Film Stories: Famous Enough

I try to check in and notice when and where ego creeps into my work--I'm always scanning to check for it even loitering around the edges. 

This includes my concern about whether the work is good/bad, or if people will like/dislike it (really: me) and even that competitive voice that wonders if it is better than/worse than what someone else is making. 

These are not concerns that I am interested in working from or standing in. These are thoughts I usually send packing. 

Except for this one day. 

I don't remember anything happening to trigger it--just me, standing in my kitchen and thinking of my friends and colleagues.

We all have this in common: aspirations of fame are not the engine driving our work. There is a sense of calling, a sense of serving the work which we have been given to do, and a sense of surrender and trust around what should happen to the work when it leaves our hands. 

At least on our best days. 

We create exquisite offerings for niche audiences or communities that gather alongside us. 

And usually, I'm fine with that. But on this particular day, these thoughts came: What if we don't ever become famous enough to attract the attention of the right person to recognize and tell this story--this important, beautiful story--of how we are creating together? It needs to be a documentary. 

And I will confess to a moment of despair, with things like Odds and How Things Are Likely To Go looming large. 

I've never really written any kind of DIY credo, but that doesn't mean one hasn't been forming internally through the years. One of its tenants could go something like this: You don't have to wait for someone else to see what you see, to send you and invitation or stamp their approval.

If you see something that needs to be made, make it. 

That was my solution. I would tell the story myself. As ludicrous as that sounded to me, from that moment on I could not shake it. 

Film Stories: Away We Go

I remember seeing Away We Go in the movie theater with my husband. We were catching an early matinee while the kids were in school, and at 10:30am on a Wednesday in Union Square most of the seats were empty. The few people that did join us were older, the color already drained from their hair. 

The movie started, and we laughed. And no one else did. That's such a strange feeling. I leaned over and whispered to my husband, Why aren't they laughing? 

At first I tried that thing where you hold the laughter in, only to have it erupt out of me a few seconds later, by which time it was truly inappropriate. 

After that, I just let myself go, to laugh or to cry or to be however I was in each moment. 

There have been maybe a handful of movies over the years that have not just moved me, but rearranged me, as though some internal tumblers shifted and fell into a new place. This was one of them. 

I felt choked up as we left the theater and I fumbled for words. 

If I could do that--make a movie that leaves people present to the beauty of life and the possibility of love--then I might actually consider writing one. 

It wasn't because I wanted to get into the movie business--in fact, it was despite my desire to stay out of it. That moment, that feeling or experience was what I wanted to give someone--where the gratitude of being alive crashes over you and the miracle of having one another hits you in the chest and you grab the hand next to you and hold it just a little tighter. 

Something moved from background to foreground that day. A dream took one big step closer.