I've been obsessed with creating something great for as long as I can remember. It was drilled into me from a young age how special and gifted I was, and I've wanted to prove everybody right forever. When I was 12 years old and my father died I wrote about it. The author Mary Gordon told me it was great and offered to help me hone the craft of writing, an offer I never took up for reasons many and mostly unsound. They read it at his memorial service against my wishes, not the first time something would be read aloud or printed despite my protestations that it should not be. I think this was a large part of what soured me on writing for quite some time. It was both humiliating and degrading. My work was taken from me and used by others. It was, as you can imagine, an exceedingly personal document combining unfathomable loss with a 12 year old's second crush, and a host of other ingredients. I have never read it again since that day and I no longer have a copy.
That monologue was pretty good for a 12 year old but it was not great writing. Raw and emotional, yes, but lacking polish. It had always been my aspiration to be a writer, from the time when I was very little. Other 7 year olds wanted to be firemen or astronauts. I thought, why go to the moon when you can bring the moon to you in your own head, and shape it however you like.
The urge to write did not die on that day more than a decade ago but it went underground, buried deep within me as I set about the impossible task of living in a post-patriarch world. It emerged from time to time, but I did my best to supress it, because it was a part of the old me and I didn't want to deal with the old me.
I couldn't hold it back forever, though, and around the time I was 17 or 18 I started wanting to write again, seriously. I tried my hand at a couple of short stories and some aborted attempts at screenplays, but I was rusty and dissatisfied. Most of all I resented all those years when I hadn't really written anything. When I hadn't done much of anything at all except try to build a new me. So much time lost.
But now it's back for good, and I'm in a place emotionally and intellectually where I can handle the fact that I'm not the writer I would have been had I spent that decade honing the craft rather than hiding from it. It doesn't mean it's easy, though, and that's one of the reasons why I'm so impatient. I don't feel like someone who decided he wanted to write or make films a few months ago and has had a few stumbles trying to get out of the gate. I feel like a guy who has been wanting to do this since he was like 5 years old and is in a state of arrested development.
But I also underestimate the speed of progress. I think that if I stink now I'll stink when I'm 26 and then when I'm 35 and pretty soon you're in your late 40's and realizing that it's never going to happen for you, at least not in the film world (writing can be done any time, really.) It's nuts. I've changed over the last few years, even the last few months. Improved, learned, practiced. Who knows how I'll be a year from now, or five. I don't. I'm impatient because I regret the past, but that's pointless. And I recognize that in other people. I know that others can change in relatively short periods of time, or recover from mistakes, I just don't give that benefit to myself.
I just have to keep repeating the need for patience with myself over and over, like a mantra. A mantra. A mantra. A mantra....