Confusingly, this post is NOT about child care specialist Dr. Benjamin Spock! It's actually about Star Trek this time. That's a little TV show and franchise for which I have enormous affection bordering on mania. Pop culture sci-fi has been the focus of my fantasy life for all of my real life. I got into Star Trek for the same reason as other lanky, bookish, awkward teens: apparently what I needed was more Girl Repellent. Also, I loved and still love escapist adventure which also encouraged rational thought. While Star Wars (the one with Ewoks) lives in the heart of my child self, Star Trek (the one with Klingons) is the darling of my teenage self. Both franchises are beloved by me, written on my very DNA, and it boggles my mind that so many people love the one and loathe the other. C'mon, they're BOTH awesome! (most of the time)
My Uncle Cliff got me hooked on Trek. He's a computer programmer from the days of little precise holes punched in paper cards instead of big sparky holes punched through LCD screens in frustration. He identified with Spock in exactly the same way I would imprint on Data, shapeshift into Odo, and reprogram myself as the Holodoc. And even, like Phlox, pick up 'OPTIMISM!' as a watchword.
At last (probably viciously inaccurate) count I have read 278 Trek novels (that's about half of them) almost all the comics, own all the series and movies and am itching to own the bitchin' 2009 flick on DVD! Many single novels, comics, and even episodes are very terrible. Many are average to great. Some are sublime.
In the terrible column I would have put such things as bisexual Kirk and Spock playing pirates (was that in Black Fire?). I would have said it was one of the most ill-advised and terrifying things I've read, but of course decades later Captains Jack (Harkness and Sparrow) are certainly popular. So who knows? Fanfic and even slashfic clearly have their audience.
But in the sublime column there's Peter David, Diane Carey, Sherman & Shwartz, Brannon Braga, Ira Steven Behr, Ron Moore, oh, just oodles of brilliant, inspired writers!
ALSO THERE'S ME, BABY!
I'm plugging my story in the anthology Strange New Worlds 9.
It got good reviews, too.
It was a remarkable time for me.
To describe the period since my failing to sell a second story the next year as writer's block doesn't give enough credit to laziness and blind stinking fear. But THIS summer has seen a slight return in productivity. Ron Gleason, fellow bookseller and theatre performer encourages regular blog use as exercise for the aspiring writer. Ty Templeton, writer of IDW's comic Star Trek:Mission's End said talent is a made-up word. He told me drawing, writing, all art was about practice, not inborn talent.
Practice what you're passionate about every day. Also, try and avoid the crushing jealousy you'll likely feel for the hundreds of people who are better than you at your chosen passion. (I'm looking with squinty eyes at you, Bookmonkey). In fact, allow the jealousy to become the motivator for practicing even more. It's got to be good for something!
As Mr. Spock might say 'To deprive the universe of your skill would be most illogical.'
Have a synthehol on me.