Well, it's almost over. I have the two latest films to watch today (and I'm going to re-watch the original pilot) and then I will have watched all of Star Trek in 2013.
When this year first started I thought that, when December rolled around, I might get a Star Trek tattoo to celebrate the completion of my project. For years, I wanted to get a bunch of geek symbols all meshed together into one large tattoo. Now, I can't imagine doing that.
I've thought a lot about this little phenomenon because it's indicative of something larger.
I mentioned in a recent post (I say recent but I think it was sometime in November) that my appreciation for Star Trek has shifted, deepened even though my level of fervor for it seems to have cooled. How is this possible? What changed? How can I appreciate something more and less at the same time?
I've had about a month since then to reflect on this and I think it comes down to a few things. (Stick with me because I'm honestly still just gathering my thought about this and, as it's December 31st, I'm quite emotional about it all.)
For one thing, my life changed pretty drastically this year. With Scott suddenly working in television, I got a glimpse at the workings that make the magic happen. I hung around sound stages, stayed up late with Scott while he was finishing revisions of drafts, talked to him about how his episodes would fit into the larger arcs of the series, and drank beer with Jonathan Frakes. It should've been surreal but it wasn't. It was just the direction my life had taken. And, with that direction, I found a more personal, more human part of the show that I was watching. I couldn't just look at Picard and see Picard anymore. I saw the actor, styled by professionals, saying lines written by one guy, revised by another guy, and approved by yet another guy, directed by someone else entirely on a set created by hundreds of people. It's not that I stopped believing in magic but that I developed a new understood how magic worked. So, there's that.
Another thing: I just got a book deal. It's odd because I got a deal for two of my novels at the same time. The first, Awesome Jones, took me several years to write and revise. It was my baby, my first child, and I spent a long time just figuring out how to bring it up. I've lived in the world of Awesome Jones for years. I know the city the characters inhabit better than I know my own. And now, every one else is about to have access to that city. Those characters. Their story. I'm turning over the keys to my world to anyone who wants them and it's exciting and terrifying and humbling all at once. At the same time, I'm slowly going from being a fan to a creator and I think that has changed the way I view the worlds of other fandoms.
Alright, here's the last (maybe?) thing. When I first started this project, I LOVED Star Trek. I understood that it had had its not-as-good episodes and that it had ups and downs over the years but, as a fan with the power of Netflix, I was capable of glossing over that stuff. I could also watch it any time I wanted. I could spend weeks without watching Star Trek and not even realize it. I would happen upon an episode I hadn't seen in years and think, "Oh, I forgot all about this one." But then, January rolled around and I started this blog. To say I watched three episodes a day (which is true) isn't even really giving what happened here credit. What I ended up in was a completely immersive experience. I watched the episodes. I read about the episodes. I took notes about the episodes. I read about the behind-the-scenes stuff. I wrote a post (almost every day) that was (hopefully) thoughtful and (hopefully) well-crafted. And then I put it online for a bunch of strangers (who soon became friends) to read. This became my job. It became my entire life. I stopped responding to emails. I stopped writing and submitting short stories. I stopped watching other TV. My whole life suddenly became Star Trek. When I would (on rare occasion) meet up with friends, I found that all my "humorous anecdotes" were now about some Star Trek behind-the-scenes thing or something hilarious Geordi did the other day. I lived it, breathed it, and dreamed it.
Then, somewhere around the end of DS9 and the beginning of Voyager, I hit a wall. I woke up one morning and thought, "I don't know. Can I keep doing this? I'm so tired. I'm sick. I'm suddenly trying to revise a novel and I'm in the middle of my second move of the year and..." But then I just stopped moaning, turned on the TV, sat down with my breakfast, and watched Star Trek. And I was comforted. And I wrote a post. And I was comforted. And I read the comments. And I was comforted. And I realized that, even though Star Trek had taken over my life in many ways, it had become such an integral part of my day that I didn't want to be without it. That even when I was sort of exhausted with this whole thing, I was comforted by the experience.
In fact, now, if I just start talking about the year coming to an end, my throat tightens up and I'm seconds away from full-fledged tears. I have cried and cried and cried. I have burst into tears just listening to other people talk about finish their own projects. I have broken down upon receiving emails from my readers. I have blubbered into my tea just counting the number of episodes I had left. I don't want the project to be over.
So many times people have asked, "But won't you be relieved? You don't have to be tied down to this show anymore. You can watch whatever you want and blog whenever you feel like it."
Nope. I don't feel relieved. I feel distressed. I feel like someone is cutting a part of my life away.
Because that's what, in the course of this year, Star Trek has become. It's a part of my life. It's as familiar to me as any other part of my day. It's not perfect. (In fact, in many ways it's very flawed. It's a show about humans created by human hands and human hearts and so there's no way for it to be perfect.) But I love it. And my love for it is less about fawning over it and worshiping it as I might once have done. Now, after My Year Of Star Trek, it's about acknowledging that it's a part of my life, that it's always been a part of my life, and letting it slip back into the background, knowing that it's always there if I need it.