Friday, February 27, 2015

He was, and always shall be, fascinating

There was news some days ago that Leonard Nimoy had been rushed to the hospital.  A story I read concluded that he was feeling better because his Twitter feed had resumed, but when I saw that the tweets were previously published poems, I had a feeling that all was not well.

Still, it was a shock to wake up to the news today that he had died.  It's a major moment that will take time to absorb.  Sobering and sad, but occasion to remember his many contributions, especially to the living mythology of Star Trek.  Coincidentally I've been focusing recently on that mythology, and those contributions. This event will sharpen and deepen that exploration.

My relationship with Nimoy was brief and pleasant.  I interviewed him by phone and met him once in person in connection with a New York Times article I was writing on Star Trek, just as what turned out to be the final season of Enterprise was starting.  He emailed me to say how much he had enjoyed the article, and the feedback he'd received about it.  We exchanged emails, as he advised me on book publishing matters.

This past week I caught up on his recent interviews on YouTube--I especially liked these, with Geoff Boucher.  Also this one with Pharrell Williams. Nimoy had a singular life, and a very full one. He had a lively mind and a complex personality.  He was large souled.  In many ways he was a keeper of the soul of Star Trek.

Of all the Nimoy photos floating about today, I like the one below, with the Buddha statue in the background (Trek Movie used it, among others.)  I ended my phone interview with Nimoy by telling him a story that involved the San Francisco Zen Center.

I stayed there once, a few months before our conversation, in one of the rooms they rent to visitors.  My room didn't have its own bathroom, so that night I walked down the hall to the large common bathroom and shower.  Monks, many of them young, also lived on that floor.  I took a wrong turn on the way back to my room and found myself in the monks' wing.  As I turned back in the correct direction I noticed a bookcase in the hallway outside the monks quarters, filled with books.  I couldn't see the titles in the dim light, except one: I Am Spock.

He laughed and said, "Thanks for that."  Along with difficulties and travails, he had rewarding careers and a rewarding life, but it turns out that all I have to say today is just that: Thank you, Leonard.  It's been fascinating.

May he rest in peace.  His work and his legacy live on.

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