On January first, I wanted to write on this blog every day for an entire year. As anyone paying attention (not sure there’s many) but that’s not happened.
Several factors have influenced this: internal conflicts of do I share opinions or touch on uncomfortable subjects, or simply share memories and reminisce about things I love; battling writers block on a couple projects that have diminished my desire to write; and, working through my fixation of my obsessive need for refinement (an oxymoronic statement I’m sure) and my never ending worry with having order in my process of work.
If the last reason doesn’t make sense, it’s probably because I don’t know how to make sense of my mind sometimes. There’s definitely something not right when I worry about every word. I immediately want to take it back. I should have said that differently or the anxiety of judgment due in part to the manner in which I talk or think.
So I failed but I still want to move forward. Confronting weakness or mistakes is the first step, right? Then again maybe artists don’t fire on all thrusters and I need to accept that. I’ll work on it. But realistically, I just want to tell stories….
So, more and more nowadays, I know my time on this planet is limited. I’m not getting younger….only older!
Optimistically, I most likely have at least another 20-30 years of life in me. Yet, family health history and current health issues could shorten that. Now, I’m not trying to cause a panic and say I’m looking at Death’s door. I feel great and have plans for many many years to come. I got some things to do before then.
Yet, hearing reports of a celebrity dying at only 52 opens up those concerns. Especially, when I know the celebrity isn’t much older than me and I remember growing up with the actor. This was the actor Luke Perry.
I was in high school as 90210 premiered. I graduated a year later but continued to watch it in early days of college. I will say I was fixated on the story and the young characters. As a young man, I grew my sideburns. I just happened to get a eyebrow scar in 1989 from a hunting accident. And, my one (or few claims of fame) is I did have a few girls think I looked like Jason Priestly and a 90210 guy! Heck, if I’m not sporting a beard, I still keep the Luke Perry sideburns.
The show influenced me so much that I immediately cast the actors into my own stories. I saw these guys and gals as part of my early visions of favorite IPs and my own creations. Nerd Alert: I cast Luke Perry to play Maximillian Sterling in a big live action screenplay I wrote in 1992 for the ROBOTECH franchise (disclaimer: it was a fan script as I was only 19 at the time.) My limited casting creativity also cast Jason Priestly as Rick Hunter and Jennie Garth was Lisa Hayes. When I look back on that, it just sounds ridiculous! (sidebar: I cast Brett Michaels to play Lancer aka Yellow Dancer in a Robotech Next Generation script I was writing back then too).
So, hearing about Luke’s death kinda hits home. I never met him. But I felt I knew him in some weird way. I’ll be sad for a while. I wish his family well. And remember: Time is limited…. take every day to enjoy it!!
Let me get a bit personal. I don’t do it for your sympathy or compassion. Just something that I’ve thought a lot about the last few years — maybe a decade.
There was an old episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that always perplexed me. The episode I’m referring to is: Homeward. It’s a season seven episode where Worf and his adopted brother lead a band of people from a primitive civilization on a simulated journey in the holodeck so they can transplant them on a new planet without them knowing. Yeah, has violation of the Prime Directive all over it. Yet, it’s a very interesting episode for several reasons.
One, it intrigues me how a story universe can introduce a brother to a character after nearly 7 years. And it techncially doesn’t hurt the cannon simple because the excuse could be, “well, no one ever asked if I had a brother.” Or something like that. Yet, in this situation we accept it. And on top of it, Worf and his brother, Nikolai, did not have a good relationship. Possibly why Worf never mentioned him before (except for one line of dialog in season one to another Klingon). The crew of the Enterprise seemed to be surprised by the revolution of Worf’s step-brother. But I digress.
Second, the story proposes a theme of societal change. The culture that Worf and his brother are trying to save have had a very ritual way of life for many many generations. Now they must learn to adapt and go to a new place, find new food, find new shelter and adapt as a civilization. We experience this yet in micro-changes. This alien race is facing it as a macro-change. This is even more evident when one of the members of the primiatve culture sees and discovers the world around him isn’t what he thought it was. He accidentally escapes the Holodeck to discover he’s actually flying in a starship through the vast galaxy. He doesn’t understand how its possible. Is the crew of the Enterprise gods? Or something else? Picard and the crew explain that they just have more advanced science and technology and they are no different than him.
And lastly, because it tackles the question of how does one accept the life altering information. How do you continue living when you know something that is so different than what you were accustomed to? Can you live with that information? Or do you not do so? [spoilers] Because in the episode the character decides to commit suicide than continue living with the experience. He was the tribe’s historian, scribe and teacher. He was proud of thier laws, their morals, their culture, their way of life. Now, someone has told him there’s so much more! And perhaps what he cherished is too different than what it seems everyone now accepts or wants.
See, when I was a kid/teen watching that episode, I was like that was a stupid decision. Why would you kill yourself? Why not just adapt? Embrace the optimistic idea that in the future your culture will possibly develop starships too and fly around the galaxy. Nothing is stopping you for living and going about your life. But that’s not how he saw it. I’ve always said that dying isn’t a solution to change. No matter what, one can work through it — and adapt. Nothing could be so bad, to find yourself saying you had no way out. (Did Jack say that in Titanic?). Until, recently.
Perhaps growing older has made me cynical, sarcastic and a bore. I’ve had the realization that I now understand my parents and grandparents before me. When I was growing up, they were grouchy all the time. They disliked technology. They hated prices going up. They disliked change. And they seemed annoyed at the younger generation. As that younger generation, I criticized them for being closed minded. Moving forward was a good thing. Not a bad one. Yet, now I feel I’m the closed minded one. All the things my parents taught me — to make me a good person — seem irrelevant. Say no to drugs! (Well, society says “these” are okay now), Don’t be promiscuous! It leads to disease and misfortune. (Well, society says no go for it! use this stimulant to go longer and just use condoms) Majority rules. (Well, society says not really. We need to insure the minority is the favored one, all others can suck it!) Remember your parents saying, “if everyone was jumping off a cliff, would you do it too?! I think you see where I’m going.
So I feel out of place sometimes. A lot sometimes. I’ve become the one to fear change. I think about the past all the time. Those were better times. Yet, I do like my iPhone. I think I discovered anxiety. But I have a loving family, great friends and I can always value who I am. Society doesn’t rule me (I can resist the peer pressure!) The one thing I truly thank my parents for: teaching me tolerance….