Jul. 17th, 2011 08:51 pm
mijan: (A ship and a star to steer her by)
I met William Shatner today.

I managed to get in line to ask him question during his presentation at the convention, and was close enough to the front of the line that I got to the microphone.

I asked him the question I've wanted to ask the man for years -- in short, does his portrayal of Kirk mean something to him (beyond just a paycheck), and what aspect of his role in Star Trek does he want to be remembered for. I told him that his role as Kirk had an influence on my military career.

He asked for me to tell him about that, in more detail. I said it was a long story and didn't want to monopolize the microphone. He said to break it down into one-liners and tell the story anyway. So I did. A very abbreviated version, but I told my story, and explained the key things that Kirk did or said that had the most direct impacts on my life and career.

The Shat had a moment. He really did. I watched as the wall came down, and he looked at me as I told this story, with this look of complete enthrallment on his face.

And yes, the wall came down. He talked about how he talked with Patrick Stewart, who spoke of his role as Captain of the Enterprise with pride, and said that yes, the role meant something more than just a paycheck and a simple sci-fi role, and that it matters. And that hearing it from another "serious" actor like Patrick Stewart made him think about it, and reconsider.  And that he started hearing the stories from fans who have been deeply inspired.

And he said that after the original series was over, people would shout out to him, "Beam me up, Scotty," and stuff like that, and he started to wonder if people were mocking him. And suddenly, I understood why Shatner would be defensive and stand-offish to fans. It makes sense.

We chatted back and forth, and he held out his hand and asked me to come up and shake his hand. He gave me a strong, warm handshake, and I looked at him, and I just wanted to give him a hug. So I asked.

He pulled me up on stage and gave me a hug that felt like the sort of hug you give to a friend you haven't see in years but miss dearly. And I said in his ear, "Thank you." And he said, "Thank you."

(By the way, he isn't tall.)

I cried. I think he got misty eyed. Everyone in the room had a moment.

I'm still a bit in shock.

I've said many times that I wasn't sure what I thought of Shatner. I'd heard enough stories back and forth, positive and negative, that I didn't know what to think. I said that I would reserve judgement until I met him for myself.

I've met him now. And I have nothing but love for the man.

mijan: (To Boldly Go...)
Yes, I know - I wrote a title in CAPSLOCK.  Sue me.  This is important.  At least, it's important in our geeky, Trekkie universe.  Here's the deal...

Some of you might be familiar with the backstory behind "Invasion Iowa", with William Shatner hanging out around Riverside whilst filming a "mock movie," and the bit of fandom history and lore that says the Shat promised to return to Riverside for Trek Fest.  Well, Mr. Shatner DID promise the good folks of Riverside that he'd attend Trek Fest.  This was over five years ago.  He allegedly promised to attend Trek Fest XXV, which was last year.  He has yet to return to Riverside, and that just doesn't seem right.

Anyway, I've been talking with one of the guys on the Riverside Community Council... you know, that quiet, small-town activities committee that also happens to run Trek Fest.  We're launching a letter-writing campaign.  Oh yes, we are.  And... I think I kinda started it.

We need letters.  HAND-WRITTEN letters to William Shatner, asking him, begging him, reasoning with him, and cajoling him to attend Trek Fest next year.  Do you have a unique angle on why you believe he MUST BE THERE?  Put it in writing.  Do you have some philosophical musing about Captain Kirk that would make his Hollywood-hardened heart start to melt?  Spell it out.  Do you just need to tell him that it would make the universe right if the man would just go back to Riverside, birthplace of James T. Kirk, and bring everything full circle?  Good God, man - write the damned letter! 

Don't make it too long, but say what you need to say.  Hand-written is better if your writing is legible.  If not, then type it.  And then, DO NOT mail it to his fan-mail address.  I'm going to collect them, and then they're going to be sent, as a batch, directly to Shatner's agent, through the Riverside Community Council.  Special delivery, VIP mail, all the way. 

So... write your letter.  THEN... send me an e-mail.  My address of choice is faisons(at)gmail(dot)com.  In the subject line of the e-mail, please write "LETTER TO SHATNER."  That way, I'll know exactly what it is.  Then, I'll send you my mailing address.  (Sorry, but I'd be nuts to put it in a public post.)


1. I WILL NOT read your letters.  However, due to the way I'm collecting them, obviously, the outer envelope will have my name on it.  Please have an internal envelope simply addressed to "William Shatner" or some other iteration of Mr. Shatner's name.  No need to put a stamp on the inner envelope - I'm sending them all in a box.  If you forget the inner envelope, I'll make one.

2. You DO NOT have to be planning to attend Trek Fest to do that.  In fact, one of my angles in trying to get him to come is the simple fact that it would just be RIGHT for him to show up, and that even people who are not attending Trek Fest would want him to go.  
2.A.  If you're planning to attend Trek Fest next year, you really REALLY should write a letter.

3. Try to say something that would really make the guy WANT to go.  It can be as simple as "I'd really like to see you there," or as complicated as a personal story about how Kirk or Shatner touched your life somehow.

4. He's a human being.  He also seems to have a snarky sense of humor.  My guess is that if you feel inclined to write something with a bit of dry witticism, it won't go amiss.  Just don't be out-and-out rude.  We want to make the guy feel welcomed as a person.

5. Please comment with a quick response to this post, just letting me know that you're planning to write a letter.  I want to get a rough estimate.  I have a little bit of time, yes, but I want to get as many letters done as soon as possible, rather than waiting.

6.  SPREAD THE WORD!   Cross-post this like mad.  The more letters we get, the better.  I've always sworn that LiveJournal fandom is the tightest, most active, most enthusiastic, most dedicated, best-networked bunch of fans any fandom could want.  Let's prove it.

Okay, Trek fans!  START WRITING!


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