Can You Move Me cause lowercased letters and unsaved people can?

Its with no question and speculation that we have a desire to worship and to stand in awe of something. We constantly obsess( or seem like we don’t) over people with talent, looks, charisma, acting ability, lyrical genius, storytelling ability, exc. The list goes on for all of us. Our American Dream lingo keeps us believing that its either Hollywood or being homeless on Venice beach.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has pain and suffering and want the world to understand them. Lajos Egri in his book The Art Of Dramatic Writing, tells the story of someone smashing the statue of Zeus. He gets caught and he says, “I am a nobody. All my life I’ve been a nobody. I’ve never done anything to distinguish myself and I knew I never would. I wanted to do something to make people notice me…and remember me.” After a moment’s silence he added, “Only those people die who are forgotten. I feel death is a small price to pay for immortality!”

The point is that humans will do whatever they can to elicit praise. And mostly it comes from other people. We worship not just ourselves( the worst form of idolatry) we worship other people. Its no secret from the tabloids that our desire to praise people turns to destruction when someone gains more weight then we want them to, or divorces, or kills, or destroys, or steals or does what all people do. The worshiped pay the price so that they stay worshiped. I am sure Kim Kardashian has a soul and God have mercy, but she seems to be fine with either faking her stupidity or really just not caring that the whole world sees every part of her all the time.

I am more moved by the fact that the best storytellers other that God Himself exist and function and live to move me in my deepest being. To keep me addicted to it. To keep me streaming it, buying it and spending all my free time on it. I am the man willing to smash Zeus and spend my life enjoying it.

Entertainment is an idol but it also makes sense why we love it so much. It makes sense why we would spend $20 every Friday or any Friday for that matter. Instead of family time on Christmas some of the best of the best movies of the year come out instead. We will always love it. And we will continue to pay to hear the stories told.

Our condition makes its petition. The frailty of our existence. Our limitations. The fact that most people are not happy and are not satisfied with marriages, and kids and careers. We will always love the scandals(not just the show Scandal) but the endless corruption. The corrupt cop movies. The distorted trust that politicians ask us to place in them. All so Watergate scandals can disarm a nation and yet government continues and secrets get buried deep. We want the stories of dysfunction to resonate with our own depravity. We will pay for it again and again.

This talent cannot be taught. It might be for some. You either have it or not. You either can bring it to a place that makes sense for all to understand. But one thing is true..God..is..the one that has put the desire to tell stories and the desire for us to matter and be important.

Do you have the story to tell and do you have the story to sell?

 

Found You Then

This is a reflection on past experiences and my struggles. God has pulled me through dark times and caused me to see Him in everything I do.

I connected,
I connected myself to you,
Humidity killed my humility,
For I was sweating in action,
Searching for satisfaction,
Heat and flames and the names
Above all other names reigned over me,
I sinned, I trusted, I rusted in what could
Never bring me to wholeness,

I sought your fullness, I ate what I
Wanted to eat, I paced the hallways
Of dark and no spark to find you—I
Zipped up the hospital gown, my back
Open before the world around me—just
Your back, just it I must see, for no man
Can see your face and live! Come down,
God, come down from your mountain,
‘Stand where we have been, you know
Our breath is weak and our body is thin’
Your law, it was, once written on the tablet,
Scribbled down upon the stone, thrown upon
The people—yes, we will do it God, all that you
Command, but no God, we won’t be strong, or
Live long, we must have you or we will die!

I saw you there, summer clicked in unison,
Pain a denizen, an unhappy place, they came,
They filled, they never did give up on me—
They showed up daily, I was mad, mad at the
Darkness around me, the devil was a bevel
Carving out my destiny, but I won’t ask for
Bread, I won’t change my own stones, I will
Go through it God, go through it just to meet
With you—Noah to save me, Noah to be with
Me, teeth grow, hair grown, little man know—
I won’t give up on you, I won’t let the darkness
Take you, take me, or take my family!

I found you there, found you then, I found in
I found to, I had to go through—I paced daily
Seeking for peace, searching for a release—
I saw your face in the crowds, in the darker
Corners of the earth—I see now, humidity
Was needed, for sweating out the toxins is
How we learn—find me God, find me going
Through what is needed to get to you

New In Life

I think somehow in the goal to daily blog and to fill the ‘you are at 1,125 posts’ quota I have stopped updating you all on what has been happening in my life. In between the droughts of not blogging in the past I have usually updated on life and work and random thoughts and perspirations of wanting to blog more. So, instead of making tons of promises(like finishing my medicine story) or other short stories and creative posts I am simply just gonna give a quick update of what is going down in my life.

Work!!!

So, since October I have been working at Trader Joes in Leawood. Life has been so good at this place! I love my job and love the peeps I get to work with. I really am not saying that to suck up to some manager that might randomly find this blog. I worked at Trader Joe’s in Laguna Niguel Jan. 2009 to April 2010. Since July 2011 Trader Joes is now here in Kansas City. Grateful to this place and the few days a week I am there! Its been great and a source of writing as well, as my interaction with people and what they say in passing usually ends up in some kind of piece of writing.

School!!

Since August 2011 I have been going to Longview Community College in Missouri. My purpose for school is to get into film as a major and creative writing. Right now I am doing the associate’s degree and the grunt work that goes along with it. Its been a ton of work and time consuming but totally worth it. 2 years from now I should be ready for the university and read for Film classes. So far I have taken English, History, some Sociology, Psychology, Literature and more english, its been great!

ATC!

Still am working with Zack and the team. Making new friends with Jackson Bohlender. We are putting our heads together to spawn some creativity for podcast ideas and the summer. Its been a joy and I love our team and teenagers.

Other News

Getting off medicine has also been a huge part of the journey. Since August 2011 to just a few months ago I have weaned off of three of the four meds I was on. The next step is to be off completely by the end of the year. Its drastically cleared my mind and given me a new wave of inspiration for the future. Reading Making Ideas Happen has been super helpful for the future creativity in me.

🙂

Human Mess

I did write a poem called this a few years ago. Human nature is the fuel for storytelling. It has recently come to my attention this very simple revelation: stories rely on understanding human nature. Its an anthropology to enhance ones abilities to tell stories.

Some examples: as I have already mentioned The Descendents a few times, this film very much so is all about the perplexing power of death. It deals with our fragile frame and our inability to communicate clearly how we feel. George Clooney plays a confused man searching for understanding. He doesn’t understand himself or his kids; or death. No one prepares you for certain complexities in life but part of the human mess is going down paths that one has never been down before. I feel when watching this film I am right there, step by step with each confrontation.

Human nature is messy, confusing and very unreliable sometimes. People are chalked full of weaknesses and disappointments. People are selfish, especially in our American land. Most people won’t follow through with what they say. Will not love you the way you need to be loved. The human mess is a joyous thing to search out. Modern storytelling offers us the opportunity to reflect on what can never be answered; ourselves. We will never fully have the answer. Now if you eliminate Christ not being the answer, which in most cases happens, then yes, its an endless search for conclusions.

In Smart People, its all about 4 people who are smart in their knowledge but are dumb in their emotions. They have the book smarts but don’t know how to face their miserable lives. Its just a small picture into that dichotomy that takes place all the time.

Tyler Perry has gone the route of taking the urban culture of the African American and has capitalized on expressing their values and culture in a funny, whimsical and also daunting way. He has picked elements on his own abuse into the frames of his characters. And to his advantage most would argue that that community have spent a lot of time searching to be understood because of so much abuse as a people in regards to slavery.

In Forget Paris, we see Mickey, played by Billy Crystal, go back and forth with his girl, Debra Winger. They both go in and out of sticking themselves in ideally happy situations. One season of life Mikey is happy being a NBA referee but his girl hates that job for him so they flip flop and he gets a desk job and she loves her life but a part of himself is missing when he lets go of his old job. It ends happily ever after but takes you on the tug a war that goes along the process.

Jerry Maguire begins with much conflict. Jerry himself stands up against the ways that his business has always dealt with athletes. Less is more he proclaims. This reflection of being human is very real. Would you quit your job to do something you think is right? And as time unfolds he learns that loving well is the best revenge. He has always hid himself in work and multiple relationships with women. He learns to love what he does without compromising who he really is.

Films are chalk full of trying to make sense of our desire to be understood, loved, accepted and understood. Not all films stick to this. Sometimes Bruce Willis just kills guys in the Die Hard films and Jason Bourne wreaks havoc on everyone who stands in his way. But even in the gritty action they still are just human dudes. Bourne is searching to be redeemed by visiting the daughter of the Russian president he assasinated at the end of Bourne Supremacy. The confusing world of love and all that goes in between hits home in Something Borrowed. My mom made me see that one with her. Its all over the place and makes you want to just scream: just tell the truth, but it needs to be a full film so they wait til the end.

Revolutionary Road is so raw and candid and deals with the 1950’s ideal marriage. Leonardo and Kate take it way deeper then Titanic. And they present “quiet lives of desperation” in a way that is not done a lot. Marriage and love is hard especially when your identity is so wrapped up in your job and success and not so much in who you are.

Our writing needs to propel people towards a greater reflection of who we are. It has to cost characters something. They need to sacrifice what is right and true instead of taking the route that doesn’t require conflict and cost. Like Zookeeper, goofy and funny but ends with what Griffin really needs, which is love. He spends the whole movie taking advice from animals to get a girl he doesn’t even love. Very human. He has to realize that’s not what he wants. And he does. He decides to let go and go with what he loves, the zoo and the girl he works with.

In Manic, one of the most intense movies ever, we see the tumultuous world of manic depressive behaviors. Its really the mind verse the will. How far are we supposed to go in helping those who are trapped and stuck in these abuses of the mind. Anger, depression, outrage, self mutilation and abuse are all things no one plans on happening but in some cases, they do, so how do we respond to the conditions and the current prognosis.

I think I could go on and on on how stories capture the human frame and the human mess. Remember that you are a human and that is the source for our tales. We move forward from this place of personal experience and personal revelation. Take what is confusing and what is unsure and create a world of characters that are stuck in themselves and trapped in situations out of their control and create worlds of resolve that will capture it wonderfully. That is the challenge, create it.

 

Stories That Matter

Well, here I am: post one on this creative stuff. I was reading through the stacks of poetry I have accumulated over the past 3 years, or maybe even 4. It was in a very difficult time in my life where I was getting pushed against the wall, on every side, one of those really big walls. I just started writing my reflection on receipt tape at Ralph’s grocery store in Orange County. I never knew those reflections would lead me down the path of writing so much in my abstract prose of poetry, but  I have and its been worth it. What I have come to learn: my story needs to be told. My story needs to be told, not because I am super smart and so awesome or because of my dissidence and clout that I have something to say. But my story needs to be told because my view and paradigm of this world matters to those listening.

It has been very true of Robert Mckeee opening his book with his statement of provocation. He says that storytelling comes out of personal experience but the challenge is: what makes your storytelling, or your experience worth being heard? Recently, I have been reading some memoirs about mentally challenged people. Med Head has been really interesting so far but if you just think of it, all it is us Cory Fieldman’s story. Its told by James Patterson and Cory’s dad, but its his story. His pain and his journey of in and out of hospitals and his despair in the process.

Storytelling begins with a deep confrontation of yourself. Stories fictionally, who knows where they are from but they are from a deep place of importance. As I mentioned a few days back about The Descendents. This was a perfect story about very real life experience and a very deep sincere place of reflection.

What stories need is human nature. Human nature is so jacked and messed up sometimes. Life is hard. People do evil to others all the time. Injustice exists all the time, and most of the time inconvienently and in the midst of injustice. Pain and turmoil builds itself up in our lives and our sense of entitlement and self-worth gets tested all the time. The goal is to take this pain and this suffering that we face or we see(its not always me verse the world or the system) and take that reflection and create characters and stories that matter.

A story that matters is a story that means something to you. But the trick with creativity is to sell it so that everyone can enter in. Here’s some examples of pain: The Descendents reflection deeply upon marriage and covenant. Both with kids and with spouses. It tested that place in us of what would you do if you lost someone. How would you communicate that to the world?

In The Savages we have two people who are talented and into being creative people. They are brother and sister. They are both working on doctorates in theatre and arts but they also feel responsible for their dad. The movie is really simple but deep. How do you love someone that was bad at loving you? “Maybe he forgot who we were..he doesn’t have pictures of us at his house..” These lines capture that longing and desire in all us to be loved by our parents and what would I do if my dad forsook me, would I still love him back? And that’s the journey you go on as you see it unfold in front of you.

In Into The Wild Sean Penn tells the story of the kid that ditches society and runs away into the Alaskan wild. He sells his car and tells no one what he is doing. Its his own confrontation of himself that unfolds. For whatever reason he was too selfish to tell his parents and he ends up dying in the end. Its sad but its sort of funny and ironic. You want to escape yourself so you run away and escape but die in the process because you are kind of dumb. That might sound harsh and I am not making fun of death but it leaves you with no hope but riddled with justice; well, he sort of, got what he deserved.

When watching Good Will Hunting(the tv version) I can’t help but get inside of Matt Damon’s character, will himself. They do so much confrontation in this film, its really awesome. Will has the brain but deep down he has been abused and doesn’t believe in himself. He can’t escape his gift, which is why he is a janitor at MIT but he also doesn’t want to fully accept his gift either. He has to face himself. Which is very real, cause we all do. As he faces himself he realizes that he can let go of the pain and move on. It takes the whole 2 hours for him to tell his lady, Minnie Driver’s character, that he loves her. Its a very natural process of overcoming one’s self. And to make the story better we also learn much about the education system in it of itself. “You paid 40,000 a year when you could have paid 1.50 in late fees at the library!” Followed by the “how do you like them apples!”

These are just a few, maybe more intense examples of storytelling. A story that matters is first crafted from a place of meaning.

So, what’s next. The formula is only a part of the equation. The formula is finding what is true and real to you. The process now is making that happen and working on the story. Making sense to the audience only comes from first knowing, in one sentence(or a phrase) what is it that you want to proove? What is this about?

In most writing its called the thesis. In script writing its called: controlling idea. They are pretty much the same but knowing what you want to show: two people in love, death taking place or a war story. You need to figure that out before the story moves anywhere.

This post is for just getting started. Begin with what has effected you and impacted you the most. Now, I will say, personal experience is not a requirement. You don’t have to base anything on what you have only experienced. Its just a creative suggestion that I am making and other’s make too. Its a good place to start. I use personal examples all the time: I talk about Orange County caused I lived there for a year and a half. I talk about the grocery store cause I’ve worked there a lot. I talk about past relationships with girls and friends. I talk about my family, the good and the bad. I talk about my mom being a flight attendant and the joy and the pain of what that brought as a kid and as a family. Now, I don’t have to use these things but it helps lead to other ideas.

When I think of my beach days I think of the rich and the OC and how people respond to you, its different then it is here. When I start to think of past relationships it leads to be to think about love and caring for others, it all goes outside what I’ve experienced.

Hope this is a good start to developing a good story that is rich in what is real and powerful to you. The world is in need of stories that matter and stories that will last forever.