Joan Winston: Recollections and Tributes
Joan passed away on September 11, 2008.
Additional Memorial Tributes are linked through a large table on the main
page of this site.
Presented as Part of A COMPANION IN ZEOR'S
Thirtieth Anniversary Year
Part of A Companion in
Recollections, for inclusion, can be e-mailed to Karen MacLEOD
tributes are linked through a table at the bottom of this page.
Please note in your subject line JOAN WINSTON, or something similar, to weed
out from the spam this address receives.
From Marshall Presnell (scifiorbit.com ) Posted on 11/24/08, and given to us for use here.
There are many people involved in producing a television series. While many fans bond to a particular actor or actress, I've found in the Star Trek fan base something unusual; they bond with the creators, the writers in particular.
There's nary a trek fan around who doesn't know who Gene Roddenberry is, or D. C. Fontana, or Harlan Ellison, or Bjo Trimble. For it is the creators of the words that inspire the fans through the actors and actresses. It is singular that trek fans embrace the message of an optimistic future full of hope, full of exploration, and full of self-actualization.
A long time ago, in a state far far away (from most everything) -- North Carolina -- a young boy was touched by the ideas put forth in Star Trek.
He began to read voraciously where he had shunned books before. He wanted to know what was real, what was fiction, and what was fundamentally wrong with him in looking to the stars. Most of his family (except his father) provided little support for such 'way out' ideas, and thought that he, like them, would end up working at the textile mills in town, or -- if he was really lucky -- at the General Electric assembly plant. But that wasn't what he had in mind.
His eyes were on the stars. He wanted to become like his heroes: Kirk, Spock, and Scotty. And he read. God did he read. The only thing Trek related he could find in his home town was The World Of Star Trek. When he discovered a huge bookstore on a family vacation, he was in heaven. He finally -- FINALLY -- picked up The Making Of Star Trek and a
little tome called STAR TREK LIVES! He was 12 at the time. Well, you probably already know that the 'he' is me.
While 'World' and 'Making' were about the process of television, STAR TREK LIVES! was about the fans. I wasn't alone any more. There were others out there just as 'weird' and 'strange' as I was. I learned about the underlying message of Star Trek; about that hope and optimism and dedication to a purpose bigger than yourself.
That book literally changed the course of my life. I determined that I would not work at the GE plant, or make upholstery for furniture. I decided to do something bigger. Something more worthy of a Spock or a Scotty. So I decided to learn about electronics and computers. And I did.
When I say that the book changed my life, I am deadly serious. I found out that once properly motivated, there's literally nothing that is beyond the reach of a human being who is willing to work for it.
Why this detour down memory lane? Why would I waste your time and mine with this little voyage of self-discovery? Well, by chance, I happened upon Jacqueline Lichtenberg on linkedin.com -- she, along with Joan Winston and Sondra Marshak were the authors of STAR TREK LIVES! Through her assistant in crime, Karen MacLeod, I learned that Joan Winston had passed away on September 11th. Karen asked me to write something for the Joan Winston tribute page, so this is what I came up with.
It is incumbent on us all to realize that our words, our actions, our relationships, and our hopes and dreams can truly inspire others to do amazing things. Joan (along with Sondra and Jacqueline, and scores of other people) inspired not only me, but great masses of people through their sheer process of creation. And that inspiration carries forth into the future, for we have within us the capacity to inspire others, and so on. Inspiration is the coin of the realm in science fiction -- but I dare say that Inspiration is the coin of the realm for living a worthwhile life in general. And while that young kid didn't become a Captain Kirk, or Mr. Spock, or Mr. Scott -- he did become something more than he would have otherwise. Just like many of us have been inspired by Joan's work to do more than we thought we could.
I couldn't think of a better epitaph than that for any person.
Goodbye, Joanie. You words will ring into infinity.
Visit Joan's tribute page at http://www.simegen.com/joan.html