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I found this while cleaning out some folders the other day. It’s incomplete, but I think it’s meant to stay that way for now.

Home is where the heart is–only a cliché because it’s true. But if it’s true, my heart is a divided country, its borders drawn in love.

Each province is home to a name, or a group of names. I carry them with me to protect them, as though the blood of my heart were both sword and shield that could fight with its beating.

There are still plants on those dusty moons

My husband had a rough childhood. The late, great Leonard Nimoy, in his role as Spock, was one of the lights that sparked Scott’s imagination and gave him hope. Within the couple of weeks following Nimoy’s passing, Scott wrote the following. It’s a lovely tribute to someone who meant so much to so many.

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“What are you drawing?” she asked sweetly from behind me, trying to get her nine-year-old chin over my gangly shoulders.

I had endless juvenile interpretations of my daily escape, even coming from a pre-VHS memory recorded from a small, fuzzy TV on the Saturday night re-runs the week before, when everything still had so many possibilities. Whether it was drawing the Enterprise a hundred times, writing poems I was ashamed for anyone to see, or penciling “graphite visions” of James T. and Spock doing everything from watering plants on a dusty moon to saving the cosmos. On most school or church days from age seven to age ten, at some point I was dreaming, drawing, or writing something having to do with Star Trek. But this day was different from the rest, as I was going to see my first Star Trek movie that night. But my visions were only for me, so when someone—especially a girl—came up beside me, my shoulder would slowly rise up, and my hand would slowly cover the page. Of course I could have covered them quickly, but a part of me was hoping when that lovely girl named Heidi saw a glimpse she would beg for more and join in the fantasy world. But in that little town of Hohenwald, Tennessee at the dawn of the big 80’s, there wasn’t an elementary sci-fi geek girl to be found (or another boy, for that matter).

It’s been a week since the passing of Leonard Nimoy. Initially, I didn’t want to think about it and certainly couldn’t post about it. The night after his passing I went to Hastings and rented “Star Trek II: The Director’s Cut”, a version of the original movie I hadn’t seen before. I first saw the shorter original as a nine year old and rented this as a tribute of sorts to his passing, but for some reason I couldn’t watch it that night. Every time I looked at Facebook that day I saw the various “live long and prosper” posts, which faded within 24 hours or so after his passing. But for me I knew it meant something more, something simple, but something I didn’t want to face.

I finally watched the movie last night and knew that those days of dreaming about the endless possibilities coming from one little three-season television show were over for me. As the credits rolled, I actually listened to every bit of the wonderful soundtrack that James Horner composed, and wondered to myself when the last time was that I sat and listened, not only to the very end of a movie, but to the subtleties that life puts before us. “What was I really like then, and what was so different about me?” I wondered…

That Sunday in June of 1982 was the first time I was going to see a movie by myself. I had waited months for Star Trek II, even though I had never seen “The Original Motion Picture”, though it may have been wise that I put it off until adulthood. I was so excited, as a few weeks before the debut, I got to see the 1967 episode rerun “Space Seed”, which featured a young Captain Kirk finding an advanced, genetically-engineered colony cryo-frozen and lost in space. The leader, “Kahn”, tried to take over Kirk’s ship and tortured him in the process. With the help of his first officer Spock, he eventually defeated Kahn’s plans, and even helped Kahn and his followers colonize a lovely uninhabited planet. “How could an ending like this be made into a movie with Kahn being angry with Captain Kirk?” I’d pondered over the last few weeks. All the information I had to work with was from the short television advertisement of the time and that single episode, but I got out my notes making many scenarios about what may happen centuries into the future during Mrs. Allen’s biblical lessons from eons past.

The end of the church class came, and Mrs. Allen called me to her. Although my behavior was exemplary for the typical nine-year-old boy, I hid my graphite dreams and went to her, prepared for a scolding on how I needed to listen to Jesus, not draw pictures during her lesson. “Scott, how’s your dad, how’s Gary doing?” she said in an uncomfortable tone. I said the same thing I always said, “He’s doing okay, Grandma’s taking care of him during the day.” “I hope the doctors are helping him,” she said. I walked away and thought about my dad, not understanding exactly what his brain tumor meant, and certainly not knowing his life would end the next June. As usual, I felt guilty, not knowing exactly why, and almost told Mom I didn’t want to go see the movie because of that guilt. How could I go see a movie when Dad couldn’t? But there I was a few hours later, sitting in the movie theatre on a Sunday afternoon, and for the first time in months, not taking a two-hour nap after a huge post-worship feast. I knew Mr. Spock would not find napping during movie time logical, and Captain Kirk might just seal my fate by putting a security officer’s red shirt on me if he knew I was sleeping.

I sat there by myself, waiting in excitement, and I thought of my first movie experience: “Star Wars” in 1977. It absolutely blew me away from the moment the first note played after “Far, far, away”. Although Star Wars had inspired several years of masterful Lego-ship making and crafting light sabers out of whatever I could get my hands on, it didn’t make me dream all day like Star Trek did. Kirk and Spock’s teamwork was always something to build a new fantasy upon. Our glorious captain was always ready to jump the gun without thinking, but always had his logical sidekick to slow him down enough to see what was around him; his friend, there to make him ponder the possibilities. Fascinating.

Of course I had to make sure I had covered all the bases I could think of before the movie started, so I pulled out one of those pieces of paper that I slowly hid from Heidi, the one with many of the plot theories a nine-year-old could imagine. I wanted to compare notes as the movie progressed, not knowing that as soon as that opening title came up, accompanied by the climax of Horner’s opening theme, I would have goose bumps from head to toe, and those pages would have to wait until after the last credits.

A small mind full of possibilities didn’t know how to react to a big-screen world that was actually fulfilling his fantasies. I just watched and listened, taking it all in but totally forgetting about life outside of Kahn’s wrath. The movie progressed, and our captain lost what he realized was his best friend, Spock, to radiation—a word I had heard many times over the last few months in relation to my father’s brain tumor. I saw Spock, in his dying moments, leaning against that shield telling his captain that he was also his friend. I saw it take his life away on screen, leaving me with tears running down my face. I sneakily looked around to make sure no one saw me crying, and for the first time knew I was going to lose my father. I have almost no memory of the next year until after my father died, and now I think I know why.

Last night as I watched the opening credits roll with my lovely, sleepy sidekick, Lacey, lying by my side with her head on my chest, I began to feel those same chill bumps I felt that day in 1982. A little of the nine-year-old was still there, halfway trying to hide my tears from Lacey that started as soon as Leonard Nimoy’s name came to the screen. But at least I knew that in this town of Conway, Arkansas in the early 21st century, there is one sci-fi geek girl that won’t mind a few “Spock tears”.

An old country doctor named McCoy, dreamily peering out into space, looked past the “green blooded, in-human” part and said of his lost friend, “He’s really not dead, as long as we remember him.” That not only goes for the Vulcan sidekick that helped me get through some rough years, but also for the father that reminded me so much of him. Mr. Nimoy, you once said “There are always possibilities.” I think you may have re-opened the doorway into the endless possibilities that existed all those years ago. Now, instead of slowly covering the pages, I will share with all who wish to dream with me.

A New Adventure

A new adventure is unfolding for my little family. We’ve decided to build a shipping container house. I’d love it if you’d like to follow along on our journey at cargolife.net.

Where we live is a deep reflection of who we are–or at least it should be. I think it’s easy to get caught up in what we are “supposed” to do in regard to housing. Everyone else has a thirty year mortgage; isn’t that normal? Perhaps a fifteen year note is acceptable if your finances are a bit more in order, but regardless, a mortgage is simply what’s done.

My spouse and I have found that this is not appropriate for us. We prefer to have as few monthly bills as possible, and with that in mind, we’ve decided to build in a way that’s still somewhat counter to the normal culture. You can hear all about this, our financial reasons for doing it, and more at our new blog-space. We hope to see you over there.

*Note: the new blog is an addition to, not a replacement of, this site. 🙂

My Friend in Summer

In the summer, my friend wears no shirt, and no shoes. The length of his muscled torso leads your gaze along his full height, and reminds me that he is taller than I ever manage to remember. When we meet at the airport, which we often do, we slam our bodies together in a hug, as though it’s been centuries. We find a restaurant with beer, or perhaps margaritas. I spill my guts, he wipes them up, and I remind him not to let his ego run rampant. When I text him at 4am, he says to come over. I cry, because my heart has been broken.

The one time someone broke his, he did not cry, but came to my bed to sleep, pulling me against his chest. In the morning, it wasn’t quite so dark, and we went separately to our breakfasts.

Spring in the South…

…often means tornados. Sunday night in Arkansas, that’s exactly what it meant. Mayflower, Paron, and Vilonia–a town devastated just 3 years ago–were struck violently by these storms. Mayflower is only 3 miles from where my husband and I purchased land recently. While our location was not touched, I’m very grateful we had not yet moved our temporary camper there.

I shop in Mayflower, I eat in Mayflower. I have seen those people and spoken to them. I directly know of several people who lost homes, and am grateful they are not among those who lost family members.

When I couldn’t sleep Sunday night over the ache in my heart, I wrote this:

There are so many beautiful words that refer to the will of God: Ojala, a Spanish word originating from the Moor’s occupation of Spain, means ‘hopefully’ or ‘I hope’. Its meaning is stronger than simple hope—it means your whole being is involved in the desire. Insha’Allah, an Arabic word, means ‘God-willing’. When I have a hope that is nearly a prayer, it’s these words that come to mind. 

Ojala, please, please let the storms coming be minimal, let them bypass the living and touch only what can be replaced. Insha’Allah, those who were affected by what has already occurred will receive the help they need, mentally, physically, and emotionally, to heal.”

Short Letters

My department hosted a writing instructor’s conference today. One of the exercises I learned about was the idea of a postcard-length letter. It must be poetic, though not necessarily a poem, addressed to someone you know, and, hopefully, you will create something with a message that surprises even you:

Brother-Mine–

Though you are so much older than I, when we are together, I think we are teenagers together, driving backroads as we pass a beer between us.

Sincerely,

Your Youngest Sister

 

Birthday thoughts, dream jobs, and other happiness

My birthday was just the other day. It felt surreal. This birthday year is a 9, numerologically speaking–I’ll let you figure out the math on that one. While I love birthdays, and in fact had a lovely one this year with my hubs, in the weeks leading up to it, I was feeling rather contemplative. What had I done with my life to this point? What could I do? How could I make this year the best year so far?

I began working out around the first of the year. I do a barre exercise called Pure Barre, and so far, I’m addicted. (You can read about other people’s addictions to this craze here.) A couple of weeks in, I also began jogging.

So, for my birthday, I was feeling improved physically, but still plotting ways to make myself more of who I intend to be.

I had a meeting yesterday I hoped would bear some fruit, but I worked to be calm and not assume anything. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have exciting news: There’s a new magazine coming out in May, and I am the editor! Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved writing, and everything I’ve wanted to do with my life has been united by that single love. This magazine will focus on telling stories about brave people–people who have faced illness, fought for our country, started businesses, and so forth. I couldn’t be more thrilled. This is exactly the type of project I’ve always wanted to be involved with.

Just to make the week even better, we finally, FINALLY, close on our property Friday, and my husband found the lost title for a vehicle he purchased…well…let’s just say several months ago. He hasn’t been able to drive or register the thing, so this was quite a victory.

I’m incredibly grateful for the wonderful opportunities that have presented themselves this week, and every week.

Happy birthday to me.

Random Inspirational Fitness Post

I don’t really talk about fitness much, because, well, there are other places that do it way better than I can. Plus, I figure not too many people outside of my immediate family/friend circle are actually too concerned about my stats, and that’s cool with me. But, here I am. Put it in the record books.

I’ve been off and on active for the better part of a decade–inevitably, something comes along before I get too fit, and I get off track. A year is probably the longest I’ve ever gone with some level of regular (albeit, not intense) activity.

My niece was kind enough to drag me to a Pure Barre class a couple of weeks ago. It’s effin hard. And, strangely, I got hooked–I don’t know why, but I’m completely addicted. After several classes, I started NOT purchasing a scone every time I walked by the bakery. A couple of weeks of class led to me thinking, “Hmm, I sure feel better. I bet some regular cardio would increase this nice feeling.” Consequently, I’ve been walk/jogging for a week or so.

I jogged 8 minutes in a row the other day–just over a quarter mile. I know it’s not a lot, but it’s the most I’ve ever been able to jog, and I’m really proud. Next week, I’ll be able to go ten. Who knows what I’ll be able to do a month from now.

What I finally (think) I’ve figured out, is that it’s going to hurt, and it’s going to be uncomfortable–but you can push past that, push past your mind telling your how completely angry your muscles are. And then, twenty minutes in, there’s the glorious endorphin rush you’ve been reading about for years. It’s real! It exists! It’s just a few minutes past where you’ve–I’ve–always quit before. And it’s pretty much awesome. My stress level is falling daily.

I really, really mean this–if I can jog a quarter of a mile, you can do anything. So, whatever it is you want to do, or dream of doing…just take one step. Just one–and then another. Don’t think about the end result, just think about how you can improve yourself, or work toward your goal, today.