I Must Not Fear: On ‘Dune,’ Being a Lubbock ‘Fremen’ & Surviving
Denis Villeneuve's Dune is the most anticipated movie of my entire life. That will sound extremely dramatic until I give you a little background.
I've read Frank Herbert's Dune at least 10 times, beginning at age 16, and I just re-read it last year. That makes it the most important book of my life for over 20 years.
My first copy is a yellowed, dog-eared paperback mess. The cover has been taped multiple times, and pages are falling out. I borrowed it from an abusive ex and never returned it. His copy of Dune is the only positive artifact I have from that time in my life. I bought it with literal blood. And shedding blood is a waste of precious water.
Lubbock, to me, is like Arrakis. A place that can drain the life out of the weak-willed. It's a huge, tiny town. It has huge prejudices, huge obstacles to change, and it always gets oppressively hot and dry nearly any time of year. Many friends of mine that visit from out of state get nose bleeds after a day or two on our desert planet.
But Arrakis is invaluable, as is Lubbock, because it is unique in the entire universe. We may not have the "spice" that can bend space, but we do have the hottest fires in which to forge the sharpest blades. Native Lubbockites become Fremen -- survivors, warriors, and freedom fighters.
My most beloved copy of Dune is my hardback first bookclub edition that belonged to my long-dead grandfather. He hated Texas with a white-hot passion. But he loved me, and he taught me to love the majesty and wonder of science fiction.
However, Dune is so much more than science fiction. It is a tome about political intrigue, spirituality, psychedelic inspirations and, more than anything, the rejection of Fear:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Only I will remain.
Watching the trailer for 2020's Dune, I blurted out many lines before I ever heard them. "What's in the box? PAIN." I've put my hand in the box multiple times.
Truly, an animal in a trap will gnaw its leg off to escape. However, there is a chance we might be human when we can bear the slings and arrows, bear the pain of the brutality of existence on our own personal Arrakis. I admire my compatriots. I love and revere my hometown.
The trailer is everything I hoped it would be. The cast is immaculate, especially Timothee Chalamet, a Paul, a Muad'Dib, I can believe in. I am so pleased with everything so far. I am so... hopeful. I know I can, with a little discipline, survive any intrigue, any reversal of fate, and any environment life can throw at me.