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Not me, her

In 1987, I found myself trying to write about a high school girlfriend that had been molested by her father when she was a child. I was 19 years old, struggling to find my way through a screenwriting assignment about delivering character. The idea was to describe messy young love between two Sid and Nancy want-to-be's. But that failed, as I could not stomach oversimplifying her complicated past, events that shaped her life as a 16 year old with a mohawk, a smart mouth, a lingering stare. I understood that I had to start at the very beginning.

No one wanted to hear the story. When it was my turn to read in class, it even came to be that some of the other students asked to stand in the hallway before they heard another description of what happened in that lonely little house in the middle of nowhere. I was trying, and failing, and trying again to get things right, to explain how this happened, how it could happen to this girl, how this man found his way to acts of selfishness and d…

anything was possible (suffer no more)


E carries a little bag with camera batteries, hovering behind my shoulder peeking at the monitor. Her mouth twists a little, eyes on me, then back to the monitor. I explain to her what I am trying to say with this shot, how well it is working. She nods, not a word, just that knowing look. It is the very last scene to shoot, a young man leaving his work and heading home. I am trying to expand that moment when the tie is loosened, that long wait for a street light to turn green and then the crowd walking across, how a person can get lost in this moment.

All of the stories from this little film are lives I have led or witnessed. The betrayals, the arguments in living rooms, the date that became a short affair ending as abruptly as it began, the weight of the everyday, the dread of confrontation, the sad hope for more. The characters are young, except for one.  These are little glimpses, broken pieces of a collective life.

There are trains, and streetlights, people staring, leather jackets and an old man closing his eyes as the wind whips into his face. These all came from my past, my days in New York when messages wobbled from answering machines when you got home drunk, tripping over the mess you had left behind. That was when anything was possible but the mood was that nothing was possible.






Comments

liv said…
I...I don't even know what to say.

This is absolutely top notch.
The song is beautiful - thanks for the introduction to this artist. And your sensitivity and skill in bringing his words to the visual was w o n d e r f u l !

I am so proud of you I could just burst.

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