Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jake knows the world better than I

We had a rough week, last week at work, so over the weekend I baked up an apple crumb cobbler (Marie Callendars'), since everyone likes that. They said. Except not one of my co-workers touched it. I'm the only one who's been eating it. Fortunately, it wasn't very big and it keeps well in the fridge. But today I brought it home and decided to finish it over this weekend.

What's sad is, I really prefer peach cobbler. I spent the $4 on this one and took the time to cook it because I thought it'd be a great way to start the week...and it got dissed. So fuck that shit.

You see, Jake (in RIHC6v1&2 and OT) would never have done that. Something I learned about myself while writing LD is, sometimes I try to anticipate people's needs and, far more often than not, I fall flat on my face. That slipped into Daniel's history, where he subjugated his wants, needs and desires to Tad's, thinking that would make things great between them...and he still got dumped. And dumped on. And working on "....Owen Taylor" shows me that tendency was also in Antony, albeit in a much more psychotic mode. Half the trouble he got himself into was from trying to protect Jake from something emotional or physical, when Jake didn't need no protection.

What's been illuminating about writing OT is seeing how Jake just doesn't put up with the bullshit. It's either yes or no with him, no pissing around, even if it gets him into a tight situation. I like that in him...and I know it means it's also available in me, if I want to make use of it. But I've got this attitude ingrained in my DNA or something that makes me almost a servant until I'm so fed up, I explode and destroy everything I was trying to build.

And what's most destructive about it is, that's when I finally see I'd put myself through all this shit for nothing. And often wound up damaging myself in ways I couldn't see until much later. Case in point -- I'm still recovering from a film I wrote and tried to co-produce on a minimal budget...20 years ago. It was a catastrophe waiting to happen and deep inside I knew I should have pulled the plug before shooting began. But I got lost in thinking my drive and my caring and my support would make it turn out okay. It not only didn't, I came close to killing someone once I saw how the final product was being twisted into what I felt was a flat out racist tract.

This damaged my self confidence so severely, for years when anyone critiqued a script I'd written, I'd go with their opinion (unless it was ludicrous; I wasn't totally lost), and I'd rewrite it. Even if I thought it was fine as it was. Did any of that matter in my career? Nope. Of the dozens of times I've rewritten my work to suit someone, not a single solitary script has been made into a project. And that hideous one slunk into a shadow and died, somewhere...and good I don't even have that to point to.

If I'd been like Jake, I'd have taken the project over the second it started veering out of control and rammed through everything that needed to be done. And if that made me an asshole, that made me an asshole. But I'd have protected my story and characters, and I might have had something I could at least refer to as produced. And even if it'd crashed and burned, I'd have known I did my best instead of trying to facilitate a consensus on what needed to be done. Only I wasn't Jake. I didn't know I had that ability in me until I put him on the page and saw how right it was to be that way, sometimes.

It's kind of late in my life to finally realize this...but I guess it's better late than never. And Jake would say, "What bullshit."

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