I’ve had this question, wait, let me see…I’ve got this “creative” question rolling around in my brain. Creative meaning most people other than my fellow writers, filmmaker friends, and a few eccentrics probably don’t care to ask these questions, nor do they have the time. Well, I’ve got the time, baby. Let me start from the beginning.
A few months ago while I was still at Purchase I heard the song “Ho, Hey,” by the Lumineers for the first time. So, like anyone else, I found it on Spotify and played it on repeat for a good month. During that time I couldn’t help thinking how great this song would be at the end of a film. I pictured this giant wheat field with an elderly couple dancing and as the camera swirls around them they slowly begin regressing in age. Ah, gawww. Cheesy? Maybe. Completely Olivia-esque? Absolutely. If you are part of the Dramatic Writing class of 2013, you know I live to write those scenes.
As the months, days, beers, senior project rewrites, and parties went by, so did “Ho, Hey,” and my beautiful tableau. It wasn’t until today that I thought of it again. Not the elderly couple, not the song, but the original question that got my gears turning in the first place: “What will my children think of me?”
Maybe others have asked the same and some ask “what do” rather than “will,” but it was that question that inspired me as I walked home from my last class of the day. It was because I had nearly plowed over an old man crossing the street, stopping just in time to smile an, “Oops, didn’t see ya.” Rather than acknowledging this, he glared at me and kept shuffling on. I thought, “Oh, God. He probably thinks I’m a bird brain. Too far up my own ass to stop for elders.”
All right, I’m warning you. You’re entering Olivia’s brain right now. Steer clear of the bubbles, Tim Allen look-a-like nightmares, and chewing gum. Keep to the right, little further, watch it…there you go.
This everyday incident got me thinking how people see me. How the old man saw me, how my parents see me, how my students see me. Then I started thinking how I see them, really just my parents though.
Momma and Dad divorced when I was about four, so I can’t really pull any memories to the front. Like many kids of my generation I see my parents separately because that’s what they were, separated.
I see my mother as a strong, hilarious, creative woman whose emotions always get the best of her (thank you for that one :P), and never tires. That woman is never tired. Or so she pretends not to be. My mother has the greatest laugh. It comes from her toes. Not her belly. It comes from the tips of her toes and pushes its way through until it expels from her grinning mouth at a pitch that at times only the dog can hear. It’s beautiful.
My father wears his heart on his sleeve. It’s a big heart, you couldn’t miss it and it’s right there. Right there for everyone to fall in love with, for anyone to hurt, and was there and ready for another big heart to stitch it up. He comes from a pedigree of dimpled goofballs and will take any opportunity to get a laugh. He’s got calloused hands and ice blue eyes that could only be reflections of the North Sea.
When I think of myself I can’t help but think of these two. This is not to say others don’t have their fair share in me. My step dad has given me my wits. He’s logical and he’s brave. My aunts gave me great hair and a fun loving heart, my uncles gave me the jokes. My grandparents gave me love and my sister gave me a best friend from the day I was born.
But knowing how I see those around me will never answer how my children will see me, my life, their father, our marriage, and so on. And that’s a question I’m not going to have an answer to for quite some time, if ever. I’ll probably never find out actually. It will be written in a my biography after I’m long dead. The first chapter starting with “My mother was…” What?!? What will I be? Strong like their grandmother? Funny like their grandfather? A good friend like their aunt?
I’m curious. And with curiosity comes creativity. To be quite honest, I haven’t felt the urge to write a screenplay in awhile. Even while I was still in school. I wrote because I had to. I came up with a script because it was demanded or needed. I loved it, yes, but I never saw it so clearly in my mind. I always came up with something. Forced myself to picture it. But this question has scene after scene projected in front of my eyes. Characters are rich and textured. Places are lively and colorful.
I’m about to write. Winter is coming to Portland, Maine and I’m about to write…