The Apollo Moon Landing, The Dish, and Me

I was taking a walk on earth forty years ago when men were walking on the moon. Unlike everyone else, it seems, I wasn’t sitting in front of a television. For one, we didn’t have a television, for another, the whole thing seemed rather ho-hum to an inveterate reader of science fiction. If we hadn’t been there in truth, we’d been there in stories, in imagination. So, oblivious to the excitement, I went for a walk.

The passing years — and all the movies and the books about the subject — didn’t change my mind. Perhaps it was as great an achievement as people seemed to think. Perhaps we had wasted our money in a moon race instead of solving our problems here on earth as many said. But the matter never caught my attention. Until . . . The Dish.

The Dish, a movie released in 2000, tells the story of the Australian participation in the 1969 moon landing. A dish, placed in the middle of a sheep paddock in Parkes, Australia, was to actually transmit the landing and moonwalk to the world.

Why did this movie about a little known aspect of the mission catch my attention? The characters. The quirky characters, their humor, and their excitement to be a part of this major undertaking made me experience, for the first time, the wonder of the achievement.

Thinking of the Apollo landing (now why would I be thinking about that today? Hmmmm) and subsequently The Dish, I was reminded that if we filter our stories through the eyes of our characters, if we make the characters excited about the events of our story worlds, if we make them want to know the facts of our worlds, then we will allow our readers to experience the excitement for themselves.

(What, you thought I’d pass on the chance for an object lesson about writing? Surely, you know me better than that by now!)

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4 Responses to “The Apollo Moon Landing, The Dish, and Me”

  1. ~Sia McKye~ Says:

    Pat, I know you very well and no, you would never let a chance go by to give us a lesson and usually from a different perspective. Always a little quirk there to make us think. That’s a good thing.

    Thanks for the chuckle and for the reminder, our characters are ‘real’ people in our world. They need to act like they are and show us things in a different way. 🙂

    No wonder you write such interesting books!

  2. Kathleen Kaufman Says:

    This is very much the way I think of characters- I staunchly believe that all stories are character stories and the fantastic events surrounding them are just window dressing. If a writer focuses on the events rather than the characters, it comes out flat and uninteresting.

  3. Adina Pelle Says:

    How fresh ! Chuckling my way to my stories now and my imaginary friends …
    (When I was a little girl I used to think Jesus was my grandmother’s(the Christian one) imaginary friend because she constantly talked to him, asked him questions and involved him in long standing dialogs )

  4. Sheila Deeth Says:

    My memories of the moon landing are of morning TV, which never happened, of a brother that wasn’t very interested interacting with one that was, and with parents telling us this was history when it clearly wasn’t ancient and couldn’t be. So yes, its the characters’ reactions that stick in my mind, and without them my memory would just be, well, history?


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