Sunday, December 4, 2011

Geek Melisse, Extended Version

Heather Massey over at The Galaxy Express and fellow SFR author Kaye Manro decided we all need to blog on our geekiness!

Geek Melisse

I grew up with two brothers, one much older, one close in age. I also have a sister, but she doesn’t count at all in the story of my geekiness. She was much younger and was busy with Barbies  and horses during my geek formative years. My younger brother Ken preferred being a big kid to Barbie on the ranch, so my brothers and I became the trio of early geekery.

My oldest brother Doug was a super smart kid, though the nuns at Catholic school would never admit that. He liked to read, which my mother highly encouraged. We weren’t wealthy but we had a big house and apparently the spending money for piles and piles of books. We also had a nice county library, where Mom would take us  once a week, religiously. You could only check out ten books per kid, but little sis wasn’t a big reader (she was too busy at the Ranch), so we could use her count for overflow.

The library and my mother did not censor reading, which is important. So many kid friendly books were in Adult Fiction: Zane Grey, Dickens, classic scifi. Brother Doug had a nice little nitecrawler business in the summer, and he spent his earnings on scifi paperbacks--Andre Norton, Poul Anderson, Murray Leinster, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlien, Edgar Rice Burroughs and many more. Those writers opened entire new worlds. We three devoured them.

When I was in fifth grade Sister Katrina Mary read The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis. That book was a revelation! I quickly turned my brothers onto this new thing, high fantasy, and so we were ready for The Hobbit when it hit the shelves all those years ago. Then  we shared Terry Brookes  and many other writers through the years.
I can’t discount the shows of my childhood. Star Trek, Lost in Space, the Jetsons, and even Jonny Quest. This was family viewing in my home.

Did I mention the Atari?

In college I dated a cute guy with bright blue eyes and wavy brown hair, but what really was exciting about that relationship was that he introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons. Also in college—Star Wars! Luke Skywalker graced the screen in Kalispell, MT, for 17 weeks, including the entire summer I was home from college. By the end you could get in for fifty cents. It just never got old…

My father was also an influence in my geekification. He was a bartender so would catch a little TV with us before dinner and leaving for work. He like Dark Shadows—how many kids had a dad who liked that? NASA also thrilled him. I remember watching the astronauts on the moon during dinner, since it was such a big deal. Many years later, Dad was the first family member to get a computer. He typed up some of my early works of fiction.
By the time  was an adult I was firmly entrenched in speculative fiction and geekery. I made my husband see Terminator. I read C.S. Lewis to my daughters and we watched reruns of Lost in Space and Xenon.

They had a Space Station Toy.

My house is filled with piles of books except for the ones on zip drives. I got a word processor when the girls were little, and Thursdays were my writing days, which meant the girls could watch PBS all morning and get toys all over the living room. When my kids were teased at school as geeks and nerds I transferred them to a Classical Academy, where all the kids were geeks and nerds, and assured them that geeks rule the world now days.

My poor sister never caught onto the goodness that is geek, and instead became one of those cool kids, like Marcia  Brady(plus our parents were way too lenient with her! I couldn’t date until I was 16—she got married at 18! And had a car in high school.) But I digress. My sister redeemed herself by developing into a fine romance reader and sharing books with Mom and I. Plus she gave me a Kindle for Christmas, so it’s all okay now.  She’s still a cool kid and very good at managing, which the rest of us probably need. No doubt influenced by all those years she spent ranching with Barbie.

My brothers still read scifi and fantasy. My younger brother is a scientist, a wildlife biologist who makes environmental documentaries. Sadly, my older brother sustained a severe head injury in his early twenties and lives very quietly, but he still loves to read, which I am sure makes his life much the richer—he loves a big stack of used paperbacks.

SFR seems natural to me, the obvious choice. I’m thankful I live in the digital age where publishers will contract my books and readers will buy them. Plus I love the growing SFR community. Hopefully I’ll still be writing about galaxies far far away in my old age.


  1. Wow! I love your post, Mel. It just feels good. You sound a lot like me. Not so strange I guess.

    And why am I up so late anyway? lol

  2. Haha, you are probably sleeping in this morning! Am off to read your geek story. Fun topic to blog on!

  3. Fun story! I did not think I was a geek, but when I look back through my life, it is sprinkled with geek moments (like an addiction of Lost in Space).

    I wish I'd come out sooner, but glad it finally happened.

  4. Pauline, I know what you mean. In so many ways I'm a girly girl--nail polish, hairspray, crochet projects. But there was always a thread of geek running through it all.

  5. Thanks Melisse.

    No doubt going to have to revisit this geek girl thing again in the future!