It’s after midnight, so this should really be dated for May 23rd, but since I’ve been up for most of the 22nd, that’s how I view it. When I used to work graveyard at Bestbuy, I learned that the notion of day and time, what counts as dinner and when it’s okay to drink wine, really becomes relative.
But I digress.
I’m waiting on Stu to deliver the music. I told him when I need it by and kind of let him do is own thing. I knows the feel I’m going for and he’s demonstrated competence, so there’s not really anything left for me to do but wait. And wait. And wait.
And so I’ve taken up reading again. I’ve devoured the first two books in the Game of Thrones series. I’ve grown a little weary of dry, cold writing, about a cold place, filled with mostly cold people. That’s what Game of Thrones is. That’s George R.R. Martin’s writing style. I’ll say this, though. The man knows pacing.
While I read, sometimes my mind drifts. Or maybe that happens during the pauses between reading, like when I have to break for lunch, or errands. I find myself dreaming of a life as a successful novelist. At least, that was what happened at first. Then, I realized it was just because I was really tired.
I’ve had this growing depression. Maybe it’s been there for a while, maybe not. I don’t know. It’s the feeling that I haven’t got an identity. I’m reluctant to call myself a filmmaker, except when it’s necessary for publicity. I’ve had dreams of a technological revolution, of using the nearly uncountable riches that will come from the sales from ALGORITHM and how I’m going to set up a think tank/R&D lab. Of course I’ll continue to make movies and videos. In fact, I’ll help others make them.
And then the slow realization hits me that, based on the response I’ve gotten so far, there’s very little likelihood that I’ll see anywhere near the kind of money I’d need to make that life a reality.
Then my dreams settle down a bit and I wonder what my next movie will be. I wonder what kind of movie I’ll be able to afford. I’ve got a ton of ideas, with a wide variety of budgets. I could make another no-budget movie. I could make a big-budget sci-fi. I could make a medium budget sci-fi. I’ve even got ideas for fantasy movies. I don’t know where to begin with those budgets. They’d be huge, unless I made them animated, at which point I’m lost on the budget again.
I don’t want to call myself a filmmaker because I don’t want to limit my future. I remember I had the same reluctance before getting married. I knew the woman I was dating was easily the best woman who had come my way, or probably ever would. It wasn’t a question of whether she was the right one or not. It was a question of whether I wanted to be married or not.
For me, marriage is about serving my wife, for the rest of my life. That means certain sacrifices. It means I can’t go wandering about, never staying in one place for more than a six months. It would eventually mean I can’t simply choose whatever vocation I want… that my plans had to be more pragmatic.
I knew that going into my marriage. I was reluctant to give up my freedom. For a few months, I missed it. But, for the nearly nine years since then I’ve been glad I made that choice. She’s an amazing person and I’m glad for her support, and the knowledge that I’m supporting her too.
I love TED talks. I’ve taken to watching them while I eat lunch. I watched a talk by Andrew Solomon. He’s got some very insightful things to say. One of those insightful things is that identity comes from community. I may be a filmmaker, but I live 60 miles south of Los Angeles. There are no other creative filmmakers in my area… that I know of. It’s isolating, living so far outside the industry town. It gives me the freedom to dream my own dreams, but it’s also very lonely.
I can tell my wife about my day, but there’s only so much ISO, or contrast ratio, or heroes journey talk she can take. She tries her best to listen and support, but it’s so foreign. It requires more background than she’s got. She loves and supports me in the ways that she can, but it doesn’t really help with my sense of identity.
I realized all these thoughts show up when I give myself room to breathe and think. To feel again.
Another thought shows up too. While there’s still a small bit of work for me to do on ALGORITHM, the vast majority of the work is over. There might be one or two days a week for the next year, maybe as much as a week every now and again. But, whatever comes, it will be nothing compared to the intensity I’ve been experiencing. The distribution will be as automated as I can make it. The accounting really only has to be one once a year, according to the profit-share agreement everyone has already signed.
That leaves me to consider my next project, which I can’t do without a budget, as mentioned above. That leaves me to rest, to regain the strength I need for the next project, whatever it is.
Maybe I’m a filmmaker. Maybe I’m a novelist, a poet, a prophet. Maybe I’m a futurist, or an innovator. Maybe I’m a revolutionary, or an iconoclast. I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll be able to label my life until I’ve lived more of it. Maybe I don’t need to label it at all.
I don’t have an identity. That lack of identity leaves me forever on the outside of things, watching, wondering how people are feeling, constantly curious about their lives, the hows and whys. And it’s that very thing that lets me write, to create, to make worlds and probe truths, intrinsically personal and yet, because they’re so personal, they are also universally human.
Right now, in this time of resting/waiting, I have to settle for an identity as vague as human. I suppose that perfectly coincides with my existentialist tendencies.