A.C. Crispin: Writers Champion, Mentor, and Friend

This was going to be my blog post about Dragon Con, but every time I sat down to write it, all I could think of was Ann Crispin’s recent passing.

Which is so fitting, actually.

I attended Ann’s Beginners Writing Workshop at Dragon Con 2000 and her Advanced Writers Workshop a couple years after. Ann’s first workshop was the spur that got me writing professionally; it gave me the impetus to take my writing seriously, to focus on honing my craft in order to become the best writer I could be and a published professional in the industry.

One of my writers groups, the DC2K Writers–the group I am closest to, filled with people I consider some of my dearest friends–was formed from that first writers workshop. When Ann was still well enough, we’d all get together for dinner on Sunday evening at Dragon Con to catch up, talk shop, celebrate our writerly achievements, commiserate on our disappointments, and encourage and support each others’ endeavors. And I always felt re-energized and re-motivated afterward. It was the one thing I never, ever missed at Dragon Con, no matter how congested my schedule or pressing my convention obligations were.

Fitting also, that I learned Ann had entered hospice while at Dragon Con this year. I broke down when I heard it from one of my DC2K friends in the Daily Dragon office–and I hate falling apart in public. But in the company of those who also love Ann, who understand what a treasure she is and has been to all of us, it was okay, didn’t matter that they witnessed my tears.

And Ann was truly a treasure. She was a champion to writers everywhere with her work with Writers Beware and a thoughtful and caring mentor. But most of all, she was a dear friend. She knew when I needed encouragement and warm support and gave it unstintingly. I remember how loudly she cheered at the Nebula Awards banquet when they announced I’d won. And the ringing pride in her voice when she introduced me and my fellow DC2Kers as “her students.” But she also knew when I needed stern words to jolt me out of a rut, phoning me at home to check on me when I was at a low point in my novel progress and giving me a gentle dressing down to prod me back on track.

Ann hadn’t been well enough to attend these past couple Dragon Cons. This year, we raised a toast to her in absentia Sunday at dinner–each of us touched and influenced so indelibly by her, each of us with our unique memories and reminiscences of our time with her–united in saying: “Thank you. You are greatly missed.”

Ann was an inspiration, and her passing leaves a shadow over my heart, an ache of absence and loss. I remember Ann with tears and a smile, and cherish her memory with both.

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6 Responses to A.C. Crispin: Writers Champion, Mentor, and Friend

  1. Mike Henigan says:

    Thank you Eugie, Ann was such a dear friend and an awesome writer, I will miss her and her writings.

  2. I also attended Ann’s Beginning class, in 2008. The couple of times I managed to speak to her afterwards, she had no idea who *I* was, but she still remembered the story I submitted. 🙂

    When I heard the news, I broke down, as well. She was a mentor and a tireless champion, and the world is better off for having had her in it.

  3. Thanks for posting these truths about Ann.

    As a member of DC2K I second all the kind words you wrote. Ann has left a legacy in our group and I will work all the harder to sell my first (hopefully of many) novel.

  4. Danny Adams says:

    Now you’ve got me choking up–especially at the thought that I never got to meet her.

  5. J Mangold says:

    I was in Ann’s class at Dragon Con two years in a row. She was a huge influence on my work as she gave me the unflinching feedback I really needed. She also gave me the inspiration and encouragement no-one else could have. I feel so horrible I only learned of her passing today.
    I just can’t believe she is gone.
    She will be sorely missed. She was a wonderful author and teacher while also being the scourge of every scoundrel publisher/agent who sought to take advantage of the fledgling writer.
    I only wish I had gotten to know her better.
    I only wish I had been able to talk to her one more time…
    Her soul and her family are in my prayers.

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