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So for the last two months and a half I have been buckling down and working on my screenplay. I know the story, it’s something coming from a real place, it’s got a blend of humour and drama and I hate every word of it. Simple.

"...my impeccable skill at laziness..."

I put off starting for ages because I felt overwhelmed with what I could work on, feeling like I should be working on something and being frightened of ruining it. Then finding a space to write and environment that suited me dragged it out even further. There were lot's of things I distracted myself with which I still do now. Self-doubt is a major factor in my reservations about writing but so is my impeccable skill at laziness: distractions from the internet, Telly, my to-watch pile and my to-read pile have all somehow held me back in the last few years. And enriched me. The latter two are both very effective in improving storytelling, especially reading, whether writing for film or a novel. Reading is key. Or so I tell myself as I indulge in a Stephen King doorstop. But I am not so disciplined as to cut these things out completely. Now they are what I look forward to after a session. My hindrance is that there is not enough hours in the day.

"Quarantine or not, writing is hard."

But some days I don’t hate it; some days there are scenes that just sit just right whilst others I just know what I’m doing with the words and the characters and everyone is behaving correctly. Nothing has been smooth sailing, and never let anyone make you think that it is. Quarantine or not, writing is hard.

I spent the first week planning, although I had thought so much about it that this did not take me too long. Rearranging everyone, getting to know everyone and flesh out something that was workable. It started feeling good. I even wrote little short stories for the characters to get to know them better and feel out the vibe. Characters that wouldn’t even feature prominently mattered and do matter because that way you know the tone for everyone, right from the start. As someone who enjoys writing for film and prose, it’s an amazing tool to use for yourself even if no one ever sees them.

"...I cut the first forty pages."

The next two to three weeks, I wrote and wrote and wrote. And hated everything. I was so bored with what I was writing and that was when it was apparent that this wasn’t working. I set a keystone in the story, a turning point for me; if I reached this point, I would see if any of this was worth saving. And I got there, and everything after was more interesting to me. So I cut the first forty pages.

Those forty pages sent me into a chasm of self-doubt and worry to me. Forty pages, forty minutes of a film was a lot to lose and although so mundane the battle with my self-confidence began again. So concerned was I that I now only had twelve pages after weeks of work (The forty pages I saved into a separate document, hidden away for no one but myself to find), I had the internal battle of move on or restore the pages to make me feel better. The latter option was temporary relief which would come full circle when I remembered what I hadn’t been working. But the former option let me work with the information I had as context to enhance my writing. This was a difficult decision for me.

"If you finish it, you can change it."

Eventually after turmoil, pacing and frantic panic, I chose to press on with my measly twelve pages. My goal was a blend of: get past forty pages, finish and write something I liked. Once again, it was going well. The characters I was now left with were more interesting to have interact; the situation had more conflict, mystery and challenge. It was just kind of working. Not everything I wrote I could honestly say was worth thinking about but I kept reminding myself: If you finish it, you can change it.


That’s all that has kept me going. Finish a draft. Because they are right, the good ideas are there but never come through in the first go. Yet, those ideas don’t vanish. Sometimes they need to be reworked in if something is changeable. Sometimes you’ve left them out because they don’t fit in this story. That’s all right too; better to save it for the right story than to shoe-horn it into the wrong one.

"...the fear of messing up [has] dragged the process of writing this script out..."

All this thought process is healthy but did not come easy and still doesn’t. Because I have to remind myself of this every day. The self-doubt, the crippling lack of confidence and the fear of messing up have dragged the process of writing this script out longer than I had anticipated. But I keep going and still want to write and finish it and after all of this, that’s a nice feeling. I’m under no illusion that this story is all I have. I’m capable of more, and maybe when I finish the script I’ll feel that more often. Feel like I can do it. Feel like with each project, I get better as a writer. No matter what the world makes you think, you are allowed to keep learning and you don't have to be perfect.


I have the last two acts to write and a segment in the middle needs re-working with some further additions. Once done, the edit can begin. It feels like it should be done before Quarantine is over, but if I can’t do that, I will still finish it, in time. Even that thought fills me with anxiety, like I’ve failed if I don’t complete it. But I have to stop and think: I will. And then I can edit something and make it better; fix all the stuff that I don’t like that is flying through my head right now at a million miles an hour, trying to overwhelm, scaring me into submission. Because that’s where I’ll learn. And have something I can be proud of.


As they say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and a story isn’t a story until it’s told.

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This needs to stop. The money pours from my savings as though I cut a whole in all my pockets, opened my front door to welcome the thieves and gave out my bank details to the general public in letters addressed ‘To whom it may concern’. It once seemed a frivolous thing, this saving malarkey, but now I give more than I receive and yet cannot recall satisfaction in my work. It seems silly, I know, to be whining and whingeing like a self-entitled child, but you see this isn’t my lot.


How can one who has worked so hard and done so well in school because of the aforementioned hard-work find themselves so financially inebriated? And why does it seem like that hard work should have been rewarded with hand-outs, not more hard-work. It all seems rather silly to me. So I should keep on working? Harder and harder? And perhaps I shall get my reward at the end of it all? And should I not, I shall be convinced by some higher power that my reward was life and that I wasted it by working too hard for that elusive reward? That life wasted by the time spent trying to survive it?


Doesn’t sound quite right.


But I’m sure dear reader you see my point also. That to work yourself into a stupor is to be expected but is that work satisfactory to you or the bossman? Hardly. It seems that we all suffer from suck-it-up syndrome; a condition that has unfortunately sunk its insidious tendrils into the mind-bank of the world and tricked us all into thinking that this is just the way life is. It can’t be, can it? It just seems so silly that the Gods, or Mother Nature, or the universe looked upon planet earth and thought that we needed a Power structure of money. Because money will sort it all out, it will keep the human race in check; stop all that pollution. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.


They selected the human race for this discourse, and looked upon individuals and thought ‘If that man owns lots, he can have others to work for those things but within his profit margin for he must make the most of all of them for he worked hard coming up with the idea.’ And then looked upon the worker and thought, ‘These people must be so exhausted but alas there is not enough room at the top of our invention of the power ladder so we must therefore keep the workers down by working them so hard they’re too exhausted to think twice about it.’ Revolutionary.


Give man these tools, and what shell he do with them. Corrupt and abuse those tools for his own self-gain. The bigger picture is a sorry scene indeed. We are all the bigger. But in our little lives, who matters more than us? And so we have the personal toil - who to help? The community or ourselves? How can we help a community when we cannot help ourselves? Who should look after the community? When should one count oneself as part of the community and not them self?


What are we meant to do? Fight and stand-up for our rights? It will do as much good as yelling into the abyss, on a crater orbiting Pluto as a black hole begins to form in the near distance. It all seems so pointless, tedious and, as mentioned before, hard.

The light at the end of the tunnel is but a single point, like a pixel on the fritz of an inexpensive GP waiting room monitor screen as it replays slideshows, in silence, as one ponders their lifespan (or after this rant, welcomes death with an aching embrace), of various seasonal illnesses that they would prefer you treated rather than spread out of in-politeness. So why do we keep going? I suppose there is no singular answer for we all have different reasons to keep going.


But I guess the consumerist world can never quite consume me. This beautiful planet, the birds in the trees, the earth at my feet where thousands of years of history has taken place and the stories we tell across the world, the evolution of all these things… They’re life to me, in my darkest times. I am not okay with minimum wage, I am not okay fighting every day in the hopes that one day I’ll get to where I want to be, I’m not okay with growing-up and losing those pleasantries, simplicities of childhood and most of all I am not okay that this state of affairs has led to me turning all that hate in on myself for there is nowhere else for it to go. I am not okay.


Just give us a break.

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  • Writer's pictureKerry Chambers

These people, who knock me back as I stalk through the rain that falls like silver against the shop windows blinding, luminescent lights; They sense I am different from them. That is why they are watching me, sneering, allowing the interrogative beams of the storefronts to guide their mindless gaze to me. I can feel their eyes all over my being, scrutinizing everything I am.


Beneath me, that is what they are even as they attempt, with contempt, to leer down their noses at me; metaphysically incapable of reaching a status as captivating and divine as mine.


With a beast of the deepest jade clinging to their unfortunate vessels, these people shove passed me, onwards with their insignificant lives, never knowing what it is to feel. Day after day I am forced to witness, with a painful monotony, these people believing in their own importance, thinking themselves to be a substantial part of the universe, of time and space, of each other’s lives.


No.


When you are just a person, you are just… here.


I watch their bleak expressions, false smiles, their confused movements as they stumble and struggle across the plains of existence, a vast land of little promise. They can’t embrace life as I do. They cannot revel in the unparalleled actuality that I shall be eternally in, for they cannot experience my personal enlightenment. This state I speak of, that seldom have known, has been found through one thing: passion. It is inevitable.


I am a strong believer of passion, of the special few who can channel their own to communicate with others who, heaving a sigh of relief, consume it, indulge in it.


The passionate are underrated. I should know. To understand something that is far from simple confuses and frightens the ordinary, they draw back and refuse to admire the splendour of such a complex phenomenon of the human mind. Yet, as I have said this, I must point out that my own discovery was delayed. Always sensing that this essence (for passion is a beautiful, fragile essence of the soul, often locked away) brewed deep inside of me, it finally erupted with everlasting thanks to one thing.


She.


An entity that haunts, both my dreams and my heart.


She


Just the thought of her existence makes me tremble.


She… with the hair of golden satin; her eyes refreshing as a lush spring meadow, glimmering green as though the sun shines before them, always. Upon an enchanting face is a firm mouth, with pink lips voluptuous and inviting against the smooth skin so creamy, plump, delicate that it is easy to forget the small beauty mark, on her round cheek.


Charming and appealing is this face, but it resembles a closed book to those about her, impossible to read. Yet I can. I have the key, the power to open this book and, like a language only we know, understand the words written on the page.


She understands me too. I can see it like a rising tide in her eyes as she gazes off, consumed in the labyrinthine riddle of her own mind. One of my fears is not that she shall hide her mind away from me for if I ever should choose to ask, I know, she would let me in, guide me ardently, as the princess did for Theseus. We are one and the same, destined for passion, able to lead one another through the darkness of mortal earth towards our celestial haven where few can tread.


These people I struggle to emerge from as they flock about me, scurrying across my path as I swiftly ease my way out of their swarm to turn down the little side street approaching the home of my blissful bane, could never know another human being as I know her. Amongst them are those who claim to be her companions: impossible, the deceitful can only desire what they do not comprehend.


She and I are one and the same; in a realm of our own, sacred, beautiful, untainted by the passionless creatures of this earth. Not a soul can intrude on the Eden we have created for ourselves.


I watch her, lost in our world, admiring her smile, her heart, her being. I long for the moment I can touch her skin, as desirable as velvet grazing the finger tips. My patience wears thin as I count the minutes before I can hear her heart-warming voice, caressing my ears. Never has a noise – no, sound – no, song (for a voice like hers is a sweet, intoxicating melody) been so mystifying.


Now, at last, I reach my desired destination. Resting upon a familiar, rough, concrete wall, still damp from the rain that shed its final drop less than five minutes before, I stare up at the first story window of the mid terraced town house, indulging in the spell of my yearning, unceasingly aware that my very soul wanders the rooms of that flat. Through brick, cement and plaster, I can still feel the sturdy tug of the string Edward Rochester described as the very thing that fastened him to his beloved. However I have no fear of it snapping, for I shall never allow our parting, to create such a distance that could break our bonds, to suffer a terminal sickness following our unfulfilled fates and lost hearts.


A clear night, the moon beaming its Cheshire smile, I stroll towards the garden gate, sensing that enough time has gone by, never removing my gaze from the single pane window, catching glimpses of her shadows dancing across the walls and ceiling as she goes about her evening routine. My fingers trip over the iron, absorbing the imprints of her upon the metal, before pushing it open gently, silently as her attentive landlord has oiled the hinges once a week just to reassure himself of the elegance of his home.

As I step softly up the garden path, through the single pane glass, I hear that voice I long to lose myself in everlastingly sing the song she loves most, the lyrics etched on her heart she knows them so well.


Smirking at her absent rendition, I ascend the steps up to the front door, unlocked until half past nine in the evening, anticipating the moment that there is no wall between us. Right at this very moment she would be getting ready to relax for the evening. I know her routines so very well. I know her so very well, every look, gesture, word. Utterly, entirely, completely. I know her.


So near now, I shudder as I reach for the handle of the door, overwhelmed to know that she is not far from my side, that our selves, with nothing to bar us, can unite our souls. All is perfect as I close the front door soundlessly and make for the polished wooden stairs before me.


Except for one minor detail. She does not know me…


But she will.


(Originally composed in 2013, a psychological fiction I also posted regrettably on Inkitt)

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A Space for Reviews, World Cinema Appreciation, Essays and Reflections by Writer Kerry Chambers

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