(March 26th 1931 - February 27th 2015)
I relate to Spock. He's a Vulcan, trapped between two worlds, and struggling daily to fit in. Someone who is struggling to communicate with people who are 'alien' to him. He's an 'outsider' on the Enterprise in many ways (in the beginning), but by Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country he has made his peace. He is at home with who he is, and where he is, in his life. A key part of that is Spock's journey in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, where he realises that he needs his (irrational?) emotions and feelings just as much as he needs his (rational?) logic and knowledge. Then follows his death and resurrection over the next three films, and his ultimate acceptance of himself, and his Human/Vulcan heritage. It is a terrific character arc, for my favourite Star Trek character. As someone on the autistic spectrum, life can be a daily challenge. A challenge to control my emotions, a challenge to balance the different 'sides' of myself, a challenge to communicate and understand and relate to those around me. When the worst moments happen to me, I'll often think 'what would Spock do?', and the answer is always that 'he would find a logical approach, somehow, and he would stay strong'. I relate to all those times when Spock is besieged by his emotions, and is challenged to control them. I've learnt from that. That I have is a testament to Leonard Nimoy's skills as an actor - he created a character of Spock (and a Vulcan race) who we could really believe in. I love the character of Spock, and the whole concept of the Vulcans (and, indeed, the Romulans). I'm intrigued by them, and how they relate to me. It's an ongoing journey, and Leonard Nimoy played as big a part in that as anybody.
Therefore, part of my tribute must be to watch Nimoy's most notable appearances as Spock in Star Trek. Given that Spock is such a key character, from The Cage through to The Undiscovered Country, that is easier said than done. A complete rewatch might be in order, but before I do that, I think a logical order (pun intended) of episodes would be as follows - The Naked Time, The Menagerie, Balance of Terror, The Galileo Seven, This Side of Paradise, Amok Time, Journey to Babel, The Immunity Syndrome, The Enterprise Incident, The Tholian Web and All Our Yesterdays. That's a mini-season of 12 episodes! Not all of Spock's notable moments, but many of them. Mirror, Mirror? Spock's Brain or The Way to Eden anyone? There's his appearance in The Next Generation too, in Unification, and the original series films are essential - The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, The Voyage Home, The Final Frontier, and The Undiscovered Country. And, since he has a substantial role in the first, and a cameo in the second, both of the recent films - Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. That is how far his Star Trek legacy goes.
His final two tweets, in which he shared some of his poetry, were beautiful. As a poet, I felt that the best way to honour him would be to write a poem of my own. So here it is. It reflects upon Leonard Nimoy's final tweet, and a little tale from twitter. Leonard Nimoy made an offer to be the 'honorary' grandfather of anyone who was interested. I responded, as did a flood of others. It shows what a kind, caring, and gentle man he was. If I was accepted as one of his 'honorary' grandchildren, then I am proud to have been one. I'll miss reading his contributions on twitter, I'm sure many others will too.
'Garden of Life'.
Roses, Daffadils, Daisies
Each flower a memory,
segments of time,
those perfect moments.
Nothing can be eternal.
By the renewal of Spring,
new flowers are born.
Fresh, Bright, Alive.
Each one carries a 'memory',
forward and everlasting.
Memory of 'honorary' Grandfather.
He gave a home within,
his kind, caring, gentle heart,
for so many 'honorary' Grandchildren.
We won't ever forget him.
Remember. Live Long and Prosper.
© Robert Morrison, 2015
While I intended this solely as a tribute to Leonard Nimoy, I must spare a word or two for Maurice Hurley (August 16th 1939 - February 24th 2015) and Harve Bennett (August 17th 1930 - February 25th 2015), both of whom also passed away recently. Hurley had a key role in the early, formative years of Star Trek: The Next Generation, writing the classic episode Q Who?, and creating a (then!) unbeatable foe in the Borg. As good a legacy as any, he was also partly responsible for the character of Lore (Data's brother) and for introducing the Romulans into the new show. Bennett, who was producer from Star Trek: II (1982) through to Star Trek: V (1989), is responsible for Star Trek still being around today. He reinvigorated Star Trek and moved it forwards, while staying true to it's roots (not pure Roddenberry, perhaps, but still very much Star Trek). That is his very important legacy. I say this as someone who loves Star Trek: The Motion Picture by the way, I have room for different interpretations of Star Trek. Bennett's films feature many themes. The value of family and friendship, actions and their consequences, and revenge, and the needless destruction that it can cause. The trilogy of The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock, and The Voyage Home, explores the themes of death, resurrection and redemption.
My thoughts, prayers, and deepest condolences, go out to the friends and family of both Maurice Hurley and Harve Bennett. May they also 'Rest In Peace'.