Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Light peeks in from the left

I'd been doing paperwork all day -- mainly throwing out years' worth of crap that is no longer necessary to keep -- when a though sliced into me.  I'm chucking my past into a shredder.  It hit when I was digging into my box for "2007"; that's when I began to really push to make a career as a screenwriter.  I went through file folder after file folder after file folder of letters and offers and claims and attempts to get people to read my work and the notes on their polite refusals, when they even bothered to respond, as well as all the other avenues I took to improve my chances (career counsellor, workshops, competitions entered, grants applied for)...and I realized this was why my mother never threw anything away.  It was all she had of herself.  Of the life she'd been through.

Mom never lived on her own.  She lived with her mother till she got married, then with her husbands, then with her mother between husbands, then with her children.  She never had an apartment to herself.  A home to herself.  A world to herself.  She came close while working as an extra, but she'd never have done it had she not been staying with me.  She had neither the wherewithal nor the drive to try it on her own (nor the transportation ability since she didn't drive and LA can be difficult to get around in on the bus).  So she accumulated things that meant nothing to anyone but her.  Pictures of cats and dogs being cute.  Pencils she'd used almost all the way to the nub.  My old teddy bear from when I was a toddler.  Clothes she'd worn but that now didn't fit or didn't work with anything else she had.  Ephemeral tidbits of her past.

I joked about her boxes of crap...but now I can see those boxes were her life.  Because now I'm getting rid of mine, and suddenly it flat out hurt.  Because like her, this is all I have to show that I once tried to be somebody.  That I spent 30+ years trying to build a career in film and never could quite figure out how to do it in a way that I could live with.  And now can see that I tried even harder than I thought I did, but all I have to show for it is a few framed awards on a wall and two dozen boxes of useless paperwork.

Well...that and a nasty attitude that works well in my books.

Y'know that earthquake they say happened in New York and was felt all over the East Coast?  Didn't even begin to feel it; I was too busy rockin' and rollin' in my own little world.  As usual, it's all about me.

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