High School Expositional

I’m sitting in my edit suite with Anthony, Cara, and Chanti, three of my students.  Their regular teacher Dean, and three other students from the class, Alex, Blair, and Maria are in the next room.  This morning we broke ourselves into two teams, then set out to write, shoot, and finish a short video in one day.

It’s always great to take the ‘school’ out of an activity.  Just hanging out all day long on a Saturday, and making movies without any pretext of ‘teacher/student’ dynamics going on.  We’re all just humans being.

You learn a lot about someone just by eating with them (and provoking an extreme conversation).  There’s a lot of talking going on while the movie gets made – a lot of laughter to get to.  The final product looks pretty good too.

We also made memories today that will last a lifetime.

Words Forming in My Mouth

“If I don’t write something soon, I’m gonna go squirrely.”

I thunk that thought yesterday and it’s only today that I finally find myself tapping the keys of my laptop.  The week’s been intense.  Completed the first draft of Ep 2, studied and then wrote a take home final exam (9 pages) for my university class, met a girl in a coffee shop who then acquainted me with an absolutely profound type of Yoga that had me feeling like I was floating overtop my own body, and I cleaned by apartment.  It was a pretty good week.

I’ve been sitting here in the window of Atlantis for the last few minutes, just staring out into traffic, thinking a million thoughts.  They’re coming and going so fast, I don’t even know what to think about them.  And as I write this, I kinda just want to go back to staring at traffic again.  Would you mind waiting?

Thank you.

[cheesy intermission music]

It’s hard to quiet my mind.  I look at the world sometimes, and I hear myself inside my mind forming sentences to describe what I’m seeing.  It’s like I’m a spectator in life, not a participant.  I’m just reporting events to myself as I witness them, as if I were some other me, writing distant letters to myself about my present.

I made a point of breaking out of that pattern this week.  I mean, it’s kind of fun being a spectator in life, but everything needs balance.  I opened my mouth and words came out.  They landed upon the ears of a perfect stranger, and next thing I knew, I was engaged, completely present, in a conversation with her.

She was writing about Shakespeare (The Tempest), and I was writing about the British colonization of India and subsequent parallels to western feminist views of the third world.  It’s like we were kindred spirits or something.  She even drives a Volkswagen.

The funniest things can happen when you open your mouth.

Three Perfect Moments of Clarity

One year ago today, it was a year ago from today.  I had wrapped up the last of my blog entries and set about packaging them into paperback form for friends and family in time for Christmas.

Serendipity was a big theme for me last year.  Just wandering through life aimlessly, partaking in whatever it dropped on my path.  Takes a certain frame of mind to recognize serendipity when you meet it.  I suppose my year was spent honing my headspace for that purpose.

This year has been about beginnings and endings.  I have come to learn that clear beginnings and clear endings in life are harder to come by than the rarest of treasures.  In fact, clear beginnings and clear endings are indeed the rarest of treasures.

Life is confusing.  Millions of things going on millions of times per day.  The noise is everywhere and all those things swirl about.  It’s nearly impossible to separate the tangle of things from each other, and if we stop moving for just one second, we get tangled up too.

But a clear beginning and a clear ending… can you imagine such a thing in your life?  A straight line chasm between EVERY thing that came before, and EVERY thing yet to come.  The peace that comes from living inside that chasm, the tranquility and freedom of choice found in that one singular frozen moment.  The whole world awaits your next move and you have all the time in the world to make it.

I actually experienced that undiluted bliss, THREE times this year.  In a year of ups and downs, turmoil, heartbreak, elation, love, hope, dreams, setbacks and growth, I experienced three perfect moments of clarity.

All in all, every moment of the last twelve months, have given me much to be thankful for.  I have no regrets over any of it.

In The Cards

It’s a perfect Saturday early afternoon in Regina.  There’s still enough of the day left to do great things with, but yet, it’s been moving at such a slow lazy pace that nothing really feels urgent.  Had a couple of other days like that this week, and I used them to write 16 new pages of ‘Highwaymen’.  I have a really great feeling about how today may unfold.

Everything seems focused towards getting more writing done.  Doesn’t matter if it’s ‘Highwaymen,’ my feature film, or even this blog.  The world continues to churn on all sides of me and I’m floating down the river, kind of oblivious to it all.  As long as my nose is down in my laptop, fingers tapping across the keys, making words come out the other end, I’m gonna be alright.

Last night I invited myself over to Shawn’s.  He and Cheryl weren’t actually home yet.  They were out for supper with Brad and Beth, so I hung out with the babysitter/sister-in-law for half an hour.  When they got home, Jess split and we all played cards….


Just figured it out.  Cards.  The whole point of cards.

Nothing brings conversation out of old friends like a good game of cards.  The only time I ever have extended conversations with my family is over a game of cards.  The only time I talk to Shawn AND Cheryl AND Brad AND Beth at the same time, is over cards.  Otherwise we just divide ourselves into cliques and fall towards our gender stereotypes.  Hmmm.

So anyway… we’re all playing cards and as the evening is winding down, Shawn says something that clues me into the fact that he reads my blog.  My best friend reads my blog regularly!  I was truly touched.  We don’t easily admit our admiration and appreciation for each other, except in a manly, almost non-acknowledging kind of way.

Later I got home and opened my email.  Someone I’ve never met before, who came to know my blog through my writings on FIBS, wrote me a heartfelt email talking about how much my writing is appreciated.  It was a year ago today that I received an award for ‘InJustice’.  I consider the receipt of Dejan’s email as high an honour as the one I received last year.

Sometimes we doubt ourselves.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m fooling myself… if I’m just delaying an inevitable descent into the real world.  Maybe so.  But no one is bullet proof.  I live and work in a tough tough industry.  The little dollops of encouragement I receive go a long long ways towards sustaining me.

Thanks to everyone.  I am in your debt.

Channelling Profoundess

Another eight pages written.  I’m 3 quarters through Act II and the thing is practically writing itself.  At times I felt like the characters wrestled control away from me and all I could do was channel their words through my fingertips on the keyboard as fast as possible.  My goal is to finish Act II today.

Speaking of goals… I have 10 minutes to wrap this up.  10 minutes to come up with something profound.  10 minutes… and the only thing running through my mind is the girl behind the counter at Atlantis talking about driving her car up a hill.  She drives a standard and it bogs down.  Cars pass her.

I ain’t gonna tell her what I think though.  Talk about awkward.  “Hey Sarah!  You know that conversation you were having 10 minutes ago?  Downshift.  K.  Gotta go now.  Bye.”

I don’t think it’s possible to be profound on demand, for the expressed purpose of being profound to impress others.  I can however be an ass at just about any moment of the day, on demand, and in my fullest, thickest, bestest assishness too.  Does that make me a natural born ass, or does it speak to effort?  Maybe because being profound requires greater effort and concentration, we do it less?

Hmmm.  Profound.

Letting Go

Quite the journey.  Wrote 8 pages of Episode 2 for ‘Highwaymen’ yesterday.  That’s just about the entire first act and I’ve set aside the whole day today to keep at ‘er.  It always feels great to write.  Draws me so deeply into the craft and requires a complete focused effort.  Time lets loose its hold upon me and the world outside melts away.  Nothing there but me and my mind, just moving characters and story elements around like some kind of cosmic play ground.  Crash ‘em all together and see what comes from the conflict.  There’s no meditation like it.

I also feel like I found clarity on something that troubled me for over a year.  The problems remain, but my understanding has deepened to the point where I’ve found peace.  It’s like you push and push and push and push on the door and nothing happens.  Then suddenly you learn to read and the sign says ‘pull.’  I learned the language her mind speaks.  Whatever happens next with us, good or bad, is not something I’m worried about because I have no control over it.

It feels good to let go.

Future Me, Future You

I just put off working on ‘Highwaymen’ to write in my blog instead.  It’s a good time to check in with myself.  December 1st today.  Wore my blazer with jeans and a grey t-shirt.

I need to do more to put myself out there.  I have a feature film script that needs tweaking.  I have the pilot episode for a tv series with a follow-up to come.  140 pages worth of stories.  Gotta get them in more peoples’ hands, because there’s no guarantee the handful who have seen ‘em will help.  At the very least, they’re my calling card as a writer.

I also will be assembling this blog into paperback form again in time for Christmas.  Makes a nice present for friends and family.  It’s a hellova great way for me to check in with myself… read a whole year’s worth of thoughts.  What’s changed.  What’s better.  What’s worse.  Who am I?

I’m already shuddering as I recollect earlier entries.  Some things haven’t changed.  I imagine 31 year-old Jazzy opening this book and reading my daily thoughts, twenty years into the future.  These thoughts are the ultimate time capsule aren’t they Jazzy?  How about whenever you read this, just give me a call and check in with me?  Right now I’m sitting in the window on the 6th floor of the library at the U of R.  Where are you?

Hopefully I’ll still be writing, still searching and still trying to figure it all out.  Hopefully at least, I will have made some progress.