Thursday, August 19, 2010

Everything I Know I Learned from Gene Roddenberry

This week (August 19) we celebrate the 89th anniversary of the birth of STAR TREK creator and visionary Gene Roddenberry.

“To boldly go…” OK, split infinitive aside (oh, yeah, I’m THAT kind of person), discovering new worlds is the whole reason I became a nonfiction writer. Through the books I’ve researched, I’ve had the privilege of listening to John Adams as he argued for the Declaration of Independence. I’ve stood with Sacagawea as she saw the great Pacific Ocean for the first time. I’ve explored the fields and woodlands of Vinci, Italy with a young Leonardo da Vinci. I’ve been there with the citizens of Florence as the newly sculpted David was revealed. I’ve found that the worlds of the past are no less exotic and enticing than any alien planet Roddenberry ever envisoned.

But that’s just the “go” part. Have I gone there “boldly?” Have I embraced those worlds wholeheartedly and placed myself within them? Have I done my research so thoroughly that I can smell the tang of the Pacific’s salt, feel the Vinci sunshine on my bare arms, or hear the collective gasp of the Florentines at the incomparable beauty of the David? That was Roddenberry’s gift. He created new worlds and made them real and then shared them with all of us. How bold is that?

For me, that is a work in progress.

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