Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Report #26 of 26 - Up Till Now


Every year I take the girls to the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.  It's the annual geek nirvana that is held on the Stampede Grounds and has been getting steadily bigger each and ever year.

We've either met or heard speak, all kinds of celebrities. It's an opportunity to get to know our favorite actors a bit better and to be exposed to all kinds of ideas and products from the world of comics, science fiction, TV and movies.

This year William Shatner was the guest of honor.  Yes, THE William Shatner - Captain Kirk, T.J. Hooker and Denny Crane - THAT William Shatner.  He was wonderful.

To see Shatner you'd put him in his 60's, he's full of energy and enthusiasm, he's living life to the fullest with no plans on stopping.  The inspiring part of this man is that he's not in his 60's, no, he's in his 80's!!  Your read that right, born March 22nd 1931 - he's 80.

Knowing I'd get a chance to see the man himself, I dusted off his autobiography and gave it a read.  I've grown up watching this guy on TV and one of the things I've enjoyed about seeing him is he always reminded me of my dad.  Not that their characters are the same but I always saw a resemblance in his features that often made me think he could be a brother to my old man.

Through this book I learned that Shatner has lead a varied and interesting life.  He has enjoyed more highs and suffered more lows than most regular people.  Since childhood he wanted to be a working actor, he wanted to make a good enough living to support a family and pay a mortgage.  He managed to do that but, in order to make it happen, he had to throw himself into his work to the exclusion of everything else.

Chapter after chapter I saw how slowly Shatner came to realize that his obsession with becoming a star was destroying everything else.  And then I was able to see him grow through success and tragedy.  The best gift of the book is learning Shatner's philosophy on life and living.  Through everything, he suggests, to never lose your sense of wonder and adventure and to embrace saying "yes" to opportunities because it's those opportunities that sometimes pay off right away or pay you back years afterwards.

Plus the book is a hoot to read; each chapter is long but they are all laid out in the form of a conversation.  Shatner's humor springs through at the strangest of times, he actually interrupts his paragraphs with all kinds of asides.  At first it's a bit jarring but I quickly got into the rhythm of his writing and enjoyed his narration very much.

Like any autobiography the book is best read if you are a fan but there is a lot to get out of the book if you are.  Shatner is not Kirk but Shatner is very close to being Denny Crane.

Live life and have fun doing it.

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