22 October 2007

what a revolting development

I'll not not be so arrogant to say those who know me will understand what I mean here, but I could. And maybe should.

A few weeks ago when I first got word about the Nicholl nonsense, I had... "a relative" ask me "so, do you have a press release ready?"

'Press release? Nah, the Nicholl people handle all the press. It's covered," I explained.

"No, not the official release—the one about you personally. Specifically."

Here's the thing: at that moment I realized i don't want this to be about me personally, specifically.

For reasons I'll not bore by going into, I've always been very uncomfortable with direct personal praise and attention. Praise my work, my achievements, but don;t praise me personally, as that's just an ego thing and I hate that feeling of "oh, I'm so fantastic and wonderful!

Cuz I'm not. I'm a mess, with more crap in my brain than most folks would believe, and a lifetime of odd mistakes and missteps that is more tangled and mangled than the Basra-Baghdad Highway in the final week of Gulf War I.

But this relative didn't share my opinion on this matter, so they took it upon themselves to FWD some news of the Nicholl Finalist thing to the local newspaper in the small town where I grew up and went to school. While I was away at the Austin Film festival last week, I get a phone message from a reporter in that town—they wanted to do a story, "local boy makes good," etc.

I ducked the call. Did not return it. Ignored it. It's not something I asked for, wanted, or care about, I reasoned, so why bother working to make it happen?

The reporter has called a few more times since then, apparently eager to get a story, and today she caught me on the phone. She seemed first surprised and then confused that I was reluctant to play along—"don;t you know how cool this is for the town?"

"No not really," I answered, honestly if not charmingly. "To me it's a non-story about a guy who lived in town 25 years ago and has never really looked back with any special fondness for that time."

The reporter argued that the story was important to help show our high school kids that dreams can come true—that nothing is impossible, to which I responded that it was never my dream to be a Nicholl Finalist, and that until I option or sell a screenplay, I've not really achieved that dream, so what's the point here?

The debate went on for a minute or two before I finally said to hell with it and said "send me the questions and I'll see which, if any, I can force myself to address. And understand that I reserve the right to ignore that questionnaire utterly and completely."

She seemed to accept that so I have a press interview looming.

As I said—a revolting development.
I vant to be alone B


MaryAn Batchellor said...

Well, root canals aren't any fun either but they, too, are a necessary pain.

aggiebrett said...

What's necessary about unwanted interviews for small-time papers in tiny towns where you do not reside?

Sorry, but I don't see the analogy at all.

suzbays said...

Fill out an application and get yourself some new relatives. Pronto.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Dude. It comes with the territory. Suck it up because WHEN you win you'll be doing a lot more of those. Use this one as practice.

Joan said...

it was never my dream to be a Nicholl Finalist

I call bullshit. If you didn't want to be a Finalist, why bother entering at all?

I'm not saying that being a Nicholl Finalist is your one-and-only dream, but it certainly was a goal.

Get over yourself, and give 'em the interview. Use your typical sarcastic wit and have fun with it.

aggiebrett said...

No, it was never my dream.

My hope for the Nicholl was always to do well enough to perhaps score some interest from a rep and thereby get me some reads and attention and win come more fans-- an incremental bit of progress.

As it turns out, I was trying to a single and wound up poking one to the damned fence.

"Were you trying to hit a dinger?"

"Dude, I swear-- I was just praying to make contact."

MoviePen said...

I think that writers prefer to have fortune but not the fame (perfectly OK by me). We also tend to be the worst judges of our own accomplishments and character. Don't praise me -- I haven't reached my goal yet. Only you never reach your goal. There's always another rainbow to catch just up the road.

Speaking as one of the backwater-types, I know that some kids need (some desperately) proof or inspiration that if you do good enough, or try hard enough, you can find a bigger world beyond the sticks. Sometimes it takes something very simple as a story about "one of us" to make young minds think in larger terms. For them, it doesn't matter if you left town and never looked back. At one point you were one of them, and that might be where your reporter is going. She herself may be trying to give such inspiration.

Besides, only you know how messed up or how many missteps that you did. Your talent, sweat and efforts have gained you an accomplishment (even if it's not the accomplishment) and that's all on you, boyo. Maybe you're not fantastic and wonderful (your posts do sound that way, but after all you are a writer ;-), but dammit, you worked for this. It didn't drop in your lap, you made it happen. Besides, if your ego gets too big, you've got a missus to adjust your hat size for you. :-)