**UPDATE** This was was originally published on February 8, 2018.**
Starting this on a somber note. Fair warning.
Just after Christmas, my family had to say bon voyage to our two cats. Seventeen years of memories that came to a natural end. I thankfully had the chance to say goodbye to both. As a result, I look at my friend, my mascot, my biggest cheerleader and realize she's getting older and closer to the wild frontier beyond our carbon-based capsules. I've been giving her far more hugs and snuggles than she probably wants. Thankfully, she's always reminding me that life is an infinite and transient thing. Death is but a small part of that transition. Yup. It's true. She says that to me all the time.
I have officially become the crazy dog-dude.
I've also been thinking of an old buddy of mine, who died several years ago around this time. When I found out (roughly a month after it happened), I was living in a glorified shithole trying to get my career off the ground. He was one of the people in my life who supported without judgment, stubbornly reminding me to "prove the bacon eaters wrong." Once he was gone, a big piece of me left. It took a while to process and grow from it. Still, every year I'm reminded of that loss.
Life really is a funny thing, ain't it?
All of this has created a sense of urgency that, frankly, isn't productive. I look at how far I've come, but then immediately think it's not far at all. I think about all of the obstacles I face daily (money-issues being the biggest), and I consider the amount of luck that goes into the business. I think of all the stories of people's whose dreams fell short. I think about my age. It's really stupid. So many bigger problems in the world, right?
What the hell, Drew. The glass isn't half-empty!
It's times like these when I lock the door, turn off the lights, and sink into cinema. This habit goes all the way back to my early years, watching "The Trouble With Angels" in the living room at 4:30 in the morning. If I had a problem that wouldn't go away, an answer would appear in 120 minutes.
Last month, I revisited "Tora! Tora Tora!" along with "Donovan's Reef". While on opposite ends of the spectrum in a lot of ways, the two films rattle my brain with awesome vibes. The first is an excellent reminder of humanity containing infinite amounts of anomalistic tendencies. It's honestly beautiful to watch.
"Donovan's Reef" is the constant reminder to let loose and be free. It also reminds me of my grandfather. The toxic level of sexist undertones in the film has made it more difficult for me to enjoy as the years wear on. However, the sense of liberation still remains, and I need that reminder every so often. On a more personal note, these two films were recorded on a VHS tape by my grandfather years and years ago. I still bring that up with him, asking why those two? He still can't remember.
I've also watched several Asian films, including Hiroshi Inagaki's "Samurai" trilogy. Damn, these are beautiful films. Masterful editing. I have to remind myself these films came out of the 50's. They're on FilmStruck, in case you were wondering.
Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift.
Anyone who questions or criticizes the acting abilities of Marilyn Monroe needs to see this film. Alongside her iconic roles in "How to Marry a Millionaire", "The Seven Year Itch", "Some Like It Hot", and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", Marilyn had a hell of a streak in drama and thrillers. "Niagara", "Don't Bother to Knock", "Bus Stop"...these show someone far more grounded, intimate, and lost. "The Misfits" sums up the whole package. There are moments that are iconic Marilyn: the smile, the giggle, the walk, the look. Then there's the rest of this human being, and she bares it all. So much sadness, so much reflection. She should've received an Oscar for this performance.
All of these cinematic prescriptions helped me get over the January hump. However, there was a week or so when I kept thinking of new ideas for projects. One after another after another…it sent me for a loop. I had to take three days to get a hold of myself, slow myself down, narrow down the ideas and then march forward. I'm just an impatient son of a bitch when it comes right down to it. It's part of what keeps me going. It's also part of what sometimes paralyzes me from not trying anything.
It's times like these when I'm thankful for yoga, meditation, and ultimate frisbee.
There's a lot of work to get done this year. We've entered the next stage in our feature script, which calls for meticulous dissection, multiple revisions, and numerous additional drafts. At the moment, I admit the idea overwhelms me. Hell, this is always the scariest part. Once the train gets going, I'm on board, blissfully scared with a big-ass smile on my face.
In addition, I began work on a limited-series podcast. More details on that as it comes closer to fruition. I kind of wish I could put it off, but this is an idea that needs to be tended to sooner than later.
My "secret project" is still moving forward. I've been obsessing over it for the last several months, and my brain has started turning to mush. It's getting to the point where others need to see it and give me the brutal reviews. Once the project is completed, I'll talk quite a bit about it. It's challenged me in a lot of ways..ways I never expected. It's also pushed me harder than I predicted. Those are always the things to keep in life.
Death begets new life. That's the saying, right? Close enough.