So, a couple of days ago, Leonard Nimoy died. I didn’t know him personally, nor do I know much about him. Like most other Americans, the one I know well is Spock. Does playing Spock qualify Nimoy as a great man, or was he simply a competent actor who landed a truly great role? He seems to have been a neat person, by all accounts. He demonstrated a lovely, self-deprecating sense of humor (“Go Bilbo!”), he was an important photographer, and, ironically, he had a great smile.
This I will give to Nimoy; I cannot think of any other role that we have seen age essentially in real time. Purists may object that Vulcans age much more slowly than humans, but my point is that Spock has always been at the same developmental stage as his actor. We met Spock as a young man, played by a young man, tormented by a young man’s conflict. We can assume that the peace and gravitas the character developed in old age owed something to the elderhood of his actor.
I’ve been interested to see the number of people treating Leonard Nimoy’s death as an opportunity to memorialize Spock. While, arguably, Spock has died (I assume Spock Prime will not appear in the next movie) the two are separate people. This is one of the essential mysteries of acting, the capacity of one person to create a whole different person.
Writers are in a similar position, though we have the advantage that our characters don’t share our faces. I doubt anyone is likely to confuse me with Daniel. But who is Daniel? More to the point, what is he? He is fictional, but he does exist.
As Dumbledore said “Of course this is all in your head. But why the devil should that mean it isn’t real?”
Here are some updates from my other projects:
School with No Name
Last week, at the school with no name, Daniel (the narrator) discussed his ongoing interest in tracking–including learning to tell how old a track is based on how recent weather has changed it–in Tracking in Winter. Then, he, Greg, Charlie, Rick, and Eddie explore the old quote “go sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything” in Devotion.
Climate in Emergency
The Climate of Food is a partially rewritten re-post of an article I published a few years ago. As the name implies, it explores the connection between climate change and food security. Climate Change and Religion concludes my series on climate change and the various religions in the United States, arguing that the most important role of religion–any religion–in this struggle is to provide a context for discussing the emotional, spiritual, and moral dimensions of the problem.
I got the sketches for my illustrations of my first novel approved by my editor and the first draft of my second novel (yes, I work on more than one at once) is in the hands of beta-readers. A beta-reader, for those who haven’t heard, is someone who reads a book and provides feedback, as opposed to an editor, who makes, or at least suggests, specific changes. Anyway, progress!