I had the privilege of sitting in the front row of Carrie Fisher’s Broadway show, Wishful Drinking. At the top of the show, she came out and put confetti on the heads of the people in the front row. When she got to me, she noticed I was wearing a hat. She looked at me as if to say, “are you going to take that thing off?” so I did, and she put glittering confetti on my head. I then put the hat back on. It was like a comedy baptism. I’d just done a bit with Carrie Fisher: a shared moment with one of the funniest, most talented women I’d ever seen. For myself and so many others of my generation, she was royalty. She will always be our princess.
When people like Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, leave us, it’s as if a light has gone out, and the world becomes that much darker. These people shaped our memories. We can remember where we were when we saw Star Wars for the first time. We remember who we were with when we saw Singin’ in the Rain.
In 2016 the world lost many of its iconic artists. There are too many to mention. They are gone, their voices silenced, and it is tragic to think that they will never again create new work for us to experience. It seems like the world is so dark that we can’t see the lights that are still here and the light within us.
We feel the loss of these artists because we feel a connection to them. Their work is a part of our lives. The things we love: music, art, films, television shows, and the artists who make them are a part of what makes us who we are. So when they die, we feel as if we’ve lost a part of ourselves.
Hopefully the people the world has lost this year have inspired the next generation of artists, the icons of the future who will light the way for years to come. It is our job to nurture and support them and to embrace the art within ourselves. As Carrie Fisher once said, “I don’t want my life to imitate art, I want my life to be art.”