Writing Roots: Original Friends
“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time, so naturally they became heroes.”
Leia Organa, Senator of Alderaan
Last week something unexpected happened. I got to go to the Detroit Institute of Art’s exhibit of Star Wars costumes. It wasn’t unexpected that I went, but the circumstances were.
For the first time in more years than I can count, my original friends, the people who got Star Wars (at thirteen) as much as I did, were all together. In the last forty years, we have changed, gotten married, or didn’t get married, scattered to different corners of the world, not spoken, spoke too much. But to spend time all together? No. This was a special occasion.
But why is this a writing post? Because Star Wars.
I was thirteen when Star Wars came out. It was the first movie I saw by myself, and when the credits rolled, I walked across the hallway of the mall to buy a notebook and pen. It took the rest of my ten-dollar weekly allowance, but I couldn’t help myself. I’ve never been without a one since.
Something about Luke Skywalker, staring into the double sunset on Tattooine spoke to me, made me scribble words down. And then, at the end of junior high I found others like me. We discovered that we all wrote stories about the people we saw in the background of the universe. Then we wrote them together. We wrote for each other and made each other better story tellers. These people gave me what I needed to keep writing. They saw me through high school and college. We never gave up those stories, even if some of us don’t write anymore.
This past Sunday as we walked through the exhibit (setting off alarms, accidentally, I assure you), it was almost like the old days. Almost, because the next generation was there, with us. Our history was caught up in those costumes in a way that I didn’t expect. I give a lot of credit to George Lucas for lighting my pen on fire when I was a kid, but I don’t think I’ve thanked my original friends properly yet. Even if we aren’t always together, they are all there, in my brain always, in the low light of twin suns.