This is the short story of how I ended up enjoying the worlds of Star Wars as much as I do. It’s not just a case of watching the movies (I’m talking the originals, not the new ones), but it’s a story about getting inspiration and finding joy during a pretty dark time.
My whole life I had been an odd duck. I was a nerd in a country without really a nerd culture at the time. I hear it’s much better now, but over a decade ago I was pretty much the only nerd/geek I knew. I drew fanart and wrote fanfiction, but did most of it alone.
So it was no surprise that when I served in the military, that I’d not be around a whole lot of nerds. The military was mandatory, where I’m from, and honestly as much as I wanted to do well and fit in it, I just plain didn’t. I fell into a strong depression.
One of my many CO (Commanding officers), was a sweet guy whom I will name Mali for this tale. It’s sort of an abbreviation of his first and last names. He was much older than me, and worked with helicopters in R&D. I would spend a lot of time in the offices he shared with others, just chatting while I did my work. He was very kind to me, and it was a place I could speak intelligently without alienating people around me. Then the topic went to Star Wars.
I had seen the movies here and there my whole life at that point, but they were just another movie for me. My fandom passion was concentrated mostly on video games.
He told me a story then, that the reason he went into the airforce in the first place was because his dream was to design spaceships. He loved Star Wars with a passion I had no seen before. He spoke of it and exuded enthusiasm when the topic arose. I was impressed. He told me he went to see The Empire Strikes Back in the theaters when it came out with his now-wife-then-girlfriend and almost broke with her because she fell asleep half way through!
His excited and his love of the franchise delighted me. Even if it wasn’t a franchise I was that enthusiastic about, finding a man possibly around twice my age who was still a nerd at heart, who had let that love and dreams guide him through his life… It inspired me.
I re-watched the movies (I had all three on VHS at the time), and got it. I got it. It wasn’t about the effects or even really about the story for me. It was about the feelings it evoked in me, the questions it asked and above all, the imagination of it. There was nothing quite like it before or since. Every time I see the trilogy I delight at the Ewoks and cheer Luke on against the emperor. I sympathies with his anger and congratulate his victories. I’m sad when Yoda dies, and happy when Chewy roars. It inspired me then and now to tell my own stories, to create my own characters that might delight someone else!
Don’t let anyone ever convince you that you should love something, that you’re too old to fall in love with movies and characters like you used to. Let Clou and I tell you, love and passion will get you through some tough spots in this life.
Do you have any stories on how you fell in love with a fandom? Share them!