I was listening to a favorite song of mine. The Story by Brandi Carlile. I feel like this is my story. I know this is going to sound incredibly goofy and corny and lame but I think of how you handle yourself professionally with your work ethic and those you care about in such a fierce way. And in the end I think about your body of work and how these things have inspired me in my own battles and struggles.
I still reside in a room at my parents to enable myself to travel to film festivals and conventions to sell my books and in hopes of finding a literary agent for my screenplays and teleplays. The thing about the song The Story she sings of the sun shining on her in one way but of how the world knows nothing of the deep pain she really is experiencing with the absence of telling them her tale of how she got where she is.
There’s a line in the song that goes ‘even when I was flat broke, you made me feel like a million bucks’, and truly that is what your work makes me feel like when everything is falling apart around me. When those around me don’t respect how hard it is just to get where I’ve gotten and threaten to throw me out at eleven o’clock at night because we’ve been at odds over me being sick and them catering to siblings who haven’t the first clue about hard work of sacrifice for something so outrageous in its imaginings.
Don’t get me wrong, my sisters are great mothers, but the manipulate people to get what they want instead of just asking for it straight out. My life is pretty separate from theirs but when I say I landed a publication contract (I landed my 32nd one recently for the upmarket thriller CORNBREAD, a story about a former bootlegger and war vet who gets drawn back into the nasty business of it all in the name of protecting a young woman).
I just finished scripting my first television pilot for the Nashville Screenplay Competition and extending Bounty Hunter for it. And now I’m working on a screenplay called Cold Dark Morning for the competition. I’ll enter City of the Damned too and Missy is working on another script. Then there’s NaNoWriMo to consider in November.
See, as long as I’m writing I feel whole. The same way watching great films or cheesy ones or reading a great book. Home life swings hot and cold. My mom and dad don’t want me around. I’m sure it has more to do with them wanting some privacy and private time just for the two of them. But it doesn’t make the sting of rejection any easier to take.
The Story is a love song. And when I say it makes me think of you, I don’t mean it in the crazy stalkerish way. I mean it creatively. You have the kind of presence and acting chops that make it easy to imagine you in the different roles(characters) I create. So, I love your work, and blessed through your talent to be able to imagine my best work.
And when life gets to be too hard emotionally all I have to do is pop in your work, usually Casino Royale when I’m writing thrillers, Cowboys & Aliens when I’m writing scifi or dystopian. And none of it is YA. No love triangles. And no vampires that sparkle (although I respect Stephanie Meyers for coming up with her own story and not ripping off someone’s else’s work).
So as the song goes, ‘these stories don’t mean anything when you’ve got no one to share them with’. So I share my story and my work with you in hopes that maybe one day you will see them. Or someone else will see my struggles and triumphs and be inspired to write their stories down. Or aspire to their greatest dreams even when no one else thinks their possible. Daniel, you’re work makes me believe if I just work hard enough, if I just hone my craft enough, and get my name out there enough anything is possible.
I conquered bipolar disorder and abuse, surely I can set myself free from poverty. As Duane ‘the Rock’ Johnson once said, I may be broke, but I won’t be broke forever. And you and your work and your view on how to handle your career, light the way whenever things seem their darkest for me.