Small Realities

Inside the mind of Lance Schonberg

Babylon 5 and Me

The Dawn of the Third Age

This is not  a discussion of Babylon 5, though I don’t promise I’ll never start one. B5 is just a jump off point for something deeper, so don’t be afraid to read on if you’ve never seen the show before.

I recently picked up the first four seasons of Babylon 5 on DVD for a great price. I loved the show first run and borrowed the complete run from a friend to watch again a few years ago, but now I have it for my very own. Other than watch it myself, the plan is to force convince some or all of my children to watch it with me, but we’ll see how that goes.

But just having them in the house sparked a couple of thought chains, the predominent one being the age old quetion of identity versus desire. Babylon 5 split this very neatly into a pair of personifications: the Vorlons, representing identity (and Order), asking the question, “Who are you?” and the Shadows, desire (and Chaos), asking, “What do you want?”

These questions aren’t completely seperable, but it is interesting to consider them separately.

Who Are You?

Or, more to the point, who am I? Husband, father, writer, geek, student. I could throw a lot of other words into the list, but these make up the core of what I consider to be me.

Husband came first, but it’s inextricably linked with father. Family is the key word here, really, which, while it doesn’t describe only me, does say a great deal about who I am. Family is central, family is key. Without family, nothing else really matters all that much. None of us always acts that way, and I have my selfish moments like everyone else, but everything eventually comes down to family. And friends. And people.

Writer. I’ve always written, and always considered myself a writer, but until a few years ago it was something that waxed and waned with or against other parts of my life. Sometime about 2/3 of the way through 2007, I realized I had to write. Fiction and non, screenplays and audio drama, poetry and blogs. I’ve published a little, but that’s not as important as the writing itself. Words have power and meaning beyond just the dictionary and I need to shape and arrange words almost as much as I need to eat and breathe and sleep. Funny how the mind works.

Geek. I grew up on classic Star Trek, Star Wars, and any genre book I could get my hands on, any genre TV show or movie I could find. And while my tastes shift and change with mood and age and mental head space, SF & Fantasy are still my first loves when it comes to entertainment (and Writing). I love computers and mp3 players and just about any other shiny electronic thing. Lego animation and anime and cartoons and superhero comic books. Big TVs and video games and podcasts and action figures. I believe in a positive, hopeful future and I’m happy and proud to wear the word Geek.

Student. I’m always learning something. Sometimes it’s how to have just a little more patience or get by on just a little less sleep.  Sometimes it’s how not to do something. Often it is something academic-I did go through a phase a few years back where I was doing calculus and physics problems for fun (see Geek, above). A more specialized word, Karateka, meaning a student of karate, has become very important to me in the last year or so. This is a learning journey that may last the rest of my life, and that works just fine for me.

What Do You Want?

A harder question to answer, or even define. I find that the answers bubbling to the surface of my mind are all tied in with the ways I define myself. I want to continue to get better at the husband and father thing and only my family can define success on that front. I want to continue moving words around the page or screen or whatever medium is convenient. I want to enjoy all of the geeky goodness that has ever existed, exists right now, or is coming soon to a theatre/TV/book/gadget near me. And I want to learn something every single damned day of my life. Without learning, there’s no growth and without growth, there’s no life.

But there are vague, semi-definable wants in my psyche. I want to stand somewhere no one has ever stood before. I want to dream a bigger dream. I want to live forever so I can continue being a husband, father, writer, geek, student. Failing immortality, I want to leave the universe in better condition than I found it, and that’s a lofty, crazy, and probably unrealistic goal. And yet a good one.

The Way Ahead

A wise, if sometimes impatient, old muppet once said, “Always in motion is the future.” That applies to the present a lot of the time, too. There may be fewer days ahead than there are behind, but there may not, and there’s a lot I want to do and see and learn.

But tonight, I might unpack Babylon 5, season 1 and see if I can con the kids into just sitting on the couch with me for an hour or two to share a tiny piece of who I am with them.


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