01 November 2009

a brief pause in the playback

I've still got more than a few fistfuls of noise to throw regarding the recent conference at AFF2009, but today will be another distraction.

Due to a slew (perhaps even a slew and a half) of events and responsibilities having recently been cleared from the Great Mental Dry Erase List Of "Crap I Somehow Got Myself Into," I find myself in a mood and state conducive to writing. Of course, I'm not yet yet truly free to set all sheets and run before the wind, as I still have one more Major Event looming, one more deadline with responsibility.

Today is our Boy Scout troop's annual recruiting event, the "New Scout Adventure Day!", and yours truly is the organizer and ring leader.

Yes, I will be in full Fred MacMurray mode today, acting G-rated (well... mostly) and Optimistic and Nurturing and Compassionate and Supportive and Friendly and Courteous Kind Oblong Isometric and all those other scoutly things. For some reason that visual always seems to cause my writer friends to pause and then offer a strange little headshake of disbelief, as if they can't quite reconcile what they think they know and understand of me with what they assume and presume about Scouting.

Which is completely fine and harmless, as on the flip side my Scouting peers will spend the day looking at me offering very much the same disbelieving headshake whenever I happen to describe scenes and personalities and events from Hollywood and writing endeavors.

And in both cases, I will have people offer some variation of "wow -- I just can't imagine you fitting in with that scene...."

Thing is, I don't fit in with that scene -- either scene. At least, not entirely. When I am with the Scouts, I'm tremendously proud to see the young guys learning to conduct themselves with honor and integrity and respect and confidence and dependability, and I am tremendously proud to have a chance to work with and for other dads who put their money where their mouth is, who sacrifice time and money and effort from their own petty interests to help teach the next wave of would-be leaders what it is to be a decent and useful Man.

To me, this stuff is real. This stuff is valid. This stuff is Important.

But so is that whole "world of the mind" thing of being a screenwriter. As I've tried to explain to some folks, this idiot quest for screenwriting glory is also real for me. It also is valid. It, too, is Important. We tell our kids things like "follow your dreams" and "go out and make your life something amazing" and "pick something you care about and then commit yourself to achieving excellence in that thing," but how often do we truly heed the advice we give our kids?

What kind of example would I be if I told my kids "go out and change the world" if I reserved the right for my own self to sit on my ass and do little, dream little, dare little?

For me, the whole Scouting thing is almost inseparable from the Screenwriting thing. In both guises I am trying to find some way to lead those I care about closer to a point where they can do what they were born to do, where they are empowered and encouraged and enabled and ennobled to to stand firm in the face of the withering discouragement and cynicism and cowardice our modern society is hell-bent to deliver in the majority of its messages and morals.

So, today I wake and feel the restless urge to write, but first I gear up and commit to yet another day of Scouting activities. And I can smirk happily to myself knowing that the two concerns -- "writing" and "family" -- are just the two different sides of the same coin. In either case, I am willing a better and more satisfying reality into being.

Tiring? Exhausting? Irrelevant. I got things to do, dammit -- miracles to make happen, impossibilities to hammer into existence -- and my own feeble whininess cannot be tolerated.

"You alright, Roy?"

"Let's play ball."

1 comment:

E.C. Henry said...

God bless you, Brett. VERY inspiring post.

I was a boy scout for a very brief period as a boy. And in today climate of lack of values the Boy Scouts are more needed now, then they were when America was a more moral country, 70s and earlier...

We all have differenent interests outside of screenwriting. Writing can't be ALL a person is about. Live a little, write a little. NEVER appologize for being an authentic, well-rounded person -- especially when what you're doing is good.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA