Screenwriter in Waiting
...ups and downs, lessons learned and all things screenwriting related in my journey to sell my Oscar winning screenplay.
I walked along the beach this weekend. This was the first beach excursion in a summer that I plan to name: Beach-fest 2015. As you know, I love the beach but for the past few summers I haven’t been able to get there as often as I would have liked (as in every day), more like 1 or 2 visits in the entire summer. It’s criminal!!!
Anyway, this weekend, as I strolled along the beach, Mozart providing the background music for an absolutely spectacular day: clear blue sky, fluffy white clouds gently easing on by. The water was chilled, at first, but my toes quickly became acclimated. I was in absolute heaven on earth!
Suddenly, 2 teenaged boys came running in my direction, pointing toward the ocean. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, since I had my headphones on, but they were excited about something. No offense to teenage boys, but when I see teenage boys pointing at something on the beach, it’s usually because some teenaged girl’s bikini top has fallen down in the water and they can see her boobies. So, I just ignored them.
However, the boys were so adamant about whatever they were pointing to that I just had to look. I followed their gaze out into the ocean and I saw it…A fin. No two fins, then three, now four…five fins. Five dolphins bobbing and splashing about in the ocean, not a care in the world. I was blown away.
I must have strolled this beach more than a hundred times, always stopping to take in all of the sights and sounds, but never had I seen a school of dolphins frolicking near my stretch of the beach. They looked so free. Jumping, leaping, dipping through the mighty Atlantic. And though they were clearly together, each seemed to be dancing to the beat of his or her own drum.
I stood there in awe, for a moment, then followed them as far as I could as I made my way down the shore. I wanted to jump in there and frolic with them, to channel my inner-mermaid. But I am not a mermaid and I would have surely drowned. Life lesson: Fear and freedom do not mix. Freedom lets you frolic. Fear kept me anchored on the shore. (But fear can also keep you alive so it does serve a purpose). So from the safety of the shore, I watched the dolphins play. Jealous that I couldn’t be out there with them but thankful for this random act of freedom God had blessed me to witness.
It made me realize how much joy it brings me when others are free--which is why I write so much about freedom. From the dolphins showing off their acrobatics; to the little boy I saw on the boardwalk getting his groove on to the techno music blasting from the speakers. They were free and my heart was full.
So I encourage you to keep your eyes open for random acts of freedom. Careful—it can be contagious. You never know when one might pop up, but if you spot one, tell me about it.
Freedom -The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hinderance or restraint.(oxforddictionaries.com)
There is a scene in my book, Boy Toy, where the main character, Toya, is presented with the opportunity to tryout for the track team. Despite the fact that Toya has often found herself going for a run whenever she felt stressed, her first reaction is to say no. She makes a bunch of excuses: she hasschool work; she just got a perm and doesn't want her hair to get messed up; she would rather be home watching Judge Judy. Advice from a friend stays with her: “If running makes you feel free, why not feel free all the time?” Toya took that advice and ran with it (pun intended) and discovered that not only did running make her feel free but it took her to places beyond her wildest dreams.
It wasn’t until years after writing that passage, did I make the connection in my own life. I am no runner, but I am a writer and writing makes me feel free. I write about how I first discovered my passion for writing in the About Me section on this website. And ever since I opened up my heart to this new romance called writing, I found myself soaring, spreading my wings and dancing among the clouds. Free.
The funny thing is, I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t free. However, once I started writing I could see how repressed I had been: afraid to say how I felt or express my thoughts, because I was weighed down with guilt. I knew it wasn’t uncommon for survivors of sexual trauma to carry around a super-sized load of guilt and shame—and I was no different. I just didn’t realize how much it had affected me. How much I censored myself, second-guessed every decision, silenced my own feelings because it felt wrong or bad.
But when I wrote, I was free. I could say whatever I wanted without any inhibition. After all, that’s what the delete key is for, right? If I ever did write something that was out of line, I could always erase it. I could be joyful, angry, romantic, sexy, petulant, devious…free—without fear of judgement. The only judge was me. And strangely, seeing my thoughts and feelings on paper rarely stoked the fire of my inner critic. So I said more. I truly feel like God deposited this gift of writing in my spirit to unlock the door to those invisible shackles that had been holding me back, since it's neverHis will for his children to be in bondage.
Now, every chance I get, I’m sneaking off to write, or read about writing, or talk with other writers about writing. Just like any love affair, I want to be around it all the time. Writing has carried me across the country and on many amazing journeys—on paper and in my real world—and the best is yet to come.
Do me a favor and try this exercise. I just want to see what else is out there that makes people feel free. So fill in the blanks please:
If ____________ makes me feel free, why not feel free all the time?
Then answer the question. I realize that, depending on how you fill in the blank, some things you just can’t do all the time--no matter how fun it may be. But is there a way for you to do it more often?