I keep coming back to this topic, and I’m not sure why, but it’s probably because if you have nothing to write about then writing becomes a moot point. I have never believed that everything that spills out onto a page is sitting somewhere in my brain waiting to get out, in fact I believe the opposite is true. I actually think the stories I write about come from somewhere outside of me. They come from experience and events in my life that I somehow transfer to the page. I think what makes me a writer is the ability to see a story. It’s hard to explain what enables me to come up with sentences that move me, but recently I’ve been taking a screenwriting course, and I’ve learned that coming up with a long thought out story is harder than you would imagine, and provoked thoughts in me that I never had before. And since my teacher doesn’t know about my blog, I think it’s safe for me to say that I’m kind of bullshitting my way through class. Today she read my beat-sheet for the first act of my movie, which was supposed to have a screen time of around a half hour, and she so gracefully told me that I had written a brilliant set of events that will take up all of ten minutes.

I have a general notion of what my screenplay is going to be about (since it’s based on a short story I wrote), but the actual story isn’t easy. Screenplays are moments, actions and reactions. It is a series of events that when looked at make a whole picture, while short stories are little pieces of my soul that I allow the world to gawk at. I do think I have a flair for dialogue, but a screenplay without a well thought out story with a lot of dialogue is kind of pointless. And that kind of made me think about my life and how perhaps my life was maybe a lot of dialogue and no story.

Maybe that’s why it’s been so hard for me to tell you how to come up with a story, or how I focus long enough to peer into my soul in order to flesh out an idea, because perhaps that’s all they are … ideas. Perhaps that’s all I’m capable of, ideas and not stories. When I first started writing I wrote outside the box. I wrote stories that were shocking and revealing and moved a reader to relate whether they wanted to or not, but I always knew that I wrote that way because I had no other way to write. My brain didn’t form perfect sentences, and perfect syntax. I was the kid in class who wrote with a pencil because I had to erase every other word because they were in the wrong order, or the letters were flowing into words they didn’t belong in. My spelling was so bad that I spent my life looking for different words and phrases that meant the same things I was thinking but couldn’t spell. I wrote around my problems, and into an abyss. I wrote the things that no one would write, and I thought the fact that I was different made me special. Recently I’ve realized that my life is in fact all dialogue and no story.

I look around my brain for stories based on convoluted ideas I find amusing, but my depression prevents me from living out stories like other people do. I don’t often talk about it, but people say you suffer from depression, and I had always been convinced that someone with depression made up that term, because you do actually suffer from it. Depression for me is a deep stare that blurs my peripheral vision and softens my senses. There was this line from a movie I heard once where the actress in question was aggravated and screamed that because she was an actress she not only had feelings, she had ALL of them. I often wonder what that feels like. I often wonder what it feels like to be part of things instead of watching them happen. My emotions are dull and out of focus. My voice defaults on quiet; I’ve heard the sound of my breath more than I have my voice. I’m comfortable not interacting with people, and when I do interact I feel that I have to be funny or insightful in order to continue being invited to things. And to be truthful, my experiences have proved me right. The couple times I’ve been in a relationship I do so in constant fear that the person I’m with will figure me out and leave (the last time I seriously dated someone I ended up with a crown on the tooth I cracked from clinching my teeth every night), and when they eventually do, I’m relieved that I don’t have that stress anymore. They think I’m cold, but after ending it my heart slows down, and my breath becomes regular, and I’m convinced that they’re better off, so I never mourn the loss. They have all actually been better off, oddly enough. Every one I’ve ever dated long term breaks up with me and finds the love of their lives a couple weeks later. One of my friends calls me the near death experience of relationships after you date me you gain great clarity. When the depression gets too bad, I sit home and avoid phone calls, and try to figure out ways to miss work, because I’ve lost friends by not being on stage.

Maybe this is why ideas are easy for me to create, but details are not. So maybe I can’t tell you how to find a story in you, because there are no stories in me. I can tell you this much, I’ve written everything I’ve ever written without a story, and I still write. I’m afraid to be around people but I still get dressed up and do it, and I’m afraid that people won’t like me if I’m not funny … well that fear I’ll have to live with.

So this section of finding a story was kind of useless, but in my zeal for giving you insight into finding something to write about, I found a little piece of me buried in some hole, and I’m going to excuse myself while I try and find the rope I gave up looking for a long time ago. Kael.

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