Development: Mining My Psyche

    I like the fact that ALGORITHM is as realistic as I could make it. I want to continue that because the technological and sociological realism then naturally lends credence to the themes I’m trying to get across.

    But, being realistic isn’t easy, especially in Sci-fi.

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    While Intelligent Design definitely fits into the Sci-fi genre since it’s largely a story of radical technological developments, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about humans, human nature, and the nature of the psyche and it’s relationship to physical space.

    Even deeper than that, it’s about the human spirit. It explores the idea of us not being merely 4th dimensional spacetime entities, but that some aspect of our being transcends 4th dimensional spacetime. I’m quickly becoming convinced that that part of us is buried somewhere in the subconscious and is occasionally dug up by people like Carl Jung when he gets into collective unconsciousness theories.

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    For me to explore the unconscious, or subconscious, requires that I become familiar with my own mind, that means digging deep, way deeper than most are comfortable with.

    It’s been a hard, powerful, and rewarding process.

    Let me explain.

    I woke up this morning feeling detached. I’ve been feeling it for a couple weeks now. In order to find the source of some emotional irritation, I sit and allow myself to feel whatever it is I’m feeling. If I’m not feeling anything, I let myself feel that. I do this without judgement because to judge is to turn on the conscious or rational mind and I’m looking for feelings here. The rational mind is often at odds with the emotional mind, at least when beginning this process.

    This morning’s feelings stemmed from something that happened on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 at around 3:15pm.

    For me, that was a week and a half ago.

    A week and a half ago I was listening to the podcast Chicks Who Script because Intelligent Design is about women and I want to listen to women and how they think and what they feel in order to better be able to write a woman realistically. Also, I’m eventually hoping to have 3 women working on Intelligent Design with me, to be absolutely certain I’m getting it right.

    On this particular episode of CWS one of the podcasters mentioned hanging out with Joshua Caldwell, and how he turned her on to Scrivener.

    Caldwell and I follow each other on Twitter. We both made movies that came out at around the same time. They’re radically different, both stylistically and in content. ALGORITHM is almost a French New Wave movie about computer hackers, while Caldwell’s movie Layover is about a French woman who has a layover in Los Angeles.

    Caldwell directed it and edited it beautifully. The ending is amazing and I was really impressed. Caldwell produced Layover for the same amount as ALGORITHM, around $7,000.

    Josh Caldwell is a good guy and a good director and I wish him all the success he wants.

    All of that stuff isn’t really a problem. The problem for me was that Layover seemed to be getting a lot of traditional Hollywood press. Caldwell’s got a Wikipedia page. Caldwell’s been written up in Indiewire, among other places.

    And, on August 25th, 2015 at 3:15pm, he was mentioned on CWS.

    None of those things are bad. Caldwell’s doing well and he’s worked hard to make it happen. The problem is entirely on my side.

    ALGORITHM has gotten zero traditional press. I’ve met the editor-in-chief of Indiewire several times and neither ALGORITHM nor I have been mentioned. I know a few of the guests on CWS and none of them have said word one about me or what I’m doing. I even occasionally chat with one of the hosts on Twitter.

    Is it jealousy? Probably. 

    Jealousy is deeply unhealthy. It comes from a place of brokenness, some part of me that isn’t healthy or whole. In exploring the psyche, it’s incredibly important to address any issues that come up.

    And this jealousy thing is definitely an issue.

    Since hearing that CWS episode, I’ve become more and more detached. As I sat with that detachment, that CWS episode, and Joshua Caldwell came up. But, he wasn’t the source.

    ALGORITHM’s done amazingly well. I have a beautiful wife and live in a great apartment near the ocean. My life is going well. Aside from that, jealousy is a childish emotion and has no place in the life of a 38 year old man.

    But it’s still a part of me.

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    When I was in 6th grade, my friend Terry had a birthday party. Terry’s a good guy. He’s a teacher now, so he’s got a lot of constitution and is changing the world in a very meaningful way.

    Back in 6th grade, he was one of the really cool kids in school. He was dating the cool girl and I remember being at a high school football game where everyone pressured him and his girlfriend to kiss for the first time. Maybe that was the other kid, who was coincidentally also named Josh (also known as Josh who barely appears in this story).

    Terry had a birthday during the school year. Everyone was invited. Almost everyone. I wasn’t. When the kids came back to school the next day, they talked about how great the party was.

    I didn’t let myself feel the rejection. Instead, I hardened myself and created a more powerful shell of emotional defense.

    That’s a problem I’m still undoing.

    I felt left out. I felt rejected. I was on the outside in a major social way and it really hurt. It’s not anyone’s fault. It was probably an oversight. Whatever the reason, it still hurt. It still hurts.

    Now, whenever my wife and I are going for walks and we pass houses that are having parties, I jokingly say to her, “There’s another party we’re not invited to.” We both laugh, mostly because we’re really introverts and don’t like parties. I like one-on-one interactions where I can get really deep with people. Large parties don’t really allow that.

*          *          *

    As profound to a child as my rejection from Terry’s part was, and as sad as it still makes me feel, that wasn’t the source anymore than Caldwell’s CWS mention. As far as I know them, both Caldwell and Terry are good people.

    The emotional problem stemmed from something earlier, something deeper, closer to the core of who I am.

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    When I was four years old, my parents threw me a birthday party. There was a piñata. I didn’t have the hand-eye coordination at the time to break it. Someone else did. Because of my lack of coordination, especially in comparison to the coordination of the other children, when they all rushed to grab the loot spilling from the belly of the piñata, I was shoved aside. I got no candy. I was left out… of my own party. Even then, I was the loser.

    That experience became a core memory, something off of which I base much of my future decisions. Much of my anger, my frustration, my emotional armor and my tendency toward rage and violence stems from not accepting the fact that when I was child I couldn’t keep up. It hurt and I wouldn’t or couldn’t face it.

    I think back on my party and I know it wasn’t my fault. I feel a deep well of sadness for that younger me, the one who wanted to be a part, to fit in and couldn’t, who was left on the side and didn’t have a cool girl to kiss.

    It wasn’t my fault. 

    My body didn’t work like other people’s bodies. I couldn’t make an abstraction of my body as a child like I can today. I didn’t even have a formalized sense of self-awareness until I was 16yrs old.

    In gaining that ability to make a distinction between my consciousness and my body and its disabilities, I can contextualize things differently. I can look back at that child and realize it’s not his fault. He couldn’t be any better than he was. There was nothing he could do and so there’s no reason to be angry at himself. There’s no reason for me to be angry with myself, which is what my jealous manifestation of party/Terry/Caldwell is. It’s not them. It’s me. And thanks to this morning’s psychological mining expedition, it’s not me anymore either.

    Well, maybe it is a little. But it’s much less than it was.