we've all been there.


i'm in a good mood tonight, so i thought i'd blog, you know, just to see what happens. maybe it had to do something with the two hour power nap i took right after work, or that i watched a movie about a writer (yes, the latter always puts me in a good mood: i.e. wonderboys, adaption, sideways, starting out in the evening, swimming pool, etc. any more recommendations?). i finally got around to seeing stranger than fiction, having avoided it for so long because the idea for that movie was my own, and i thought it up in winter 2004, during my script writing class with professor cheryl slean. unfortunately, i wasn't a very good writer, and my idea wasn't well formulated.

essentially, my main character, jarvis slackowzki, was writing a script about something, and he would meet a girl named eloise gundam (yes, my characters' names were the only thing i was proud of). in his script, his main character was a man named jerome. the inspiration for this was that i met a black guy named jerome who played trumpet, and he tried to recruit me for trumpet lessons at the s.u. recording studio, but i politely declined. actually, i said i would email him and then i didn't. again, my roundabout, underhanded version of just saying "no." anyway, i thought it would've made for an interesting story if i had been writing a story about a guy named jerome and then i would meet jerome. since it didn't happen that way, and i never met a jarvis in my life, jarvis would write the story, and he would meet jerome. yeah, i obviously didn't know how to write fiction.

anyway, the essence of the story was that the writer would meet the main character in his story. had i been a more focused writer, been born a little earlier, and had a bit more ambition, i might've penned stranger than fiction. it's like that scene in waking life, where ethan hawke's character talks about all these discoveries going on at the same time in different parts of the world. the theory is that everyone more or less is thinking the same thing, and we all just have to snatch these ideas out of the air. the successful people are the ones who can make the ideas come to life. it's not about skill or resources or luck. it's all just about sticking your hand into the air, grasping it, and then making it real. i wish i knew how it was done.

anyway, stranger than fiction turned out much better than my one act script did, a script which included lyrics from elliott smith's "2:45 a.m." professor slean told me, "you don't actually need to include song lyrics." and then it turned out that jerome was a rapist and tried to, or either did, force himself onto eloise - i can't remember. of course my untrained writerly mind made the black guy a rapist. i was ashamed that i had come up with it, but i really had no other ideas. they taught us that the plot had to move forward, and for some reason, i ended up churning out something that would've been better suited for the lifetime channel. unlike most plots, most work-in-progresses, my one act scene didn't move forward. after the semester, it sat on my computer, like most of my other botched attempts at a good story, unedited.

i think i liked stranger than fiction because of where i am right now. in the beginning, the main character, harold crick, has a routine, and it's a very boring routine. he wakes up, brushes his teeth, goes to work, and then he comes home. it's a very one-man-guy kind of life, the sort of which has somehow turned into my daily existence. when harold realizes his author is going to kill him off in her book, he stops caring about carrying on his daily routine, and decides that he doesn't want to die, but what should he do? in a great scene, dustin hoffman's character tells him he should eat pancakes, implying that even if harold were to just eat pancakes until his death, his life would become a lot more interesting and fun than the previous life he had been living up until that point.

if i really faced the fact that everything was going to end, what would i do differently? would i still go to work tomorrow? would i continue to be so engrossed in my book? would i leave my headphones on? am i really living my life right now, or is it someone else's? am i really who i say i am, or am i just some character i've made up in my mind? why doesn't everyone, myself included, just do what we wanna do, say what we wanna say?

we might not have as much time as we think.

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