RIP @TheRealNimoy you showed us how to become whole people even when we felt like we were a mix of random parts.
Or, as writer and Manga Editor Stacy King put it:
Spock was the “it gets better” symbol for 70s nerd kids: a brilliant alien caught between cultures who still managed to find home & friends.
Some people say that we’re conflating a character with the actor that played him. Yes, Gene Roddenberry should get the credit for creating Spock—and when the network executives wanting to dump the “guy with the ears” after seeing the first pilot, for fighting fiercely to keep the half-alien/half-human character on the show. Similarly, credit is due to all of the writers who wrote him (especially Dorothy Fontana). But while characters in movies, television shows, and plays are the product of the creative work of writers, directors, costume designers, or so on, you can’t completely dismiss the contribution of the person who spoke those lines, wore the costume, and actually played the part.
Nimoy could communicate volumes in a cocked eyebrow or the tilt of his head. He’s the one who made us believe that this character that was a hybrid of a cold, emotionless alien and a much less logical human was a real person.
It doesn’t hurt that the man himself seemed quite likable. Whether he was playing Sherlock Holmes on stage, recording some truly awful music, directing movies, voicing parodies of himself in various animated (and not) shows, or being interviewed about any of his work, he always seemed to be having a good time. He took his craft quite seriously, but didn’t seem to take himself too seriously.
If George Takei is everyone’s favorite gay uncle, Nimoy became every nerd’s favorite grandpa. One of my friends retweeted one of Nimoy’s tweets from 2013 where he said that anyone who wanted him to be their honorary grandfather, should consider it done.
When he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which may have been the result of his smoking in his younger days, he started campaigning against smoking, by posting statements like: “I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! Live Long and Prosper.”
Given his age and the illness, I thought I was prepared for this news. But I wasn’t. By the time I heard the news last week that he was hospitalized, he had already been released and gone home. I heaved a sigh of relief. He even posted to twitter afterward, so everything must be okay, right?
In retrospect, when you read the tweet, it’s obvious he knew. I guess I just wanted to be in denial. I know I cry easily, but I didn’t expect it to hit me quite like this.
I just posted the text of his final tweet yesterday, but it’s a good thought, and worth re-reading:
“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. [Live Long And Prosper]”
Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015
This debate was triggered one time by a particular piece of classical music which included religious text, and we wound up setting aside some time at the spring retreat to discuss the issue. There was a large group discussion, then we broke into small groups, then back to the large group again. A very curious fact came to light during this process: every single one of us who felt strongly that we wanted to perform this piece, in part because as an out queer group our performance would be “taking it back” had been raised in conservative Christian families, and had experienced various traumatic events at the hands of people claiming to be acting on god’s behalf… Read More…
This was not a case (as has happened to me a few times) where I began writing a short story and it just grew into something much longer than I meant. This time it was because I couldn’t finish a scene in the denouement of a book which I had planned as a book.
I had been working on the second novel of my Trickster series for a while. I had finally finished the the big climactic battle, and was working on the wrap-up chapter last September. I’d been struggling with one specific scene in that final chapter for more than a week. It wasn’t meant to be a super long scene (though when it was finished it was about 1200 words). I knew what had to happen in it. I needed to tie up one of the main plot lines and its most closely associated subplots… Read More…
You will find a number of people who insist that only one’s legal name can be considered the real name. But being a person who has legally changed his name (and having known a few other people who have done so), I can assure you that there are also a significant number of people who insist that a legally changed name, while certainly legal, is not real. They insist that only the name given by one’s parents at birth is real, and all the rest are counterfeits… Or nicknames, or something. I confess I have trouble understanding their reasoning, because anytime I tried to discuss it with one of these people, they always reverted to insulting or dismissive language. “You’re just changing it to rebel against your parents,” or “So you didn’t like your name? grow a little backbone and embrace it.”
I wrote yesterday about why I believe storytelling shouldn’t be preaching. I’ve also written about how author’s values inform stories, usually not in the ways you think.
Sometimes stories come about because the author is trying to figure something out. We write the tale hoping to find that answer. I wrote a story set in my Trickster universe that was one of those. I’d had the bare bones of the conflict in my head for a long time, a kind of just-so story to answer a question about how one of the characters got into a particular vocation. But while I had an opening problem, I didn’t know how it ended, so it sat in my big list of story ideas on the hard disk for a couple of years.
Completely unrelated, I had been struggling for a long time to understand a particular zen koan. And it occurred to me, one day, that this character’s struggle might be something like the koan.
The next thing I knew, I was writing a story… And what came out was something called “The Luminous Pearl, or the Second Tail of Sora.”
Go give it a read, and tell me what you think.