Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wonder is Real: Me, Jurassic Park, and Art

This is me. It's 1993. I'm ten years old.

My parents take me to see my first PG-13 movie. In the theater. On opening weekend.

The music roars. I'm terrified, but hooked.

The jeep comes to a stop. Sam Neill turns his head, rips off his sunglasses, and stands. I want to do the same thing.

Because there they are. A herd of brachiosaurs grazing majestically across the screen. The first realistic depiction of dinosaurs I, or anyone else up to that time, had ever seen.

Sam Neill and I stumble into the prehistoric grass. We collapse to our knees. We giggle uncontrollably.

And I know what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Ten-year-old me thought I wanted to be a paleontologist -- to spend my life researching those beautiful, real-life dragons. Ten-year-old me was wrong.

What I wanted was that moment. That awe. I wanted to lift my head from the dirt and see wonders. And I wanted to share that feeling in any way that I could, like Steven Spielberg shared with me.

It's 2006. Dinosaurs have feathers, and Pluto isn't a planet anymore. I have a degree in filmmaking, but I'm jaded.

I fall back inside myself. I look for a new story. 

I write fairy tales.

It's 2013. My niece cries because she's just found out that mermaids aren't real.

But her wonder was.

It's 2015. 

My geckos sidle through their sand. My dogs curl up at my feet. I squint at a blank screen.

"How do we do this?" I ask it.

In a voice like Richard Attenborough it answers, "I'll show you."

It's... it's a dinosaur.

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