|Live Long and Prosper|
(Image credit surely goes back to the Studio...)
Woke up to the news this morning that Leonard Nimoy has died. After the initial check to make sure this wasn't one of those "Morgan Freeman died" spoofs, it got me thinking about influences.
Like many from my generation, Star Trek was one of the shows I watched as a kid (in reruns, thank you very much – I'm not quite old enough to have seen the first runs) that had an impact on the way I think. On my creativity, on my imagination and my logic.
I remember watching and discussing episodes with my best friend Shelly, and having a ball with the subtle, cynical and often sarcastic humor that Spock's character embodied. Spock was anything but cold and clinical, he was warm and full of life. At least to me.
Thinking fondly about it now, I realize that some of my best humorous writing happens in that same understated way. The best stuff sneaks in while I'm not even aware, and it isn't until I read it back that I think, "Oh, that's funny!"
Sometimes I think the things that crack me up are so abstruse that no one will get it, so it often surprises me when people comment that something in my book made them laugh out loud. It always makes me smile to know I brought laughter to someone's day.
It's all good. Days like today, when I'm reminded that my style didn't come out of a vacuum, I read back and see my wry humor showing through and bless the books and shows that influenced me.
I have tried on more than one occasion to write a "logic scene" in classic Star Trek style. I've even had success to varying degrees. Well, success in my eyes. I have yet to publish any of them. In one of my earliest novels, a hero character is trying to confuse an android using circuitous logic. The android predictably gets all boggled, but when the hero turns away, the android smirks and the reader realizes it was just going along to make the hero feel better.
Lately I have been revisiting some of my older work, looking to see if any of it is salvageable (as if I don't have enough new material clamoring in my head to get out!) and I see how strong these early influences were—and still are, if I'm honest about it.
Today, so many shows and movies seem to be regurgitating the stories I grew up with—from Red Dawn and Footloose to Total Recall and 12 Monkeys—that it seems like there's nothing new in Hollywood. It's sad to see, but then there are other shows that reassure me that there are artists who are still pioneers, who still stretch the limits of creativity to bring fresh new stories to eager viewers.
I look back to my childhood with fondness for those writers, directors, and actors who challenged me to become a writer. Who, all unknowing, shaped my style with a master's touch—like Michelangelo's marble with the statue waiting to be uncovered. I like to think I've taken over the art, and I'm still chipping away bits at a time, uncovering the greatest works I still have inside.
Thank you, Mr. Spock/Nimoy. Thank you Mr. Roddenberry, and yes, Mr. Shatner, and countless others who inspire and inspired me. You each have made the world a better place to live. And we have all prospered.