Today’s one of those sun on your shoulder-iced coffee-sneakers and an evening walk-kind of days in New York, and I thought to myself at lunch, “why not write to you.” It’s not a Monday, but that’s okay.
I’d rather not state the flat-out obvious (it’s been a while have I died), and plow right on to the news: I’m feeling good. I’m actually satisfied right now. What about you? How have the last couple of months been for you?
Every day on my way home from work on these commonly slush-ridden, hail-storming evenings, I walk past a park: it’s surrounded by a towering black-iron gate, and the garden is covered in snow: yellow snow, brown snow, black snow, vomit snow. But along the garden’s perimeter are tall, gaunt tree stalks. They’re hunched, like they’ve been bearing the weight of a cold, dark winter for too long, and they haven’t had the chance to express themselves in months.
I’ve felt like those trees for a while: hunched over my desk littered with menial tasks, silencing myself creatively for fear of exposing my lack and insecurities, trivializing myself into the size of a shrub.
It’s an awful feeling when you make yourself small – when you let your fears rock you to sleep and surrender. But all winter long, I’ve told myself, “It’s just your season. The season will pass.”
And slowly, like the unraveling of the first bud of a baby stalk, I think… I might… be opening.
Thanks to a recent submission deadline for screenplays, I’ve actually written a good chunk of mine and sent it out. And what fortitude it took: the screaming matches between my fears and my passions continued into the night. But with the forced intervention of a deadline, the two were coerced (momentarily) to extend an olive branch so I could do my job – which is merely what I think I’m meant to do on this earth, which is write and hope that it resonates with people.
But perhaps it’s the silence of their screaming that’s letting me write to you today. When fear doesn’t try to suffocate passion, there’s a quiet space made, like the cleaning of a sock drawer or kitchen cabinet, for inspiration and encouragement to come in. I’m so grateful for this. (May it last through the night may it last through the night).
And I’m actually in love, guys. And it’s not that fucked up-can’t have you but want you-why is life so hard-is this good for my writing but bad for my health-kind of love. But an actually supportive, warming feeling that also helps keep the fears at bay, or at least, joins me in solidarity to fight them. Eleanor’s a special person, and it helps to be with someone who paints and understands the vulnerability of creating while juggling a job, but she does her own thing and has a talent I cannot comprehend. She still lives across the hall, though we do enjoy our sleepovers.
I’m reading a great book called “Story” right now – have you heard of it? It’s commonly coined the “Bible of screenwriting,” but its advice on creating a story and maintaining a structure align with writing a book, plays, etc. In the first couple of pages, it states that when we go to see a movie or a play, and the lights go down, and our reactions are hidden to the world, we’re free to feel how we want to feel – which is why we pay lots of money and invest our time to see them. That liberation in this world is a rare, rare beast. But beyond this point, it also mentions how there’s a grave misconception when it comes to movies and theatre and books: we don’t put in the time and effort with these pieces to escape our lives, but rather to find them – to discover our flaws and our desires in the characters we meet. We watch and read these pieces so we know we’re not alone.
So we know we’re not alone. Isn’t that brilliant? That we ride the escalator to theatre 4, shell out $18 on a movie ticket and some Raisinets, just to be reminded for two and a half hours that we’re not alone.
And in the writing of these pieces – when you’re the one endeavoring to write the book, the movie, the show – that’s truly the story behind your story. You write to reassure and connect with others and let them know, “Hey, you’re just like me, and I’m just like you. We’re gonna be okay.”
I can’t wait to walk by the park today. With the first 60-degree day in New York in months, I know what I’ll find. Where there was once yellow and black and brown snow, there will be grass. And where there was gaunt and hunched trees, there will be buds. And that’s the thing about the seasons: just when you think that nothing has happened and all is dormant and nothing is moving forward, life suddenly appears, having waited for its moment to blossom, and you come alive.