As a child, I believed that the single most infinite and beautiful thing you could possibly do in your entire lifetime was leave this world and set foot on another one. So yeah, I wanted to be an astronaut.
Think of it! Imagine the rush of takeoff, and the lonely thrill of seeing your home world turn silently beneath your boots; half of the people asleep, the other half at war. There are no boundaries visible from space, and it’s instantly evident that we’ve no where else to go. Imagine the strange homecoming sensation of being weightless once again, floating free at the end of a long cable, suspended in nothingness. Imagine looking back at the Earth and realizing you might never see it again, or that you might return one day to find that everyone and everything you knew was long gone. For me, space represented the ultimate experience. Figures in nicely that I’d suck at math, doesn’t it?
We had very little money growing up, so I used to create ships from objects I found lying around the house. If I could work out where the bridge was located on something, I’d figure out what kind of propulsion system it had, and what its purpose was. Was it a freighter? A fighter? Was it intended for short trips or long hauls? Awkward or oversized objects meant the ship was probably constructed off-world, being too weak un-wieldy to withstand take-off or too large to have been constructed from the available resources of just one planet.
A friend of mine once said of me something I still have a hard time putting into words. He said, “You enable our dreams by letting us truly live in the worlds we create.” I don’t think he meant that I was permitting any of my friends to daydream their lives away, or that I was the ringleader of some strange Peter Pan cult where we could collect comics and stay kids forever. Instead, I think he was saying that something in me inspired them to create worlds of their own, and gave them the confidence to have their mail forwarded. I think that’s probably one of the nicest things any has ever said about me. (Other than that crack Dwellephant once made about my being the ‘love child of Fox Mulder and Hunter S. Thompson.’ Now that was nice.)
I’ve guess I’ve always lived in several dimensions; the one we’re in, and another in which I greatly improved my math scores, got selected for the space program and realized a dream from this dimension: that of being the first journalist in space. What?
Seriously. I’ve always felt that they should send writers into space (good ones, and not as a punishment for writing bad endings or killing off your favorite character).
Imagine looking at the Horsehead Nebula with your own two eyes.
Now imagine sitting there with a pen and paper and a hot cup of coffee trying to explain what it looked like to someone who’ll never see it.
I don’t know how to best end this blog, so I will.
Ad Astra Per Aspera,