The storm has stopped. The sun is up, turning black asphalt to glass as whisps of forgotten clouds roll across the surface, and I love the view out my window.
Yesterday was my birthday. Usually, I’m a bit myopic about this particular day on the calendar. It’s a looming thing, a dead-end, and I don’t ever want to think about it. However, this one was different. Nothing unusual happened—I was showered with love, like always. I opened gifts, received thoughtful good wishes, and ended the day feeling special. However, the strange thing is that yesterday’s warm glow has spilled over onto today. What’s worse, I’ve been feeling this way for a while now—happy. Hopeful. It’s a bit bewildering and slightly un-trustable.
It’s like this energy buzzing around me, a shift in the universe acknowledging that I am in a really positive and good place (head-space-wise).
If I didn’t know better, I would suspect that I am in a mania phase (I used to looovvvve mania-you get so much done when you don’t eat or sleep for days). Or that my pharmacy prescriptions were accidentally switched with someone else’s (Glinda the Good Witch, perhaps?). So, what’s my problem, er, my non-problem? What’s the significant change?
I think it’s because I am doing something that I love—I’ve finally found a place where I belong.
Last November, on a whim, I contacted a Novelist writing teacher I had once upon a time. She had been advertising a Screenwriting program run by an associate of hers. I’ve never written a screenplay. I was supposed to be a novelist, wasn’t I? I write Short Story Horror (atypical horror because I don’t write slasher stories or stories about monsters, which is always a big disappointment for Horror readers). I’m an essayist, a blogger, right? Still, something about the advertisement woke me up in the middle of the night, whispering to me to try it.
My ex-teacher arranged an introduction with her associate via email. I had an interview, which led to an application, which led to him reading some of my work. He had never worked with a non-screenwriter before. Although hesitant to allow me on board—this wasn’t an introduction to a screenwriting program—he decided to take me on.
I’ve always seen the world as a great story, with every interaction leading to an experience to tell. However, since starting to write scripts, I’ve discovered it’s not how I see and react to the world but the way I package it, that’s wrong.
Taking on this program made me realize that I’m not a Horror Writer (Atypical or otherwise) but that I write Drama with a slash of horror. I’m a storyteller who makes a point with a genre bend. I’m a perspective junkie who likes to twist up ordinary thought with poisoned-dart clothespins, just to give it another, more complex, more dangerous shape—all things I was striving for as a wannabe novelist, a short story writer, an essayist, and a blogger.
I’ve struggled for eight years to write a novel, or two, or actually, six. I’ve published short stories in anthologies and have given personal insights via essays on my blog. But I’ve done all of it begrudgingly, thinking that the fight was part of the work and rarely enjoying what I was doing.
Still, I wanted to write. I wanted to convey concepts and ideas. Writing is my heart, pumping life into my entire being!
In January, I started this screenplay program. I have written the first draft of a screenplay (219 pages) in three weeks. And it feels right! It feels as if I can breathe and enjoy the journey—for once, it feels like I’m the hero in my own story. I like it!
I wrote this post because I wanted to say that it’s not too late for someone to change course. Anyone can decide to do something else or do the same thing but in a different way to find their bliss.
I don’t know if I’ll write an Oscar-worthy screenplay or if anything I write will sell, but I don’t see that as the thing making me feel complete, it’s just extra.
Usually, my birthday represents a day of regret—I’m another year older with little to no progress into who I want to be.
This birthday, I felt differently. I am doing the thing that makes sense to me, that makes me look at a snowstorm, raining down sleet and hail in the month of May, and see the silver lining outside my window.