Tag Archives: Star Trek

Five Things I Wish Were Different This Monday Morning

1. The Snow

Oh yes, the snow. It started to fall yesterday, great fat flakes like sky-kisses gently carpeting the world, and I admit it was pretty. So pretty, in fact, that I stood staring out at it for ages, allowing the gentle flickering to soothe my mind. It was mesmerisingly psychedelic, and I did wonder about the possibility of an evil genius harnessing the power of falling snow to hypnotise an entire population and make them do his will… But then I came to my senses and shut the blinds.

And there was no panic, because it was Sunday and nobody had to go anywhere or do anything in particular, and that was fine.

But now it’s Monday. And people have to go places. Trains are delayed. Roads are clogged. Nincompoops like me are afraid to set foot outside lest they find themselves unwillingly doing the splits. Anyone would think I was living in New York, where approximately fourteen feet of the white stuff has lain in situ since some time last year; I’m talking about a couple of inches, if that, which has already started to melt. It’s still enough to scare me, no matter how gorgeous it looks.

So, yes. It’s pretty and all, but I wish I’d woken up this morning to a snow-free world. Sue me.

2. Leonard Nimoy being dead

How did this happen?

Image: chipchick.com

Image: chipchick.com

I hate that Leonard Nimoy passed away last week. I don’t care that he was in his eighties; he was too young to go. Or maybe it’s that we weren’t ready to lose him. Then, with people like him, there’s never a good time for them to check out. A campaigner for equality, a fan of humanity, a photographer, a director, a father, an actor of superlative ability, I was (and am, and always shall be) a massive fan. With regard to his work: I love Star Trek in general, but in reality it was Spock I truly admired. He made the programme what it was, the quiet centre around which the rest of the characters orbited, and Nimoy’s ability to express the depths of emotion beneath the calm surface of Spock’s cool rationality always blew me away.

LLAP, Mr Spock. I will never forget you.

3. The world

Right, so I’ll admit this is sort of broad. But maybe you’ll know what I’m getting at anyway. I regularly tell myself ‘I must go on a news-break’, but I never really manage to do it for longer than a day or two. I’ve heard of people who don’t follow current events at all; they just live their lives, and get on with things, and (not so funnily enough) they seem like the happiest people on earth. I reckon there’s something in that.

I can’t count the amount of times over the past few weeks that a news bulletin has reduced me to a gibbering wreck. Now, of course, that might say more about me than it does about the news, but still. Terrorism, freaky weather, political assassinations, mass abductions, the workings of Operation Yewtree in the UK, people being displaced in their hundreds of thousands, gun crime… the list goes on. Sometimes, it does start to grind you down. It can be hard to remember that one person’s good choices can change the world, but it’s really important not to lose sight of it.

It’s important to be that one person, and to make those good choices, too.

4. My entire brain

Lately, my concentration has been shot. I’ve been eking out a word count on my WiP but it is going so painfully slowly that putting the words on paper seems akin to eating boulders. I’m not sure what, exactly, I’d like to be different here – my brain in general, or my focus, or this particular WiP, or what. But all’s I know is, somethin’s gotta change, man.

Let nobody ever try to tell you that writing is not hard work. It flaming well is.

But there is hope. This week, I have no distractions. I have no appointments, I have no visitors, and I have no excuses. There will be writing. It will be done. And that is that.

5. The state of my house

I’m not exactly living in a hovel, but y’know. I didn’t do a lot of what you might call actual housework over the weekend. This now means I have a pile of dishes as tall as myself which have to be cleaned before I can so much as make a cup of tea this morning. This ‘using all the crockery because it’s Saturday and I can’t be bothered washing up’ thing, dear readers, is something I regularly do. It’s a classic example of why you shouldn’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today, but do you think I ever learn? Of course I don’t. At least I got the bathroom cleaned and the dusting done last week, though. It sort of distracts from the fact that the hoovering needs doing and that there’s a general, low-lying mess everywhere. I have a nagging feeling it’s a metaphor for my existence, but that’s too scary to contemplate, so I’ll just put some dirty plates over it and hope it goes away.

They should teach this stuff at school. I’m not even joking.

Anyway. I hope your Monday is better than my Monday, and that your week is looking good. Remember to be that one good person, and do something awesome for someone else this week in memory of Leonard Nimoy – or, just because you want to. Whichever.

 

 

We Have Ways of Making You Talk…

The very kind and talented Brian S. Creek (check out his blog, ladies and gentlefolk) nominated me for a Liebster Award just before Christmas. Now, things have been sort of all over the shop for me since then, and so this is the first chance I’m getting to address the questions asked of me. Also, it’s true that this nomination makes my third (count ’em!) Liebster nomination, and so, at this stage, there’s probably very little left about me that y’all don’t know.

But, nevertheless, let’s give these here questions a shot. Ready? Buckle up!

And make sure your trays are in the upright position, while you're at it... Photo Credit: frankieleon via Compfight cc

And make sure your trays are in the upright position, while you’re at it…
Photo Credit: frankieleon via Compfight cc

If you could have any super power for a day, what would it be?

I’ve often thought about this question, and I remember answering it before in terms of how I’d love to have the words to solve all arguments, without causing anyone any offence. I’d still love to have that power, but I think – given the world we live in, and the events of recent times, and my feelings of utter helplessness in the face of all of it – that I’d quite like to be a version of a human Care Bear, or something. I’d love to have the power to spread love and compassion throughout the world, and to make everyone think first of others, and then themselves. I’d love to be able to make people see the world from the point of view of another person. That would be an amazing superpower – except, to have any effect, I’d have to have it for a lot longer than one day.

One day would be a start, though.

Who is the most famous person you’ve met?

So, if you’ve been hanging out here for a while, you’ll know about this. I reckon Neil Gaiman is probably the most famous person I’ve ‘met’, if squeaking at an author at a book signing counts as ‘meeting.’ Besides that, I’ve met a President (of Ireland, so not as cool as some other presidents), and I almost met the Princess Royal once (that’s Princess Anne, Her Majesty the Queen’s daughter, for those not in the know). I was in the same room as her and breathed the same air, but didn’t quite get to shake the royal gloved hand. Oh, well.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

Argh, you see? One of these ‘impossible to answer’ questions. I’d love to live in Reykjavík, just because I’ve been in love with it, and with Iceland, all my life. I’d love to live on Svalbard. I want to live in Tromso. I would love to live in Paris, because I adore that city. I’d love to live in Dubrovnik, because it’s beautiful (and old). I’d love to live in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness of northern Canada. I’d love to live in Tasmania, because one of my favourite people in the world is there.

So I guess I should probably say I’m happy where I am. *sigh*

What was the first story you can remember writing?

I had a great teacher in primary school named Mrs Mythen. I loved her, and she – I’m pretty sure – was fond of me, too. She knew I loved English and writing, and that whenever the class had a spelling- or writing-related task to complete, that I’d be done before the others, and so she used to give me extra work to keep me quiet. We used to write little stories together, and we used also to write poems together, where I’d write one verse and the teacher would write another, and so on. One of these poems was about a witch and her overflowing cauldron, I remember, and it was lots of fun. It also got me used to taking criticism – Mrs Mythen was a hard taskmistress!

I’ve talked before about how my first ‘story’ was a sequel to The Little Prince, and this is true, but upon giving the question some serious consideration this morning, I think perhaps my witchy poem was earlier. I’d have been about six years old, maybe.

Which book do you wish you’d written and why?

I’d love to be facetious here and say ‘The Little Red Book’ or ‘The Bible’ (because sales, darnit), but no. I wish I’d written so many books (the Earthsea books, The Dark is Rising sequence, basically anything by Neil Gaiman and/or Jeanette Winterson), so I’ll say this: I wish I’d written my own next book. I hope to always have ideas, and the space in my mind to complete them, and the peace in my heart to do them justice, and so I’ll always wish to have written the book I’m currently working on to the best of my ability, just to have to opportunity to move on to the next.

If you could write a sequel to a movie that doesn’t already have one how would it go?

This is easy. I’d write a sequel to Labyrinth where I was Sarah, and I’d fight my way to the goblin city just so I could sweep Jareth the Goblin King off his booted feet. Mrs Goblin King has a ring to it, right?

Image: crafthubs.com

Image: crafthubs.com

If you could be on a writing panel with three other authors, who would they be?

Good question. I guess it depends what sort of writing panel we’re talking about: if it was a kidlit writing panel, then I’d choose Frances Hardinge, Alan Garner (even though he doesn’t technically write for children, apparently) and Catherine Fisher. If it was an SF/fantasy writing panel, it’d be unlikely I’d be asked, but I’d choose Ursula leGuin, Neil Gaiman and the late, lamented Robert Holdstock.

You’re given a time travel device that allows only one time jump. What date do you go to?

I’d love to say Chaucerian London, but I know I’d last about three seconds in the mud and dirt and ordure, so I wouldn’t want to go there and have no way of getting back. In fact, I don’t like going anywhere without a clear escape plan, so this question is giving me the sweats.

Let’s say I choose ‘tomorrow’, and leave it at that. (Phew!)

What’s your biggest regret to date?

My regrets are mainly for stuff I didn’t do, rather than things I did. I have fallen out with friends, which I regret terribly, and I didn’t say something to someone when I could have which might have changed the course of their life entirely – but then, things have worked out extremely well for that person, regardless, so maybe things happened just as they were supposed to. I find it very hard to forgive myself for ‘failings’, so I try to live my life regret-free as far as possible. It’s just neater that way.

If you could live in any fictional world (filmed or written) where would it be?

Another question I’ve often thought about. I love Hobbiton (because who doesn’t?) and Lothlorien, either the filmed or written versions, but actually I think I’d love to live in the world of Star Trek. Post-money, post-race, post-gender discrimination, the entire galaxy working for peace and reconciliation, and on top of all that we get to fly spaceships and use ray guns? Sign me up, Scotty.

What are your goals for 2015?

To look after my health; to spend more time with my family; to stop beating myself up psychologically (hahaha!); to write as often as I can and as well as I can; to work very hard on a particular project and bring it in on time; to work on being as happy as I can be; to work on being the best person I can be, for everyone I love (and everyone else!)

So, those are the answers to the 11 fiendish questions posed by Brian. I’m not going to tag anyone, mainly because everyone I know who’d be interested in doing a Liebster post has already been Liebstered, repeatedly, but if you fancy taking a punt at these questions, have at it. Just make sure to link back here so I can check out your answers! Thank you, Brian, for including me in your nominations, and I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know me a little better.

Happy Monday, everybody – may your week be wordy and bright!

Starship Utopia

I’d better begin today’s blog post with a small disclaimer: I’m not a real Trekkie.

I don’t understand each tiny detail of every series; I haven’t watched every single episode and forensically dissected all the movies; I have a favourite Captain of the Enterprise (sort of), but my loyalty wavers; I don’t fully understand who or what the Borg is, and I quite like Wesley Crusher – that last one alone would be enough to discount me from Star Trek fan-club membership, in some circles.

Actually, I think the whole Wesley Crusher thing can be put down to the fact that I watched most of ‘Star Trek: Next Generation’ at a certain age. It had nothing to do with the character, as such. Apparently, some people found him rather annoying. I didn’t really notice that part.

Hello, sailor... Image: comicvine.com

Hello, sailor…
Image: comicvine.com

Anyway.

Yesterday evening, I watched ‘Star Trek: First Contact’, a film I first watched years ago, but which I’d forgotten just enough of to make a second viewing enjoyable. (Sometimes, having an imperfect memory can be a wonderful thing.) ‘First Contact’ is widely considered to be one of the best Star Trek movies, and – to be honest – not only do I agree with this assessment, but I realised as I watched it that I needed to see it, right at this particular point in my life. I read a news report at the weekend, you see, one which filled me with horror about the future of humanity and which left me with a dreadful sense of foreboding as to where the planet is going and what may happen to it, so much so that I spent yesterday writing an utterly depressing dystopian short story – but ‘First Contact’ has given me a fresh perspective.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the future turned out to be just like it’s depicted in Star Trek? I think so.

I’d love to be part of a world where genuine idealism and selfless concern for life – all forms of it (except, maybe, the Borg) – drove the wheels of society and innovation; I’d love to be part of a world where there is equality between genders and races (except, again, for the Borg, but that’s mainly their own fault, to be fair); I’d love to live in a reality where things like capitalism and commerce and colonialism and environmental horror and overcrowding and lack of resources have all been dealt with and overcome. I’d love to wake up tomorrow and for all that to be real.

Unfortunately, the reality is more likely to be something along the lines of what I read about in the news report I mentioned above: too many people all trying to live on one overcrowded, under-resourced planet; survival of the fittest, in the worst sense of the phrase; desperate competition for dwindling supplies of everything necessary for sustaining life; rising temperatures and climate migration and permanent damage to the ecosystem. I can imagine all this happening – I can actually see it starting already. It’s much easier to imagine this than it is to imagine all the races of the universe living in harmony, warping between star systems in an attempt to bring peace to the cosmos, and all that jazz. Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed ‘First Contact’ so much – it shows such a positive view of the possible future of humanity. It’s a break from the constant stream of dystopia that seems to be all over the place – in books, in movies, on TV shows – and, though it shows a Utopia which is so far away that none of us will live to see it, we can nevertheless feel confident of bequeathing it to our descendants. How hard would you work and how long would you strive to bring forth a wonderful, peaceful, clean world for your children and grandchildren if you knew, for certain, it could be achieved? Maybe it’s just me being an idealist, but I know I’d work pretty hard.

Perhaps that’s what we need, you know. A positive message. It’s all too easy to live down to expectation – if all the images of our future as a species and a planet show us devouring one another just to stay alive, then that’s how we start to think about ourselves. It becomes difficult to envisage a different future, a different set of choices. Pretty soon, the imagining becomes the reality, and we end up fulfilling the dark visions of the past. A positive view of what humanity may be capable of, however, may be far more useful – something to strive for, instead of fall back on. If we reflect ourselves succeeding instead of failing, perhaps it will start to become the truth.

But of course I know the visions and dreams of the average person have very little to do with the shaping of an entire planet, or culture, or people. That’s just not how it works. Unless there’s a payday in it for the most powerful, nothing will ever get achieved. As well as that, once we’ve started going down this road, the road which rewards greed and corruption and secret dealings done in small groups which affect millions of lives, it’s hard to get back from it. I don’t want to think that it’s already too late, but changing course is very difficult.

And, yes, I’m also fully aware that ‘Star Trek’ is fictional, and not only that but as unlikely a fiction as you’re ever going to get; that doesn’t stop me from wishing, passionately, that it will one day be the truth, and that we as a species will not destroy one another, but instead learn to live compassionately and gently, however.

A gal can dream, right?

Live long, and prosper. Image: tumblr.com

Live long, and prosper.
Image: tumblr.com