Since this is Jurassic World weekend in my house I thought now would be a good time to tell you about the single, most impactful story I have ever read. Not to mention the most impactful movie series I’ve ever seen.
I was years old when I first saw Jurassic Park. Back then it was on VHS. In fact, acquiring that VHS was an adventure in itself. There was a store in my town at that time called Phar More (like a pharmacy but it’s more!) and the week that Jurassic Park came out on VHS they had a promotion going on where you got a special shopping list from the store and bought certain products and got the Jurassic Park VHS for free along with all those products. So not only do I have this indelible memory of seeing the most cutting-edge effects ever committed to screen I also have the memory of having Honey Nut Cheerios in the house for a week. The combination of me being easy to please and not having a ton of money makes these things important.
That ten year old kid had no idea what a movie even was until she saw that. Back in those days I used to lay on my stomach on the floor to watch movies specifically. I was also one of those kids who would not take their eyes off of the movie no matter what was going on around me. Where did that attention span go?
But it was more than just a movie. It awakened something inside me that said “Hey, you could do something like this too.” I didn’t know what or how or if that meant go be a scientist or be an actor or what. I mean, I was ten for Pete’s sake! I was at least five years past the point of believing the Ghostbusters lived in my VCR. So when I found out that the movie was based on a book I demanded we go to the used bookstore immediately. I have this memory of my dad helping me find the book on the shelves at this store which were made of old wooden shipping crates turned on their sides. This store still exists but in an updated form and in a different building. Back then the fiction section was on the first floor and this particular book was on the second “shelf” from the bottom. Mine was the white cover paperback version.
I have no idea how long it took me to finish it but I spent every day that summer sitting outside in the backyard under the maple tree right outside the kitchen door reading. The humid summer breeze of North Carolina definitely gave the impression of being in the jungle somewhere. I didn’t like the book better than the movie but I did find the thing I could do and suddenly the comic books I was writing and drawing before didn’t interest me as much anymore.
That idea of becoming a writer has resulted in a long, winding road of triumphs, frustrations, failed stories and invaluable learning experiences. I still think that the legacy of creating something that a large group of people love is the best legacy I could ever leave. Now at the end of the movie series I think back to when I first discovered it and how I could have never predicted how old I would be when I would be seeing the last movie in the series. But there’s still a part of me who wants to be that 10 year old kid reading it for the first time.