Our discussion of some of our favorite things Star Wars, leading in to the opening of the new movie, continues!
Today, founder and author Garth Reasby shares some of the impacts that George Lucas’ universe has had on his life, both as a person and as a creative.
When we were talking about posts for this month’s Talaria Press blog my wife thought we should talk about Star Wars as the latest movie was about to hit. I said, ‘but of course!’ Simply put I am a Star Wars maniac. I collect the toys, I used to cosplay, I play the video games, read the books, watch the cartoons. I probably paid for one of George Lucas’ houses.
When it came to deciding what to write wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be because there is so much I love about the series. At the end of the day I decided to talk a bit about how Star Wars impacted my life as a child and nudged me down the path to being a writer and an artist.
I was just shy of seven years old when Star Wars first hit the big screen. In a time with no internet everything was passed by word of mouth, the occasional newspaper article, and television. I was six, so I didn’t really watch the news, or read the paper. Initially I didn’t know what Star Wars was. My life was filled with friends, school and doing insane things that kids these days get in trouble for like riding my bike miles away from my house. I remember that I had to give up a ride like that on the day that my step-uncle Howard took my cousins and I to see Star Wars. Truthfully, at the time, I didn’t really care about the movie. All that changed very quickly.
We did the stand in line thing, the concession stand thing, and then sat down for the movie. The theater darkened. The 20Th Century Fox fanfare started and passed. The Star Wars crawl slowly crept over the screen while Star Wars theme blared so loud it made my ears hurt. Now I was interested. Just interested, maybe a goose bump or two because John Williams’ score is that good. Those first moments where we see the Rebel Blockade Runner being chased down and fired on by the Imperial Star Destroyer woke me up and started creating emotional tethers to the subject matter. My world was already changed and I didn’t know it.
When the pristine white wall of the Blockade Runner’s interior began to spark and finally exploded to reveal the white clad Stormtroopers my jaw hit the floor so hard there’s probably still an indentation on the theatre floor. I was awestruck. Then Darth Vader strode through the aftermath of the assault and I was transformed. That is the first time I remember my imagination latching onto something that wasn’t a dinosaur. I still love dinosaurs but from that moment on I loved Star Wars more. The series ignited my imagination to such a degree that I was drawn to everything Star Wars that was put before me.
My notebooks for school were quickly consumed by pictures of Darth Vader, lightsabers, and squadrons of X-Wings and TIE fighters duking it out across the pale blue lines of a white Mead starscape. I would make up stories with the characters and I imagined how I would fit into the Star Wars universe running around with Han and Luke. Of course I had to have all the action figures and toys I could afford, my Christmas lists were Star Wars and nothing else.
After the first movie I craved more incredible stories both epic and small so I started reading books my mother suggested to me. I went down the path of Fellowship of the Rings followed by Secret of Nimh and eventually travelled to other sci-fi and fantasy worlds. With each successive Star Wars movie my interest grew and my imagination flourished.
As I matured and more advanced concepts opened to my young mind I grew the depth of my Star Wars stories and art. I realized there was more to it, more depth in the way Star Wars was constructed and that realization sucked me in deeper. Star Wars taught me about archetypes, about good and evil, about fighting for what you believe in, and about finding yourself through adversity. These concepts found their way into my own works and allowed me to recognize these struggles in my personal life. Through Star Wars my young mind was opened up to a larger universe of thought.
As I write this and I think of all the directions in my life that were influenced by the brainchild of George Lucas and I wonder how many people have followed a similar path. How many more kids will become writers, or astronauts, or artists in the future because of what they see December 18th when the Force Awakens? People may deride George Lucas for the prequels and Jar-Jar Binks, and perhaps rightly so, but nobody should ever forget just how many people were positively influenced by the original trilogy and how many more will be influenced by this thing he created. I’m thankful for what George gave the world and the positive influence it has had on me throughout my life.
May the Force be with You!