Last night I drove a lot of miles away from the hustle and bustle I normally fight through on a daily basis to coach my son at his baseball game, a little town called Granite Falls. It’s about 50 miles north and east of Seattle and off the beaten path. I arrived with my son, and as they warmed up on one baseball field, I watched as the high school team wrapped up their practice on an adjacent field. It was classic small town America. They had some rock-n-roll playing as they finished up their hitting drills, and I peered up to the scoreboard to see a sign that said “2006 State Champs”. I thought about how cool it must have been for this small town to celebrate such a thing. I thought about what it must be like to live in this town away from everything…knowing everyone, a simpler life. And how much I wanted someday to have that.
22 years ago I was at a crossroads in my life at college. I was going through motions, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I was blindly taking college courses without a true sense of what career I wanted. But the fact was, I did know. I wanted to make movies. My whole life was defined by the art of movies. Watching them, studying them, the dialogue, the music, all of it. I loved writing, I was pretty good at it. I knew that was what I was born for, but it seemed so celebrity to me. So out of reach. But on whim, I applied to a fairly significant film school in Chicago just for the hell of it. My grades were terrible, so I had no shot there, but I poured my heart into an essay and sent it away. I didn’t think it had any chance of getting past anyone, nor did I imagine I could even afford to make it work.
I was shocked to find that it did get past someone. Not only that, but I got in. My memories of that day are a little faded, but I remember being quite surprised. I remember taking a week or two to mull it over. I remember allowing the fear of such a monumental shift cloud my judgement. I remember the comfort of staying the course wash over me. 22 years later, just about every year, I wonder what would have happened had I found the courage to go for it.
Life can’t be about what ifs, I’ve learned that. I have a good life now, 2 amazing boys, kick ass wifey, great job, and I live in an amazing place. But I can’t help thinking about that particular what if. Seeing this small town last night triggered a vision that I hope is still within my grasp later in life. I want to live in a small town. I want to coach a small town high school baseball team. I want our neighbor Mrs. Simmons to stop by and drop off one of her killer apple pies just because.
And I want to write. So many concepts and ideas I’ve sat on, fearful of writing due to the sheer commitment and dedication it takes to see something like that through. I know I have it within me to actually write something that could sell. I may not get behind a camera anytime soon at this point in my life, but I’ve got killer stories to tell, and they are desperate to get on paper.
And what better time to pull the trigger than now? Countless screenwriting events and venues to submit work to, and more importantly, the rise of content providers like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Studios…the world is opening up to give more people the opportunity to submit their work.
I normally write about topics with calls to action, or lists to help people with marketing, etc. But today, I just wrote. Maybe the first step in holding myself accountable to actually kick my ass in gear to get writing more. Maybe because there’s others that might read and can relate.
Or maybe Red said it best: