Thursday, January 7, 2010

In case of FADE OUT

Something I’ve been coming to grips with lately –

Death is unnatural.

Don’t believe anyone who tells you that it is normal, that it is just a part of life. Death is not a part of life. Death does not belong here. Death of any kind – any kind – is wrong. That’s why it feels wrong.

If death was always going to be the end, if we were meant for death, we would not fight it so. We would not hate it as we do, would not thrash and cry out when we lose someone, would not spin in the deep whirlpools of grief. Human beings have a soul, some kind of eternal soul. We were not born to die. We were born to live.

I say this because I have seen so much death – not much physical death; I’ve been fortunate enough to lose only one member of my family and one friend – but I’ve seen a great deal of emotional death over the years. And I’m still fighting it.

I could tell here countless stories.

The end of my relationship with Michael.

The horrible loss that I see in some of my current friends.

The splendor of all of our childhoods, now past.

Everybody has these stories.

And maybe some people, perhaps healthy people, accept deaths like this and they move on. Certainly, I live day-to-day without much active grief. But for whatever reason, lately, I’m not okay with these things. I know they happen, I can’t fix them, they just are. Death just is.

And that's what I've been writing about.

In the last scene of my most recent screenplay, the one I'm working on with Sam, a man is writing a book review. He has just been visited by someone from his former life. This person tells him that the woman he loved, for all intents and puposes, is dead. She's not physcially dead, but she might as well be.

So here's what we wrote.

"Sam crosses to his window. The sun is almost completely gone. He watches it and begins to cry steady, constant tears.

After a moment, another low knock at the door. Faye sticks her head into the office.

With some effort, Sam pulls himself together.


I’m sorry -- did you want to --


Yes. Come in. Let’s finish this.

She comes in and sits at the desk, snapping on the desk lamp.


Where was I?


The graphic fumbling of the heart --


-- of the book. Right, right. Of his own book. New paragraph. But the real loss here is ours, as Louden squanders his talent, the promise of his youth, and the delicate brilliance of his entire premise. This book should have been gorgeous. I wanted it to be. But it seems that all the richness of his first novel, all the glow and poignancy which so characterized his writing, is now gone.

Sam pauses. Faye looks up. Sam looks at her, then:


New paragraph.


And that's how it ends.

But the real loss here is ours. The real loss here is ours.

So go ahead and thrash, world. I will for as long as I can.