20 December, 2014
Sunday a childhood friend of mine passed away. This week has been tough. The weird part is I haven't cried yet. I've been holding it in. And all the grief counselors are nodding their heads. They know what's coming next. Colette and I drifted apart the last decade. Which is strange for two people who used to be so close. Busy lives, different priorities, different states of residence, or possibly a Tragic life event in her life. Now she's gone. Random thoughts about her popped into my head this week. Going to her house to play dolls. Going to her house for sleepovers. Her coming to my house for a sleepover. Running high school track together, though she was two years behind me in school. Going on double dates together for high school dances, me a senior, she a sophomore. Me driving to Murfreesboro to visit her at college, her going to my college. Going to fraternity parties in college together. Me so bored at one I wrote a short story. She was a character in it. So were alien invaders from outer space. Road trips to Atlanta in college, staying with my aunt and uncle who didn't mind a gaggle of college girls eating their food, making a mess, staying out until the crack of a dawn and then ringing the doorbell to be let in to sleep it off. Her meeting her one true love Dexter, who would tutor me in math in college. Road trip to Atlanta to shop for wedding dresses. Endless hours looking at dresses in Atlanta and back home. Bachelorette party at her house. Me, a bridesmaid in her wedding. Until a few year ago, the dress was still in my closet. I donated it to an organization that help girls have a prom dress. My daughter and I living with her and her husband Dexter in Atlanta for a few months as I tried to sort out finding a job. Random thoughts about the secrets we told each other. Sorrows we both shared that no one else knew about. Things she never told her family. Things I will still keep silent for her. She became a widow and life changed for her. She changed. Walls were put up. I resigned myself to seeing posts on Facebook, hoping one day we could reconnect. That she would let me back in. Her two sons kept her busy. That much I could follow online. They looked so much like Dexter. She was alone. Her chest hurt. She couldn't breathe. She called an ambulance. She went to the ER. She passed away. I received the news and I wanted it to be a horrible, sick practical joke. I wanted it to be. I needed it to be. We'd never had a chance to reconnect the way I wanted to. We would never have that chance. Then I thought about her sons-orphans now. Her brother, sole survivor of their family as their father passed when she was in college and their mother this last summer. That was too much grief for my heart and I had to distract myself. I focused on work. Five days. Now I'm allowing myself to feel. To fall apart. To weep. To yell. Today as she is laid to rest. Yesterday I sat down a made a list. It was all the things I said I would do, that I never did. Time is not promised to us. Tomorrow is not promised to us. What matters is what we make of today. Life is too short is the saying. My friend was still young, yet that youth did not keep her from dying. On my list are things like go experience the Grand Canyon. That trip to Paris I've dreamed about since high school and never did. Get back into my art (painting, clay). My writing. My writing. Prominent on my list and a reminder of where my focus should be. Life is too short to be miserable, stressed, unhappy. You(we), literally don't know how much time we have left. Why are you wasting it being miserable? Being stressed? Being unhappy? Refuse to be a lemming. If it is within your ability to do so, do so. If it is not,what is holding you back? I'm Working on a new screenplay. And it is about death. And it is taking me places I never would have written on the page. There is no fear. There is no hiding. It is all coming out on the page. Colette Is/was one of only two people outside of academia that I've let read my fiction writing. Heather is number two. I've never told her how dear her friendship is to me. How it's like the sun on a warm day that make you happy. How I can rely on her no matter the time of day or the circumstance. I will make sure she knows, because life is too short.
16 November, 2014
Missed opportunity. Standing in line waiting on a movie screening and the person next to me struck up a conversation. I'll call that person Jane Doe. Jane is a screenwriter. She wants to see her screenplay turned into a movie. She's invested years of her life into this script. She's done research, she's done marketing, she's even done some fundraising. You see, Jane Doe wants to make the movie herself. She's looking to raise a lot of money for the project. I congratulated her on taking that step-knowing what she wants. I commented that she must have been busy this week, networking at the different events going on around town. She said no. She doesn't do it that way. She asked if I had seen a particular screening of a very we'll know actress's film. I commented that unfortunately I wasn't able to get in to see it. She said not only did she see it, but she had the opportunity to talk to this well know actress. I said what any reasonable person would say, "Did you discuss your project with her, because it seems like she would be interested in being involved in what you told me." Now this is the part where you need to make sure you are sitting down. Jane said "No. She didn't see me." I asked what she meant. She went on to explain that she waits for people to see that she's different from everyone else, and waits for them to approach her and then she discusses the script she is trying to make into a movie and her need for funding. She then went on to tell me this was the second time she'd been within conversation distance with this actress. Neither time did she say anything. I had no words. Thankfully I have words now. Before you judge her too harshly, have a care for your own glass house. Have you had a dream you wanted to pursue so badly and God brings the opportunity for you to do so and you remained silent? Pursing a dream is active. Being that this woman was a stranger to me, I could not shake her and say are you crazy? How many times do you need for this to happen for you to see its time to open your mouth and say something. News flash. No one is going to walk up to you and say "Hey, here's a couple of million dollars because you just have something about you. Or "Please come work for my company because there is something about you." You have a goal, you have a dream. Open your mouth. Pursue it. Go get it!
03 September, 2014
Yesterday, September 1st, my best friend died. She was fourteen, furry, and had four legs. My cat was my best friend, my heart, my confident, and my compass. Nothing makes sense since she passed. She fell ill on a Friday and by Monday morning she was gone. Can a cat be a best friend? Yes. She woke me up before my alarm every morning, and if I tried to sleep in late on the weekends she was on the job. Her meows, and head butts to nudge me awake, as if to say "good morning friend, let's have some fun today." I will miss her smiles. I will miss her licking me whenever I was down, or sad, or had gone through a break up or a rough time at work. I will miss her warmth as she curled up in my lap, and kneaded my legs to make a comfy spot for herself. I will miss her curled up next to me in bed, or lying across my legs in bed. I will miss my writing partner. She would lay under my writing chair in such a way that it was difficult for me to get up or move my chair, so I would find myself sitting in my chair for hours writing. I believe she knew exactly what she was doing. And times that I could get up, I would see her peering at me from under the chair as if to say "we're not done today are we?" Her presence eased my loneliness, her antics as she played with her toys or ran up and down my stairs made me laugh. She loved to carry on conversations with me. She loved tuna. She loved lying on the screened in porch, to spend hours looking at nature or napping in the sun. I had fourteen years to be loved unconditionally by this magnificent cat and I am thankful for every second I had with her. I miss her terribly.
28 April, 2014
I took a class at UCLA in February to help me get to the next level in my screenwriting. Four days of intense work. Am I ready to take my screenplays, revise them, and send them out? No. I'm pulling myself off the market for now. It's not that I'm a horrible writer. I'm not. It's just that I now know what's missing from not only my screenwriting, but all my writing, and I want time to improve my craft. There are people who don't understand why I'm doing this. I've even given them the Olympics analogy: just because I can run and I lettered in track in high school, doesn't mean I'm ready to compete in the Olympics. Writing is who I am, and I want my best possible chance at a lifetime of it. I've rediscovered my love and passion for short stories. The beauty of this, is that I can work on improving my fiction writing via short stories, and improving my screenwriting by doing stand alone scenes. It's exciting. It's challenging. I'll be doing a lot of writing that may never get published, but I'll be so much a better writer, and person when it's time.
20 January, 2014
Writing is about being transparent. I love movies that make me laugh out loud, and make me cry. The actor is able to take the writer's words and create a performance that moves me. But for the actor to do this, the writer has to step up to the plate. I am a huge fan of Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch, and Martin Freeman. The end of season two had me in tears. Sherlock jumped from the building. I will not spoil the season 3, opener for those who haven't seen it yet. The writers of that show have shown me what it means to build a flawed character, that is love able, but not needy; how to put plot twists and engage the audience in solving the mystery. I am in awe of those writers. They bring everything they are to the table every week to write for this show. Think about the last movie or book you read that you were unhappy with. I bet the first thing you said was "the character". I think to write an amazing character, you have to be willing to be naked. You have to go deep within to pull all the not pretty parts out, put them on display. Doing this frees you as a writer. It's like being naked in a room-there's nothing left to hide, so you might as well be yourself. I have looked back over screenplays and novels I've written and found I have slapped my own hand a few times, and hindered my own nakedness. That nagging dissatisfaction that has plagued me at the back of my mind for more than six months has surged to the forefront. I have chosen to be naked. All those words and actions my characters wanted to say and do, that I would not allow before, I let them. It is so freeing to be naked. It can be scary, but once you've been naked in a room, there's nothing left to hide. Show it. Flaunt it. Be proud of it. Write it.