Yesterday I have an experience that only comes once in a lifetime. You see, my schedule seldom allows me to attend Star Trek Conventions. They tend to happen in the Summer and I’m usually working then. So I’ve not met very many Star Trek actors. Not that I wouldn’t like to meet many of these talented and inspirational men and women. I was lucky enough to meet the one and only Nichelle Nichols a couple years back. I asked her to autograph a copy of her autobiography, Beyond Uhura. It’s one of my prized possessions today.
One of the perks of living in New York City is that you get to attend things like book launches. Barnes & Noble hosted Ms. Mulgrew at her first reading and book signing yesterday. I was one of the first in line!
She was amazing!! Beautiful and exuding grace and humility. She read a small excerpt from the book, chatted with Augusten Burroughs and then took questions from the audience. Afterward, she took time to sign our copies of her new book. I’m still on cloud 9 from the experience! Tim asked me what I was going to say when it was our turn to speak with her. “I’ll just improvise something! Maybe I’ll ask if she has any plans to return to Broadway soon. Maybe I’ll mention seeing her at the Vineyard theatre a couple seasons back. Or maybe I’ll tell her that she is a huge inspiration to me and that she brought life to my favorite Star Trek captain of all time!” I had so much to say to her– how would I know when to stop talking??
When we finally got up to the front of the line I found myself face to face with a legend. I heard my voice uttering “Hi! How are you?” She said “Today? I’m doing great!” I could tell how much she loves interacting with her fans and how excited she is to share this heartfelt memoir with us. But then I just froze. Silence. She finished writing in my book and handed it to me- her deep eyes meeting mine. I was smiling. Just smiling. Why wasn’t I talking?!? I took the book from her and held it tightly to my chest as if I was hugging her. “I can’t wait to read it!” I uttered. She smiled and said “Thank you. Thanks guys.”, acknowledging my husband who had been trying to push me to get closer to her. I thought THANK US?? What? No no no… Why would she thank us? What have we done? She’s ripped open her heart and soul and poured it onto the page for us. She sacrificed sleep, sanity, and a social life for 7 years working in the grueling weekly TV show schedule. She dealt with stupid TV excecs who weren’t sure that a woman could lead a sci-fi tv show. No no– it’s us who should be thanking her! Suddenly I heard my voice saying “Thank YOU so much!” as we walked away from her table. And that was that. I floating out of that bookstore. I froze up. I was awkward. But I met one of my heroes.