A Guiding Star Behind “Star Wars”

JUPITER, Fla. — When we first moved to Colorado, we lived for a stretch at the Hotel Boulderado and Pearl Street Mall was my backyard.

The hotel and my tiny room may or may not have been referenced in Stephen King’s book Misery — as a kid I swear it was; as an adult I doubt it — and it had the wonderful grand, historic feel with that little twinge of unsettling gothic-ness. We’d breakfast at the restaurant on the first floor. We’d stroll Pearl Street in the afternoon. I learned how to leapfrog on these metal pylons that were designed to keep cars from barreling into the pedestrian mall. And we made a second home of the nearby used bookstore. It wasn’t too far from The Daily Camera, right down by the top shoppe Grand Rabbits, and just past the place we’d later go to get my violin repaired — several times.

This bookshop, Boulder Used Books (I think), had the classic smell and look of its name. The main room was a jumble of misfit shelves, drooping with the weight of paperbacks stuffed at various angles. The place reeked of old paper, ink, dust and that slightly vinegary mix of all three that can only can described as wisdom. It’s the same smell I Iater found at a university’s library in Oxford, one that outdated, oh, America. And picking through this island of misfit books and dog-eared novels one day I found a treasure that inspired.

I was 7.

And it wasn’t a book. Continue reading

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TOWER GROVE — While watching  a commercial for some collection of Shirley Temple DVDs, the boy wonder patiently waited for the sales pitch, the flash of the phone number for orders, and the final wink from the cherubic actress.

“Did she do all that as a 3-year-old?” he asked.

“The dancing and singing?” I responded. “No I don’t think so.”

“Oh,” Ian said, still staring at the TV with that stare we’ve come to know as his problem-solving expression, his I’m-going-to-make-a-pronouncement-so-get-ready face. “That makes sense. I think I would really like to be in movies.”

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