Look, let’s stop pretending that I am a person that does anything well on a daily basis. Back on April 12th I posted the fifth installment of what was supposed to be a daily poem series. I won’t get into the details, but there are quite a few things that many people might assume are “daily” that do not happen like that for me. Let’s just say there’s a reason I am using Mirena rather than a traditional birth control pill.
It’s enough to know that I did write more than five poems, and found that it is an activity that I enjoy and should do more often. It’s a great way to dust off some writing prompts that don’t seem to work for fiction, actually. And it also makes me feel productive, since I can get one done in an hour when I’m procrastinating on other projects and still feel like a writer. I’m not saying they’re published-anthology-quality poems – but that’s okay. When I’m dead, my grandchildren will treasure them.
Unless I write an ode to using Mirena rather than the pill… in which case they’ll be grossed out. But they’ll be less likely to forget me! #stillawin
Last week, I spent most of four days with my friend Amy chatting with filmmakers at the Bentonville Film Festival. We were primarily interested in sharing the mission of our movement, Tribe of Women, talking to them about their films and asking what role their tribes play in their lives. But as an actress-wannabe-cum-writer, I also really enjoyed talking to them about script-writing and the process of making a film.
I didn’t harass all of the people we spoke to, but two women in particular were just lovely enough that I had to visit with them more after our formal interview. Lizzie Pickering and Polly Steele are the producer and writer/director, respectively, for the film Let Me Go, a submission from the U.K. which went on to win the Best Ensemble award at the festival. The film is beautifully shot, and the cast is simply amazing. I highly suggest you follow them along as they work toward getting into theaters this year.
And as a side-note, let me say that the actors in the film have worked with the likes of Alan Rickman, Daniel Day Lewis, and Emma Watson… so my three degrees of separation game is super strong right now.
Fan-girling aside, I mentioned to Lizzie that I am writing a story based in England and hoped to visit next year to do some research (after the writing, because that’s how Ann Patchett said to work and I will do almost anything she tells me to do). And because she is in the running for being one of the sweetest humans I’ve ever met, Lizzie immediately invited me to stay with her in Oxfordshire anytime I visit England. She also invited me to stay with Polly, which Polly may or may not be aware of.
I know which of my in-progress stories I’ll be working on hardest in coming months.
Closer to home, I also got to chat with one of my favorite local filmmakers, Mark Landon Smith. He runs a talent agency here in NW Arkansas, and I was a background actor through that for another BFF award-winning film (for Best Narrative), Parker’s Anchor, which was shot in Fayetteville.
In our conversation I asked what projects he’s working on, and he told me about a couple of things, and I mentioned that I want to learn more about turning fiction into a screenplay, and how I would love to write with him. And he said “Let’s do it!” And just like that, I have a date to write with a published playwright.
Both of these examples reinforce one of my strongest beliefs about living life intentionally: if you want something to happen, you need to say it. Say the words. Ask the question. Speak out loud your dream/goal/inspiration and I truly believe you will be surprised at how often the next perfect collaboration or partnership is right there waiting for you. Maybe not immediately, as they were for me, but they’re there.
Sometimes, the question you are asking gets answered in a way you don’t expect. I didn’t ask Lizzie for a key to her guest house – in fact, I have no idea if she has a guest house – but I definitely thought it wouldn’t hurt to let her know I want to visit England, in case she had any contacts I might benefit from. It just turned out that she was willing to be exceptionally kind.
Now, I’m not saying that if you speak your intentions your career aspirations will suddenly become all unicorns and rainbows. What I’m talking about is meeting people who are in your industry, thinking about what they might be able to offer you, and not being shy about just speaking up about what you are hoping to see come to fruition in your own career.
But also, yeah, take the first step and just SAY THE WORDS.
Also published on Medium.