Wednesday, June 14, 2017

On the Star Wars 40th Anniversary

Dear Mr. Lucas,

I'd just turned seven when Star Wars came out, and I was very clear to my parents about one thing: I would not go see it.  Science fiction films weren't my thing.  Now that I'm an adult, I can appreciate 2001, Silent Running, and Westworld, but as a child they left me cold and uncomfortable.  I yearned for something more, but I couldn't find anything and gave up.

So when my parents tried to take me to your film, I dug in my heels and refused to go.

I'm now the father of two boys.  When my eldest was three, I made him his first ice cream.  As he sometimes did with food he didn't recognize, he clamped his mouth shut and turned his head away.  After wheedling and pleading with him to try it ("It's a dessert!"), I finally got some into his mouth.  His face lit up, and he quickly became an ice cream enthusiast.

My parents had the same experience taking me to Star Wars.

Like everyone else, I went nuts over the film.  I saw it over and over again in theaters.  I was obsessed with the toys to the point where my parents used Star Wars action figures as rewards for learning to multiply (I still have the Jawa I got for learning my 7s).

Running out of Star Wars things to spend money on, I dove into the library, tearing it apart for something similar, something more.  I studied science and space travel.  I learned about narrative structure, tension, and character development.  I read about mythology and history.

I began to write.

And now I'm a science fiction author.

Sometimes, when I write, I realize how much your work affected me.  I try to make my worlds varied and mysterious.  I create fights in the framework you created for the duel between Vader and Kenobi.  I see characters, action, and dialogue all differently because of your movies.


So, thank you for Star Wars, Mr. Lucas.  Your work changed my life.

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