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Closing in on a Thousand

 

Yesterday afternoon I decided to watch a movie. I wanted something light, something that didn’t take itself too seriously, and overall I wanted a good solid dose of something fun. Last weekend I went scrawling through the movies coming up on Foxtel and stumbled across one my all time favourite’s, Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion. So I set it to record and yesterday decided to watch it.

I have very eclectic tastes in film. I like everything from silly comedies, to heart wrench drama’s to psychological thrillers that leave your pulse racing and your breath caught in your throat. A wander through my DVD collection gives up a variety of gems, many of which have been watched time and again. One that I’ve never owned, but always loved is this one.

I hadn’t realised how many of the “catchphrases” of my younger days came from this movie. From “fuck off Toby” to “let’s fold scarves” to “why couldn’t you catch them” when talking to a friend about the sexual conquest that got away. I hadn’t realised how many of the one-liners in this film had been – at one point – staples of my day to day conversations.

Seven years ago, my life changed. Most say for the better. Depending on how I’m doing at any time I either agree or stay silent. I’ve not seen this movie since the gnocchi hit in the fan and my brain finally shut down and I fell into a depression that took years and medication to climb out of.

Watching the movie last night brought back a lot of random images of those times. I still miss certain things from before my life imploded, but I’ve got to say, those who suggest that it was a good thing are right. I wouldn’t be where I am today, had I not gone through the trauma years ago. I was quite comfortable in my little rut. Although given the opportunity I would probably go back to that time and try to make the catalyst less painful, the move back to my parents less embarrassing, and the suggestion of therapy a positive rather than negative thing, overall I’m proud of who I have become in that time.

Without it, my creative recovery would never have been attempted. I guess it’s sort of a hindsight/silver lining type thing. At the time I felt like I was drowning. Now I see it wasn’t so much drowning as it was finding a stable footing to build a foundation for a better life.

Watching Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion – which I followed up with Zoolander (don’t judge me) – reminded me that not all the time pre-implosion was bad. Some of it was fun, some of it was down right silly. The people in my life back then are for the most part now long gone. I wish them well. I hope they have a life as fulfilling and exciting as mine. I know mine is much different – despite the amount of sameness – then it was back then. It’s different in a good way.

Growth can be painful. I’d like to say that once I got on the medication – and then off it 2 years later – I was fully healed and totally in control of my life. The medication was for the most part one of the best things that ever happened to me. It helped me to get my feet back underneath me. It helped me to see clearly and to understand the moments of sadness and sense of crushing defeat was only transitory. It didn’t last for long. It taught me to ride through the pain, right through the sense of being worthless. That sooner rather than later something in my head would click and I’d realise the torture I was going through was happening in my mind and nowhere else.

I do wish at times I’d taken up the suggestion of the doctor that I go and talk to someone about it, I wonder if I’d done that would the changes I am creating now have been created 6 or 7 years ago. But I don’t beleaguer that point. I chose to ignore that advice. I’m not really a “lets lie on the couch and talk about my feelings” kind of person. I’d rather pour the feelings, the emotions good or bad into whatever project I’m writing.

I’ve always wanted to write a comedy like Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion. I’m not interested in box office receipts. I don’t care if I win an Oscar or I win nothing at all. I just want to entertain. If one person sees the film and laughs and walks out of the cinema feeling lighter and refreshed then as far as I’m concerned I’ve done what I set out to do.

It’s the same with my novel ideas. I want to give people the opportunity to laugh. To feel the pressures of life drift away if only for a minute. To let them let go of the stresses and fears and immerse themselves into a crazy ride designed purely to allow the reader to have a bit of fun.

Life – particularly given the economy at the moment around the world – seems to be all stress and belt tightening and cutting expenses. In times like this, people need to be entertained. To be able to forget mortgage worries or how they’re going to pay the credit card bill.

What people are looking for these days is an escape, a sense of fun and ultimately a sense of hope for tomorrow.

I guess the point of this post is that where my writing, my creative recovery is concerned, I need to give myself permission to play with the absurd. It’s okay to write things I find funny, to not always edit or censor the thoughts in my head. Sometimes, just being true to you is more then enough to find a pathway to a laugh.

And if it doesn’t work out – the writing thing – well, we can always go and fold scarves.

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43 year old Australian writer currently working on the first of a planned three book Epic Fantasy series. When he's not writing policy discussions, or tales of swords, Gods, and magic, he can be found making a mess in the kitchen, and turning perfectly good ingredients into crimes against humanity.

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