And that’s a wrap!
Originally published on Missy Whitis' blog July 4,2020
Oh, those words mean so much nowadays. I used to hear them at the end of a long filming shoot. But, today I hear them at the end of a long two-year journey towards my Masters in Screenwriting from the David Lynch School of Cinematic Arts. But it can also apply to wrap up your day, your week, your month, and even this event-filled year of 2020 (although it’s only June!).
But it’s really not the wrap up that I want to blog about today as a guest on Missy’s blog.
I want to talk about the journey.
I was so ego-based for many years. Ego means different things to different people, but for me, it means my false self. I was always creating because I was chasing the next box office receipt, top 10 ratings, breaking a room of people to laugh at my comedy routine, even the number of social media followers. Now, I realize all true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-self, from inner stillness. It’s there where we give way to form a creative impulse or insight. It’s about being present (see how I brought back the “wrap the present” metaphor?)
As Eckhart Tolle says in his book, The Power of Now, “To the ego, the present hardly exists. Only the past and future are considered important.” The ego is “always concerned with keeping the past alive, because without it - who are you? It constantly projects itself into the future to ensure its continued survival and to seek some kind of release or fulfillment there.”
What I’ve learned over the years, especially on this journey of earning my masters - telling my stories, sharing my ideas, teaching, and learning - is that LIFE IS NOW. There was never a time when life was not now, nor will there ever be. I have to do it now. When I’m finished in the future I can wrap it up and put a bow on it, but if I don’t do it now I won’t have a present - a gift to give to me or others.
I’ve been asked over the course of the years to guest blog here, but I never “had the time” nor the “inclination,” after all what would I share that people might want to read? Well, I took the advice of a mentor who said, “If you only take one, one tiny, thing from what you’re experiencing then you have to share it.” So I’m taking one time moment and sharing.
I’ve spent the COVID Crisis as writing and reading (I should put a list of my reading materials from the last 3 months together to share with you - but be forewarned I try to read one fiction and non-fiction book per week). Throughout this journey of reading screenplays, fiction, non-fiction, and yes, the social media threads, I’ve really come to the conclusion that it’s time to put a wrap on a lot of this.
We need to surrender the image of ourselves as exceptional and deal with the self-inflicted problems that have divided us. The pursuit of profits at the expense of human rights has had lasting consequences. We need to do this now. Tomorrow is too late. We need to wrap this all up and gift it to the generations who come after us - take what we are experiencing and share it.
Wow, I got really preachy for a stand-up comedian turned action/adventure writer!
But I think Robin Williams expressed it best, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”
I think we’re paying attention now. I know I am. And, especially now that I have to write a blog for Missy because I committed to it. I’m terrified of what people will think about it. After all, it’s just one man’s viewpoint. But I believe in what Gene Roddenberry set up to depict in Star Trek “Until humans learn to tolerate -- no, that’s not enough: to positively value each other -- until we can value the diversity here on Eart, then we don’t deserve to go into outer space and encounter the infinite diversity out there.”
I think it’s time for me to boldly go where no one -- well, not many people have gone before -- to accept my past, to learn from it so I don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over. But most importantly to, again, follow the words of Robin Williams, because ““When you have a great audience, you can just keep going and finding new things.”
Thank you for being my audience today. Live long and prosper!
Ok, Missy, that’s a wrap!