Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

So here it is. My last hoorah of Letters… in its current form. The premiere of the documentary Letters to Daniel was a smash. Among the films all shorts and all features it boasted to highest attendance rate. It received a rousing ovation. I crushed it in the moderated Q & A. I sold copies of the book. I received hugs from my heroes and those who confessed to be travelling the same path.

And in a way your spirit, as well as those of my other heroes were represented and felt in the audience as the movie played. I was emotional during the film and when the applause started I almost cried. The only thing that would have made it perfect would have been to have you there. As if that would ever happen. Still I sent the book and documentary where they were promptly trashed I’m sure. But at Imaginarium, in that moment I was the belle of the ball. And all the hard work both in my personal and professional lives came together and I got to share my story and give hope to others.

A feather in my cap was the appearance of Imaginator Maurice Broaddus fellow writer and hero. Who when I made a trade for his book Knights of Bretton Court: King’s Justice, personalized it with this: Thank you for being you. Bold. Brave. Honest. Here’s a picture of him. He is simply the most awesome person and author. 

He made it to my premiere! And when the fantastic Q&A was over the first person to my table to buy my companion books to the movie was the original owner of Hydra Publications, Frank Hall. He gave me my big break into print with Bounty Hunter. He gave me a huge hug and told me how proud he was of me.

What followed was more sales and hugs even from other filmmakers in the competition. But as I’ve said all along this blog was initially about catharsis and giving hope and shining light into the darkness as others have done for me.

I sold 30 books. Blackout:An Aurora Black Novel, Letters to Daniel, Letters to Daniel Vol. 2, Bounty Hunter, and the Gladiator Chronicles. I am now out of Letters to Daniel and copies of the documentary.
The triple booklaunch for me, Missy, and Rebekah ( my cousin who also struggles with bipolar disorder, who sold out of Gears of Golgotha, her debut novel) rocked the house made people laugh and sold copies of our books. Rebekah’s book sparked a bidding war between three houses (I say somewhat egotistically here that I mentored her and am rejoicing in her success).

I sat on 7 panels. Had dinner with Jay Wilburn, sat on a panel with the infamous Armand Rosamillia and had quite the adventure when the fire alarm went off right at the beginning of the first panel.

And then the cherry on the top of a very big sundae was winning getting to hear Letters to Daniel called up as Runner Up for Best Documentary. My family was there to see it. The important ones anyway.

And to the announcement I am starting a new blog to cover my journey to the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon. The letters appearing from henceforth will be about others and the journey to the impossible.

As it is, may we never meet, may you never know of me, I want the world to know your work inspired me like few others have. And as I bid this blog or at least my regular posting to it adieu I feel as if I might cry. Few things have meant as much to me as the joy of sitting with a book or in a darkened theater and watching a movie. And to think it all started with the viewing of Casino Royale. Thank you, Daniel Craig, may my work reach others as yours has touched and reached me.


Amy McCorkle

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

All good things must come to an end. And I believe this blog in its current conception has served its purpose. I have shared my story of trial and triumph and this Friday night I will achieve something I have always dreamed of, a world premiere of a film with a Q&A moderated by a good friend named Tim Druck whom I have a great deal of respect for both as a human being and artistically speaking as  a musician.

As I’ve shared with everyone who has bothered to stumble across this blog I am a survivor childhood sex abuse and have travelled a long road in healing and recovery from a bipolar disorder diagnosis.

I’ve not always been at my best on this blog. Sometimes venting, other times simply sharing what I did, what it took, to travel that long winding road to mental health wellness and to make my dreams come true. I huge nod to the head to the Daniel of Letters to Daniel, Daniel Craig, whom without perhaps I would have never had the courage to write the kind of books I write and bust the glass ceiling of publishing and eventually the courage within myself to self-pub.

This Friday marks a culmination of a lot hard work and serendipity of dreams coming true. Winning an award for your work is one thing. Getting to speak about my healing process through the medium of film is something I never thought I would be in a position to do. Let alone do it in depth before an audience of my peers.

To say I’m excited is an understatement. To say I’m scared to death about facing that audience is also true. Every artist sees themselves in their work to some degree. This blog is my life in all its good and bad glory. The same with the film. I feel like I’m baring my soul in an effort to keep my sanity.

Daniel Craig, a few words about you. I don’t know you. You don’t know me. Chances are we will never cross paths. But the memoir and documentary I sent to your publicist are meant simply as thank you tokens for what your work has inspired in my own creative life. This blog was born as initially an open letter to you and to give me some sort of framework to make it easier for me to tell my story. Of the interviews I’ve seen or read with you, you strike me as an extremely private person. And for that reason alone I highly doubt I’ll ever meet you. This blog has misinterpreted on more than one occasion and its left me raw and angry at times. Essentially isn’t really about you at all. It’s about me and my journey. And it has been a long and arduous one.

I never expected the blog to take on the life that it has for me and for those it has touched or helped. And now with the biggest moment of my career before me I’m scared. Not in a bad way, but the film is so personal that I fear rejection of it will be a rejection of me. I simply have to let go and let what is meant to be happen.

So this week and Imaginarium Weekend is Letters to Daniel’s current incarnation’s swan song. I will be sure to post video of the Q&A and lots of pictures and possibly, if I’m blessed this way I will have video of maybe even an acceptance speech. But that’s getting ahead of myself and really if I don’t win that was never the point of this blog, memoir, or documentary. It has always been about sharing my story, getting better, and helping other people facing obstacles in their own lives.

And hence that is how Letters to Daniel will continue, with authors and readers and filmmakers all sharing their stories once a week to whomever they feel has helped them the most.

Thank you Daniel, Tony Acree, Lea Schizas, Frank Hall, Dave Mattingly, Delilah K Stephans, Stephen Zimmer, Mom, Dad, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Frank, Aunt Jan, Aunt Sue, and special shoutouts to my inner circle Pamela Turner and Missy Goodman. And therapists and nurses and psychiatrists I’ve had along the way. You all have, in your own ways saved my life and made my dreams come true.


Amy McCorkle

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

This is one of the saddest days of my life. I talk of unsung heroes a lot of the time sometimes naming them, sometimes choosing not to. But I’m a single gal without a partner and I’ve never wanted children. But for the last 13, almost 14 years I’ve been the proud and happy owner of Chyna. A neurotic and smart tabby who was the runt of her litter. I’ve always been a cat person as opposed to a dog person. And now, as I grieve tremendously for her, it’s important for me to honor the animal that I actually reluctantly took into my home over a decade ago.

She was so tiny that she fit in the palm of one hand. We suspected wasn’t fully weaned but she was, not in the entire time Missy and I had her a burden in any sense of the word. When she was little she would climb into bed with me and sleep on my chest. She passed away Saturday, August 30th, 2014.

She leaves behind an owner that owes her tremendously for being not just a pet, but as a friend and therapeutic animal she was a key component of my journey back from the bipolar breakdown.

Chyna came into my life in early July of 2001. As Missy and I left that month to see Maurice Benard and give him our screenplay You’re the Reason, yes, the script that recently won an honorable mention award and Indie Gathering is that is an adult in age.

I was so fragile at the time struggling to heal mind, body, and soul. Attending group therapy, seeing a psychiatric nurse, and a psychiatrist. My dreams seemed so far out of reach. Yet every day I sat at the computer writing. Hoping one day to become a bestseller, an award winner, a filmmaker and everything else ever dreamed.

One nurse told me I was being grandiose in my aspirations. And while that is a symptom of my disease I was serious about becoming a writer and filmmaker. It destroyed me that someone who was supposed be helping me get better seemed to be circumventing the very thing that made me hang in there for so long.

Yet Chyna, as my pet and therapeutic companion was like my silent cheerleader. She loved me and I loved her. And animals don’t judge. Chyna was neurotic as hell to the point being feral. But she always snuggled with me at night, especially in winter time when it would get cold in the apartment. And when she was little she curl up on my shoulder and keep me company. When I moved into my mother’s and father’s she stayed in the room with me and took to draping herself around my neck.

I should have something was wrong with my baby when she stopped coming to me at night, perching up high and her food seemed to never empty. I remarked to my now on vacation best friend that I felt Chyna wouldn’t make it until she got home from Florida. Saying it is one thing. Having it happen the very next day was something altogether.

I was caught out in the middle of a severe thunderstorm, a treat I would have well passed up on just to have her here again. You always think you have time. But nothing is a guarantee.

She watched me go from a shattered human being to a thriving one under her watchful eye. She watched as I went from a very sick and fragile human being daydreaming about life, to one who is now watching the fruits of her labor come in.

She watched me graduate from therapy. It’s been a rough few days. I said her name in place of one of the other cats and started crying again today.

It’s hard at night because I’m so used to her coming to me for love and attention. And I just used to her presence in my life. I know it sounds weird that I miss her and have struggled more with the loss of her than my own grandmother, (I miss her too, but I got to say goodbye to her before she passed on.) With Chyna she couldn’t wait for me. Perhaps she knew how devastated I would be and quietly went so that I would suffer less.

I hope she knows just how much she was loved and appreciated by me. And that she will always hold a special place in my heart.

Dad placed her in a box and waited for me to get home. I pet her one last time and cried. I cry even now as I am the classic cat lady and she was my mascot. Then dad buried her under the tree in the back yard. I wave to her every morning as I set up to work and drink coffee to start my day. I know it’s a little wacky. 

But I still miss her and the loss of her in my life is still raw and fresh.
If you have pets shower them with insane amounts of love and affection. They deserve it because that’s what they give to us and that’s what Chyna gave to me. She will always be missed.


Amy McCorkle