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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stuart Davis and Chapter 6

Hey, all.
I met a guy through a writer’s group whose work sounded interesting. The” guy” is Stuart Davis. I went to his blog and started reading “Señor Cinco,” a book he is publishing chapter-by-chapter as he writes it. It’s great! Funny, mysterious, and always leaving me waiting with baited breath for the next installment. (OK, so I’ll brush my teeth.) It’s about a guy with extreme OCD who gets pulled, kicking and screaming into intrigue. His narrative has made me laugh aloud several times, and the story is full of surprises. You really should check it out.
For those of you who are writers, you might like to read some of the other sites he is connected to—or to which he is connected, if we want to be proper. They contain entertaining and enlightening material.
One alert: there is a little bit of foul language in a couple of the chapters of “Señor Cinco.” It’s not pervasive in the story.
Having read “Señor Cinco” I went to Amazon to check out Stuart’s book, too. I read the excerpt. Same funny style, same moving-the-story-along in the most entertaining of ways, same mysterious bent.  This is a career I intend to follow.

Now on with this week’s installment of "God Didn't Give Me These Talents So I Could Be Miserable Not Using Them." (The penultimate chapter.)

Chapter 6: Snowballs
Once the ball starts rolling, it will pick up size and momentum like a snowball on the best sledding hill in town. As you improve your talents, your attitudes change, your interaction with others changes, and believe it or not, your circumstances will change, too.
Dr. Jonathan Chamberlain wrote “Eliminating Your Self-defeating Behaviors” (Brigham Young University Press, 1978, with multiple printings). If you can find a copy, it’s well worth your time. He deals with the self-doubts and hang-ups that we have and helps us do away with them. (Very often, I learned, our feeling about ourselves and our abilities are formed very early in life. They are deduced by children’s minds; but adult minds understand things differently. We can overcome negative feelings and behaviors quite effectively if we understand this principle.) He points out that, as we’ve already discussed, you can’t change anyone else—only yourself. Then he illustrates that when you change yourself, you change your relationships with others, so they change in relation to you, which changes who they are to some degree, which affects other aspects of their lives, which affects other people…. The snowball rolls on.
As you begin to nourish yourself, you’ll feel different. As a plant that’s gone too long without water reacts when you finally give it some attention, your spirit will open and lift. The more you feed it, the more it will stretch, and those dusty, gray moth wings will open, revealing the true colors of your talent.
My early experience with the theater was crucial to my confidence. My work was in demand, so I had to schedule time to work. In the case of the first movie that I adapted, we didn’t own a VCR, so I arranged to use the one at our church building late at night, when our children were home with Daddy and no one was at the church. I sat there alone many nights until at least midnight, transcribing every word of the script. It was intense; it was even a little scary some nights. But the lessons I learned about character and structure from dissecting that film were valuable tools that continue to serve me to this day.
Having one project follow another kept me motivated. As I mentioned, I sometimes worried that I was devoting too much time to plays; but I soon found a balance that we could all live with. So really there was no suddenness about it; I had time for me because I’d made time for me!
You must be consistent. Make “your time” as routine as brushing your teeth. As you do, you’ll find yourself getting more and more comfortable with the real you, and it will be easier and easier to not only act like, but be a ___________. You’ll know when it’s really happening. Smiling at the person in the mirror will bring sheer joy, because you’ll really like who that person is!
Most importantly, be thankful for the changes in your life, and let God know you are. He is the most powerful tool we have in our search for the meanings of our lives. Make sure He knows you realize that, and He will bless you.

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