I hope it happens to you
I was in a class last month and as you know, I took I Know That Voice with me to watch so I could review it. You also know that turned out to be a failure because of where I was staying.
"No problem," I thought. "Once I get back home, I can start again." But when I got home, I couldn't start.
"Okay, it's getting close to time to do the newsletter. I need to get going on this." No dice.
"Alright, now it's past when the newsletter needs to go out. I'll just sit down and burn through the review."
Last night, I was still getting nowhere. But I knew why I couldn't write that review. Not yet, at least. There is something else I need to write first. This article.
I saw on our Main Page news feed that there were three articles about "Act Your Age" that were published the day of the premiere. The one from Geek Dad included a featurette about how the episode got made. If somehow you can't see the video there, here's the link to YouTube.
I read through it and decided I'd watch the featurette after the episode. I still wasn't getting anywhere with starting the review, so I rationalized the diversion by calling it "research". Wait. What's this? Dan and Swampy are introducing the episode? Now it's time to watch the featurette.
In the video, Dan and Swampy talk about how when they wanted to write an episode about Phineas and Ferb when they're older, they already had the answer to the character designs. It had come in the form of the drawing a fan gave to Dan at Comic-Con. On that day, she didn't know that she would be such an important part of the show. It was just a way of saying thanks.
I wrote an article quite a while ago for this newsletter about how Ashley Simpson had been told by people visiting her deviantArt page that she shouldn't be making her drawings. One day, I'll look up exactly what she had said about the experience, but it was along those lines and some of them were quite mean about it. In school, she used to get in trouble with her teachers for drawing in class.
Fast-forward to over two-and-a-half years later. Who's name is first in the credits under "Character Design"? Hers.
|| It just feels magical when you have a dream that you're just striving for. It's a lot of work, but once you're done and you see your project on television or the web, it's the best feeling in the world.
Yes, yes it is, Ashley.
There is a story I've been working on for quite a while and it reached a point where I was just not sure what I wanted to do with it any more. It was just kind of there, waiting. About five days ago, it shifted.
I'm not sure where it happened, at home or at work. But I found myself thinking about a new path the story could take. I began writing it because I had to. In a small way, I find myself in the company of much more famous people than I ever will be:
- Billy Joel, who, while moving back to the east coast, was inspired to write "New York State of Mind". In his interview on Inside the Actors Studio, he talked about having to get to the piano the moment he got in the house so he could get the song into physical form. "Where's the piano? Where's the piano?"
- J. Michael Straczynski, who was writing an episode of Babylon 5 that dealt with the overthrow of a corrupt emperor and experienced the wonder and fear of a character in the episode telling him what needed to happen. ("The Long Night")
- Wil Wheaton, who wrote a short scary story with the ending that came out of nowhere. (The Monster in My Closet)
- Any writer who has a story find them and they are compelled to write it.
I began thinking about the new path constantly. I wrote as much as I could each night. I read it over and over again, sometimes aloud to myself, sometimes silently. While working, I recited the lines. I find scraps of paper to scribble reminders of a point that presented itself.
There are numerous times where I've had to wipe tears out of my eyes. That's not hyperbole. Even now, just thinking about it. I've read it over two dozen times, sometimes back-to-back, and it's less than a handful of times I've been able to make it through without my voice breaking at least once.
The story is at a point where it's as fine-tuned as I can get it. Oh, I change a word here or there, but I try not to fiddle with it too much. A professional editor would probably dissect it neatly, pointing out many amateurish mistakes.
And yet, it's not complete.
The story spoke to me last night. "You have to share this. It's its own story."
"I can't. It's too personal and it's too tightly woven into what came before."
Today, the story spoke again, but in a different form. While I worked, my mind flitted from one point to another. Darting from the lines of the story to what I wanted to write for this article and back. Come on, brain. Stop that! Let me think it through, will ya?
"You say you can't make this its own story? Well, what about this? And this? Cut this, change that. Move this here. Flip that bit around."
The end of the day can't come fast enough. I have to make the changes so the story can be born.
As I write this, it is much later in the night than it should be. I had stopped yet again to re-read that story. The changes are almost done. It's in a separate file with a new title. I just have to figure out one plot point to tie it together. I am not worried. The story has not let me down yet.
Then maybe, maybe, I can share it. But something is telling me, "Let it sit. Come back to it later when you can look it objectively and not be caught in emotion. Or, let it make you sad so you can re-experience the joy that came at the end."
I know the answer now. It must wait because there is something else I must write besides the review I originally intended. I was asked four months ago to write a tribute to Robin Williams for the Moviepedia Wiki. I was afraid to because I was afraid to be sad. The way I reacted when he gave his goodbye speech in the last Night at the Museum movie and the girl crying for a moment at simply seeing "In memory of Mickey Rooney and for Robin Williams" in the credits confirmed it. Did he know at the time he performed that scene he would be saying goodbye to all of us?
And I am kicking myself because I cannot take the time to write that tribute until four weeks from now. I have to write this and I cannot. There is work on my house that has to be finished by then, no exceptions. That is the deadline of the permit.
Ashley Simpson has her Art and it happens to be art and drawing. I think I may have found mine. But whatever your Art may be, even if it's a casual interest at this point, be it drawing, painting, writing, music, sports, or whatever, and you experience a moment like this, get out of your own way and cherish it. Let it guide you.
I truly hope that it happens to each of you.