Viewing life curiously.
There are two elevators in the building where I work. Either will take you from the lobby to our studios in 15 seconds…unless someone requests a stop prior to reaching our floor. Rarely, and I do mean RARELY, do I take the elevator. It was on my third day at work in the building when I got stuck in elevator number 2…alone…for 37 minutes. I didn’t panic, I just pressed the call button and carried on a lively conversation with a soothing voice on the other end. I was granted freedom by three co-workers who pried the doors open with a screw driver and pulled me out. Since then, I’ve been a frequent traveler of the stairs. I’m proud to say it only takes me 1 minute 17 seconds (on a good day) to ascend from the lobby to the studios…and I’m not winded. I share this with you only as a preface to the reasoning for me loitering in the lobby…outside the elevator…yesterday.
Ten years ago, one of my dearest friends kicked my butt in a game of Scrabble. Prior to sitting down for the game, I displayed the stereotypical show of testosterone by pumping up my skinny chest and telling her I was going to crush her skull with my vast vocabulary. Mind you, she was(is) an English major, but that caused no reason for disquiet. Needless to say, she whipped me so badly, I went into intellectual shock! Now any other person would have used the opportunity to taunt, however upon stowing the game, she rummaged through her purse and pulled out a highlighter. She handed it to me and said, “This is your sword to slay your next opponents.” Ever since then, when I set out to read a book, newspaper, or magazine…I have a highlighter close by to temper my vocabulary justice with mercy.
Each year on my birthday I impose a challenge to myself to complete a goal within 90 days. This year, I set out to compose a screenplay. All that was required was to write one page each day in order to complete the goal. I purchased three old school, black and white composition notebooks, along with a box of sharpened number 2 pencils…and set out to begin my mission on Monday, August 7.
I decided to use the plaza in front of my workplace as the backdrop to get motivated. On the tenth day of my quest, as I sat on the antique wrought iron bench, shaded from the sweltering afternoon sun by a bellowing cherry tree, for 20 minutes scribbling, erasing, tearing paper, and finally just closing my eyes and meditating…in an attempt to get started, I was startled by the voice of a young lady, in her mid to late 20’s, saying “Excuse me, sir.” and extending her hand with a small slip of paper in it. She asked me to take the piece of paper and before looking at it, listen to her observation. She told me that she had been watching me from her office window in the building, adjacent to the one I worked in, and wasn’t quite sure what I was up to, but had a sense that I was struggling to get started. She said that the piece of paper had a word and its definition on it and maybe, just maybe it would help me.
I kid you not! I was shocked! She told me that she enjoyed writing but now that she was working in a law firm, she just couldn’t find the time or motivation to do it as much as she did while in school. And that sometimes an idea comes from just one word…one thought. That’s it! As she turned to depart, she smiled and said…”Courage”. She was gone before I had an opportunity to say anything more than ‘Thanks”. As for the word on the paper:
fallacy (n.) Deception; an error in logic.
She even used it in a sentence: Fallacy of intellect is deduced by insecurity.
Eureka! Well, not exactly. I had to let it marinate for a while…3 days to be factual. In the middle of one of my sleepless nights, from her syntax I was able to formulate the opening scene for my project. And from there, I made sacrifices of my time to stay on course with my goal. This past Sunday evening at 1035, I completed my script…on time! I am still indecisive about the title, which at this point is “9 Before 8”, however I am thrilled that despite the many obstacles, I was able to accomplish my goal.
You must know that I did see my muse two other times. The second of which was just yesterday in the lobby as I was about to begin my jaunt up the 164 steps that lead to my office floor, I noticed her smile among the small crowd that was awaiting the decent of the elevator. She waved me over and asked how the writing was going. I asked if she had a couple of minutes and upon a positive reply, I reached into my satchel, pulled out the finished draft and read three pages of the script to her. As I awaited her response, my nervousness was interrupted by the caustic ding of the elevator announcing its arrival. She smiled…and as she turned to board the elevator…she handed me yet another slip of paper.
Last night, I finished transcribing my script and will drop it in the mail tomorrow for my dear friend who kicked my butt in Scrabble a decade ago. To this day, she proof reads everything I write…including these long winded blogs, and continues to challenge, support, and encourage me.
muse (n.) A guiding spirit. A source of inspiration.
Good friends can certainly make life A-muse-ing!