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May 2016

A Toast to Star Wars Day

IMG_5581May the fourth be with you! Here's to another Star Wars Day.

Any plans for the occasion this year? Originally, I had thoughts about hitting Disney's Hollywood Studios today, but between independent work, part-time work, and school, my family wouldn't arrive until after 7 pm. Instead, as I go about my writing and social media this morning, I'm raising a glass to the elements of Star Wars that inspired me in writing, reading, and even parenting over the years:

The twin suns of Tatooine: The image of Luke Skywalker mulling over life, the universe, and everything with Tatooine's twin suns in the distance left an impression on me as kid. The loneliness of the landscape, Luke's wistful gaze left me feeling there had to be endless possibilities on the horizon. And those two suns ... two! There could be such a thing as a planet with two suns? I haven't stopped dreaming of other worlds since.

The Han Solo Trilogy (Han Solo at Star's End, Han Solo's Revenge, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy): These were the books that started me reading scifi and fantasy. Was it my mood at the time? The craving for more Star Wars? Maybe it was author Brian Daley's skill. Damn good books. 

The Rebel Base on Hoth: The best snow play I had as a child was after a snow storm in New York that left at least two feet of fun. With my constant companions at the time, we built a base of snow bricks.  I hope it was as impressive as I remember it. I was never so cold and freezing wet in snow before or since, but I just couldn't go inside so intense was the physical manifestation of our imaginations. My only regret is that I lost the photos from that day. Last year, the vivid recollection had me playing in the backyard with my daughter, knowing it was our last snow before moving to Florida. We were soaked digging a tunnel, then took out some Star Wars toys and snapped awesome pictures. Ya gotta love Hoth.

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Gracious role models: Star Wars gave my kids some excellent roles models in a day in age when rule breakers and/or egos are given more press than the good guys. And I'm not just talking about characters. After impromptu encounters with notables such as James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Clone Wars), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano, Clone Wars), and Dave Filoni (Director, Clone Wars), I was able to turn to my kids and point out, "That's the way you treat people no matter how popular or important you ever become in your work or personal lives." I imagine that at any given moment at a Con, these people have a lot on their plates. My kids, however, came away feeling like they were given all the time in the world. More recently, have you followed Daisy Ridley at all? Love her Instagram. She's another SW personality with a super positive vibe.

George Lucas. Have I agreed with all his creative choices? No. But (until he sold to Disney) Star Wars was his baby and I was his guest. His world, his rules. Any storyteller would demand the same respect. Differences of opinion aside, the man taught me you can create your own universe, you can reverse course and change your universe to suit your needs (after all, it is your universe), and sometimes you can start to create something and it can morph into a class by itself. We all have our likes and dislikes about how the saga has unfolded, and I'm sure that won't end any time soon. However, I'm amused when folks critique Star Wars in a hateful way. The franchise is not a series of films to be analyzed as if it was The Godfather saga. Attempts to do so fall flat in my opinion. Why does Star Wars get a pass? It's its own 'thing.' A feeling. A symbol of something that, perhaps, nobody has been able to put a finger on. It's just too damn big for those who feel it. Take your nitty-gritty discrepancies and directing minutiae and "move along, move along." Much like the Force, if you can't feel it flowing through you, well, then, I can't help you. 

"Never tell me the odds." It's a motto. It's a reminder for the tough times. I've been saying it a lot lately! (Side note: This quote also applies to a certain scoundrel miraculously making it off Starkiller Base in Episode VIII. I don't care if it would be stupid, unrealistic, or that Harrison Ford did or did not make some deal. And I don't care that insert-your-argument-here.)

And finally...
Thinking in black-versus-white absolutes is asinine in relationships, politics, religion, and pretty much everywhere else. We need to meet people where they are as individuals, not where we assume they are or should be. Was Anakin a wimp in turning to the Dark Side? Sure. But I can't help but wonder: If the Jedi Council members had treated him with compassion as the individual he was instead of as their preconceived idea of 'The Chosen One,' might there have been a different outcome? What about Fin in The Force Awakens? Thank goodness this enemy trooper turned defector connected with people who were willing to give him a chance. Meet people where they are: It's a lesson I've been trying to learn for a while now. It's not easy and often not convenient. Still, it helps to remember that anytime I have connected with someone or something over Star Wars, that relationship was one of good memories, creativity, love, and/or friendship in some capacity regardless of other differences. Most of the time, there is something in all of humanity for people to connect over if we make use of time and compassion to find it. Then we don't have to bash a whole group of people or an entire philosophy. It's true about the SW franchise, too: In loving the 'thing' the first film became, I can forgive the presence of Jar Jar Binks and not trash the whole franchise.  I mean, I love my husband to the moon and back ... but we certainly don't agree about everything. Case in point: While I love it, this does not belong in my living room:

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 Have a super day!