The dominos effect has struck again.
Back in 1975, I started a little fanzine called IDIC, which introduced a new character for the ST: TOS universe: I decided the best way for Spock to integrate his human and Vulcan sides was to help his (illegitimate) son, Sahaj, solve his own psychological problems. Ten-year-old Sahaj’s greeting to Spock as he met him for the first time was, “Take your logic and shove it width-wise!” Little did I know that that little story would grow into a universe of its own. Little did I know that fandom would honor me with a FanQ award in 1978. Little did I know that I would stop writing in 1984.
In 1980, I wrote “The Bronze Cord” for friends Fern Marder and Carol Walske’s (of blessed memory) Klingon fanzine, Dagger of the Mind. The story took place after “Crosswinds” in IDIC 6. It was the last Sahaj Universe story I wrote before I became rather involved in parenthood on a most personal level, although I had outlined the rest of the series.
Then the Trek movies started to come out and up there on the screen McCoy was saying, “Your child is about to destroy the Earth, Mister Spock. What do you suggest we do? Spank it?” (ST:TMP). Then came: “Oh my God! They killed Spock!” (lots of tears in the theatre that day) and how is Sahaj going to take this and there was Saavik and what was I to do with her? And Carol Marcus, and David, after I had planned Barbara whateverhername was to pair off with Jim (Forging).
After that came ST III, and low and behold, Kirk was going to be tried for disobeying orders and going back to look for Spock on Genesis, just like he did in “Twilight and Evening Bells”, when he disobeyed orders to go back to Chesel to look for Spock. Luckily, all the kings horses and all the kings men put Spock back together again and in ST:IV (my second favorite movie) they time travel back to save Earth.
One story that had been pretty well fleshed out in my series was going to be Thy Beloved Wilderness, which was to have been cowritten with Trinette Kern. Along came ST: V and there they were at Yosemite, sitting around a campfire singing “Row Your Boat” and roasting marshmallows. It didn’t work for me on the screen and there went Wilderness.
The very last story in my series was to have been And Straight On Til Morning, and I had actually drafted quite a bit of it before I quit writing in 1984. Okay, here comes ST: VI: as in my story, Spock has come to accept himself for who he is, and he’s getting ready to move on to the next phase of his life. Good movie. You had to have been there, though, the first time I saw it, when at the end, Kirk sits in the chair and directs their course to be “Second star to the right, and straight on til morning.” (Thank you Peter Pan’s Barre.)
Meanwhile, on TV, the episode “Sarek” aired on NG. I hated losing Amanda (I know there was no logical way to keep her) but I did not like Perrine at all. And worse, I hated what they did to Sarek. Yes, it made a good story. Yes, it was definitely Trek. But it killed me. I still can’t watch some of those scenes without either covering my eyes or skipping ahead. Then, in season 5, came Unification, PT 1 and PT 2. Okay. I could buy that. And I might even be able to use that situation in my own universe. I was so happy for Spock when he melded with Picard/Sarek, to see that his father really did love him. That one-second flash of expression on Spock’s face said it all. Genius.
So there I stalled in my writing. Oh, I wrote as part of my job as paralegal, and legislative assistant. I wrote when I became the principal’s secretary and bookkeeper at a local elementary school. I wrote LOTS when I went back to college and finished my BA and most of my MA. But most of that was persuasive writing, not fiction, and certainly not SF or ST fiction. I became an English teacher, qualified to teach grades 7-12, and ESL. So I wrote some more, and this time I began to champion public schools. And Trek began to sneak back into my life. I found myself quoting lines for my students, using pictures of Spock from “Plato’s Stepchildren” to illustrate Brutus in Julius Caesar, and comparing and contrasting the Vulcans to the Stoics of 44 BC. I use episodes of Trek to illustrate archetypes and themes. I’ve hooked more than one sophomore with Tribbles.
Not that it had really ever left, of course. I still watched the movies, enjoyed the blooper reels, watched all the spin off series, and I never, ever stopped being a fan of Leonard Nimoy, the man, and not just his role as Spock. I loved his poetry, his photography, and yes, I even liked his music.
I wasn’t crazy about the reboots, and yes, that was a mastery of understatement. I liked Zachary Quinto as young Spock, although I think he would have made a better Sahaj. I think the casting of Karl Urban as McCoy was a gift. I was ecstatic that Leonard and Zachary hit it off and discussed the characterization of Spock, and I was even more ecstatic that Leonard was in the two movies, even for a little bit. I had a spirited discussion with the teacher who has the room next to mine about the reboots. She and her husband loved them. I took the other stance.
On February 27, 2015, I was sitting, as usual, at the long lunch table I shared with some of my coworkers, just chillin’ as my sophomores would say, when from the other end of the table I hear:
“Leonard Nimoy just died.”
What a lousy way to find out, huh? Even now, the ache in my heart has not healed.
So I looked up and there was my teacher Trek friend, standing in the doorway, looking as stricken as I felt. “You heard?”
I guess the fact that I was blinking a lot and wet stuff was running down my cheeks might have clued her, huh?
I guess I’m not over it.
Anyway, after sitting shiva in my apartment, and going to Temple to say kaddish, I decided the best thing I could do to honor the memory of the man who had inspired me in so many ways was to finish my series. Right around that time my darling daughter posted something on her FB page about being Sahaj’s half sister. People responded, people I hadn’t heard from in decades, and they encouraged me to finish the saga. The writer’s block tumbled down, and the post-it notes are up on my living room wall, and now I have a time line and a destination, and things to write about. And the first story I wrote, “The Ambassador’s Son” has been expanded into a novel by the same name.
Some of the new writing means I have to change little things in the old stuff, to keep continuity, such as The Bronze Cord, which, as originally published, was meant to stand alone. But, I was rifling through some boxes and found two manila folders full of drafted scenes from 1980 and before, and one of them was actually a first draft of the story of Sahaj’s kahs-wan. It included an outline for the Gill and Jason scene which would follow Bronze, chronologically. I also realized that the story “The Lesson” in IDIC IV and Sahaj Collected was actually a (bad, bad, bad) parallel to the Gill and Jason story.
In, two weeks of writing, rewriting, revising, and writing some more, I completed close to a last draft of “House Rules”. Then I put it in the refrigerator and promised myself I would not look at it again for two weeks – one of my new House Rules for myself, since I needed to get away from the story so I could revise it for the last time. I then picked up a copy of Bronze and realized with a little rewriting, it could well become part of the Kahs-wan story, along with “House Rules”.
Let me tell you: I am a concrete, logical person. I like to read a series from beginning to end with no waiting in between. And there I was, driving myself crazy because I stopped writing Thirteen/Gamatria in order to do the Kahs-wan stuff, and even that is being written out of order.
The saga is now lumped together under the name Gamatria, which means ‘numbers’ in Hebrew. Each story now has a title and a number, with the number based on how old Sahaj is at the time.
What I would like is for someone to take away my dominos because one story is leading into another and another and….
So my plan is to make the series available again. There will be a new website called Sahaj Collected where I will offer FREE PDFs of the original stories, and request a donation for the new stuff, which will be available in ebook format. Your donations cover only the expenses of offering the stories to you. This is an amateur production and I have never made one cent of profit from my Trek writing. My writing does not intend to infringe on rights held by Paramount, CBS, or any other legal entity with such rights. My purpose, as always, is to do my bit to help keep Gene Roddenbury’s dream alive.
Not bad for someone who started writing on an old portable Royal typewriter– you know, the kind you had to have muscles to use?
Here’s my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leslye Lilker AKA Leah Charifson