February 14th, 2018
Dear Daddy —
It’s been two weeks since I’ve written. This past weekend, we held Farpoint, a science fiction convention that Renee and I founded 25 years ago. You attended it once, when it was held on your 74th birthday in 1996. Michael Ansara joined us for your birthday dinner, and was eager to meet you. As I recall, you spent most of the evening discussing either physics or politics with Yoji Kondo.
Farpoint always dominates a lot of my time, even though I no longer own it, am no longer in charge of it, and this year declined to accept a job on its committee. People still expect me to be a part of it, and people come to me with their problems to be solved. I’ve learned to accept that, but to try and help on my terms. I feel myself slowing down, after nearly forty years of working at a whirlwind pace. With all that’s left to do in front of me, I have no desire to burn out. I want to be here for my children and be here to see my grandchildren.
Speaking of grandchildren, the ones I gave you are amazing. Ethan is working two jobs and running his website, with a new blog (in your day it was called a “column”) being published every day. He was in charge of hospitality this past weekend, and even some of our hardest-to-please attendees complimented him. He’s hard-working, literate, and, above all, kind. Christian made the Dean’s List at Towson his first semester, also on top of a job, and is carrying 19 credits this Spring. He’s also rehearsing Othello 20 hours a week. He’s determined to complete his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting, somehow also get a degree in Astrophysics, and minor in Deaf Studies. I joke that he’ll be the deaf community’s Neil Degrasse Tyson.
Last night I completed a significant task in the house—at long last, Mother has a working dishwasher and a working garbage disposal!
This time, it was snowing.
The surface around the Guardian was covered completely by a white blanket of snow. The Guardian, as ever, stood untouched and isolated in the center of the landscape. Saavik shivered at the sight of snow again after so many years.
Terry must have noticed her, for he looked over and grinned. “Well, Mr. Saavik, if we’d remembered to bring skis, this wouldn’t be such a bad leave after all.”
Before she had a chance to ask what “skis” were, Saavik saw movement in the corner of her eye. Several feet from the Guardian, a tent made of standard blue Starfleet-issue plastic had been erected. The door which held the temperature-regulated air in had drawn back, and Spock emerged. Apparently, he had brought the portable shelter with him from Vulcan—the other Vulcan.
These two images are from the latest issue of DC Comics’s Doomsday Clock. They especially resonated with me for a couple of reasons. In the first, three bullies have accosted a young girl, the daughter of an immigrant puppeteer in New York City (or is it Gotham City?). The girl, Erika, is walking with one of her father’s marionettes when the bullies approach and confiscate her toy.
The lead bully insults Erika’s father and asks what kind of grown man plays with toys. In the second panel, the same bully concludes that the puppeteer must be a child molester. This is common thinking amongst the ill-bred and under-educated: if someone is different in some way—any way—they probably molest little kids.
I’m off schedule this week–too much going on. I had planned to have this entry posted Monday, and to be doing my FIAWOL piece tonight. But the FIAWOL piece isn’t edited yet. It can go up tomorrow. Hope to get back on track next week.
January 30, 2018
Dear Daddy –
Well, overall the meeting with the attorney went very well. Turns out he was from Cape Henlopen, Delaware. He commented on Mother’s Henlopen Lighthouse bag, in which she’d placed all the property deeds and our written plan for the split. She hadn’t wanted to take it—she thought it looked unprofessional. Turns out it established a little bit of a bond.
When we initially told Mr. King that Mother wanted to give away all of her real estate, he said he advised against it. For one thing, the capital gains taxes, if we ever sold any of the properties, would be outlandish. Of course, we never do intend to sell, but it was something to think about. He also said that, if Mother went into a nursing home any time in the next five years and ran out of money, the State would demand that we surrender the deeds to pay for her care.
Still angry and dismayed over the mutinous behavior of his two officers and the on-going mystery of the ship’s malfunctioning computer, Jim Kirk came out of the turbo lift, pushing at the edge of the door with his left hand in an impatient gesture.
He approached Uhura’s station. “Have you raised the Excelsior, Commander?”
“No sir,” Uhura said apologetically, “I’m afraid I haven’t.”
That wasn’t the answer he had expected. “What?”
“I’ve tried, but there’s no response.” She shook her head, aggravated. “I don’t understand it.”
Seeing “Wrath of Khan” again, and remembering the feelings it kindled in me, made me realize what a comedown I was in store for as a fan. These young characters whom I cheered in this film would not survive the next one. My old friends would not be allowed to grow as real people do. I could not help reflecting how sad it was for Sulu, Uhura, Chekov, Saavik and David that we would never see adventures in which they were the heroes. (I’m talking about in the course of televised and movie Trek, here. I’m aware that they all have had their moments in licensed fiction. I wrote some of those moments!)
What I wanted, what I expected, in 1982 was to see Star Trek both live and grow. To see Kirk continue to age, and teach me how to age, while finding purpose in his life. To see Saavik and David become mature adults. To see Sulu, Chekov and Uhura promoted, instead of stuck in jobs fit for junior officers. I wanted to see more.
Star Trek – The Next Generation was not that. It was set 78 years later so that its creators could rule out the need to have to address what happened to the original characters. It was something called “Star Trek,” but it was not a continuation of the original crew’s adventures. It was a reboot, and it was a reboot so hog-tied by what came before that, despite its amazing popularity, it never knew what the hell it really was as a show. Continue reading
January 24th, 2018
Dear Daddy —
I won’t lie to you, it’s been a pretty awful week.
I’ve felt angry, depressed, and pretty damn well worthless, and it’s largely because I’ve been forced to absorb other people’s pain. I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s enough pain in the world that we could all be situationally depressed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, every year, if we chose to be. And that’s the problem—so many of us choose to be.
Now, when people eventually read this, someone will no doubt say that I’m dismissing the depth of pain caused by depression as an illness. I’m not, really. I’m just saying that, unless someone is suffering from clinical depression, ongoing sadness is a choice, and too many people choose it. Being sad, angry or feeling stupid is something we all have to do sometimes. But some of us choose to do it for longer than we need to.
I can’t do it anymore. I’m angered out, depressed out, embarrassed out. I can’t find room in my life to maintain the bad feelings. It takes too much energy, and I just don’t want to. I’d rather move past it and do something productive. So, even though I confess I have felt this week that perhaps this whole project is doomed, that soon I may be forced to, for my own good, turn on my heel and walk away… even though I’ve felt that, well, here I am. Still pushing forward.
Dammit, I don’t know what else to do.
Okay, thought Hikaru Sulu, bemused by the mystery of the entire situation. It wasn’t often that an unannounced, unidentified shuttle approached a Federation starship, offering no communication except a request for docking.
As it was a Starfleet, vessel, Hikaru had little choice but to grant clearance.
He had sent for a security force, which stood behind him now, ready in case this was a commandeered shuttle preparing an attack against the Fleet’s newest, proudest vessel. Hikaru, however, found this possibility ludicrous, to say the least. He wasn’t concerned so much as unbearably curious.
“David and Saavik – Shooting Stars – Part 2” will not be seen tonight, so that we may bring you the following special FIAWOL presentation.
Drawing a line in the sand is popular right now. We like to know who’s like us and who isn’t. Who can be trusted and who can’t. Who’s in our tribe, and who’s an evil outsider who needs to be kicked to the curb. So we draw a line in the sand and ask those like us to stand on our side of it. We go on Facebook and say, “If you don’t agree with me that drinking Green Kool-Aid is a hate crime, you are what is wrong with the world, unfriend me now, you are dead to me. Oh, and thanks for electing Trump.”
Silly, right? Well here’s my line in the sand: If you approve of James Gunn losing his job because he made jokes on Twitter years ago, then you are what’s wrong with the world, I don’t trust you, and you are clearly not of my tribe.
January 17, 2018
Dear Daddy —
If it sounds like not a lot got done towards actually finishing the house in the last two months of the year, it’s because we became so focused on the holidays. I told you last time about Christmas. I didn’t even mention Thanksgiving. It was a little hectic, but we got through it, making the first Thanksgiving dinner in a kitchen which did not also double as a workshop and storeroom. To be fair, that kitchen, despite lacking cabinets, a stove and a sink, managed to be used to prepare dozens of festive dinners over the years. It was just a cumbersome process.
We still don’t have a stove, but at least we have a sink and cabinets.