Dude, 2013 was not the best year of my life. It was the year my wife and I were between children. I was stuck in a job that I didn’t like, but allowed me plenty of time to read. As it turned out, my wife and I were deep in debt. So much so that the only way out was to declare bankruptcy. Oh yeah, and STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS was coming out.
Now, I like Benedict Cumberbatch. First off, his name is just plain fun to say. I discovered him when I saw “Sherlock”. I’ve been a fan of Martin Freeman since “The Office” and, of course, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (better than people want to give it credit for). I tuned it to see Freeman, but was very curious about the guy playing Holmes.
Then Cumberbatch started showing up in movies. For me, TREK XII: THE WRATHIEST KHAN EVER.
Oddly enough, I didn’t care who Cumberbatch was playing. I wanted to see more of this new cast. Pine, Quinto, Urban and the rest. The first reboot pic was done so well, I sincerely wanted more. Even if this had not been a TREK film, I would have been a fan of this Universe.
Now, at this time, I was the father to two children. Jaxsen was born in 2009, his brother Greysen in 2012. Greysen came on the heels of a miscarriage and this pregnancy was especially difficult on my wife, Julie. She will tell you that, two days before we went in for the C-section, the power in our neighborhood went out during the heat of the summer. She was miserable until the air conditioner came back on.
With having two mouths to feed, money became very tight and then almost non-existent. I worked two jobs and put in around 55 hours a week at the two. As a merchandiser for Kraft and P&G products, I made visits to grocery stores. When the manager didn’t want to see me, I’d tidy up the shelves of product, work back stock, and then go read in my car until my time was up. Not the hardest job, not the best paying either.
And then, on the weekends, I was a merchandiser for Pepsi. I slung the product to the shelves. This paid very well, but I was frustrated that I couldn’t do it full-time. Pepsi is union and it’s difficult to advance. I tried several times for a full time position, but never succeeded.
So, money became scarce with the mouths to feed and car payments to make. We declared bankruptcy.
The morning we had to sign the final papers, my wife had her friend Deb watch our two kids. I was grateful that we didn’t have them running around our feet while we talked with our lawyer.
When we finished, my wife surprised me with an AMC gift card and told me her plan: Deb agreed to watch the kids all day, freeing us to go see ST INTO DARKNESS.
This was the first movie since “Shrek Forever After” that I had been able to see in theatres. We did it up right — drink and popcorn, Julie even smuggled in M&M’s for me and Hot Tamales for herself.
We got our tickets and took our seats. It was the middle of the week, so there were not too many people in the theatres. And then an announcement was made: The projectionist had accidentally loaded the 3-D version. We could stay without having to pay for 3-D.
Julie said, “I’ll try.”
She doesn’t do well with 3-D, it gives her a headache.
But she agreed to try for me. I knew if she couldn’t handle it, we could leave and ask for our money back. I felt the pangs of disappointment start in, but it was for no reason. We managed to stay for the whole movie.
This was my first 3-D movie, I was glad it was a TREK movie.
I liked the movie for what it was, and kept trying not to compare it to “Space Seed” or TWOK. Then again, I had had many years with TWOK, could quote all the lines, and was very personal to me.
For two hours, this was a great diversion from my own life. From the jobs I rarely got a break from. A break from my own frustrations and shortcomings.
See, I hadn’t been writing on a regular basis. I’d start a story and then not see it through. I kept reading.
I was doing research for a project that I also didn’t complete. It required me to read every issue of STARLOG Magazine I could get my hands on. I got a hold of 224 and was committed to reading them all. I wanted to be known for science fiction, but not STAR TREK. I needed to rediscover what SF was, beyond TREK and STAR WARS.
The project I was working on was rendered useless. However, I came away with a solid education into SF. I had known Issac Asimov and AC Clarke. But now I had discovered Tiptree, Clements and Ellison, among others. I read interviews with writers who would turn out to be one-hit wonders, but were super-hyped at the time. I learned so much about TREK, it was almost criminal.
Among the articles in the informative pages of STARLOG, I found a regular column that David Gerrold wrote. Gerrold is the writer of “The Trouble With Tribbles”, as well as the writer of my one of all time fav books, “The Man Who Folded Himself”. I found his writing about writing to be inspiring and took a lot of it to heart.
Not all of it? You ask.
No, I say.
As writers, we are all different. What works for you might not work for me. So, I took what I liked and needed. I’m sure the rest of it is still on a shelf in the back of my brain. One day, I guess it’ll be let out.
I also have to give a huge shout out to Julie, my wife. She engineered me going to see STID in theatres. She took care of everything, out of love. This was the only movie that year I got to see in theatres. Compared to the fact that I used to see a movie a week (thank God for dollar theatres), seeing one every few years was like torture. It was very much worth waiting for. It was super sweet of Julie to be so considerate towards me.
Three months later, we moved out of our home of five years to get away from our landlord.
A few days after that, my 1.5 year old toddled over with a note that read, “Mommy says I’m going to be a big brother.”
It was September 11, 2013, I was going to be a father for a third time.
As much as I love TREK, finding out I was going to be a dad one more time was even better.
NEXT TIME: We will find hope in the impossible.