“Today IS a good day to die!” – Lieutenant Commander Worf, Klingon Warrior

This past weekend, my wife and I watched Star Trek: First Contact and The Last Samurai. (Isn’t she a trooper?) With Star Trek, it was disappointing to see that the cheesiness hadn’t improved with age. Good thing it was one of those “free” Netflix streamers. With Samurai, there’s always the Tom Cruise variant to take into consideration—but he can really act when the spirit moves him, and in this film, he truly became his character. I’m not afraid to admit it: Samurai always brings tears to my eyes.

What do these two dissimilar movies have in common, if anything? Honor is a theme in both. For Worf the Klingon, a good death is one in which he can die fighting for what he believes to be just. For the Samurai, the last of their kind as Japan modernized and left behind the old ways, honor was viewed as life’s ultimate goal. Dying with dignity—choosing the moment to give one’s life instead of having it snatched away—was the way to go.

This month, my short story “Like a Good Neighbor” received an honorable mention in Allegory’s May issue. Mine was one of many “maybe’s” the editors set aside in choosing their final eight for publication. Allegory comes out only three times a year, so they have to wade through an overflow of submissions to pick out the cream of the crop.

Obviously, I wish my story had been one of the eight published, but I can follow Mr. Worf’s example and choose this day to die—to myself and my pride. Instead of focusing on if-only’s, I can graciously accept the honor I’ve been given and move on to the next submission.

It’s my goal, anyway.
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