When a great artist passes on, time becomes strangely condensed.
When I released my Spock Tribute Song, it only seemed logical (yes, pun intended) to dedicate my Friday blog to the green-blooded actor whom we all know and love as Spock, Leonard Nimoy. (He was quoted as saying, “If I could be someone else, it would be Spock”).
I think many of us thought Nimoy really had a Vulcan lifespan, that he would keep appearing in new Star Trek films, one after the other, older but just more dapper and distinguished, much like the Sean Connery of space. It’s hard to believe he’s really gone.
As artists and art-lovers, what can we learn from Nimoy’s life? Here are 5 things I believe we can emulate about the great artist … why we should all let our blood run a little green.
1. Don’t be afraid to diversify.
Nimoy was often teased for his singing and songs. I’m not sure why. His voice was unique and genuine, not to mention silky and lullabying. (Sure, he wasn’t Frank Sinatra, but he got by okay). I’ve listened to his “Proud Mary,” “Cotton Candy,” as well as other songs (he even did some Johnny Cash), and I really like them. The important thing is that when he felt a passion for something, he followed it. Life is short, and this is a pretty good policy to follow. He was also a very talented photographer, poet, director, and the list goes on.
2. If you can’t dedicate your life to something, maybe it’s not for you.
There are many talented people out there, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that all the talent in the world doesn’t mean anything until we can use it to dance at the intersection of preparation and opportunity. But not all artists are able to get a break. The important thing is that we are doing what we feel we are meant to … where we feel we can bring the most meaning to the world. For Nimoy, this was acting and photography, but so many other related things. What’s important is that whatever he did, he gave his all to it. For me it is novels and songs. We have to find that thing and be the best at it that we can be.
3. Never give up. No matter what.
Many don’t know that Nimoy had appearances in many films (not just Twilight Zone) before his Star Trek break. At one point, to support his acting aspirations and studies, he served sodas to keep himself going (in addition to a few other odd jobs, such as cab driving). I don’t know about you, but I think his soda jerk salary, if you include his Star Trek break later as a result, would probably be in the big figures! Loving soda jerking already? I thought so.
4. Always respect your family.
Not only was Nimoy involved in many fan-appreciation and humanitarian causes, but I read an article lately about a favor he did for a cast member during the Star Trek Original Series filming that blew me away. When he learned that Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) was not getting paid the same salary as other cast members, he immediately spearheaded getting this remedied. And did.
5. Find your niche and make a garden out of it.
To stand out in this crazy art business, whatever kind of artist we may be, Nimoy showed us that finding one’s niche and cultivating it into a beautiful garden is paramount to success. He had a knack for playing Spock, but didn’t just stop there. He invented the Vulcan Salute, which is, and may always be, famous, living on into future generations. In my Spock Tribute Movie, you’ll see that even small children knew what the Vulcan Salute is. (Nimoy actually fashioned this by adapting a Hebrew letter known as the Shin symbol, the first letter in words such as Shalom, after witnessing a ceremony where the symbol was used in a blessing).
Whew … what a legacy, eh? Now you can see why I had to write a song. Tribute songs are difficult because you always feel that you’re not getting them out fast enough. Dear Leonard, I’m sorry if two weeks wasn’t fast enough. I did my best. Will miss you. You’re gone but never forgotten.