22 October 2007

What matters most

Went to an interesting event on Thursday: a lady's talk at a local restaurant. She came back from extreme illness (and this reminded me of other friends who have these debilitating gastrointestinal diseases) and started making books and art and sending her ideas around the world through a package of stuff. I was a little taken aback when I saw the array of books and candles and oils spread out, with many drawings that are pretty and colorful and dense and in a particular style, all of them in that exact style. I liked some of what she had to say but not her style of interacting with the group; everyone was put on the spot at least once. But later, after her talk about loving and nurturing our beauty (in part by remembering that it's inside and out, of course), I thought about the nugget of truth in there that sometimes it takes that near-death experience to remind us of what our most important truth is.

I have had lots of vicarious ones and only a couple of near-death or out-of-body experiences: being alone on that hillside in winter in Ward was one, the overnight in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was another, as was being stuck under a waterfall that was part of a river rapid that had moments before ejected me and everyone else from a raft. I've been close to enough deaths and near deaths, too, to know how fragile our connection to life is.

What have I learned that I need to do? Make it safe for people (including me) to tell their stories. Take my perspective and make it clear, then take yet another perspective and make it clear. This seems to be my work, my service. Yesterday I went to our little neighborhood film's premiere party in my cartoon earrings, braids, t-shirt with a kitty playing electric guitar that says "You rock!" under a long wool skirt and ankle boots. I had a great time with everyone and felt like I'm paving some kind of way that other people aren't necessarily willing or able to do.

And in reflection, Ingrid's talk was a good reminder for me of the meaning of keeping what's important to us close to our heart and in our sights. What makes me glad I'm still here and didn't drown in a river when I was seventeen? Every minute with my little family, first of all. Mostly when I think about some chain of events or set of causes and effects lately, I want to express it in fiction. That's my driving impulse. Watching the new George Clooney film Michael Clayton yesterday (written and directed by Tony Gilroy, lately known for writing the Jason Bourne trilogy), about a law firm's "fixer" who gets into a fix within his own firm, reminded me so much of my drug rep story that I've been starting to set down; I want so badly to see my name next to a screenplay credit on a Section Eight film. (I'd settle for that, even if I really just want to direct.) That film was just my kind of intrigue: lots of suspense, tested loyalties, and twists.

And sorry, but Aaron Sorkin is not the only once-in-a-lifetime talent there's room for. I refuse to accept that, which is yet another good motivator for bringing my stories to life, which is something like what this fellow I went to high school is doing.

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