I grew up in southern Alberta. For the first half of my childhood we lived in the MD of Willow Creek, but when I was in grade four we moved to the County of Vulcan (it’s like the wheat capital of Alberta so I’ve totally got the wrong grain in that picture, but whatcha gonna do?). Around about the time I was in grade seven the county began a promotional thing — they started taking advantage of their name.
Suddenly there were Star Trek-themed paintings in every business’s windows, and on one corner of main street, right by the old town bell (they used to ring at curfew) one of those stand things where you could stick your face through a hole and look like you were a crew member of the Enterprise. The Home Hardware began to sell Vulcan ears, and I think they even had three-sided coins that were only good in Vulcan. Best of all, was Spock Days.
I understand that these days Spock Days are pretty big, there’s a rodeo and they get Star Trek-related celebrities to come hang out, but from what I remember of that first year it wasn’t quite as big a deal. In fact, the evening I have in mind may have been part of some sort of midnight madness-type thing rather than actual Spock Days.
A friend and I went to the pool hall, where all our friends hung out, and we were having fun. Shooting pool, listening to really, really outdated tunes on the juke box (Queen of Hearts anyone? Did I mention this was like 89-90ish?) when suddenly her parents came in. Not to kick us out, we were allowed to be there, but to embarrass the hell out of us. They were wearing Spock ears, acting dorky and making sure every single person in the pool hall knew they were her parents. Now, as an adult I think what they did was awesome, but to two teenage girls who cared very much about looking cool (though we’d have denied it with our last breath then), it was horrifying.
Mortified, we fled the pool hall and went to hang out on the street. Main street had been blocked off I think, so there was no vehicle traffic, but man, was there ever a lot of pedestrians out. And in costumes too! There were loads of random red shirts and I remember another friend’s mother was dressed up as Amanda Grayson (I remember because she was mortified that I didn’t know she was Spock’s mother and I got a 5 minute long “education” about his heritage), and the Klingons. There was a group of men who were dressed up in the best Klingon costumes you’ve ever in real life. I think they were actors who had been hired by the town to kidnap the mayor as part of the festivities.
My friend and I were just walking down the street, checking out cute boys, looking cool, and all those things that teenage girls do (or at least the ones I did when I was a teenage girl LOL) when the Klingons came up from behind us and swept us away. Neither one of us was very big and a Klingon just picked each of us up, tossed us over their shoulder and kept on walking. It was all in good fun, and flattering, of course, to be the subject of their attentions, so while we squealed and kicked a little bit, neither one of us actually wanted to get free. Where would the fun be in that? And besides, how many girls can say they’ve been kidnapped by Klingons?
…so, I should leave that story as it is, but I can’t. The truth is, while most of it is the truth, I’m not sure about the last paragraph. In fact, I’m pretty much sure that’s an outright lie. Here’s the thing. The line between truth and fiction is sometimes blurry, and this is one of those cases. I’ve told that story a lot. A lot. It’s a good story… but it’s a lie. My friend and I made it up (for whatever reason, I don’t even remember now), but I’ve told it so many times that I remember it. I remember it as though it really happened.
As frustrating as I find that in reality, it is that merging of truth and fiction that I’m striving very hard to reach in my writing these days. I’m learning how to weave reality with lies to make a good story. It’s been a slow trudge so far, but I think I’m getting it. I want my readers to know what they are reading isn’t true, but feel like it is. The same way I feel about the Klingon story. I expect this is sort of at the core of good writing, the balance between truth and lies, and it’s something I will be continuing to work on until the day I die, but I feel like I’m making progress, and that’s a good feeling.
Now if only my conscience would let me stop ruining my “kidnapping” story by telling on myself after every time I tell it and letting people know it’s part fiction 😉