Blessed Be the Nerdy Grandmothers: A Requiem

My long bout of vegging out in the week between Christmas and New Year’s included a rewatch of the Star Trek reboot. When the movie first came out back in 2009, a friend and I saw it in the theater five or six times, and I even dragged my mother and brother to see it once when I was home for a visit. It really wasn’t that great, not for me to devote as much time and money as I did to it that spring, but something about it seems to compel me to keep going back. I now think it was my grandmother.

When Chris Pine swaggered across the screen in the scene where he cheats at the Kobayashi Maru test during my most recent rewatch, I had a weird That’s So Raven-esque vision: my grandmother’s long, thin frame stretched out on the couch in her cramped living room, me in the chair right next to her, watching an episode of the original Star Trek. Grams loved William Shatner’s Captain Kirk, and in that moment, I wondered if she would have liked the reboot and its sequels. I was momentarily struck by a sweeping sense of grief. I wanted to watch these films with her. I wanted to know what she thought of Pine’s rendition of Kirk. I wanted to know if the Uhura/Spock storyline intrigued her as much as it did me at the time (Zachary Quinto’s Spock was bae that summer).

My grandmother died 19 years ago this week but as the person who gave me my first foray into geekdom through our Star Trek viewing, she lives on through me. She—along with my mother and my aunt—nurtured my imagination, and gave me the space to be smart and shy and introspective in my formative years. I lost sight of some of that creativity during my teen years and early adulthood, and it took me a while to fully recover from the bandwaggoning that can occur during those time periods, but ever since starting Midwest BSFA and getting into steampunk, I’ve been able to rediscover my love of geeky things. I think knowing that this rediscovery has happened would make my grandmother happy.

Rest on, Grams.

A Fangirl’s Manifesto: Avoiding the Gatekeepers (in Any Fandom)

NoEntryI was a teenager when I started to like jazz. In high school, my marching band director played John Coltrane and Miles Davis in his office, the notes wafting in and out of our practice room during our breaks. I bought jazz CDs through that Columbia House CD Club scam when I was in college and by the time I was in grad school, I was crate digging for jazz on vinyl at local record shops. However, it wasn’t until I got deep into the Cincinnati jazz scene that I fell in love with the art of the live jazz show…and subsequently learned what gatekeeping was. Read More