Last year at this time, I was writing from O’Hanlon’s.  I had a development contract from CBC under my belt, an award from Showcase to go along with my freshly completed series ‘InJustice’, a broken heart, and unbridled optimism for the year ahead.  This year I’m writing from Atlantis (half block away), I have no commitments for any of my projects, a broken heart, and unbridled optimism for the year ahead.

2011 opens dramatically.  The clock is ticking.  Our hero needs to get his world right.  Forces beyond his control loom.  Blind faith, dumb luck and guile are his only means.  No clear path forward.  Swirling confusion.  Iron stomach.  Eternal optimism.

Here we go.

Slow Motion

I’m taking Jazzy back to Vancouver next week.  Big long road trip.  Nothing to do but drive 1,700 kms through the mountains and think.  Road trips have always been good for my mind.  Sometimes I don’t even turn the radio on.  It’s like yoga with a full tank of gas.

I already hung 398 kms on my car in the last 48 hours, driving Jazzy to Strasbourg (where my dad lives), then down to Moose Jaw (where my grama lives) and then back up to Strasbourg where she’ll be spending New Year’s.  Dad told me about a short cut at Lumsden that would take me on a grid road along the valley and across the prairie to Pense, where I’d connect with Hwy 1.  Shaved 30 minutes off the trip each way.

In the meantime, everything’s sort of been in between for me.  Last week of December syndrome.  I try to work, but not really.  No one else is either.  I try to be ‘here’ but I’m already thinking about ‘there’.  This year is ending and next year doth beckon.  The whole week is a mulligan because nothing really matters, especially not time.  It’s like the week caught jet lag.  I should be enjoying this more.

It’s a good time for reading.  It a good time for writing.  It’s a good time for musing.  It’s a good time for sitting in coffee shops all day long without worrying about the time flying away.  It’s like a road trip in slow motion.

Scene Study

Writing in this blog is a way for me to check in with myself.  Been doing nothing but revelling in my own thoughts for the past 24 hours.  Funny how I don’t get anywhere until I form them into letters and make sentences.

One night last week, I assembled different parts of my relationship with Court together, and wrote a fictional scene.  Five pages of properly formatted screenplay.  It’s good too methinks.  All I have to do is change the names and I can submit it as a scene study somewhere.

The scene was fiction, but the words were real.  We spoke them to each other at different times throughout the last 12 months.  It wasn’t an angry scene.  Wasn’t hopeful or conclusive, or even pessimistic.  It was a ray of fading light inside a cavern of darkness.  It was acceptance.  It was a photograph of our relationship.

I have accepted that I need to go away and work on myself.  I look in the mirror and I see the things I DON’T have.  They say you’re not free until you’re free to walk away.  You can’t find balance when you’re clinging to desires that only serve to fuel your imbalance.

As much as I’ve learned, I need to learn more.  I need to calm my mind.  I need to nurture my body.  I need to peace my spirit.  I need to practice my craft.  I need to go deeper.

All of those things are already sitting around inside me somewhere.  I just need to find them.  How rich would I be then?

20,000 Dollars Ago

I’ve been thinking it for an awful long time and now I’ve made a decision.  It’s a tough decision, and even daring to think about it, is a difficult thought to think.  My ego is all wrapped up in it — so wrapped up I’ve been willing to spend $20,000/year on it, AND NEVER USE IT.

I’m giving up my office space.

I suppose it’s the last vestige of the old ‘corporate’ me.  I’ve written about that old me several times.  Giving up the office represents a clear break from that life.

It’s not merely a financial decision.  It’s about being honest with myself.  I’m never there.  I’m never there because I never WANT to be there.  I’m me at my best when I’m working from coffee shops or pubs or university libraries.

I think back to times when that office was full of people, and I STILL was never there.  Always found a reason to work from elsewhere.  Others eventually followed suit.  The admin types took ‘coffee shop’ days and it progressed to the point where only the editors were around on any consistent basis.

I stopped sitting in on editing sessions with the editors after realizing my notes were more thorough and effective when they just sent me QuickTimes of their work for me to peruse on my own, from wherever I happened to be.  Did one edit session from Bucharest while the editors sat in Regina.  That was the beginning methinks.

The light bulb went off for the final time during coffee with Chantel today.  We were musing about what she’d do if we green lit a project.  She said she’d take the money up front and live someplace warm because she could do the job from anywhere.  I could too for that matter.  The editors could work from home and the production phase would take place outside the office anyway.

Without the office, I would truly be free.  I can work from anywhere and with the money I’d otherwise be spending on rent, I could spend on travel and/or paying for a nicer/bigger apartment.  Hell… even then, I’d still come out ahead.

Suddenly, this decision isn’t so hard after-all.  Wish I had this thought about 20,000 dollars ago.

Spinning Back & Forth

Tried to leave the apartment this morning, but I just couldn’t make it happen.  Tried and tried again.  No dice.

Lots going on in my headspace this morning.  Connected with Shauna last night.  Just hung out talking drama and philosophy for four hours while Hanna & Jazz played together.  We had our own differences earlier this year, but worked those out.  It’s nice to let water flow under the bridge.  I missed our talks.

Tried to leave once more.  It’s like I was stuck inside.  Actually, I WAS stuck inside.

More trips through my headspace.  SCN had its license approved by the CRTC yesterday.  Bodes well for my career.  Even if some of my own projects don’t get picked up, I could probably find myself working on someone else’s.  It’ll still be a few months before the cash is flowing, but at least there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Put my hand on the door knob.  Couldn’t bring myself to open the door.

I go through these cycles of highs and lows.  It’s not even like I resolve anything.  I just snap in and out of ‘em with a single thought, conversation, or even a memory sabotaging me unexpected.  Getting better at paying attention to the cycles though.  Getting better at handling them.  It’s like we don’t even NEED a reason cuz these cycles are going to come and go regardless.  Kind of has a way of illegitimizing legitimate reasons.  I like that.

Turned the door knob once more.  It just spun.  Both directions, same result.  Finally I got a screw driver, removed the door knob, called the land lord, and left for Atlantis with Jazzy.

When life won’t let you out the door, find a screw driver.

Winter Solstice

A moment ago I sat in the window of Atlantis just watching some guy trying to parallel park his car.  Kept driving back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and not getting his car any closer to parallel with the sidewalk.  Eventually his buddy stepped out to guide him.  This operation took another five minutes to complete.

Reminds me of my own life.  Someone’s out there, sitting back, drinking coffee, and watching me bumble around in the darkness, looking for the light.  Not sure if this is a sign of weakness or not, but I could really use some help right now.  Not much… just a little push.

It seems I’m an all or nothing kind of a guy.  If one part of my life is off kilter, the rest of it follows.  Living well is a delicate balance.  Can’t float my boat when bits are falling into the water.

I was at a Winter Solstice party last night at Carlie’s place.  Most of her friends are yogis and healing types.  Part of me fit in quite well.  The rest of me brought rum to the party to compensate.  I was accepted.

We were celebrating rebirth.  The sun shines longer from here on out.  Perhaps I can say the same about myself.

Obstacles in the Mirror

Finished my book.  It took me a few days to compile and then proof read 324 pages of myself.  Needs a better ending.  I’m a bit at a loss for words to describe the experience of taking myself in so thoroughly over such a compressed period of time.  Painful memories.  Memories of elation.  Memories I forgot about.  Memories in between the words I wrote.  Memories I’d re-live again in a heartbeat.

Career wise, I started lots of things, but never really saw them through, at least not by the time the book ended.  Hopefully that changes this year.  For what its worth, that’s the same story everyone in my industry’s been telling.

Headspace wise, it’s kind of depressing at times.  Lots of worrying about the same old things without a lot of progress.  At other times, it’s almost embarrassingly positive.  I’m the eternal optimist, and sometimes I’m not sure if I’m just fooling myself, or if I truly am doing my best to move forward.  Having said that, you can’t be in my industry, or live my lifestyle, without an optimistic frame of mind.  Wolves will tear you apart otherwise.

Philosophically speaking, it was a year to put my rhetoric where my actions were.  Did alright there.  Not sure if I found the fine line between moving forward from bad juju, or if I simply chose to NOT deal with some things whilst distracting myself with other parts of my life.  I spent plenty of time looking in the mirror, trying to see truth.  Made a genuine effort to be honest with myself.  I continue to be a work in progress.

Courtney seemed to dominate my emotional life.  I don’t want to paint her in a bad light here.  She’s someone who’s been dealing with the wreckage of an incredibly fucked up past.  I chose to strap myself in and ride the turbulence with her.  I knew what I was getting myself into, and I chose to hang in there.  My greatest wish, is that she will find peace on her own terms.  At the moment, I’m prepared to hang on, be her friend, and continue to be.

Perhaps, ‘become’ would be a better way of putting it.  I never stood still for any single person, event, or ambition through any part of last year.  I’m most pleased with that accomplishment.  My life is rich.  Many good things fill it.  Bad things keep it interesting.

Every good story needs obstacles in the way.  I won’t complain.

The River

Freedom found herself struggling inside the confines of expectation and status quo, so she ran away.

Insecurity met her with every misstep through a brand new unfamiliar world.  The faster she moved, the more it grew.

Freedom ran for dear life.  Insecurity closed in.  The more Freedom fought, the more insecurity found her, and the more she suffered.  Turning to blind desperation, freedom jumped to a ravine, where a raging river swept her away.

She found herself being thrashed about, kicking, flailing, fighting, drowning, and desperate for air.  This was more than she could handle.  Too much was beyond her control.  She felt the end coming, and in that moment, The River whispered, “let go,” so Freedom let go.  She surrendered completely and The River took her away.

Suddenly Freedom felt herself being carried, compassionately by some kind of force, wrapping itself around her in loving embrace.

She found the deepest drawn breaths.  Nothing could sink her.  Nothing bad could touch her.  Not only that, but she found with the slightest turn of her wrist, the most effortless bend of her knee, the subtlest arch of her spine, she could move at will.  Working with The River’s might, she could navigate and meander at will.

It became a game.  It became fun.  Freedom found herself creatively plotting courses through and around the most dangerous of obstacles rushing towards her.  She became bold and daring, and the more she dared, the more powerful she felt.

In time The River deposited her upon the soft white sands of a secluded beach.  As she basked in the Sun’s warm rays, Freedom turned to the River with gratitude and said, “Thank you for carrying me.  Thank you for your warm loving embrace.  Thank you for your protection.”

The River shrugged simply, as river’s are known to do and said, “Don’t thank me my dear.  That warm loving embrace you felt, came from you.”

Angel Song

Jazzy and I were tossing the football back and forth last night in my living room.  After years of trying, I think I finally talked her into signing up in the spring for tackle football.  My eleven year-old girl.  I couldn’t be happier.

The condition was that I’d have to talk her best friend Avery into joining as well.  That way, Jazzy wouldn’t be the only girl.  I figure at this age, there’s no physical advantage from boys to girls, and therefore, Jazzy will gain the experience of being able to knock boys onto their asses, play in a sport where every individual effort contributes to a team’s success, and also where she gets to knock boys onto their asses.

I’m having a bit of an issue with her transformation into tweenagerhood.  She’s got boobies now.  Her friends are into boys.  That probably means she is too, although she’d never tell me anyway.  What matters most though, is that I still matter to her.  Even as the months between visits and distance between provinces invade our relationship, my little girl still needs her daddy.

She sang for me most of the evening.  Looked up her favourite songs from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ as well as from other choir pieces she’s learned.  Stood up in front of the living room for me and sang like an angel.

She flies like an angel too.  Picked her up from the airport yesterday afternoon with her two Regina friends, Faith and Kayla in tow.  At eleven, Jazzy has seen the inside of more airplanes than most people have in all their lives.  She even has her own passport.  Come April, she’ll be old enough to take the cheaper, indirect flights to and from Regina.  She’s not even worried about wandering through the airports alone, looking to find her proper gate.  She figures if she gets lost, she’ll just ask for help from someone wearing a uniform.

We’ll be spending the whole day together today.  Slept in, and hung out in the apartment until Air Canada showed up with her luggage (they lost it yesterday).  Now we’re sitting in the window of Atlantis.  She’s on her laptop, and I’m tapping the keys of mine.  The Apple doesn’t fall far from the Mac Geek.  We’re going to a play at the Globe Theatre tonight and afterwards, I’ve arranged for her to meet one of the actresses (a facebook friend of mine).

Christmas came early this year.  Life is for living.  Every moment, good or bad, is a moment worth savouring.  Without the distance and the time between us, I may well have been taking all of this for granted.

84,453 Words

After one Americano, two pints and and three chicken drumsticks, I was sufficiently well versed in myself to call it a day.  Spent 12 hours yesterday packaging my blog into paperback form.  Started in Atlantis (poetic), continued at home, and finished up at O’Hanlon’s by 11pm.  The last twelve months have seen me compile 84,453 words into 324 pages.  Probably something like 300 articles.

The next step will be to re-read all that, edit, and make sure no one can see my underwear.  I already know some articles will be better than others.  Some will be downright embarrassing, given the passage of time.  A few will be gems.  Most all of it will make for a great bathroom read.  Should be able to get through it, in about 12 dumps.

Last year when I put my book together, I got really intimidated after reading a year’s worth of articles in one sitting.  I remember feeling pressure to make every article that followed, a gooder.  I still feel that pressure from time to time, but I no longer try to force things out when the tank is dry.

Take this article for example.  It’s a fine line between wanking off, and celebrating my success.  84,453 words!  If I set out last December to write all that, I’d probably never even start.  Too big a mountain to climb.  Yet for me, that’s a mountain worth of thoughts I thought to myself about the ‘thinks’ that crossed my mind.  It’s a year long record of who I was when I wrote it, compared to who I am today.

It’s also much appreciated that others enjoy watching, whilst I muse.