Friday, July 17, 2009

A Moment Like This - Spotlight Author Ruby Moon-Houldson Shares Star Trek Moments!

You know the song sung by Kelly Clarkson titled, “A Moment Like This”? Well, I’ve felt that way several times over the last few years. The words in the chorus echo the awe inspiring moments I’ve experienced. The words in that song are:

A moment like this
Some people wait a lifetime,
For a moment like this
Some people search forever,
For that one special kiss
Oh, I can't believe it's happening to me
Some people wait a lifetime,
For a moment like this


What do you mean by this? you may ask. Well, I’ve been a fan of Star Trek ever since I was about seven years old. (The original cast members were my heroes). I’d take every opportunity that presented itself where I could sneak some time to watch the original series episodes on the small black and white television we had. I did so when my dad wasn’t around. He hated the show. He said the show was “bunk” and full of crazy ideas. He always said that nothing on there would ever happen. (So does that mean we don’t have automatic doors at the stores? I’m dreaming that? Or does it mean we really don’t have cell phones? Another dream on my part??) My mom said Spock looked like the devil. So you get the picture—in my house, Star Trek was off limits for it was junk pure and simple. If I was caught watching such trash then I was in trouble, big time.

But that didn’t change my mind on the matter. I loved the show. I loved the moral that Gene Roddenberry intermixed with each episode. My dad made me read Aesop’s Fables when I was growing up. I felt that watching Star Trek was no different. Each had a moral to the story that one could learn and live by. My favorite character was Spock. I loved him because he was smart. I wanted to be smart. I cherished my education and I loved to read and learn new, interesting things. He was a man after my own heart. I felt that if I could be like Spock then I could win half the battle of getting through this thing called life. Also, Spock was an outcast—among his people and even in Starfleet to a certain extent. He was always searching for his place in life. That reflected my own situation as a child. We were alike in many ways—I could relate to him. But of course, he was much braver than I.

So, throughout my life I worked hard at my studies, advancing in my classes, and was on the honor roll every year; and finally in the top five percent of my graduating class. I carried this on into my college life, receiving scholarships for good grades, and then finally graduating Summa Cum Laude in post graduate school where I received my PhD in Psychology and Forensic Science.

So what has that to do with Star Trek and the song I mentioned above, “A Moment Like This’? Well, it’s this….I became an actual part of the Star Trek world. Without much warning, I found myself enmeshed in the very heart of Star Trek and all that it entailed. Spock, the “devil” as my mom called him, has actually stood next to me, sat next to me—well, in his rightful form as Leonard Nimoy. I met Gene Roddenberry, who created Star Trek, and now I work for his son. I’ve met all the original Star Trek cast. I’ve received gifts from some of them—my most cherished possession being the IDIC charm that I wear every day. (This is mentioned in the “More Than Angels” series that I have written.). I received the IDIC charm from Deforest Kelley (Dr. McCoy) a long time ago. He offered some words of wisdom with that present, and I’ve taken those words to heart. Leonard Nimoy’s signature is upon the IDIC charm that I wear.

A few years back I was allotted the rare privilege to read and offer input into Walter Koenig’s (Chekov) movie manuscript, Illegal Alien. I still have the copy of the signed manuscript he sent to me. I wrote a speech for Nichelle Nichols for when she spoke at the Great Bird of the Galaxy Celebration out in El Paso, Texas—an event honoring Gene Roddenberry and his vision. I also wrote a “Great Bird of the Galaxy” Tribute piece in honor of Gene Roddenberry. (You can find that piece on Roddenberry’s website at: http://www.roddenberry.com/communityblogs/index/detail?id=288. I wrote the bios for that event and for the Tribute to James Doohan Celebration event that took place in Hollywood, CA. And I was present at both of those momentous occasions. I had the rare privilege of staying backstage where I mingled with the Star Trek stars and special guests—those guests included people like Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Martin Cooper (cell phone creator).

I’ve been given a special table for book signings whenever I’ve attended certain Star Trek cons. One time I sat next to Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Gene Roddenberry’s wife. Majel played Nurse Christine Chapel on the original Star Trek series, and played Lwaxana Troi on The Next Generation. She was as sweet as can be and told one funny story after another.

When James Doohan’s (Scotty of Star Trek) Celebration event was taking place in Hollywood, CA, during an evening meal I sat with his family and heard stories about Jimmie’s life with his family. The next day I had the privilege of joining George Takei and Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand of Star Trek) on The Next Generation bridge film set. I ate ice cream and strawberries while sitting in Captain Jean Luc Picard’s captain’s chair. How cool! I had a video camera with me and got it all on tape!!

During the time I was backstage with James Doohan out in El Paso, TX, I watched out for him while he sat in his power chair. We looked at Michael David Ward’s rendition of the “Great Bird of the Galaxy” painting, which Michael had painted on glass with a unique technique called reverse-glass painting. I also met one of the co-discoverers of the Hale-Bopp comet, Alan Hale. He had part of his telescope with him and was getting James Doohan’s signature on it.

In honor of James Doohan (Scotty), I wrote a piece titled, “Beam Me Up Scotty…One Last Time.” This piece was featured in the program book for the event, alongside a print of world renowned artist, Michael David Ward. This piece was quickly adopted by several online groups as a commemorative piece for collectors. And while I was in Hollywood, CA, I did present a copy of my Tribute book (A Tribute to James Doohan) to James Doohan and his family. I was drawn on the stage and stood before a packed room (hundreds of people) and told everyone how Scotty had influenced my life. How many people get a chance to do that in their lifetime?? I’ve also created Trek pic videos—some of which are on YouTube.

I attend a Star Trek convention every now and then. I conduct book signings at them, too. Sometimes I’m afforded my own ‘body guard’ of sorts when I’m in certain cons. That person is in charge of keeping me safe while I’m wandering about the convention grounds. That’s kind of neat.

I have tons of memorabilia at home, items signed by various Star Trek cast members. I am the proud owner of the only book copy of, “A Tribute to James Doohan,” that was signed by James Doohan and other surviving original series cast members. That book has been set behind glass so the signatures will not be smudged. I have a Tribble signed by William Shatner, a computer mouse signed by James Doohan, and a phaser signed by Denise Crosby and Jonathan Frakes.

I am privileged to write for Roddenberry. I work for an Entertainment Company out of CA that has a hand in hosting Star Trek Celebration events. In this way I get to connect with those who I watched on television when I was a child (the Star Trek actors), connect with those who were just figures on a small television screen. I never dreamed that I’d actually meet them one day, that I’d actually touch them. And blow me over with a feather—that I’d actually write a speech that one of them would read before the world.

How about picture taking tips? Photography is one of my hobbies. Nimoy has offered me some tips, seeing that he loves photography, too. I’ve reaped rewards from his wisdom in that I’ve won “Best of Show” awards and ribbons for my work when I’ve entered my photographs in various contests. My pictures are on book covers, too. And speaking of Nimoy, one of the recent interviews I conducted as an assignment for Roddenberry was an interview with Leonard in regards to his latest photography endeavors.

So the chorus to that song….
Oh, I can't believe it's happening to me. Some people wait a lifetime, for a moment like this…

That fits my life to a “T”. I’ve met my heroes, talked with them, worked for them, and have even sat down and eaten a meal with them. And Leonard Nimoy is just as wonderful as he seems. He’s smart and has a great sense of humor. There’s a lot of Spock there inside him…and he acknowledges that fact with pleasure.

All this, and my own childhood story, led me to writing my favorite book series, “More Than Angels.” This series is based in part on my life and how I looked up to my heroes. A copy of my first book is signed by Nimoy himself…and he has copies of both books in the series. I’m now writing book 3.

Thinking back to Nimoy, about two years ago I worked with Nimoy and his art agent in obtaining a signed print (made directly from Nimoy’s dark room with his own hands) from Nimoy’s Shekinah series. That print, along with a note from Nimoy, is now displayed in the new Library in my hometown. It’s the only Library I know of that has an original Nimoy print mounted on its wall, along with a personal message.

I travel a lot when working with various companies in connection with Star Trek events. Places I go and things I see then become a part of some book that I write. I guess I should say that my writing career began in high school. When I was in the eleventh grade I wrote a one-page paper about what I’d like to do with my summer. It was supposed to be a fantasy story. For me, that paper encompassed the Star Trek world. And that paper started me on the road to writing in the Star Trek universe—with a lot of support from my English teacher. (I have put together 5 Star Trek reference/tribute books, with two more yet to be released. Also, I’ve written two Trek novels.) To hear the television interview about this you can visit this link: http://rubymoon.ning.com/video/my-tv-interview

So, there you have it. A childhood dream whisks me across the stars to a dream come true. I’d never in a million years believed that I’d be doing what I am today, or that I would meet all the people that I have. I thank everyone who made it possible. I also thank all the Star Trek actors who make me feel welcome when we chance to meet and work together.

So, for those of you who believe dreams can’t come true…they can. It may take time and work, but some part of your dream can be realized in some way. And as I learned….’some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this.’

And oh, what a moment it’s been!


Ruby Moon-Houldson

www.rubymoon.ning.com
www.rubymoonhouldson.com