Long live the king…

This was originally posted to my now-defunct LiveJournal five years ago (back when that was the place to be). The prompt was to write about your favorite Michael Jackson song, and today, on this fifth anniversary of his death, I thought it was worth reposting.

 

Somewhere in the early 80s…

My sister is babysitting me. This is really cool, because my sister is a teenager and in high school (or maybe even college, then), and that means I get to watch MTV. MTV plays all kinds of music videos, and my sister likes the Madonna and Cyndi Lauper stuff, but I’m sitting on the bed and waiting, hoping they’re going to play the only video I want to see.

Yeah. This one.

One of the first videos we rent for our brand-new VCR is the documentary about the making of it.

Another year or two passes, and I’m having a birthday party at the skating rink. (So cool that we have the same birthday.) It’s great, because all my friends are there, and I get tons of jelly bracelets and My Little Pony stuff, and we’ve all been roller skating for so long that it’s going to feel really, really weird to be walking in regular shoes again. And then they turn the lights down, and the disco lights are swirling in the darkness, and they play it. “Thriller” — my favorite song, off my favorite album, the one I have on LP along with my Care Bear records and Disney stuff. I race back out there. I have to be out there for this one.

That is the song, essentially, oddly, wonderfully, that encompasses my childhood. I love so many others of his, from that album and those that followed it, but that is the one that takes me back.

Again, this is why we mourn celebrities. Some of it is for the work we loved, a body of work that becomes now static and unchanging. And some of it is for how our lives entwined with that work. We mourn our own past, and we treasure the things that have the mysterious power to return us there, even just for 14 minutes.

 

Video: “Let it Snow” (the Star Trek: TNG version)

To say that I was deeply into Star Trek: The Next Generation during the last two years of high school would be an incredible understatement. As soon as I was introduced to it by a friend (who helpfully explained all the characters and the important parts of their backstories so I wouldn’t be lost), I threw myself into it, and everything that went with it — books, merchandise, Starfleet uniform… yeah. Everything.

Thankfully, I had friends then who were into it, too, since I grew up in a fairly isolated area, didn’t have the Internet then, and wasn’t able to go to cons outside of a small local one (which has since moved and is still going). We were a creative group, running around with camcorders, writing scripts and stories and fanfics, immersing ourselves in science fiction and fantasy and anything else that caught our attention — imagining our way out of a small town where finally getting a Taco Bell and a Blockbuster was a major event.

I often wonder what it would have been like for us if we’d had access to the Internet of today, to YouTube, to relatively inexpensive technology for filming and editing and making fan videos and such.

I like to think we might have made something like this. 🙂

Take it away, Captain Picard…

(Video by James Covenant.)

 

A birthday toast for a master

dwinecover
Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered.

Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury

 

I’m not certain when I first read Dandelion Wine, though it was probably about a decade or so ago, during the years when I had a fantastic used-book store to browse through and worked my way through a lot of Ray Bradbury’s books. Ever since, I’ve wondered idly what dandelion wine really tasted like, and while I was able to find dandelion jelly, of all things, I never ran across dandelion wine.

At last, this summer at a craft fair, we happened to stop by the booth of Kirkwood Winery, and there it was (along with elderberry, strawberry, pear — basically every fruit you could think of to make wine from, and a few vegetables thrown in too).

So tonight, in honor of what would have been Ray Bradbury’s 93rd birthday, we open the bottle of dandelion wine, and I drink to summers in a time I never knew, and all the worlds that never were, and the man who brought them all to us.

Hold summer in your hand, pour summer in a glass, a tiny glass of course, the smallest tingling sip for children; change the season in your veins by raising glass to lip and tilting summer in.

I notice the Kirkwood Winery description says “ask your grandparents how this one tastes!” Some might be able to, and if so, you’re lucky. If not?

Ask Ray Bradbury. Because just as you can bottle a bit of summer to keep against the snows, you can keep a whole time, a whole world, a whole universe in a single story, safely preserved in words, all still sweet and tingling and true.

Bradbury often told the story of an encounter he had at age 12 with a magician called Mr. Electrico — who, during the course of his act, touched Bradbury on the head with an electrified sword and told him, “Live forever!” Whoever that Mr. Electrico was, he knew his stuff; it was both a command and a prediction.

Happy birthday, Mr. Bradbury. May you truly live forever.

An audience with the king, part two

Edited to add: Here’s the offical GMU video of Stephen King’s presentation:

* * *

The Huffington Post has posted a video clip from last Friday’s award presentation, where he reads from the work-in-progress sequel to The Shining:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/27/shining-sequel-_n_983682.html

(Whoever made HuffPo’s video obviously didn’t have seats as good as ours.) 😛

An audience with the king

I hadn’t been to a book signing for a long time, but last Friday night made up for it…

(Stephen King holds up the Mason Award from the Fall for the Book Festival. Photo by Alexis Glenn, respectfully ganked from the FFTB website since we couldn’t take our own. That’s a George Mason t-shirt and baseball cap under his arm.)

Continue reading