Tag: books

Someday? How about NOW.

Someday? How about NOW.

“Don’t you worry, your time will come.” “Oh, it just hasn’t happened for you yet.” “It’ll happen when you least expect it, you’ll see.” There are many variations of this phrase that we all know too well. So, whether we are in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, or 60s, how do we deal with goals, states of being, or desires that seem so out of our control?

While I don’t have all of the answers, what I’ve discovered is this: we must commit to the quest of happiness in our current state of being. Too often we get caught up in constant and tiresome efforts to find eventual happiness. Someday this, one day that. I recently chatted with my dearest and closet friend about the “single life” dilemma. “You’ll find your person someday.” “Once you stop looking, they’ll be right in front of you.” While I don’t entirely disagree with those theories, we cannot always be living in a state of “somedays.” This. THIS is the challenge. A struggle that I, too, face. While we work toward our dreams, what are we doing to find joy right NOW? How are we being present with our current selves?

Here is what it comes down to: Awareness and presence.Β  There is only one way to stop the worry, to stop the uneasiness, to stop the pain. The reality is that we really do not have a clue what will happen. You might not find your person for a very long time. Or, you may grow and change and find out you’d rather travel and see the world. OR, you might find someone in three years who opens doors to things that were once unimaginable. Bottom line? Forget all of that. Make small decisions right NOW that bring you joy. The rest will come when it is ready. I just finished watching 30 minutes worth of live videos of Mariah Carey on You Tube. Does this correlate directly to my dream career? Not at all. However, it makes me smile. It brings me joy, and it is a choice that I make for myself. So for now? Book a vacation. Write a short film. Watch your favorite movie. Try a new activity, join a new group that meets Mondays at 7:30. Go on a date, take a day off, buy a new piece of artwork. Light a candle. After all, these things are in our control. And in turn, we’ve chosen joy when we commit to these things.

As you approach this holiday season, try eliminating your state of worry. Don’t be happy “eventually.” Choose positivity, and more importantly, SPREAD IT. Talk to your cousin that you’ve lost touch with, inspire your nephew. Show your grandmother pictures from your year. Go to a work Christmas party. Tell someone a joke. Read a silly magazine. Share your passion, and as Shania Twain would say lately, live right NOW. Give a hungry person 5 dollars, binge-watch your favorite show, or try a new recipe. These decisions make us smile. So….what will you commit to?

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Revealing a Character: The Decisions

Revealing a Character: The Decisions

Memorable, ground-breaking characters. Hmm, let’s think. Harry Potter, Matilda, Olivia Benson, Meredith Grey, Jack Sparrow, Olivia Pope, Forest Gump….we could go on for hours. Books, Television, Films. Now, before you go off on me for not mentioning an A-list fictional character, I’ll share some thoughts I’ve been contemplating as I wrap up my weekend writing marathon.

I feel as though it is a pretty well-shared opinion that a deep, multi-dimensional character has a WANT. A desire, a goal, a challenging task.Β  A battle, an obstacle, or an enemy is usually what comes next. We as writers establish these fictional realms with these two things in mind: The WANT and the OBSTACLE. But, I then ask, what about the decisions?

I speak mostly for the TV pilot writers out there. I, for one, am new at the craft. Learning more about it every day. As I create my characters, I can without a doubt talk for hours about their goals, their hopes, and what is getting in the way. But then, I realize…I need an Act Two, Three, and Four. This is where the decisions happen. No matter if it is in a pilot, a book, or season 6 of a successful cable series, it is the DECISION that enhances our character. The decision that leads them either closer or farther away from their ultimate goal. How our character acts under pressure, in a bar with friends, at a fork in the road. You see, within the obstacle there are many little ones. We face them every day in real life. But how we decide to deal with these obstacles – the CHOICES we make – the ACTIONS we take – THAT is when our character shines through. It’s not only about what our character wants, but it is also about how he or she decides to act in pursuit of such a want.Β 

As I do in many of my posts, I’ll bridge how I approach writing with how I approach life. My new chapter as a screenwriter has an obvious obstacle: The gates of Hollywood. The doors of a writers’ room. The calendar invite of a network executive. The overflowing inbox of a showrunner. THESE are my obstacles. But again, how will I decide to face them? What decisions will I make in order to get me closer to my goal? This is where my strength, my determination, and my fast-typing fingers will make themselves known.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m going to continue to pretend that I’m qualified to comment on the techniques of screenwriting. I’ll continue to assume greatness and brilliance at the start of each day. And, most importantly, I’ll act like I belong here typing these thoughts. Because again, what is the alternative? To remain silent?

 

Escapism or comfort? Maybe both.

Escapism or comfort? Maybe both.

On December 17th, 2015, my first year of teaching, I was spat on by a middle school student. Yes, human spit. I tell you this only so that you understand the exact moment that I needed to find another passion. A focus, a goal, an additional aspiration that had zero ties to my career. You know, a dream.

Storytelling through screenwriting became that dream when I decided to sit down that night and “escape” from all the things that had happened to me at work. Teaching is, well, just ask a teacher. But make sure you have some time and a bottle or two. Anyway. I turned on episode 1 of Grey’s Anatomy. Now, we all know that this show has been on for years. 13 seasons, to be exact. Nevertheless, I was told it would help me ESCAPE. “You can watch to take your mind off of the kids,” a colleague said. Hmm, that’s how it started, I suppose. I gave it a try.

ESCAPISM, to me, is a passive approach to television. Television that passes the time, provides a laugh or two, or maybe even a tear. A distraction, a form of relaxation. You might be working on something, but it is on in the background. But don’t you ever have a book that you simply cannot put down? A movie that you can hardly breathe normally through? An episode you’ve been waiting all week for? That, my friends, is comfort. You have become so actively invested in a character, a storyline, or a chapter that you MUST tune in. You MUST. And we are comforted by this journey with these characters. It is inspiration and motivation from a completely fictional realm. It is no longer a distraction or something that you may or may not see that week, it is a NECESSITY. It satisfies your hope for something greater, your need to witness failure, and better yet, your enjoyment in a fictional triumph. It is comforting to have that to look forward to.

So, I’ll leave you with this. What show or movie gives you comfort? Clarity? Motivation? There are characters created by screenwriters worldwide that come from a paper, a pen, and a post-it. But for me, these characters become flawed, wildly imperfect beings trying to figure out what it means to be human. And to love every minute of it. Live television gives us that week-to-week suspense, that necessity in our life to believe that one day we can fight, fail, battle, cry, laugh, and love as tenaciously as these fictional beings do. That hope for a good outcome. The best part? We get even more excited when the outcome is the opposite of what we expected. Like everything in life, right?