The last few days, I’ve re-engaged with some things I love. Thought I’d share.
Now that we have three episodes of Star Trek: Discovery, I’ve seen a great many people relating it back to Deep Space Nine in regards to the idea of long story arcs. It seems everyone credits DS9 with the beginnings of serialized television, with the Dominion War in the later seasons. I nod and smile at this, knowing that it happened because Babylon 5 was kicking ass and taking names at the same time, for the same reasons, and it was usually better. Even so, I have a high regard for Star Trek as a whole, and I adore DS9. It broke a lot of new ground for Trek. It gave us some truly memorable characters. It pushed the overall story forward. It opened up some new territory to explore.
It’s been a lot of years since I last watched any of DS9. Having finished up a re-watch of TNG not that long ago, I figured now was as good a time as any to return to this one. I crank out an episode a night with my evening meal, the lone bachelor’s equivalent of good food and good company. I’m only a few episodes in at this point, but as with other versions of Trek, it’s like coming home, as if I’ve somehow never been away.
DS9 seems to be enjoying something of a Renaissance with the newer generation, which has not gone unnoticed at the highest levels behind the scenes. It’s easy to see why; it absolutely holds up as quality TV. On revisiting, it seems somehow less clunky than it did before in these early episodes. That could just be a misperception based on how clunky Discovery is right up front. The connective tissue with Discovery is more than just the war. It’s the overall tone, more ominous at times than is typical for Trek. Discovery is just… more so. It’s easy for them to hide behind a cloak of black-ops and call it “mysterious” or some other such nonsense. As long as they adhere to Trek, that’s all I ask, as I’ve said before. They’re not, and they’re hiding their canon breaches behind that black-ops excuses too. I’m keeping notes, and I’ll expand on that once the first season is over. Beyond that, I really think the two series are very different animals. And I’m fine with that. Each version of Trek has its own identity and still contributes to the overall whole.
On the Star Wars side of things, a new short story anthology has dropped: From a Certain Point of View. 43 authors, 40 stories, and the connective tissue is different perspectives and cut scenes from A New Hope. I just started the audiobook this morning, and it’s sure to take me a while because I’m doing like I always do: synopsis and commentary for each story as I go. It’ll be a long review. Hope that’s not a problem for anyone. Right now, I’m two stories in, and I’m truly impressed. I also know that there are a couple of stories in it where I’m questioning some things I’ve heard about elsewhere and/or I really don’t want the writer (Chuck Wendig) or the character POV (Doctor Aphra? Again? Really?!) being offered. There are some names I trust working on this. There are some I’d readily jettison from an airlock if I could divorce myself from guilt of such Imperial level atrocity. Probably for the best I hold myself to a higher standard, eh? I’m going to give this whole thing its due diligence. I expect anthologies to be a mixed bag, but I also understand every writer and story here will appeal to different people. So far I love what I’ve read. Let’s just say… the first two stories are so rock solid, I ordered a hardcover copy for my bedside table.
I’ve otherwise been distracted in the evenings, so reconnecting with art, music, or other books has been… challenging. Writing? Forget it. I’m ready to pull the ripcord on monster stories once the weather turns cold enough to silence my neighbors for a while. Price you pay when you live in a rundown neighborhood like mine. Every punk out there thinks they have something to prove, and everyone’s idea of fun seems to be ruining someone else’s peace. As Sinatra sings, “Some people get their kicks stomping on a dream.” Thumping music by day, gunshots by night. That’s just everyday life for me, exaggerated by SPD. Not much I can do about it except to escape internally and hope for the best. The distractions are coming from other directions that I won’t discuss here. Suffice it to say, they color the way I approach things. It’s largely been positive, and it’s made me want to reconnect all over again with all the things I enjoy. It made me realize, yet again, just how much there is. Seriously, how in the hell did I become involved in so many things? How did I ever keep track of it all? Or did I ever keep track of it in the first place? When I was younger, it seems I could never explore enough, as though whatever else was over the horizon was my ticket to happiness. Whether I found it or not, it made me greedy for more. The older I get, the more and more I’m trying to find myself in all of the things I’ve come to know. It’s like trying to piece together a bunch of pieces without a reference, possibly from several very different puzzles. It doesn’t bother me, though. Not like it used to. Sometimes you can find a little peace within, and things drop into place naturally without the struggle of past decades. These days it’s less about exploring new territory, and more about understanding the treasures already in my life and putting them into some kind of context that makes sense. I’m finding I have less to prove and more to offer. Not that most societal standards will ever see it that way, but I’m not interested in society’s metrics. Mine are very different, as, no doubt, many would believe of themselves. Society is an artificial construct that we are told we have to mold ourselves to fit. That seems backwards to me. I find personal meaning in a work of art or a piece of music — the created vestiges of those who shaped their creations to their thoughts instead of the other way around. But I play things so close to the chest, so I find I’m unable to truly and fully express my own personal meaning, no matter how much I learn the meaning for the original creator. Blogging has its limits. Verbal language has its limits, I think. Sometimes the words have to stop so the images and sounds can wash over you. Those things, and the feelings they conjure, are just as valid as the beauty of prose or poetry, perhaps more. The more obnoxious the world around me seems to be, the more and more beauty appeals, in all its forms. Not just surface beauty, but beauty of the soul, that spark of light that makes us who we truly are. Maybe all of that confrontation with things just beyond traditional mortal experience are finally lining up. Maybe all of that frantic exploration in my early years had a purpose after all.
Well, that took an esoteric turn, didn’t it? I’ll stop there for now. Besides, I have more Star Wars to be had. Hey, we all have our priorities.