Is This The End?

Mitch

I have to be honest. It’s been a bad run this year. I’m not having an easy-go. They say that some people will face adversity by simply rolling over and dying, but I’m not sure how to go about doing this. It seems to me this is one of those things like selling your soul; I’d love to do it if only it were real. I’ve tried simply rolling over, but I usually get bored and come on here.

I was friends with a girl in college who had a very rigid philosophy of art, love, fairness, and music. And didn’t we all know that girl in college? This one was special. She had one of those personalities that made her essence contagious. And she loved a musician named Jonah whose previous bands included Far and Onelinedrawing. For those locals who remember Koo’s Cafe, it was literally a house in Anaheim where at night the living room was converted into a stage/floor and the driveway a makeshift lobby. Jonah was performing on a night in which this young lady and I had made plans go, but decided to stop prior to the show to do the whole Denny’s thing.

It was sometime between coffee and pie that she noticed this gentleman walk through the front door, road-worn, clutching some bags and accompanied by another young lady who wore a bright red scarf. “That’s Jonah!” She exclaimed, “I have to go talk to him.”

She spent about 10 minutes blubbering to this guy about his music, what it meant to her, and how much his songs spoke to the things in life she was going through. And after all this, she took a button from her coat and handed it to him. It read “I Am Loved”. She asked that he play a song that night, one of her favorites, and they parted ways…but not before my friend was approached by the woman in the red scarf. She very discreetly said to her, “I think you just made his night. He’s been talking about quitting all week.”

And that night in the living room at Koo’s Cafe, Jonah recalled the encounter with my friend, and told a similar story about having met Thom Yorke of Radiohead. He flashed his “I Am Loved” button, and played the song my friend had requested.

I’m always curious as to why we pursue these dreams which work against our own best interests. Any artist, whether writer, screenwriter, musician, poet, painter, director, etc. encounters numerous signs along the road that tell them to give up, turn around, and forget about it. So why do we continue? Why do you continue? What motivates you to push forward when all rationale tells you to call it quits?

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8 thoughts on “Is This The End?

  1. Hmm…well I’m only just starting out on this screenwriting thing, so I haven’t hit a big wall yet, but as to why I want to be/am a “writer” and why I keep at it:

    1) Nothing that isn’t artistic or creative has managed to hold my attention or make me feel remotely satisfied for any length of time, ever. Any time I try to trick myself into pursuing something that isn’t creative, I get soul-crushingly bored, and fast. That’s the art/creative aspect of it.

    2) As for writing–I have always loved it, I have always done it, and I have pretty much always been encouraged at it by someone, somewhere, so I kept working at it. And now I’ve been in that mindset for so long, and worked so hard at it, that writing has become the lens through which I view everything–I can’t encounter something or have an experience without either writing about it, or at least drafting some sort of essay about it in my head (in addition to screenwriting, my other more longstanding goal is to be an essayist). It’s become pretty much the only way I really process anything. And reading great writing, or managing to write something good myself, gives me this crazy sense of harmony and world order.

    So that’s why I’m hellbent on finding a way to make it work. I can’t imagine ever being deeply satisfied by anything else, or really even knowing how be myself without it.

      • Yeah, I’m reminded of that speech from Kill Bill where Carradine explains how Superman is who he is. If you write, there’s no way you can give up and join the hive… I know… been there, stuck there.

  2. Man, if you give up now I’m coming to LA and jolt you back with 50 thousand watts!

    You haven’t been at it long enough to get jaded and give up.

    Plus, your website is a scream. You just need to learn how to profit from your comedic skills. Screenplays may or may not be your medium. TV? The Onion? A ressurected National Lampoon.

    I told Carson that his site got me writing again after a 15 years hiatus. I did option a few scripts back then but had a very long string of bad luck (and health problems) that made me quit.

  3. Kevin, my friend.

    Yesterday I attended the funeral of a friend. She was only 32. She was the wife of one of my best friends. It’s a tragedy, and it’s just my buddy and his little boy now (he’s 2 1/2 years old).

    Life is precious, life is fragile. Do what you love. Do what you cherish. Do it because you love and cherish it, not because you want to get paid for it. Keep doing it, through the blood and tears and years. Do it because you were put here to create. Do it because it’s therapy, it’s exorcising demons. Do it because it’s love. Keep doing it, keep showing it to people, and one day the right people won’t be able to ignore the power of your gift with words, you gift of story-telling. But also remember, life is more than writing. Sometimes we need to rotate the fields, leave ground untilled so it is fertile again. Sometimes we just need to walk away and live, and before you know it you’ll be pulled back to the page. Failure yields great rewards in the life of an artist, through suffering comes growth, yadda yadda yadda. It’s not a horse race, this is something that takes a while to develop and hone and grow.

    I believe in you, sir.

    Seriously, don’t make me and Hersch come to L.A. for flogging purposes. We’d rather be there to drink beer and make movies.

    -Roger

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