For my initial blog post I must tell you how it all started. Here it is, my very first love, Star Wars – A New Hope, although back then it was just called Star Wars. As mentioned in my introductory page about myself, I was first introduced to the world of Star Wars in my early teens. I was in my beginning year of high school, thirteen years of age, when I found love.
I Found Love!
Not the kind of love where you play spin the bottle at teenager parties, but the kind of love that turns into a furious passion. I found love at a bookshop in a quaint little historical homestead that had been turned into a gallery for the art works of children’s literature. Yes, on a school excursion, I discovered my love of reading, particularly books like Star Wars.
I love any kind of adventure, fantasy or science fiction stories but it was this story in particular that lead me down the path to reading. Of expecting and finding excitement and imagination. This book has been read so many times now that the pages are yellowed with age and are falling out. I may have to replace it someday but as my first, I am hesitant. I am forever thankful that I can lose myself in a book for hours at a time and escape the everyday troubles and worries for a while at least.
An Emotional Attachment
In my copy of Star Wars which I bought in 1978, George Lucas writes “I think that anyone who goes to the movies loves to have an emotional experience. It’s basic… whether you’re seven, seventeen or seventy. The more intense the experience, the more successful the film.” Well he certainly was able to produce that kind of response in me as a thirteen year old girl rapt in the idea of worlds beyond the stars.
Dictionary Attached At Hand I Was Armed To Read!
I believe this is also true of books. I developed an emotional attachment to the story, so much so that I wanted to grasp every single bit of it. I kept a dictionary in an old exercise book, where I could write down the meanings of all the words in the novel that I didn’t understand.
An Educational Experience
This allowed me to better experience the story. So you could even go so far as to say that Star Wars was an educational resource for me too, it certainly expanded my horizons along with my vocabulary.
And this was long before the movie ever came to my town, well drive-in anyway. I’m sure the movie had been released but I would have been too young to be going off to the movies on my own then. We didn’t get to see it until it was showing at the drive-in where the whole family could go for a lesser cost, after all, there were also 4 other siblings to consider.
3 Major Elements Make Magic
When I say I developed an emotional attachment to it, I really do mean that. The books truly were magical to me. I didn’t just READ the book, I FELT it. It was more than an emotion, much more. I had, and still have, physical reactions when I read it.
A Greater Connection
There is a difference when you read a book and when you see a movie based on the book. While reading, you get to know what each character is thinking. Then when you watch the movie, you connect more with the characters and feel like you are actually with them in the movie.
The two together is what made me become so attached, and now whenever I read a new story, I take the visions of the movies and imagine what the faces of the characters at each part of the story might look like, and piece together in my imagination, a true experience. Then once you add in the ‘feelings’ aspect you gain a deeper experience.
Feelings Spark Long Term Memory
When I started reading it was during Summer. We had hot days with little to no breeze for many days at a time. If we did have a breeze it too, was hot or warm until the cool change hit towards evening (if we were lucky). I would sit in the shade on the steps of my verandah trying to find a cool spot to relax and read for ages. The majority of the book’s beginning is set in the desert on Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tattooine, so my imagination was already stimulated by my physical surroundings similar in description to the book.
It was like a 3D movie experience when you sit in a theatre and they spray water on you, or you feel something brush against your legs, or experience a gust of cold wind. There I was reading about the heat of dry sun-scorched flatlands, twin suns and evaporated sea beds, with the occasional mention of a breeze, which I was also feeling from time to time myself while reading. It must’ve been this combination that helped bring the book to life for me. I ‘experienced’ the story from a three dimensional perspective and therefore received more meaning from it.
Virtual Reality Before It’s Time?
To this day, whenever I read Star Wars the original book from the first book/movie, I can still occasionally ‘feel’ that hot breeze and feel the warmth of the sun on my face. It doesn’t matter if I am indoors or reading it in the middle of winter, I still get those sensations. They say that certain smells can instill a thought or memory that triggers every time we smell that particular scent, The same must be true for physical feelings triggering memory.
I wonder what might have happened had I not had that experience with feeling the breeze while reading the book. Perhaps I would not be as glued to the pages as I am now, if I had felt nothing. But I am very glad that I did because it has induced a true passion within me to get more and more into the star wars universe and get my fill of the characters and their adventures. I think that the fact that the books are written very tongue in cheek and quirky, with some comedic elements running throughout, goes a long way into keeping the excitement alive and enhances the entertainment value of what you are reading.
Last But Not Least, My Hero
This article would not be complete without reference to the one major factor in my Star Wars experience. If anyone can produce that feeling, that involvement with all my heart, in a story, it would have to be Luke Skywalker. I first saw a picture of him in the book and I was like, wow, he is gorgeous. And like any 13 year old girl, it was easy to drift away in those breezes and imagine sharing the adventures of this dashing young hero. The last element was my heart. Alas, I could not stop looking at that picture.
You Had Me At “I’m Luke Skywalker, I’m Here To Rescue You”
Once I saw the movie, it was all over rover. I was sunk, deep in dreams of a lightsaber wielding, space venturing, rescuing princesses, blowing up Death Stars, innocent farm boy with a sparkle in his eye and a face so expressive that it melted my heart. I was not able to get the exact picture to show you here, my book copy did not scan well, but here is another of my favourite Luke faces.
How could anyone not feel sorry for him and sense his feelings of loss at this moment depicted in the image above? Well I couldn’t! I don’t know what it was that truly made me relate so well to this character. Teenage hormones played a fairly large role, but perhaps I too felt a sense of loneliness at the time. Maybe I did not feel that I was fulfilling my own dreams yet.
It Was All “Such A Long Way From Here”
I know I was excited at the prospect of space travel and was disappointed that it was all so far away from reality back then. After all, it had only been about 12 years since man had only just managed to land on the moon. Nowadays, while we are much closer to this achievement, it is still likely to be a long way off.
Time for me to wrap up my reminiscing on my first love in the form of Star Wars A New Hope I think, although I would like to wrap Luke up, also my first love. Thinking like a 13 year old teenager again here!
Thank you for sharing this experience with me
I invite you to share your own memories from when you saw or read the original Star Wars movie in the comments below.
Book Cover is from my own media.
Magical Hat image By Tanemori (HatenaFotolife) [CC BY 2.1 jp (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.1/jp/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Other images are from a free source or from my own media