Monthly Archives: February 2011

Goodbye, Hiram.

My father’s in town, so I stopped by his hotel after work for conversation and dinner. I don’t see him frequently, so it was good to share what he unironically calls “father-son time.”

Since I last saw my dad, a childhood friend whose parents are my godparents died suddenly. My father related the story of how Hiram Watkins drove his parents to the airport that morning — and about the call they received a few hours later from his devastated girlfriend.

I haven’t lost many people who were close to me, and only a couple have been cohorts. My friend Tom Cole was 43 when he passed away; Hiram was 41.  I’m 41.

Hiram and I saw each other infrequently; when we connected as adults, I often felt that we were in an unacknowledged competition. Women, career, even cooking  — a passion he and I shared — were ways in which we subtly seemed to go head-to-head. When I became aware of the dynamic, I did my best to put on the brakes.

It’s callous to view a childhood friend’s passing as a “teachable moment.” Hiram’s death is not a developmental task or a growth opportunity.  Don’t expect to start seeing photos in my social stream of me skydiving or running with bulls.

It is an occasion for reflection, so I remind myself not to view each day as another spin of the wheel of fortune and have started thinking more about the things I truly want to do – not “one day,” but now and tomorrow. I’m more determined to keep my friends close. I’m even considering a year-long gym membership, as opposed to month-to-month.

Positive change comes from within, so odds are low that these new ways of being mindful will persist.

I guess we’ll see.

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My entry in the 2011 CS Open: “To Go”

Much to my utter disbelief, I managed to finish my entry in the 2011 Creative Screenwriting Cyberspace Open this afternoon, well ahead of tomorrow morning’s deadline.

Yesterday, I worried because I only had an outline. Today, I worried because I didn’t start drafting the scene until after I’d had coffee. When I was finished, I worried because I finished far ahead of my projected schedule, so surely the quality must be questionable.

Sensing a theme?

Anyway, here again is the premise I received on Friday:

Your PROTAGONIST and his or her LOVE INTEREST are at odds. One of the protagonist’s schemes has gone terribly awry, and the love interest has had it. Write a scene in which they have it out – but in an unconventional way. Their words seem measured and reasonable; but the subtext says another thing entirely. You may use additional characters other than the ones specified.

Note From Contest Management:

This is going to take some crafty, non-on the nose writing here. For example, they can talk about boiling water, but it’s clear they’re really talking about something else. Use sarcasm or body language or timing or other means to convey your true meaning.

No pressure, right? I came up with 8 ideas (maybe 3 good ones), but this is the one that stuck with me. I hope I make it to the next round of the contest, but if I don’t, I know I did good work.

“To Go” (36K PDF)

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CS Open, Spring 2011

I am looking forward to this 3-day weekend; I earned it. Plus, it means I can spend my time working on my entry in the CS Open Screenwriting Contest.

I received the premise tonight as I was leaving work. If I can write five great pages by 9 a.m. Monday, I’ll make it to the next round. My assignment:

Your PROTAGONIST and his or her LOVE INTEREST are at odds. One of the protagonist’s schemes has gone terribly awry, and the love interest has had it. Write a scene in which they have it out – but in an unconventional way. Their words seem measured and reasonable; but the subtext says another thing entirely. You may use additional characters other than the ones specified.

Wish me luck. And caffeine.

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