Universes; A Rant

I’ve loved Star Wars since I was a kid. My first jump into the Universe Lucas built came when my mother had a work event that was allowing for the children of her employer to go see Star Wars A New Hope in a private screening, and receiving a few small toy star ships. I can’t say for certain how many people attended, but I can say this for certain; I don’t even remember my mother at the event. I vaguely remember her being there when we were leaving, but the entire evening for me was just Star Wars, and those little metal mounted ships that were small even in my child hands. I’d imagine they were no bigger than those small “Hot Wheels” cars. I had gotten a Y-Wing, A-Wing (or as it’s come to be known, a Jedi Starfighter), the B-Wing which I couldn’t figure out how it flew best, but the X-Wing is what did it for me. That ship, in all it’s glory, took down the Death Star and ensured that the rebels lived to fight another day. That wasn’t just any ship, that was Luke Skywalker’s ship! My childhood self can’t contain the nostalgia I still feel to this day when I see an X-Wing spread into attacking formation and the four wings fully extend.

Those moments in childhood would only be cemented as I got older, flying my own A-Wing in “Shadows of the Empire” on my cousin’s N64, and much later flying an X-Wing (AT LAST!) in “Rogue Squadron”. Sure, Han Solo was a badass, but the real badass for me was Luke. He trained, learned, and could only get stronger. Han just had a blaster, and Leia… Eh. I wanted to have a lightsaber that actually worked, and didn’t just bend when I would hit something. I wanted to be a space knight Jedi, to save people and need no one. I wanted to stand apart and be a part of the secret Jedi order, knowers of all secrets, masters of the unseen Force that drove everything.

I’m almost 31 now, playing Jedi: Fallen Order on PS4. That same sort of majesty when uncovering new species and finding new Force powers hasn’t left me. It still amazes me how easily all the new information fits into the Universe I’ve fantasized in since I was a kid. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to what I see in the Star Wars universe. The versatility of the stories that can be told within their framework is incredible. In the past five years alone we’ve seen a new trilogy, A bounty hunter origin story (Solo), a war movie (Rogue One), and a Western (The Mandolorian), all told within the exact same universe at different points in time. The magic of that universe isn’t that these things all happen, but that we’re always ready for more and more and more of it all. At no point have I seen something taking place in the Star Wars universe and thought to myself… “okay, I’m good”. There’s so much that can occur within the rules this universe has developed that it all makes perfect sense when you start watching.

This isn’t unlike the Marvel, DC, or even Stephen King universe’s. I think of all of these however, the one that really amazes me is King’s. The reason for this, is King doesn’t even stick to the same settings while he weaves the tale. We have the Vampires of Salem’s Lot, Pennywise the Clown, John Coffey, Danny Torrance, Bill Hodges, and so many countless others tied together at their center by the Dark Tower. It’s an ingenious mechanic that allows King to play a universe filled with whatever he might desire and still remain canonically relevant if he should choose to lob us an Easter egg here and there (it never ceases to make me smile when he does). The fun thing about this common universe motif, is that it reminds you of the truest truth of human life; everything is happening to everyone at the same time. Despite our inability to understand how everything is interwoven, this doesn’t stop everything from being connected, no matter how unrelated the events are. This “Butterfly Effect” without direct cause and effect is one of my favorite parts of reading King’s work, reading Comics, or watching/playing Star Wars. The over-arching idea that there is always something else happening at the same time, and we have the privilege to experience THIS moment. That’s something truly beautiful.

The reason I love this so much, is I would love to capture that sentiment. I will write more over the next few days in regards to what and how I believe that is best conducted, but for the time being, I wanted to at least hash out a small rant on what makes the idea so important to me, and what inspired it for me. This is why I can’t simply write a single story, but instead must build a full universe. The process is much longer, but it convinces me of the truth in it. If the stories I write aren’t true fictions, they aren’t really worth my time writing, or your time in reading.

This is for you Mama. Thanks for always letting me run wild in those majestic worlds, and enjoying them with me so I never felt alone back on Earth.

Beneficial shame

It’s difficult to take credit for the messes we’ve made. The histories of other countries could tell you what atrocities 50 stars have caused. Not only is there the slavery on our soil, there’s the wars we’ve started for the sake of money, oil, political control; at the end of the day the word PROFIT is all that seems to matter. We’d like to believe some grand idea is behind this all that we can’t comprehend. Truth be told, it’s the same sort of god-thinking that made us mark ourselves “a Christian nation”. Truth be told, there’s very little that’s Christian about us, unless we’re discussing an Old Testament premise of the model Christian. We allow sex scandals to dominate our newsfeeds because we enjoy the villainy. We feel better when someone else is worse off than we are; instead of trying to help the victims we find a way to make them the culprit. Instead of learning how to check our neighbors have as much as we do, we look in their bowls and curse them for having more than or even just a different kind of grain than us. We look and we curse them because we feel that extra grain should’ve been ours. Why? What makes us believe we deserve more? Why not deserve less? Why not check to see if they have less and share our own? What pulls our sails toward greed instead of generosity?

I used to think that Capitalism causes it, but I no longer think that to be the case. Other countries rely on the capitalist system and they aren’t quite as egotistical and self-promoting. The narcissism is our inside joke that we share and feel embarrassed when faced with the truth. “What is there to be narcissistic about?” A species that hasn’t evolved it’s self in a few millennia. Taller, sure, but more adaptable? Hardly. Most of us aren’t “tech people”. Here we are 2,000 some odd years past the birth of “the savior” and we’re finally learning that skin color doesn’t dictate behavior. The shape of our heads and eyes don’t necessitate a personality, just a genetic origin. This was a major breakthrough for the human population, though it’s relatively common sense. Considering we will someday be scattered out into the stars (if we aren’t already, unbeknownst to us) it might be good of us to start letting differences be a source of happiness and not resentment. I appreciate that we’re trying, it just seems so trivial that anyone could still be clinging to an identity like nationalism or racism in 2020.

What I think irks me most about it is the willing ignorance to turn away from anything suggesting there’s no difference grand enough to make us less or more human. Despite the atrocities of any hateful human being, I do not fool myself into the belief that they are NOT human. They might be less intelligent, less aware of their fellow man, but not less HUMAN. Less humane, I’ll give you that. For me, this is the difference that really seems to divide us most. We think we’re incapable of being reduced to these deeds. We think we cant be swayed to hate others in such a repulsive way. We would be wrong to think this. I can recall a time when i was less intelligent with my anger. That time saw me hating many people without reason or just cause. If you were to dig back into my childhood and search, you could find people who might have thought me racist. I was bullied, and with that bullying came the confusion that a certain type of person was the reason i was bullied. For a time, i believed that only certain kinds of people bullied. Over time, I learned that it doesn’t take a specific ethnicity to insult, demean, degrade, and disgrace. It just takes differences, and the willingness to be threatened by them. That was a strong lesson for me as i grew older, and to this day I am happy to discuss it with anyone who asks because it was important.

Being wrong is important.

If you are wrong and learn to see that, you can grow from it, and doing so makes you evolve. You become a stronger person, a stronger human. When i finally realized that I had only perpetuated the cycle i was caught in, I stopped being so angry. I didn’t learn this in therapy, I learned it in literature. I can’t give you a precise quote, though i know this realization struck me while reading Albert Camus. While i can’t say i agree with everything Camus said or did, there are large portions of his philosophy that drive me to glee and shouts, simply because he gives reason and understanding to what i felt so long and couldn’t name.

This being said, let me come back to my original idea; It is difficult to take credit for the messes we make. The simple idea is an unmade bed; we must admit it is unmade in order to move forward and make it anew. This simple concept branches to all of life’s dilemmas. We cannot fix what we do not believe to be broken. With that in mind, i urge you all to review what is wrong in your life. Even that which you do not believe is your fault, and detach, align yourselves with “the vast indifference of the universe”, as Camus puts it in The Stranger. Find the things you are doing which bring you back into the cycle, and how you can alter them. I can say for certain, that as a country, we here in the USA have a tendency to blame the other half of the political sphere, and instead should take a gander at what our slant is. What have we done to participate, to perpetuate? It becomes a fun exercise in shame, and progress.

This is for you Gareth. I love you and miss you.

Checking in

This is the first post of 2020. Hopefully that means something important, and I’ll actually get around to doing things in the right way this year. I’ve been working on my story for roughly ten years now, and it’s finally carved off enough of the original marble slate so that there’s some semblance of a statue underneath it all.

That doesn’t mean I’m anywhere near done, I’ve just removed enough of what it isn’t so that I know now what it really is. Most people have a snippet or two, some people have a secret but don’t know where it is along the timeline (or even who is involved), and one person other than myself has an inclination as to what is happening but if my ability to speak without communicating has done me any good, she’ll also be surprised in the end. It’s my hope that I can write about writing the story without telling the story itself. That would be reserved for actually reading the completed work. I hope that in recording the process I’ll be able to convey the difficulty in world-building (universe-building? literally?) without ruining the story itself.

That’s all for now. More to come. I promise.

 

This is for you, Fubba. I love and miss you.