home, gracious lady. And thank you for everything.