Author has written 12 stories for Star Wars.
It was May, the college semester was just coming to an end, and I was scrambling to finish up a number of courses I was way behind in. I’d been distracted that year in grad school, mostly by a Certain Someone…
I had just moved into the apartment of a friend who kindly offered to rent me a room for the summer, because summer school was necessary if I was going to pull my academic act together. He and I were sitting around in the early afternoon, not quite awake yet. I remember how the sun was pouring into the seedy, barely-furnished front room when my Certain Someone came to the door.
He’d been at the movies. It was the middle of the day, and he’d been at the movies. Must have caught an early showing. Did they show movies this early? It seemed in New York they do.
“You have to see this movie,” he said.
He wouldn’t tell us much about it. I’d never heard about it. But he was insistent.
“You HAVE to see this movie!”
My friend and I shrugged. We were game. That’s what college existence is about, isn’t it? You stumble from one experience to the next.
We trooped downtown on the subway, the three of us, and bought tickets for a film called “Star Wars.” I sat between the guys, my friend on my left and my Certain Someone on my right. The film began. A huge Star Destroyer filled the screen. We three fell back in our seats as though we were on a roller coaster heading straight uphill and sighed a collective “aaaahhh…”
It’s not a bad analogy. Since that moment, I’ve been on a Star Wars ride that has lasted throughout my adult life.
The movie captivated us all, needless to say. Having seen it just hours before, my Certain Someone kept sneaking glances at me to see how I was enjoying it – especially the parts about the Force. That was our thing, you see – our deepest shared interest. The thing that had brought us together in the first place. Spirituality. Mysticism.
“It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”
The Force. It was right up there on the screen, as plain as could be. I fell in love with Obi-Wan Kenobi right then and there, as one falls in love with a spiritual guide or Guru.
I looked at my Certain Someone with shining eyes. His eyes shone back at me.
My friend, on the other hand, cared little for the Force. He was a musician, almost finished with a Master’s in music that had him doing incredible things with electronic synthesizers and experimental tonalities. He couldn’t get over the sound effects, especially R2’s bleeps and whistles.
“I can understand what he’s saying!” he whispered to me excitedly at one point. “It’s brilliant they way they’ve done it, just brilliant!”
Ah, Star Wars. Something for everyone.
I ended up marrying that Certain Someone. How could I not? In May of 1980 we both took the afternoon off from work to see “The Empire Strikes Back” on opening day.
“Luke…I am you father…”
It took me days to get over the shock. Weeks. Vader became a three-dimensional character for me in that film, and I never stopped wondering about him. Who was he? Where had he come from? What happened to him? He had a son.
I had a son. I was four months pregnant when “The Empire Strikes Back” came out. I tell our firstborn that, from a certain point of view, he saw the film on the day it opened. He just rolls his eyes. But we left him behind with a babysitter when we saw “Return of the Jedi” three years later.
We were living in the suburbs by then, but trekked into the City to see the film. I’m glad we did. When Luke threw down his lightsaber and said, “Never! I’ll never turn to the dark side You’ve failed, your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” The entire midtown New York audience stood up, clapped and cheered. It is a movie moment that I never will forget.
And that was it, we were told. No more films would be made. It felt like a completion of sorts, and a very sad farewell. But I wondered about Vader more than ever. I had wept for him. Who was he? Where had he come from? What had happened to him?
A few years passed. We had two more children. I patiently removed Luke Skywalker figures from the dryer and stepped over Imperial Walkers on the stairs. We moved abroad and explored the world. My Certain Someone studied T’ai Chi and other martial arts; I designed gardens and learned to meditate, each of us in our own way exploring the ways of the Force.
And then it came. 1999. The year that marked our return to the U.S. also marked the beginning of the prequels. In “The Phantom Menace,” I saw something I had been longing for since Obi-Wan Kenobi first spoke about the Force in that isolated hut in the Jundland Wastes: I saw Jedi. Real Jedi Knights, at the height of their powers. I couldn’t breathe. They were magnificent.
The three years that followed were heartbreaking. Our headstrong, restless second son dived headfirst into America’s drug culture. He was climbing his way back to himself in 2003 when I took him to see “Attack of the Clones.”
“Oh my God,” I said to myself. George Lucas must have teenagers at home.”
My 19-year-old son saw himself on the screen in 19-year-old Anakin, just as I did. “I don’t see what the problem is,” he said when we came out of the theater. “I would have done everything exactly the same way.” Suddenly I knew Anakin. I knew exactly who he was, inside and out. And finally, I began to understand who Vader was and where he had come from.
“Attack of the Clones” was a real turning point for me. With more time on my hands and some things to work out about loving people who behave in disappointing ways, I began to write fan fiction. I began to write about Anakin. I had wanted to write for my whole life, but I never could. Finally, I found my voice in Star Wars, and I haven’t stopped writing since.
2005 marks the real ending of the Star Wars saga, and the end of 28 rich and varied years of my own life. Coming full circle, I’m going to see “Revenge of the Sith” with my Certain Someone on the day it opens in New York. After that… well, I can’t help wondering. After Star Wars… what comes next?
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