In Honor of Star Wars Day
I had the incredible experience of spending a lot of my childhood evenings just down the street from The Admiral Twin drive in movie theater in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
My aunt would make a trash bag full of popcorn and my cousins and I would sit on the front lawn, tune into the movie through the radio, and watch all the new releases. The one that I remember the clearest was the original release of Star Wars in 1977. I’m sure the number of times I watched it originally was into the teens, if not more. I devoured the sequels with just as much enthusiasm.
This is definitely one of my earliest memories as I was not quite 5 years old. My mother was really into science fiction; although it wasn’t until decades later that I even knew what that meant. She was even a Trekkie WAY before nerdy was cool. I grew up watching Carl Sagan talking about the billions of stars, watching all the versions of Star Trek, and my family took in every different kind of sci-fi and fantasy movie we could get to. That was the one luxury I remember us having right up until I was 15 and my parents divorced. (The very last movie we saw together as a family of 4 was Batteries Not Included.)
I was enthralled by the possibility of other worlds, princesses from distant planets, the battle between good and evil, villains and heros, lifeforms different from my own, vehicles that could fly, and, of course, robots.
40 years later I’m just as thrilled when a new Star Wars movie comes out. Or any other sci-fi or fantasy movie for that matter. From Harry Potter to The Avengers to Avatar; I’m there with bells on ready to be taken out of this world and into one less bogged down with reality.
As both a reader and a writer I’m in awe of the powerful and vibrant imaginations of those who create these worlds both on the page and on the screen. As Zoe Saldana said, during an interview about Guardians of the Galaxy and her love of science fiction, “The writers imagine the unimaginable.” This is a gift I’ve never been able to understand, but I’m okay with that as long as the movie makers keep making the movies. Even reading about these worlds on the page leaves me wanting because I can’t picture it in my head no matter how brilliantly it’s written. When I read it plays like a movie in my imagination, but when the world or item or being is outside my realm of comprehension it becomes a blank space on my mind’s screen. However, the movie makers, the visionaries who bring the pages to life before my eyes, can take me to those worlds and introduce me to those beings and give life to the machines that become characters as alive as their human counterparts. For these people and their teams of creators I’m forever grateful for the worlds I’m able to visit on the big (or little) screen.
If you’ve never sat down and watched the Star Wars movies (the original 3) I greatly recommend them. No, the special effects aren’t as fancy as they are today, but the story is still brilliant and funny and powerful, and even a bit romantic, and all the things that make great movies great.
(And lets not forget the badass teddy bears known as Ewoks!)
In Memoriam of Carrie Fisher
Princess Leia was and will always be the most iconic princess ever written and I cannot imagine a better actress to have played the part. Leia wasn’t the kind of “damsel in distress” princess so many of us grew up with, but a gun wielding, action taking, beauty who would do anything for her people including facing off with the worst kind of evil.
Her portrayer, Carrie Fisher, was the fantasy girl of most 70s and 80s teenage boys. She penned several incredible fiction and non-fiction novels and though life in the spotlight took its toll on her at times, even at the end of her too short life, those of us who grew up with her as our princess still saw her as the strong, dark side kicking, princess we all wanted to be.