Just Another Journal Entry

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I write something every day. I don't know how to do life without writing something every day. Some days, like today, like now, I really want to write but don't know about what. So I type and see what comes from my fingers. Other days, I use writing prompts. I search for them online and find one that strikes me. On the golden magic days, there is something that happens that spurs an essay.

I wrote a novel over the pandemic. At the moment, it's a bunch of junk. Autobiographical. Maybe someday I'll edit it.

I've also been back and forth on a screenplay since sometime in the winter. About a couple on the eve of a big wedding anniversary when something happens that could destroy it all. I don't know how it should end.

I struggle with the endings of narrative stories. Reason being, in real life, does anything ever really end? Maybe the situation goes away, but if it was worth watching a whole movie about, those feelings will linger with that character for the rest of their lives. People put a lot of time and energy and money into making movies and later fight for the audience's attention, so generally, we're making movies about something big happening. And if it's that big, it leaves a mark on your life. It doesn't ever go away; it inhabits you.

Anyway, on the marriage movie, I want to show that marriages that survive the long haul are a choice. You wake up in the morning each morning and decide whether or not to keep it going. During good times, you're totally on auto-pilot and this may not even be a consideration. During hard times, you're tallying the score. Is there enough goodwill built-up to tide me through today?

Part of the reason I think it's harder to jump ship on a long term marriage is that each person has invested so much and the relationship is its own beast, that situations which would break a younger marriage can be withstood by a more mature marriage. I suppose this could be incorrect. I haven't done any research on this. A hypothesis.

My husband and I went through a very difficult time in our marriage around that 5-7 year mark. I can't remember exactly when, now. Too much time has passed. I think both of us were on the brink of throwing in the towel at one point. Neither of us, however, wanted to do it at the same time or on the same day, so that helped. We struggled mightily over a terrifically difficult issue, neither or which we created but was instead put upon us and our family. We sometimes look back on that time and remark that if our marriage could survive that test, we can survive it all. This marriage isn't going anywhere.

So this movie I'm writing is I suppose is inspired by my own marriage. Totally different set of circumstances, but the same idea: about that time in a marriage where it gets put to the test. I want it to be that the couple in the movie chooses to remain together. The story is still in quite a clunky phase. The way it's written now, I'm like, "Why would these two people ever stay with each other? They both should go. I'd never put up with that." I guess maybe I haven't built-in enough back-end goodwill into the story yet. Or maybe the couple doesn't want to stay together badly enough. Considerations.

It's a delicate balance I'm creating. I need to write just the right chemistry to make it not obvious to the audience or the characters that they choose to stay together, and wretched enough that they also want to leave. I have a ton of other rules I've created for myself about this story, so I need to honor those as well. A puzzle.

Hate jigsaw puzzles. Love interpersonal puzzles. BTW.

It's probably why I like producing films. The moment you have an idea for a film, it's a problem. How are you going to write it, will the script be any good, can you get it funded, what about casting, how are you going to make it, will anyone like it, how will you get it to the audience, will it make you any money? Stuff like that.

Also, I'd like to observe that we need an additional form of punctuation added to the English language. In the above paragraph, I captured a list of questions. Items in that list are distinguished by commas. Most lists, however, are not a list of questions. I think most readers are used to reading lists of declarations and that's kind of an auto-pilot situation. So when presented with a list of questions, the reader must pick-up on the context and adjust as they go. When listing questions in my writing, I would prefer to make it super easy on the reader and provide some kind of grammatical cue that these are questions. This is probably not high on many priority lists, or even existing. Another puzzle.

I don't know how to end this essay.


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