Archive for movies

Life Is A Carnival

Dan,

It’s been four short years since I moved to the city I now happily call home, and I find it a struggle to recall how it felt to not live in this place. The years here haven’t always felt smooth but being a resident of Seattle has almost always felt “right” to me, as if I found the magical place where I belong. But no place is perfect, no matter how besotted you are with it.

In the last four years I have had one moment of doubt regarding my choice to pack up my life and drive to Washington. So here’s the story of how on day three of living here I nearly came crawling back to Montana.

I moved to Seattle with no job, no home and very few acquaintances. I left my family and the comfort of a place I had known for twenty-three years in the hopes that this city would become my new home. Three days into this adventure I came outside to find the windows of my car shattered and part of the car’s steering taken apart (not to mention a fair amount of blood on the interior).

At the time that I came across my vehicle I was on my way to meet my friend Megan, we had solidified our friendship less than 24 hours prior but she handled the situation like a champ. As we waited for the police to come file a report she helped me remove the belongings that remained in my vehicle and take them into my friend’s apartment. We then made phone calls to find a mechanic open on a Sunday and when my car was safely towed away she drove me to a job interview I had scheduled for later that day.

After the interview, she dropped me off downtown where I was staying, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I felt like a part of me had been violated, knowing that a stranger had sifted through my photos and books (which was pretty much all I had in the car).

I came into my friend’s apartment and found it empty so I sat on his couch, looked out the window and wondered what the hell I was thinking when I made the decision to leave my home. I called my mother and cried, I told her I missed her and felt so alone and didn’t know if I made the right choice. I wanted some encouraging sign but I felt as if the city itself was rejecting me.

After I got off the phone, my friend walked in and took in the whole scene of me sitting in a dark living room and crying. Uncharacteristically, he hugged me and told me that it was just a bad day and offered to make popcorn and put on a movie for us. As soon as he went into the kitchen, my phone rang with a job offer and moments later Megan texted me with words of encouragement and it felt as if the puzzle pieces were coming into place.

My life didn’t come into immediate focus that night but as I sat on the couch next to an old friend, watching the ferries glide across the dark water, and texting my new friend, I felt like I could handle it. I had a support unit, a job and a roof over my head. And for the first time I really saw that there was potential of something great in this city, something I couldn’t yet verbalize but now recognize as finding your place.

Navigating choppy water,

Adair

 

 

I’ve Been Failing You

Dear Adair,

So much is going right for me this year. I’ve reached a new level of creative involvement with my peers, new opportunities after a few years of stagnation. So many new things are happening that giving the rundown of “what’s new” to people I don’t see on a regular basis has become a monologue listing these projects. But, this is only half the story.

I am involved with a lot of projects, but I am failing at even more. Half finished scripts, ideas only outlined, a rewrite badly needed, an audition blown off, and a Shakespeare monologue I really need to memorize, are just some of the items in my unfinished business folder.

Just since I started writing this post, I have checked Facebook, looked at The Black List, researched a film financing company and texted my sister. Should I have just sat here and finished this piece? Absolutely. But my attention is something that can be captured or even held for any long period of time (expect by stories of importance and science of all kinds).  My mind can create at the speed of thought, but my thoughts rattle around and trap me in a cycle of thought, attempt, failure and distraction. Rinse and repeat over the last twenty years.

I struggle on a daily basis to make my ideas manifest. Sometimes, my fingers fly and the words fall in the right order and the idea makes it through to the page. A thought comes from my head and into the world and like a demon being driven from my body, I’m freed from the unyielding locomotive of my own consciousness. And sometimes, I watch cartoons and make a sandwich because it is easier than trying to live up to the spark of creativity that won’t shut up for five minutes.

I would say that I’m getting better. And with smaller, more easily created projects and ideas, I am. The poems that used to clog my mind and prevent my sleep are safely in my hard drive. The TV series that would span ten seasons and end with with a roar is still a one page outline, but progress is progress. Every day when I hit the keys and let my mind seep onto the pages of something that may never live beyond the binary coded tomb of my expelled ideas, I am better for it. But those days are hard fought.

I failed to write every day this year. I’ve failed to finish my novel, or even share my play with anyone. But I did start a production company and launch a podcast. I have written thirty poems. And I’ve begun many new and interesting ventures that I can’t wait to share with the world. And if I can keep trying and succeeding to bring some ideas to life, I might one day push myself to having more days like today, where my mind makes the words happen in real life.

Getting better (I hope),

-Dan

Almost There

Adair,

Friendship is one of those topics that you and I will probably never exhaust. We can pick anyone of our closest people, acknowledging their faults and proclaiming their virtues, and proceed to gush about how swell they are. In coming up with a name for this blog, we could have probably gone with “Friendship and stuff” and we would have been pretty accurate.

As I write this I have been in touch with a few friends more than normal. Anne, whom I don’t get to talk to nearly enough, and I just had a great two hour catch up session. My friend Ryan is back from overseas for a three week holiday and we’ll be getting drinks on my birthday. And Austin and I have been swapping podcast ideas. These people are special to me for many reasons, hell some are like family.

But looking at my friendships, I’ve tended to have a lot of female friendships. Not that I find it odd, but in the world of gender politics and traditional Montana, it might have seemed odd. Some of these friendships did fall prey to the terrible tropes of the unrequited love story from B RomComs: me liking a girl, or her liking me. But most moved past this, because yes that is possible. And the ones that still had lingering feelings or hang ups are gone now.

But in the course of my career as the “go to guy friend” and all the shopping trips, coffee outings, and movies I would have been slightly embarrassed to see alone, I’ve learned the beauty of the platonic male and female friendship.

The beautiful part of having friends of the opposite gender is the same as having friends of different faiths, philosophies, and cultural heritages: diversity of thoughts and experiences. I’ve had a different life than all of my friends, but with my female friends there is a yin and yang to the whole relationship. Their voices and mine are complementary, rather than conflicting. I have views and emotions that I feel strongly about and they have theirs. Where we overlap, we rally and cheer, and where we differ we learn.

By removing romance (or the idea of it) from a friendship, a whole new world opens up, and not in a flying carpet kind of way. I’ve gotten to know you, Maia, Alyssa, Anne, and others as people not the potential mate that society or patriarchal bullshit would have me meet you. And in that persistence of knowing, and letting others know you, I find the richness of life.

My friendships are all important. And there are ways my male friends and I relate and know each other that you and I never will. However, I’m so very glad to live in a time when my friendship with you and other women isn’t odd or subject to the wink and grin that can often come after the statement “just friends.”

Finding friends everywhere I look,

-Dan

Go Crazy

Adair,

I think it would be safe to say that neither of us are completely satisfied with our jobs. Not because they aren’t good and noble professions but because I don’t want to be a bartender forever and I likewise you don’t want to nanny forever. We have career goals that far exceed our current position and we are both getting closer to those goals every day. But to quote Gershwin, “it takes a long pull to get there.” And I don’t know about you, but I’ve been pulling at different jobs for quite a while and learning far more than how to count back change.

My first job was for ten bucks an hour under the table selling fruit at a farmers market in downtown Billings MT. My older sisters had both worked for the proprietor, so I was an easy hire. My boss, let’s call him Bill, was a bit of a strange one. In his fifties and unmarried, Bill often said things to the young women who worked for him that were less than professional. Me being a hothead at 12, I told him off about some joke or another that I didn’t find funny. The next summer, I didn’t work for Bill.

The next real job I had was as a gymnastics instructor. At 14, I hadn’t been an active gymnast for three years, but my boss/former coach had all the confidence that I could teach boys 6-12 how to do cartwheels and back hip circles. I proved him to be 80% right. I was a fun and motivating teacher, some of my students parents even asked me to babysit them. But, 20% of kids are either at that awkward place where they either move like ducks when they try to do anything physical, or they were so desperately trying to get their parents attention from behind the glass of the waiting room that they would basically just run around and scream. Still worked there for 3 school year terms and loved it.

I spent one summer working for a greenhouse/nursery and landscape company. This was the only job I have ever outright quit. My boss didn’t pay me what he said he would, and I couldn’t stand to be around him. Also, I was 15 and MCT camp started in two weeks, so I thought it would be fine to be unemployed for 14 days. My father disagreed with me on this point.

I came to work at our local Office Max the summer before I left for college. I came back for a few weeks over Christmas break, and I returned the next summer while getting my buddy Austin a job as well. Somewhere between the movies “Employee of The Month” and “Clerks” you would find my time at OM. My job was crappy, but the people were awesome. And chief among them was Kelly MacKenzie, the store manager.

Kelly would talk to you through the over ear radio while you were trying to sell and make a game out of trying to make you break. And if you didn’t take your earpiece out, Kelly would always win. He would also clean the bathrooms and shovel snow. He once got done cleaning an explosive bathroom scene, and when he came out of the bathroom he had rubbed a partially melted snickers bar on his face. The sight make all employees laugh and one vomit. And I would have taken a bullet for him.

He is, to this day, the best boss I ever had.

In and after college I went on to work in several theaters, a dry cleaners, campgrounds and for my parents. Over the last fourteen years I’ve had twenty or more jobs, both on and off the books. Construction or cutting lawns, the skills and stories from each are something I can’t really articulate on a resume. Which is good since I hope to not have to print too many of those in the coming years. But over the years I have met and worked with so damn many characters that not only made my work life better, but in fact made my days and life better through knowing them.

I try to take all of this into my work with you and others, and sometimes I’m a pro and sometimes I’m not. But I always feel fulfilled in our work together in a way that selling printers and ironing shirts never could.

Yours in work,

-Dan