My Photographic Memory of Leonard Nimoy (It Is Illogical To Shed Tears for Mr. Spock)
The first time I ever cried in a movie theater was at the end of ‘Wrath of Khan’; I was twelve and my innocence died with Mr. Spock. Mr. Spock was my hero. I related to his struggle to master his emotions with logic; I aspired to his calm intellect and steadfast courage. He has always felt more like a real person to me than a half-Vulcan from the 23rd Century should have a right to; the humanity of Mr. Spock is a result of the masterful artistry of Leonard Nimoy who has sadly passed from the world. It may actually be easier to understand how I feel about what Nimoy embodied by tasting this nugget of thought that is just dripping with queen jelly grade ironic honey by Matthew Continetti of the conservative Washington Free Beacon explaining why he cannot mourn for Mr. Nimoy. (Hint: It’s because Obama.) It’s good stuff; he’s a Star Trek fan like the fan from Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’ who ‘likes all our pretty songs and he likes to sing along and he likes to shoot his gun but he don’t know what it means when I sing.’
I was in the same room with Mr. Nimoy twice. The first time was back in the early 90’s when he and William Shatner went on a speaking tour for the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the show, so that must have been ’92. I think it was at the U of I Pavillion but I’m not sure; but the atmosphere was like a rock show. I remember feeling euphoric and joyful with the rest of the crowd. I was there with Persi and a couple of other friends; I think it might have been Lily and Dr Gargunza but I could be mistaken as I also think Wulf and Kay may have been there which is possible because there were more than four of us. I bought a metal Enterprise insignia badge that now is sitting in a shadowbox with other objects of memory.
The second time was Lily’s gift to me, delivered the day before my 32nd birthday on a rainy slate November Saturday afternoon in 2001 in the lecture hall at the Art Institute of Chicago where we sat with a few dozen other people and watched Leonard Nimoy deliver a lecture on his photography. His work embraced unconventional aspects of feminine beauty and contained a spiritual aesthetic (Here is an example of it but be warned it is nude photography that is NSFW) that resonated with me genuinely. After the lecture he took some questions and then nobody else raised their hand and he said thank you and gentle but enthusiastic applause washed into a susurrus of jostling for umbrellas and hushed debates over where to get drinks. Mr. Nimoy stood in a bubble of stillness and seemed uncertain as to what was coming next so I grabbed Lily by the hand and moved forward a few steps onto the rostrum and extended my hand, thanking him warmly for the lecture. He took it with a smile and thanked me; his voice resonated with a physical presence and his hand was strong, enveloping mine. I didn’t have to struggle to resist an urge to ask him about the tv show or to tell him how much it meant to me; I knew he heard that all the time. Instead, I admired his compositional choices and subject; then we briefly talked about how he was seeking to express the female aspects of the Divine in his work. I got to talk to him visual artist to visual artist and as spiritual seeker to spiritual seeker; there really couldn’t have been anything better. It was probably ninety seconds but it felt like twenty minutes. It inspired me more than I can express.
Oh Lily, why is it that so many of the best days of my life are thanks to you?