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The Plot Thickens

Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

Inspiration (Part 2)

“Art has to be about more than just, ‘My life is great and I’m good at drawing,’” says Spencer (Barry Keoghan), the protagonist of American Animals, as he plans a robbery. He’s clearly going about giving his life meaning via a significant event the wrong way, but it’s the thought that counts, right? 

I don’t really draw, though I do create visual art in the form of films, and I write short stories. My life is not what I intended in that I never wanted to be a person who gave their life and art meaning through their exes. I don’t want to be special because of what someone else did to me or even what bad thing I did to myself. Yet, that’s where I am. My breakups had such a huge impact on my life that I feel there has to be some way for me to quantify the effect of these experiences and express them to others. 

I struggle being creative and remaining true to myself without bringing up my mistakes and past romantic relationships. I love a good drama probably more than the next person and oh boy do I love low-key, slice-of-life character studies, but is it engaging for an audience to journey with a character as they learn something that seems like common-knowledge, like not texting your ex to apologize in the hopes of them maybe wanting to catch up over dinner?

The things I’ve learned about how to have mature, adult relationships are only life changing or interesting for me as an individual who didn’t know these things before their inciting incidents occurred. 

In Nocturnal Animals, Amy Adams excuses herself from the creative side of the art world in saying, “To be really, really good you have to come from some place inside that I’m just not sure I have.”

This line scares me because I’m often afraid that it’s true for me too. What if I never figure out how to be a good writer and take my experiences but make them accessible for others?

Now my struggle is twofold: one,  figure out how to move passed the past, and make up a real narrative rather than a thinly veiled story of my own life and two, learn how to adapt themes and lessons important to me into something engaging, if not illuminating, for others.

I’d better start, ‘cause I’ve got an awfully long way to go.

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