Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We Call That A Thought...

When people find out that I'm a writer/screenwriter/filmmaker I often hear "I've got the story for your next book." I always listen. Most times it's a boring story that only appeals to the person it happened too. But I repeat, I always listen. You never know what you might be able to mine into story gold.

As a youngster I believed that each and every idea I had was the most unique thing the world had ever seen. That train of thought lasted through my early twenties. My writing partner and I had been writing pretty much nonstop on a beloved project, You're the Reason. One of the lead characters, Elise, was suffering from sexual abuse perpertrated by her father Miles. Miles was a highly regarded attorney with ties to the community. From the outside it seemed as if the Donovans had the picture perfect family. The story we told was about as out there as you would think was possible. Rape, incest, unwanted pregnancy, etc. we threw everything we had at it to make the story stand out. I was convinced we had done it. Then I turned on my television.

There was a story on the news that could have been torn right from the pages of You're the Reason. I couldn't believe it. I went to work a bit down that day. I shared what happened with a coworker. I will never forget what she told me. Lynn said, "Missy any story you can imagine is happening to atleast one person in the world."

I have taken those words to heart and learned that's what makes people flock to books and movies alike. They are searching for their stories and ultimately for themselves...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Jane Green's Jemima J

As stated before I am a big reader. I love all kinds of books. I know that I should say that I love literary high brow novels, but I don't. Never have, probably never will. That said the books that I do like are well written and usually have a romance involved. I will be reviewing a few new books over the next few weeks, but for today I am going to talk about an old favorite.

Chick Lit was relatively new when I discovered Jane Green's Jemima J.It was by far one of the best books I've ever read. Jemima was a fat girl who was desperate for the life and love that's been promised to us almost from birth. We are sold on Prince Charming as little girls and often settle for a frog or two (or twenty) when the dream fades. In fact Jemima's story is very much in the vein of Cinderella, even down to the two ugly stepsisters (her flat mates), a fairy godmother (Geraldine) and lets not forget our Prince Ben (yum!).

Jemima wants to work for a glossy magazine instead of a local paper. She wants to be rid of her flat mates, she wants a mother who doesn't harp about her weight. Most of all though, she wants to be thin. Jemima links her happiness with being thin. She's drank the kool aid that thin people are happy. When she discover the internet and the hot Brad, Jemima sells herself as the woman she wants to be. She didn't plan on meeting Brad. It was harmless, right?

The relationship with Brad grows as Jemima begins her transformation. She starts working out and eating right and the weight begins to come off. Jemima is aware of her weight loss but like with many of us big girls who lose weight, once a fat girl always a fat girl. You have to change your mindset. If you don't change your thinking you will never change your life.

Jemima, with the help of Geraldine, makes a big splash when she visits Brad in L.A. He is everything he said he was. Tall, blond, handsome and owner of fitness gym. Jemima is willing to overlook the fact that he's not an intellectual because he looks like a god and is great in bed. It takes some time for her to realize that maybe the relationship is not working as she had hoped. Brad spends little time with her and his assistant hates Jemima. She's living with a man she barely knows in a strange country with no friends. She thinks of home and misses Ben.

Ben had been her crush. The two had been work friends until Ben went of in search of greener pastures and a career as a presenter. Ben is a great character and it's easy to see why Jemima fell so hard for him. I admit that I fell for him a bit myself. These two characters grow so much throughout the book that you are rooting for them to find each other.

I don't want to give too much away, but there is a BIG secret about Brad that Jemima accidentally uncovers and sets her on a path of self discovery and into Ben's arms. I highly suggest this enjoyable read to anyone who has ever doubted themselves and is a big romantic (pun intended).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not Broken...just a little Bruised.

I have been away from my blog for a few weeks now. I would love to tell you that I was off completing my great American novel or making the next Oscar winning film But to quote Jules, "We both now that s*** ain't true." What I have been doing is surviving. It's that plain and simple.

In November 2010 my dad had a liver transplant. I still remember the morning he got the call. He wasn't sure he wanted to do it. As we drove to the hospital he even said half jokingly "We should turn the car around." I told him to do that if it was truly what he desired. In that moment though, I wanted him to get the transplant. I thought that this was the way I got to keep him for another twenty years.

I won't go into too many detail but my dad 5 surgeries in the next three or so weeks (including another transplant). I was still trying to work 45 hours a week and when I wasn't at work I was usually at the hospital. I slept maybe four or five hours a night. My life revolved around my dad and his health. My phone was never out of sight and usually on my person. It was my life line to the most important man in my life. Or as my best friend Amy said, the love of my life.

On the morning of December 23rd I was sleeping when I received the call from my mom. She told me that they were in with my dad. I needed to get to the hospital. It was 6AM. I stumbled around in the dark, called my sister, and was in the car in less than 5 minutes. I live right outside of Louisville, KY. The hospital was a 40 minute drive on most days. It felt like hours that morning. I was less than ten minutes away when the phone rang again. It was mom again. She told me he was gone. I screamed No into the phone repeatedly. I had always made fun of such moment in films (i.e. Stars Wars). What I realize now is when you are told something that catastrophic you brain goes into instant denial. It couldn't be true.

I don't remember hanging up with my mom but I did. I called my uncle (mom's brother) and told him. It would be the beginning of many dreadful phone calls I would make that day. I really think that one of the worst things a person can do is have to inform someone that their sibling has passed. My dad had eight living siblings, it felt neverending. With each call I would have to break the news and then explain what little details we had at that moment. It was horrible.

Since dad died I struggle daily with missing him. I worry about my mother and sisters constantly. I'm working about 45 hours a week at a job that is demanding. So right now I am surviving. I refuse to say I'm broken...I'm just a little bruised.