It’s around 3:30AM. It’s my last night in Montreal. I need to be in a taxi heading to the airport by 11AM.
I had wanted to write blog posts while I was here. I didn’t anticipate how exhausting this writing seminar would be. My mind was racing so much during the four days that I only got four hours of sleep each night. The nearly ten hours of sitting each day nearly did me in as well.
The seminar was conducted by a guy named Robert McKee. He wrote a book called Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting which is considered the how-to Bible for screen writers. While I don’t want to be a screen writer, I did want to learn the intricacies of telling a good story. Four days and pages and pages of notes later, I think I, pretty much, get it.
So, now I go home with all of this new knowledge, inspiration, and awareness. I’m scared that once I get back home, I’ll just plop back into my chair, in front of my computer, and nothing will change. I have to fight to ensure that doesn’t happen.
In the midst of being excited, stimulated, focused, and inspired, I found myself not obsessing about food. I also didn’t crave heavy foods. I wanted to eat things that were light so I could keep feeling good. That’s such a contrast to my experience in NYC a few weeks ago.
However, being so energized didn’t keep me from feeling self-conscious about my size. The awareness was always there. I wondered what the cab drivers thought of me. I wondered what the people who sat in the same row as me were thinking of me crammed into the seat. I wondered what the person sitting behind me thought when I would squirm around or lean forward to find a more comfortable position to sit in.
Because I was sitting in the second row, I wondered what Mr. McKee thought of me when he’d come to the side of the stage I was sitting on and look down in my direction.
In my row, most of the time, there was only me and another woman. I was really grateful for the space, but I couldn’t help wondering if people were avoiding the row because of me.
I didn’t really chat with anyone a whole lot. Granted, I was anxious, tired, and really wanted to stay focused. It wasn’t my intention to chat up a bunch of people. However, when I would look around, during the breaks, and see people getting to know each other and bonding (you do that when you spend 10 hours a day together for four days straight), I felt…inadequate.
On the one hand, I think of myself as being totally social inept. On the other hand, I don’t want to do small talk. I want to skip it and get to know people on a deeper level. And then, whatever desire I do have to connect, is blocked by me feeling so uncomfortable with my appearance that I would rather avoid talking to people than feel the discomfort that comes with feeling self-conscious. It’s not just my weight that I feel like crap about. It’s also my crazy hair, my large pores, my Nystagmus, and the four ice pick scars on my face. I just feel so…repulsive.
There was a guy who, for part of the seminar, sat in front of me. We chatted for a bit. At times, I got the sense, he wanted to chat more. Instead, I consciously averted eye contact and took my iPhone out to check e-mail. I feel bad about that.
At the end of the seminar, I saw that same guy standing and talking with Mr. McKee. Looking back, I should have went over and just thanked Mr. McKee. Expressing gratitude is so important to me. But, yet again, I just quickly walked through the lobby so I could leave the theatre, catch a cab, and get back to my hotel room as soon as possible.
I didn’t just learn about story structure at this seminar. I learned things that, I know, have changed me at my core–things about choice, and change, and “characterization” vs. “character”. I will write more about this stuff in the upcoming days.
Ending on a practical note:
The week before I came here, I was drinking a lot of juice and a lot green smoothies. While I’ve been here, I’ve barely eaten anything raw. Today, when I get back, I’m looking forward to my first green smoothie in days.
Exercise wise, I did a fair amount of moving around, but did way more sitting.