Archive for January, 2013

Mission and Resolution: Freedom

Posted in Inspiration, Mission, New Year, Passion, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2013 by Patrick Roe

Someone asked me recently what my New Years resolution was. At first I said that I didn’t have one. What is the use of saying you are going to jog every morning, go to the gym 4 days a week, cut out all forms of sugar, if you are just going to give it up 3 weeks in? But then I realized that New Years resolutions don’t have to be some contrived piece of pseudo-inspiration that you only tell people in hopes that their opinion of you goes up a few notches. It can be something practical, something that really touches your soul and speaks to your greater mission in life. I realized that I had already thought of my resolution, and it was the same as the mission statement for my life/career: I want to write myself to freedom.

As an American, I join the citizens of many nations worldwide who consider themselves “free”. So you might be asking yourself, ‘Isn’t he already free?’ I first realized how much we have in common with prisoners when I fell in love with a French girl, only to realize that the only way she could stay in America is if we got married ASAP. We didn’t do it, and not because we don’t love each other enough, nor because we don’t plan on getting married someday (because we certainly do). It was just the idea that we were being forced into it. I would think one of the basic freedoms in life, and one of the qualifiers of being “free”, would be the freedom to be with the person you love. The way the government sees it is you have that liberty as long as you accomplish it through the means they have decided on. In other words, our freedom is on their terms, not ours. How many other freedoms do we think we have that really have strings attached?

Needless to say, this is a frustrating notion. However there is a light at the end of the tunnel; you can achieve that true level of freedom. We see it every day with famous actors, writers, directors, musicians, etc. You might brush that off as ‘sure, because they have money’, and you’d only be half right. The truth is that power is the currency of the free world that can separate you from all the people living restricted lives. Some may say that “money is power”, but I would tell those people to look at politicians, members of the CIA, FBI, and other government bodies, news correspondants, college professors, etc. All of which (with a few exceptions) do not have ungodly wealth, but have significantly more freedom to live how and where they want to than all of us down here gathering pollen for the beehive. How have they done this? All they have done is pick a path that they knew would ultimately lead them to a specific goal, and they stuck to it.

Jack London once said that he had great resentment for the upper  class. Since he wasn’t born with any form of spoon in his mouth, he made it his mission to infiltrate the world of the wealthy through the only thing he was good at: writing. And guess what? It worked. Not only is he one of the most highly regarded Western authors, he actually achieved success within his lifetime. To him it was one great big joke that he rose to their ranks with nothing but words. It is in his footsteps that I follow. I have committed myself to writing every day in some shape or form. I started by picking up poetry again, for my own enjoyment. I started this blog. I am putting pen to paper on a new novel (the first few pages of which are on a post below). And most of all, I am approaching my screenplays and teleplays with with a reinvigorated sense of passion and persistence.

In 2013 I am going to write my own freedom.

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Lovers On Two Planets

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 20, 2013 by Patrick Roe

The following is the first few pages of the new novel I’m working on, the working title of which is the same as the title of this post. It’s a noir crime drama set in modern times, but in the style of the detective novels from the 40’s and 50’s. I’ll share more excerpts when the mood strikes me, or if you guys request it.  Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below. Enjoy.

Lovers On Two Planets

By: Patrick Roe

1

My heart was pregnant the same way Europe is pregnant with history. It was my first European vacation since the engagement, and my first ever if anybody was counting. We had taken a day excursion to Spain, there was a painter I liked who used to live there and I thought it might be fascinating to go dig up his corpse.

I had a camera around my neck, and a ridiculous bright blue scarf to protect myself from the cold. I thought I looked like a tourist, but even the tourists didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I was taking pictures like a fool, and a fool I was. A fool in love.

“Take one of me by those blue doors!” She said excitedly. I did as I was told because my fiance was meant to be photographed. Her name was, and I suppose still is, Marian Swanikov. She was soft and glowing, brown hair raining down upon her petite frame like a summer squall in Hawaii. She looked like a starlet from the golden age of cinema.

“I thought you were European. If I would have known I was just marrying another tourist I would have settled on an American.”

“Go ahead. But you know, and I know, that American girls don’t know what I know.” She said it with a smile that could have killed half of Napoleon’s army.

I began to scoot back. The damn fixed lens on the camera wasn’t giving me the framing I needed, and since I felt like fucking Ansel Adams that day, I decided to scoot back and give myself the award winning shot. I had failed to remember that nobody in Spain believes in hand rails.

Over the bluff I went, and straight into the drink. If I was a luckier man I would have fallen to the left and killed myself on the rocks to save myself the shame. But instead she came to make sure I hadn’t left her the life insurance money, and we shared a good laugh about it.

We decided to get something to eat while the camera was drying out on the restaurant’s back patio. We talked some, but about nothing important. The kind of light, bubbly talk lovers use on vacations. Mostly I just watched the way she moved. The way her honey colored eyes perused over the menu, the way her teeth nibbled her bottom lip as she tried to decide between the paella and the curry chicken. If she noticed me looking at her this way it was all over, I had to be stealthy. Starlets enjoy a glance, not a gawk.

Later on that night I was having a cigarette leaning out of our hotel window, deep in thought. Something had occurred to me for the first time. Something curious, unimportant, but strange.

“Whatchya thinking about baby?” How she could read my mind I’ll never know.

“It’s stupid.”

“I still want to know.”

“Well… I just realized that I’ll never get to be an astronaut.”

She laughed at me. She often laughed at me for the places my mind would wander. Through the giggles she said, “What are you talking about?”

“Well it was always my childhood dream to be an astronaut. I’ve gone on my entire life holding that dream in my back pocket. My mind occasionally wanders to it and I think about how cool it will be when I finally get to become an astronaut. Tonight I realized for the first time that that ship has sailed. I’ve already missed my window of opportunity.”

“I’ve heard about paid flights to outer space. I think by 2020 it’s going to be as common as flying across the Atlantic,” she said, with her French accent that turns “think” into “sink”. The cuteness of it all pulled me right out of my ruined astronaut dreams. “Is that so?” I flicked the cigarette butt out of the window, and made my way over to the bed where she was laying, “People who take AA flights to the moon aren’t astronauts, their just tourists. I don’t want to be a tourist.”

“So if you can’t be one of the first, you don’t want to be one at all?”

“I guess you could put it that way.”

“Well you aren’t the first to be with me. Does it bother you being a tourist on this planet?” She said it with that same smile. There goes the other half of Napoleon’s army.

I said something else, but the only time it isn’t cliche is in the ears of lovers, so I’ll spare everyone the misery. What I will tell you is that we made love. The type lovers have on vacation; the timeless type that connects you with every bygone era that has ever graced the pages of this planet’s Earthen book.

We did it once, and then we did it again just in case.

2

The time came for us to depart. They were doing an extra security check before we could board the flight; they had a Middle Eastern employee calling out the names, as if to reassure us that this wasn’t some sort of racial profiling.

While we were waiting for our names to be called I decided to go grab us a snack from one of the airport food stands. Some Texan woman in front of me butchered the word “Bonjour” before proceeding with her order. It occurred to me that this could be a sign. The extra security check, the extra time to change our minds. We didn’t have to leave. As long as you’re not on that plane backing away from the gate there’s nobody stopping you.

I stared at the menu as I thought about the French countryside and how I’ve never seen skies in that shade of blue. The ancient Roman aqueduct in Montpellier, the golden statues above the Paris Opera House, the breathtaking cathedral in a little town that no God fearing American has ever even heard of.

I thought the food stand clerk said,“Thinking about leaving sir?” Turns out what all she really said was,“What are you thinking about having sir?”

Before I could answer her they called my name over the loudspeaker, “TERRANCE CROI, PLEASE COME UP TO THE FRONT DESK. TERRANCE CROI.”

They always pronounce it wrong. I decided to have a word with them about it.

“It’s Croi, it rhymes with boy.”

“Sounds Middle Eastern in origin.”

He eyed me suspiciously, as if my mother had committed a crime for giving up her maiden name, “Actually it’s Celtic for… Look, I’m having thoughts of ditching this flight for good but if I do that then I’ll lose a lot of money, my job, and my girlfriend will be mad at me so if we can just get this thing moving before I change my mind I would really appreciate it.”

I realized immediately that I had made a mistake. He submitted me to a security check. Luckily the next guy had the sense to give me a pat on the back and send me on my way. He must have sensed my urge to escape.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy to say goodbye. Every atom in my body was telling me to stay, and that’s all I wanted to do. I got stuck with the one French girl with an itch for America. She couldn’t wait to be back in L.A., and I couldn’t wait to convince her otherwise. Either way, we boarded when they called our group. Little did I know, getting on that plane wasn’t just a bad idea. It would end up being the single worst mistake I ever made in my life.

3

The flight itself wasn’t a complete disaster, especially if you compare it to to Hurricane Katrina. As it turns out I got the one bum seat without a tray table. Those bastards wouldn’t serve me food unless I moved seats. After a lot of bad noise, we agreed that as long as they served me the food while I was sitting in the other seat I was no longer an insurance liability. I told them thanks a lot, and to be sure and have somebody notify me when they die so I can attend the funeral.

Somewhere in between the animated movie with the talking animals and the 300th incarnation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Marian had some sort of vision. If I didn’t love her so much for her visions, I probably would have hated her for them.

“Terrance.”

“Yeah.”

“I’ve got a bad feeling.”

“About what?”

“I don’t know.”

“You think you forgot something?”

“No, it’s not that kind of bad feeling.”

Now I was starting to get worried. It took some courage to build up to the next question, but it had to be asked. “Is it about the marriage?”

I cringed as the words left my lips, like they were coated in bile and would have been better left in my stomach. Luckily her face lightened and my heart began to unclench.

“Of course not. That’s the only thing I’m sure of these days.”

“So you feel this way, but there’s nothing you can think of as to what’s causing it?”

“Nothing.”

“Well then I wouldn’t worry about it. Anxiety is just a defense mechanism left over from the cavemen. When they actually had saber tooth tigers and wolves the size of VW Beetles to worry about. Sometimes when everything is going good, it gets triggered just in case. By instinct. You know what I mean?”

She smiled, “No, but somehow hearing you ramble on makes me feel better about it.”

She grabbed my hand, rested her head on my shoulder and that was the end of that. Or so I thought, until I realized that I was feeling the same thing she was feeling. Staring at my broken tray table, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was ignoring the signs. She was right, something was wrong, and we were about to find out the hard way.

Why Did I Get On That Fucking Plane

Posted in Love, Thoughts, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by Patrick Roe

We aren’t born stupid, smart, with grudges, or predetermined preferences.  There’s a lot of debate over what we are born with, whether it’s sexual preferences or the hardwiring of a killer. One thing I think we all can agree on is that it isn’t a whole lot. We come into a world, and it shapes us regardless of how we start out. We are born a blank slate, with nothing but potential.

I was born into parents who didn’t love each other anymore, but that’s just the story of my generation right? Broken families, broken homes, and broken souls that have a hard time believing the love we see in movies is real, or ever was. We are bombarded by images of white picket fences and nuclear families, so starkly  contrasted by the fake smiles and circus acts that surround us. There’s something different about my story though. My parents may have no longer loved each other, but they both still loved me. Maybe that’s the reason I never gave up on love, and still haven’t to this day.

Some people call me a hopeless romantic, and why not?  They have every reason. A week and a half ago I was kissing my girlfriend under the Eifel Tower, and then fighting back tears over my impending departure right as the tower erupted into a spectacular light show. The following picture was captured in that exact moment.

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It doesn’t get much more cliche than that. But you, reader, have my word that the moment was as real as they come.  Some people say there’s no truth in fiction, but if this wasn’t a scene right out of a movie then I’ll be your dead uncle. There was even a freshly married couple passing by my puddle of painful tears, as if placed there by the director to tease me with my own dreams for the future.

If you knew what I was missing, you would have cried too. This picture was taken by me about a week before the last one.

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She’s going to hate me when she sees that I put this picture up, but I can’t help it. It’s my new favorite, because something about the combination of her look, the setting, and the composition sums up everything that I love about her. I’m sure a stranger looking at it wouldn’t be able to get all of that, I don’t even think my girlfriend would be able to see. But when I look into this picture, I’m home.

I’d be lying to you if I told you it’s easy to look at this picture, and I mean really look at it. You reader, can’t tell by just reading but I had to have a good cry and a cigarette after writing that last paragraph whilst looking at that photograph. And I suppose that brings me to the title of this post. Why did I get on that fucking plane?

The answer to that question is still haunting me, because the answer is I don’t know. I fought every natural instinct, every emotion, every single thought in my head. Some people who read this may understand what I’m talking about, and I’m sure it will be lost on others. For those of you not in the know, let me be the first to tell you that NOTHING is harder than having to say goodbye to your one and true love. For those of you who know what I’m talking about, this next little side note is for you: I hope that you have not grown disillusioned or numb to the pain of saying goodbye to someone that you love with all of your heart. I hope that you are 125 and on your death bed and you still haven’t lost the capacity to love, nor the will to miss someone that you love the most. Because as hard as this is for me, and as stupid as I feel for getting on that fucking plane, at least I feel truly alive

This was my ride to the airport.

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Alone. Like the universe wanted to mirror the way I felt as I left. I don’t have a picture, but even the only seat next to me on the airplane was vacated due to a broken tray table. Alone. And damn it all if loneliness isn’t the worst feeling known to man. If we’re getting deep into it, being alone is one of my greatest fears. Not alone in the sense that nobody is around, because I have many people in my life whom I adore and as a writer I really do appreciate time to myself. I’m talking about the kind of loneliness that comes when you don’t have someone there who really touches your soul. Someone who warms you straight to the bone with just a look. I am lucky enough to have found that feeling. My love warms me in that way. And right now she is nine time zones, one ocean, and 5,641 miles away.

I’m not sure where to end this post, or if there even is a proper place to end it. I’m sure this won’t be the last you read of the distance between me and the girl that I love. Just know that I’m trying to be strong through it, and see what lessons the pain can teach me about life.

“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That’s what I hope to give you forever.” – The Notebook

The Calm

Posted in Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags on January 16, 2013 by Patrick Roe

Sometimes, those rare golden times, a strange calm washes over me. It’s like watching a war unfold from the comfort of my living room. An overwhelming sense that the universe is a lot bigger than me, and being humbled by it rather than frightened. I feel like no decision is the wrong decision. That no matter what somehow, some way, I’ll get to that light at the end of the tunnel. That sweet spot in the universe that’s been carved out uniquely for me, just waiting for me to slide right in.

It’s not happy, it’s not sad. I didn’t win the lottery today. Nor did I get my dream job, dream car, or reunite with my girlfriend. I wasn’t humbled by some tragedy, or forced to choose between life or death. It’s just a calm, for no rhyme. No reason.

And as quickly as the calm comes, it leaves. No matter how hard I try to bottle it, capture it, preserve its memory. I don’t know why it ebbs and flows, I don’t even know why it’s important. But something tells me that it is. Something tells me that when ancient warriors rode in to certain death, they felt it. When Hemingway pulled that shotgun up to his head and drew his last breath, he felt it. When Da Vinci put that last brush stroke on the Sistine Chapel, I bet you he felt it too. Like some golden nugget left over by every person throughout history who led a life worth living, guiding me along some path to help me become something greater than myself.

Maybe it’s all bullshit, just a bunch of synapses firing and chemical reactions conspiring to grand illusions that I perceive but don’t really exist. We could all be a bunch of ants on our big Earth anthill, groping and impulsing our way through flexible, immeasurable time and space. No consequences, no limitations or morals except the ones that we impose upon ourselves.  Sometimes I think this is true. Then the calm washes over me once again.