The Movie That Inspired Me To Pursue A Writing Career

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The cast of the movie that was the inspiration to what I’ve been doing for the past eight years. Image courtesy of movie.movieggr.com

 

HOW A FILM THAT WAS BASED ON A HIT BROADWAY MUSICAL INSPIRED ME TO CHANGE MY LIFE’S DIRECTION

 

Remember when you were a kid and people asked you this question:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I’m sure that youngsters replied the expected things: doctor, lawyer, teacher, fireman, policeman, or a basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers (man, they sure need people!)

During those formative years, whenever I was asked that question I always answered writer as I seemed to show a knack for the written word at an early age, like when I ghostwrote a story told by a girl at this summer camp I was in at age eight or when I won an essay contest given by the Daughters of the American Revolution while in 5th grade.

Although I did take a beginning journalism class and a few creative writing courses in college, and wrote a few pieces for my college marching band’s newsletter, save for keeping a journal I didn’t really know how to make a living out of writing as I opted for education and working with young people, which was/is the family business.

After around fifteen years of frustration, disillusion, and disappointment, it became crystal clear that working with kids was ultimately not for me.

The interesting art of all this was that during the time I was working at schools – and even before that – ideas for books kept popping into my head. I particularly remember while in the 10th grade an idea to write a book called “Oh Boy!” about my school’s marching band.

I didn’t go through with it, however, writing being a mere hobby for me until one day in early September, 2006 (gee, has it been ten years already?)

 

 

The official music video to “Seasons of Love” from Rent, courtesy of YouTube.com

 

 

It was on a Sunday; I was watching one of the cable channels – I think it was Starz – when the movie Rent, based on the Broadway musical, aired.

As I was watching those eight people singing about 525,600 minutes and pursuing their passions in film making, music, dance, and performance art while dealing with poverty, drug addiction, relationships, and AIDS, something happened…

The movie’s story line, combined with the songs and the fact that the characters were around my age, making it able for me to relate, moved me with an intensity so pronounced that I found myself crying halfway through the film.

This wasn’t a just-a-couple-of-tears crying; this was a bawling, putting-my-head-in-a-pillow kind of sob, something I hadn’t done since I was single-digit age as being a movie buff, Rent affected me as no other movie ever had.

It was a combination of the issues pertaining to my Generation X that was a big factor in why that movie affected me so.

Then there were the songs…

Not only did the beauty of “Seasons of Love”, “Will I?”, “I’ll Cover You”, “What You Own”, “La Vie Boheme”  and the rest of the soundtrack move me to tears, they also served as an inspiration.

As I watched the Roger character sing about his “One Song Glory” and the rest of the cast musically ponder about having “No Day But Today”, the message came to me like a first grade reading book:

 

 

Be yourself, be proud of being yourself, and don’t put off following your dreams or passion.

Whatever you are going to do, do it NOW – or forever wish you had.

 

 

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A good shot of the “Rent” movie cast; six of them were in the original Broadway production. Photo courtesy of 100musical.com

 

It was that message that I took to heart, especially when it became clear that a career in education and working with kids was ultimately going to result in failure – which it pretty much did as about a year and a half after seeing Rent, after some frustrating last straw experiences at an after school gig that were the latest of several bad episodes the previous few years, I had finally had enough of doing something that I was less than successful at.

And I was sick and tired of being miserable as inspired by Rent and its message, I quit that after school gig and started to pursue a life in writing once and for all.

Being forty years old when that went down and less than a year short of my 50th birthday now, I reckoned that since my life – according to the American male life span – is a little more than half over, if I was going to make a career out of writing and being published, I need to do that RIGHT NOW.

Which is why I’ve been blogging and working on my Asperger’s experiences book, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, ever since.

Though I haven’t achieved millionaire best-seller status ala J.K.Rowling, and I have next to nothing in the bank some of the time, my life in writing has seen some success as I spent a total of seven years posting sports articles for Bleacher Report.com and the Fansided network, plus serving as editor of SoCalSportsHub.com for a time before starting SoCal Sports Annals, my own sports fan blog/site, in January of 2015.

Here’s the link to that site:  http://SoCalSportsAnnals.Wordpress.com

Not to mention having this blog for the past two and a half years after posting articles on other sites.

And though I still live a sort-of bohemian lifestyle, I’ve even gotten a couple of paychecks for my writing.

As for my choice of work being lucrative, I have faith that the financial compensation will come in due time.

I think it’s safe to say that writing – online and elsewhere – has proved to be something that I enjoy as even during the “dark” days, I was told by more than one person that I was good at it.

I also believe that I have God and Jonathan Larson, who wrote Rent and tragically died just before its Broadway debut in 1996, to thank for inspiring me to pursue what I suppose I’m destined to do.

“No Day But Today” indeed; I think that suns it up.

 

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A poster from the 2005 film version of the Tony award-winning Broadway musical. Image courtesy of jirashimosu.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE LATEST: Another Update On “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”

 

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Image courtesy of isucceedbook.com

 

CATCHING UP WITH HOW THINGS ARE GOING WITH MY PERSONAL ASPERGER’S EXPERIENCES BOOK

 

In a nutshell, the progress has been quite steady.

Last week I finished editing and rewriting chapter four, which discusses in detail my struggles with regards to feeling  socially alienated and rejected by – in particular – the inner city/working class African-American community as my being bullied by too many of my peers from such community in my youth, I gravitated toward white kids, who were seemingly more accepting of me.

I need to emphasize that this social alienation and rejection was NOT from the entire black community, as there were plenty of folks from there who treated me well, especially in college.

But the tauntings of “Goofy” and “Mark” that – while not all the African-American kids said that to me – too many of my fellow blacks used to describe me left an emotional scar for a long time.

And though I have forgiven those bullies because it’s the right thing to do and I understand that my Asperger’s made me as socially different as a black kid could get, the memories remain.

There will be more details in  “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”.

As of now, I have begun editing and rewriting chapter five, which is a big one because it details my high school days, which were regretfully poor as far as the social nuances were concerned.

So much so that I have split my recollections of those formative years into two chapters my (mostly bad) high school memories are so many; I’m working on part one now.

I have been fairly consistent in this endeavor, setting aside at least one day per week for editing and rewriting what will be my fourth draft of this book of mine.

I reckon if my book is not ready to be published after four drafts, it will never be ready.

Particularly since my publishing deadline remains early June, before my 50th birthday; if I can have it published by June 1st, that would be great!

That’s about it for now; I’ll have another update soon.

 

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You know I couldn’t do an article about my writing without including a picture of Snoopy writing. Image courtesy of highbrownmagazine.com

 

MY PERSONAL FAVORITE SONGS

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Image courtesy of rockwallmusic.com

 

SONGS THAT EMOTIONALLY MOVE ME IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER

 

Being the music fan that I have been pretty much all of my life, there have been plenty of songs over the years that I have very much enjoyed.

And some that I have not, but that’s another story.

Among the tunes that I’ve really liked are some that have emotionally affected me and my mood upon listening to them.

These are the songs that have made me cry because they are so beautiful, and have made me feel good due to ts message.

I don’t have time to list them all as that would take too long.

But I wanted to list eight songs that have emotionally moved me in one way or another, starting (in chronological order) with this one…

 

Solitary Man, Neil Diamond (1966)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHxOyT7FriI

(YouTube video; click on the link)

 

A well-named song for me as it describes me almost perfectly – and not just when it comes to matters of the heart, either.

 

Ooh Child, Five Stairsteps (1970)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrotsEzgEpg

(YouTube video; click on the link)

 

Even as a four and five-year old, I always got a good feeling, a feeling of hope and optimism, whenever I heard this song on the radio.

And I still do, which is why I check out this video of the group performing this song from the TV show “Soul Train” on YouTube from time to time.

 

Working Class Hero, John Lennon (1970)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njG7p6CSbCU

(YouTube video; click on the link)

 

This is the song that in my view is John’s post-Beatle best, beating even “Imagine”.

It’s the theme for anyone not in the income bracket of Bill Gates.

Plus with just one acoustic guitar carrying this tune, it has a simple rawness that I’ve always liked.

 

Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing, Stevie Wonder (1973)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zywDiFdxopU

(YouTube video; click on the link)

 

I vividly remember my mother playing this, and the rest of the all-time classic album “Innervisions” where it came from, often as a little kid.

Like “Ooh Child”, it’s a go-to song that I put on to feel better about life in general, that everything will ultimately be OK.

And I love the simplicity of it, too.

 

Flying, Joe Jackson (1994)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L0eqq1SXZg

(YouTube video; click on the link)

 

With me approaching my 50th birthday a little less than a year from now, this song describes how I often feel about me being, according to American society, “middle-aged” perfectly.

Just listen to the lyrics and you’ll see where I’m coming from.

 

Seasons of Love, from the “Rent” soundtrack (1996)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj7LRuusFqo

(YouTube video; click on the link)

 

When I first heard this theme song – and the rest of the songs from this musical – I couldn’t help crying my eyes out, I was affected so much.

In fact, watching “Rent” (the movie, that is) and listening to these emotional tunes inspired me to pursue writing as a career in a “No Day But Today” fashion.

I realized that I had to follow my passion, or forever wish I had.

So I owe Jonathan Larson, who wrote “Rent” and all its songs, a big thanks.

 

Ordinary People, John Legend (2005)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIh07c_P4hc

(YouTube video; click on the link)

 

The single greatest song of the 21st century in my opinion.

It’s simple, with just a piano and violins (at the end), and the message is a particularly good one for those who are in a relationship.

I get tears whenever I watch this video, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you got them, too.

 

Fuori Dal Mondo, Ludovico Einaudi (2006)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFGm62CYtpY

(YouTube video; click on the link)

 

When I first heard this instrumental while watching the movie “This Is England”, I made it a point to find out what it was and who wrote/performed it.

I’ll go ahead and say it: this is the only song that I want played at whatever get-together may happen when I die, because it’s that moving and I honestly can’t think of any other song that I feel is just as appropriate.

And “Not of This World”, which is the translation of the title, is the perfect description of me as I often feel that way.

 

I suppose that’s that regarding the songs that move me more than any other.

I feel that I’m really opening myself up, exposing myself, by writing this.

I hope people understand where I’m coming from here.

 

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Image courtesy of flstudiomusic.com