A momentous occasion this evening: my daughter fell asleep just before 9 pm. Glory be. I should have called up the mom and been like, “get yer ass over here because I’m going out… please,” but I didn’t pick up the phone. I could have watched a movie without the constant chatter of a pre-schooler, but I turned off the television instead. I had the time to lose myself in the brilliant literature of Tom Robbins, but I left my books resting on the shelves.
I wanted to write.
I was brushing my teeth and thinking about a fucked-up, failed relationship, when it occurred to me that my screenplay was a lot like that relationship: a huge mess. However, to salvage my screenplay and even make it more clever and humorous and beautiful would not require a monumental act of the gods, unlike said relationship. I thought, if I wanted to fix a relationship, how would I go about it? How would I sink into that butterfly feeling of being in love again and see him with without all the bullshit that now clouds my vision?
Go back to the start. Fall into the moment of conception. Breathe in the sweetness of those days and let it fill my lungs, pulse through my veins, and guide my thoughts and emotions.
That’s right. Coldplay, bitches.
I realized that the act of going back to the start wasn’t only useful to fix a bad relationship or wayward diet. I would go back to the beginning to fix my screenplay. I got lost in the mumbo-jumbo of archetypes and character development and what-not. And while that’s all important in the story process, I forgot the stripped-down version of the story, which happens to be funny, if I just let it be.
I think I got off track when I tried to make my protagonist too agreeable. Yes, at his core he’s a decent fellow, as most people are, but on the surface he’s a compulsive liar and a douche-twat– nearly as much so as the antagonist. I tried to make the protagonist more of the good fellow because I thought it would make him more relatable. Wrong idea. If my MC is already the best man, what sort of a great transformation could he possibly have in this movie? I need a dick who understands the antagonist and can actively compete with him, too. Plus, we all know a douche-twat or three who could use a transformation, and watching a movie that exhibits such gives us hope that a life change could also occur for the twats we know so well. If the buttered popcorn doesn’t do us in, we might even walk out of the theater with a smile on our face and a slight spring in our step.
My protagonist is a charming dick and that’s how I’m going to keep it. It gives him the chance to change and mess up and redeem himself in some ridiculously fabulous way. In movies, people do heroic acts for the ones they love. They pull crazy stunts and throw caution to the wind in order to win love. It seldom happens in the real world, at least not in mine.
Only once in my life did I have a (love) movie moment. (Plenty of fall-on-my-face moments, though.) It was close to Christmas, thus absurdly cold in Iowa. I was having this wonderful, heartbreaking fling with a gorgeous hippie sort of man and we were leaving a party in Sherman Hill (which at the time wasn’t exactly the safest of places in the city) late at night. He followed me in his truck as we were headed in the same direction, and when I stopped at a stoplight, I did something illegal and absolutely crazy given our location: I put my car in park, got out, and with absolute determination and passion, strode to his truck with my long, velvet olive coat blowing back from the breeze. He jumped out of his vehicle and asked me what was wrong, and I simply said, “I forgot to kiss you good-night.” I grabbed the nape of his neck and pulled him to me as he wrapped his arms around my lower back and pulled me close. It was exactly the sort of moment that belongs in a movie. Especially since, unbeknownst to us, there was a cop car directly behind him, and the officer did not one thing, even as the light turned green and we were still kissing in the street.
So, I wrote tonight. I was inspired thinking back upon that kiss, and I finally wrote and it was good. It was exactly what I needed.
I’m going to bed with a huge smile on my face and hope that not only will I continue to write as I did this evening, but that I will once again experience a movie moment that tops my stoplight kiss.
Because I could really use a movie moment in my life about now.