I’m a townie.
A few of you may be familiar with that term. A ‘townie’ is a person who comes from a town, but not just any town. A small town.
I’m talking properly small. Five-thousand people and a liquor store small. Sex store next door to the public library small. Water tower featured on Ellen because it reads “HIGH -HEALTHY – HAPPY” in bold letters small.
Yes, I am a townie. Growing up, my brother and I were moved around until I reached the age of eight, and then, we lived in Mount Forest, Ontario. From then on, I became the perma-new kid. Years and years of getting along better with a bunch of old people than my own peers. It was a lonely place to grow up, if only because I’ve always been something of an odd duck.
I was the kid that ran home and watched the 10th Anniversary VHS concert of Les Miserables. I preferred showtunes and reading to people. I loved to write.
I LOVED to write.
I also grew up loving television. Star Trek, Buffy, and Frazier (yes, FRASIER) were my favourite shows, and I think they had a real impact on me growing up. Trek especially.
I was a Voyager kid. Now, obviously Voyager is not one of the most adored iterations of the franchise, but it was my generation, and it always gave me food for thought. The Doctor was my favourite character-real life foreshadowing of my future Doctor Who obsession.
I loved the question of artificial intelligence, and whether or not it qualified as a genuine life. What is the soul except an ever-growing mind? What is immortality? What is love (baby, don’t hurt me!)?
I kept a life-sized cardboard cutout of Captain Janeway in my bedroom, that eventually moved to the garage to scare aware potential robbers. She was a total hero to me: a captain. An adventurer. A permanent student. Episodes that stuck out to me were those that introduced her to different cultures and states of being. Chakotey teaching her to find her spirit animal, and the episode exploring this idea in a way that wasn’t appropriative. Episodes that questioned her humanity, and forced her to fight to protect her own morality. It felt like real life, but it was bigger than that. It felt like what real life could become.
Watching Janeway captain a starship empowered me with a confidence that women could do anything, an image that was sorely missing from my small-town circle. I could be more than just married. I could go further than the outskirts of town.
I never questioned it.
Shows like Buffy and Reboot gave me the same kind of inspiration. Women were people, and they could do whatever was necessary to protect those they loved, or just to live.
All of this impacted my goals and aspirations. I wanted to get out and explore the world. I wanted to perform, though it always came back to the scribe. Writing little plays and stories that exemplified the lessons I was learning, not only from television, but from my own explorations.
In a way, science fiction gave me my love of writing, and showed me a world that could be otherwise. A bigger world, with bigger possibilities.
Living long, and prospering always.