Today would have been your 70th birthday. And while I still have A Little Chaos, Eye in the Sky and the new Alice movie to see, what I miss most and shall miss most are your interviews. Especially those in the past few years, where you relaxed and really let your thoughts out: about the power of stories, and the responsibilities of the storytellers, of what words mean and how their power is both immutable and chameleonic. I work with words every day, telling tiny little stories--sometimes, even at less than 114 characters. What you said resonated with this other member of Walter Fisher's homo narrans.
The first film I ever remember seeing you in--not the first film I actually saw you in, just the one that made me look you up and see who you were--was ClosetLand. It reached inside my brain and gave it a good twist. When I looked you up, I realized I'd seen you in that film, and that film, and that film, and that film, and, hey! you were That Guy! And I became a fan.
( And then the internet *really* took off, and... )
After a while, I realized it was about connections, and the very bones of who I am.
I liked your work, so I let it into my heart and my head. That changed who I am, and that changed all the "could-be" versions of me, as well. The work you were going to do, that I was going to see, and the interviews you were going to give in support of that work, that was all going to change my future "could-be"s as well. Your work and your words were woven into the trellis of my future growth--all those possible "me"s. So when you died, they all died, too. Those hundred thousand possible "me"s--gone. Other possible "me"s are growing to fill in those spaces, of course, but first--they all died.
And that hurts.
Some of the less-than-helpful things I was urged to do, the day you died, was to "enjoy the work he already did" and "celebrate that it existed at all." In many ways, it is little recompense to simply think back on the things that you'd already done. Emma Thompson wrote she couldn't wait to see what you were going to do with your face next. I couldn't wait to see what percolated out of your brain next. After my childhood, I got very ... leery ... about who got into my head, and what they left behind--what they left behind for me to hear at 2 in the morning, whenever I couldn't sleep. But--I liked your thoughts, so I put some of them into my head. On purpose. And now, every time I jostle one, like a broken bone, it aches.
And yet, I cannot bear to be that "me" who had never discovered your work at all.
I don't know what kind of creature I would be without your influence...
but I have my suspicions.
Goodbye, Mr. Rickman.
I shall miss you.