Posts Tagged ‘Television’

Fan Fiction or Fun Pastime?

May 18, 2012 32 comments
The Star Trek fanzine Spockanalia contained th...

The Star Trek fanzine Spockanalia contained the first fan fiction in the modern sense of the term. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An entire genre has developed itself over the past 40 years or so. Ever since the original Star Trek warped through space, we’ve toyed with the idea of all those stories that never got written about the characters that intrigued us, who captured out respect and hearts. The movement became known as Fan Fiction.

I doubt any serious TV viewer has passed up an opportunity to fantasize about what would happen if… and brought the conjecture back into the series fold as a full-blown story, whether it was written down or not. I’ve done it for years—had whole scripts with good plots, great characters, and even parts for all the regular characters. And the sad thing is that I could have done something with them, if only as fan fiction and not sent the script to the studio for consideration by that series’ team of writers.

It’s one of those “I should have” things that many of us live with on a daily basis. “I should have” gone to see… “I should have” known better than… Truth is, I had a girlfriend back in ’67 when I lived in LA, who’d just sold her script to Desilu Studios for a Star Trek episode. The day after she got word, she was murdered two blocks from our building. The incident sort of put me off Fan Fiction for a while.

Last year I sat down to write poetry of a minor competition—there were no prizes involved, but critiques. My piece didn’t do very well. The audience was too young. That happens more frequently than older writers want to believe.

I still have the poem, which I’ll share here in a moment. I went back through it and changed a few things here and there. It leaped out of the hard drive this morning, screaming at me to find it a home. Since I don’t have any markets (that I can find), I decided to drop it here in order to create a challenge for those who’re up for it.

Everyone has/had a favorite show from their childhood. Now’s your chance to create a little fan fiction to commemorate that show. Write a story in 200 words or less using your favorite character from that show. Or write a poem about said character in a new situation. Recapture the heart of the character and share it here with us.

There’s no prize involved; no judging either. We are merely sharing bits of imagination for the fun of it. Be sure to inform us at the end of the piece the name of the show and the character’s name if you haven’t used it in your story. That’s all there is too it. Don’t be shy. Branch out and explore some fun. I can hardly wait to see what everyone comes up with.

Here’s my poem and how I approached my character from those long ago days of the 60’s,


Remembering Past Trails


He ambled toward the pioneer wagon,

His body sinew-lean, gently rocking.

Crevasses furrowed his weathered face,

Aging him—crinkling blue eyes and tightening lips.


Suspense rose with the background music

As one gloved finger tapped his hat brim.

He posed no menace in this traveler’s guise,

Yet his eyes told of his struggles with it.


His voice stayed low and warm when asking

For water, even as his glance saw all in view.

He gave news of trouble, possibly in days to come

From those who would steal and rip the land asunder.


When thirsting horse and man had quenched their need,

The lean stranger–gun on hip, whip on saddle–mounted.

His mission complete for now, another family warned.

Next week would come more trouble for a man named Rowdy.

 Fan Fiction for a little series known far and wide as “RAWHIDE”.

Bring you chairs and wait for the show. I’m so looking forward to watching the coming attractions. Now’s your change to break out. Take it.


Sibling Rivalry—Not

February 24, 2012 1 comment


My little brother isn’t so little. He stands 6’4”, though lean with long fingers extended from bony hands; pianist’s fingers. I tended to envy him his hands, and his leanness.

Nearly three years younger, he had the same training as I, the same family, and the same mental abilities. He was the one who followed in Dad’s footsteps. He was the one who accidentally tried to kill me.

Oh, yes, he did. I sat on the floor in front of the TV. The Lone Ranger was flickering across the screen, struggling to subdue the bad guy, when my sweet little brother brought his pearl-handled pistola butt down onto the crown of my head with all the force his scrawny three-year-old body could muster. Back then these toy guns were made of metal, not plastic. They were heavy. Excitement at what was happening on-screen had temporarily relieved him of any sense of reality. I was knocked out completely.

I know what you’re thinking. He was just a baby. I’m sure I heard that argument when I came to and tried to throttle him. I know that I heard that argument throughout the years afterwards when the subject and memory came up.

Of course, he did make up for it several years later when he kept me from becoming sow chow. The sow took objection to my being in the stall with her piglets and rushed me when my back was turned. I almost didn’t make the age of nine. Brother dear, who wasn’t supposed to be at the barn, shouted a warning and got me out the gate before sow connected with my backside.

Yep, I did him a favor later. I encouraged his strength training by having him pull me in his little red wagon, between the rows in the corn field, while we were picking up dropped ears after the picker when through. All that loose corn would help fatten up those piglets. My mother wasn’t pleased with my interpretation of a self-improvement course for him. I got punished, I think, for working him too hard. I never knew if my dad knew about that little episode.

As a sidebar, I got to be the one who went to the top of the tulip poplar tree one summer afternoon to bring his happy self down to earth. Mom was not pleased with his antics. For once, I wasn’t the bad guy in the scenario. Dad did find out about that one.

When I learned to swim the summer of my 13th year, I proved that I could retain lessons and excel at trajectory in the water. Mom had us down at one of the local creeks, along with her sister and at least one of my cousins. Brother ran a ways ahead against Mom’s admonition to stay close.

Before anyone could prevent it, he ran into real trouble. Creeks carve out deep holes in bends of the watercourse. He’d run himself off into one of those holes and promptly commenced to drowning.

Mom shouted for me to go save him. ME!? I was a dozen yards behind her and the rest and he was that far or more ahead of her.

Until that day, I didn’t know that I could sprint while running in ankle to knee-deep water. I kept my eyes on the spot I’d last seen his hand come up and dived when I got there. I found him with no difficulty. Getting him to the surface was the tricky part.

He kept trying to drown me until I finally got myself positioned where I could get my feet into the small of his back and kick him toward the shallows. It might seem unconventional, but it worked.

Brother got solid purchase with his feet and his panic subsided. I took a few more minutes to make it to his new position. By that time Mom and the rest had arrived to check him out. He was fine, of course, though a bit waterlogged and sputtering. For the first time in memory, I actually saw relief wash across someone’s face. Mom wouldn’t bury a child that week.

But that’s how our relationship was. He saved me. I saved him. We got along.

I would take him to the movies with me. He’d loan me his prime condition ’57 Chevy so that I could go cruising in town. We loved each other and weren’t afraid to say so. That love took some interesting paths to expression sometimes, but it remained true.

We’re enough alike, yet enough different, to make good sibs. I can’t see that changing.

We don’t get to see each other very often. Usually when I have the spare time and money to travel back to the Midwest, we spend a bit of time together. It’s never long enough; but we, like most families, make do with what we can have, when we can have it.

Though our interests and lives have separated us, he was one of the first to validate me as a writer. When I visited last winter, he gave me a brand new notebook computer “because every writer deserves to have one while on the road.” He may never fully appreciate what that gesture meant to me.

Measuring Time—the Real Purpose of a Clock

December 7, 2011 1 comment

Writers measure time a bit differently than most people. At least that’s what I’ve found.

For instance, ask writers how long they worked that day and you might hear something like this—

“Let’s see. Well, I got those last three poems for my book done first thing this morning even before going to my inbox or Facebook. Then I finished doing the rewrite on a short story for one of the online literary mags. That was just before I grabbed some toast for breakfast. Once I got my stomach to quit growling, I worked on both blogs and the website for a couple of hours or so.

“Lunch was a quick cup of soup and a sandwich. I think that’s what I had. I don’t pay a lot of attention to food when my mind is working on an outline for a new storyline. Sometime in the afternoon I had to field a couple of calls from editors and then got back to the real work; social networking.

“I got a handle on the promotional announcements about the new book and a couple of speaking engagements so that I can send those out tomorrow. I also sent a couple of queries out and three submissions.”

Notice that there’s no mention of a real estimate of when the writer began work for the day or whether the work day was actually finished. Many times such considerations aren’t relevant to the profession. Deadlines, expectations, appointments make the grade for mental significance, but time spend working is just that—time spent. It doesn’t need to be counted or regulated.

This isn’t a nine to five career choice. It isn’t something that a writer quits thinking about at the end of the day. Something as simple as a new commercial on TV can trigger a flurry of creative activity. The writer’s mind is seldom quiet.

Perhaps that’s why clocks have importance to writers. It’s not to see how much time we’ve spent on a project that day. Instead, a clock tells us how little time we have left that day to work on what was planned for the docket.

And how do you measure time in a day’s schedule?

Until later, a bientot,