My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy In Memoriam (Personal Update)

If you know any geeks at all in your life, you know that Leonard Nimoy died. It was all over all my social media when I woke up. I would love to tell you that celebrity news never affects me, but this one hit me where I live.

See, there was a time in my young adult life when I was riddled with A.D.D. (but didn't know it), and I thought I was a terrible person and a fuck up in life because I couldn't seem to get my shit together when it came to remembering when to be home or doing homework or practicing. My parents and teachers kept demanding to know why I didn't just apply myself a little more, and I had no answers. I didn't know why I was SO damned bad at concentrating. I was obviously just kind of useless.

I felt like I cared about things, but when it came time to act, I would constantly mess them up. After years of being told "Why don't you care about this?" eventually you start to wonder if you really do. How could anyone who cared be so easy to distract? How could a sincere intention not to talk in class or come home late or end up daydreaming while doing homework fail if I weren't just a fuck up?

A lot of my young life was spent feeling pretty worthless.

What I didn't know was that I had a brain that was working differently. That my diagnosis at five of hyperactivity wasn't just some funny doctor's reason for why I was a bad kid. My mom was working tirelessly behind the scenes to beat off every teacher and administrator who wanted to get me on this new drug called Ritalin. No one ever really explained to me that it wasn't my fault.

My sophomore year in high school I was given the Star Trek 5 Movie boxed set. (Six would come out on VHS later that year.) I watched them over and over and over and over. I didn't realize what was happening at the time (I do now) but with Star Trek going on in the background I could THINK better. I could focus for longer. I could remember things. My mind didn't seem to slip away from me quite as easily. I could even sit down and write....for hours.

Even at that age, I wanted to be a writer, and perhaps the greatest thing I discovered was that if Star Trek was humming in the background I wouldn't be so damned distracted by everything. I would sit and write and it would just keep coming out.

Star Trek made it possible for me to write.

The perceptions I have of that time in my life are clouded with angst and hormones and nearly twenty-five years ~coughcoughcough~ of memory. I got grounded all the time because of my grades, and though I look back on an absurdly privileged existence, at the time I was deeply vested in the "My life sucks" milieu.   

However, there was a very real way in which Star Trek was a profound comfort to me. The way bibliophiles at that age sometimes describe books as friends, I felt about Star Trek. I would put them on and feel my mind calm. They didn't judge. They didn't wonder why I sucked. They were always the same story, so I could miss something and it would be okay. For at least a year, I probably watched one of those movies almost every day. While they droned in the background (and little known to me, calmed my distractible brain to a point where it could concentrate) the world would not seem so insurmountable. With the possible exception of Star Wars, I may have seen the Star Trek movies more than anything else as a kid.  (Especially 2, 4, and 6.) Literally hundreds of times each. 

I don't have a lot to say. Eighty-three is a good run, and I had a feeling when he was admitted to the hospital with chest pains that we were going to get this news. About half of the original actors have passed now, and those that haven't are in their seventies and eighties. Actors are mortal even if they give us something of themselves that will last forever. 

But I am undoubtedly sad. 

Nimoy's final tweet.
Now where did I put those tissues...

I know Nimoy was so much more than Spock. I loved his book I Am Not Spock and his photography projects were a profound display of the best of humanity. He fought for pay equality back in the 60s when people just didn't do that. In fact, he was a writer as well, publishing two very successful autobiographies. But like many geeks of my generation he got "locked in" to his role in my mind before I understood the difference between actors and their characters, and I almost have a hard time seeing him as anyone but Spock. 

My Facebook feed exploded with the "my friend" quote or "live long and prosper" or the funeral scene from Wrath of Khan (which I can't even handle right now) but here's the one that has meant the most to me as I've navigated social justice and entered a world in which empathy, compassion, and a ceaseless struggle against human nature has taken center stage from the endless vicissitudes of overly rational thinking:

"Logic is the BEGINNING of wisdom, Valeris, not the end. "

[ETA-As this sort of became it's own article as I wrote it, I moved the original status report beginning to the bottom. Feel free to skip this part.]

  • I'm finishing up something for Ace of Geeks today. If you want to know the moment it lands be sure to follow me through one of the "All Updates" media. In the meantime, I give you a blast from the past about the movie Ender's Game, and why I might never see it. (I still haven't).
  • I didn't remember anything going on from my last save in Skyrim (apparently I am supposed to assassinate someone--what???), so I had to restart it in order to do my ongoing research to continue my Skyrim Articles. I'm about half way to where I was in the main quest line and my eyes have not started bleeding yet. I must try harder!
  • Since The Contrarian is a part of the Top Secret New Zealand strike team (that you didn't hear about from me), I have been delighting in the fact that when I clean things, they stay clean. (If that's not a sign you're old/have kids, I don't know what is.) Hopping up to get that post up yesterday meant that I had to skip cleaning or patrol, and with no heroes in town to do patrol for me, it had to be cleaning. It's pretty sad when you're really looking forward to getting to some cleaning, but welcome to my life. 
  • And then there's this last thing–news I woke up to, which affected me more than I care to admit and made my early morning writing too raw and personal for blogging:


  1. Leonard Nimoy had a big influence on who Spock turned out to be, as much as any actor (or LARPer) has on a long-running character... but it always touched me that he admitted how much Spock had shaped him as well. I try to separate actors from their best-known roles most of the time, but in a very real sense, he and Spock were partners in his life. I think he believed that the world needs more of what Spock was able to teach us. He would appreciate all of the tributes to the character as well as the ones to the rest of his life.

    1. Indeed. I have meant to read his later autobiography I Am Spock for years.

  2. My very first date (though accompanied by parents and little brother, since we were only 12) was to see Star Trek IV. While many people hate that movie, I will always love it. It was the movie that made me think maybe all this Star Trek stuff was kind of cool. As a hyper-rational girl in a family full of crazy artists, Spock was special to me and I held that character up as what I wanted to be. Nimoy was an amazing human being and I loved everything he wrote and everything he did.
    My quote that is an example of the person I try to be:
    "I'm touched by the idea that when we do things that are useful and helpful - collecting these shards of spirituality - that we may be helping to bring about a healing." — Leonard Nimoy

  3. Sharing your sadness - lovely tribute.