Tuesday, May 06, 2008

coconut creme cupcakes

I can't sleep.

I'm lying in bed at home (and by this home I mean my parents' house), listening to Coldplay and Damien Rice and over thinking. I think it's culture shock. Too many people growing up, leaving home and coming home, going on adventures, doing nothing. I stood on the beach yesterday and felt like I was fifteen years old. Today I felt old enough to start thinking about settling down and whispering suggestions about starting a family. I teeter every time I lose my sense of balance. I've had so many perfect moments in the past couple of weeks. Finding out how to show I care about the one I secretly care about, toasting to friends and true love and difficult times around the camp fire, wandering up and down the beach of the boundless lake with the most wonderful people, flying into the City at night so close to the buildings I could practically see the people in Times Square. Finally watching the season two finale of the Office.

And this is a sort of perfect moment, too. It's awkwardly unsettling, this quiet moment when I'm just thinking about life, because despite all the perfect moments, you have to deal with all the imperfect ones as well. And, maybe I'm just a little bit strange, but thinking about these things conjures pictures in my mind, not of my own life but of some other one, someone else's story, and the stories I make up are about me but they're about someone else. I used to think it was a great insult to say that you can see the author in a story, see how they've inserted themselves. I still think there takes a certain amount of craftsmanship to conceal your tracks, but now I believe that the stories with the most heart are often written when they come from the author's true heart, from the experiences and joys and pains held there, the invisible story teller whispering, "Don't you see the truth in this? Don't you feel it yourself?" I believe the reason that I love The 4:05 so much is because I wrote it trying to answer a question I was struggling with at the time and the answer I found there gave me hope. And as I lay here, unable to sleep, thinking about the big questions in my life right now is the same as thinking about the stories I would like to write. They are inexorably tied.

I was watching the director commentary of Walk the Line on the plane today, and writer/director James Mangold talks about how the characters and the actors are just real people, how beautifully the sincerity of the story plays. I've hardly written anything, really. But I think that the stories I will write over the next fifty years will be about real people as well. They will be about Real Me. Maybe, if I spin them with enough craft, you will see how they are about Real You, too.

As my dear H. D. Martin once said, sometimes there is only truth - and there is beauty yet in that.

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