Capital L Love

I’ve had really shitty luck with romantic relationships. I’m not really going to parse my lacklustre lovelife here though. I have known two women who I could happily spend the rest of my life with, but I don’t think either of them believed me. Oh well.

There is one love in my life that has remained almost constant. Film. I just love it so much, my god. I love every part of it, I love the process, I love the research, the writing, the thinking, the production, editing and editing and editing. I love being confronted with a problem or something that isn’t working and I’ll just struggle with it and suddenly a huge thought orgasm happens and I practically run around the block screaming with joy. I love working with people to realize a vision of mine, and I love when they start having visions about it too, and it just starts coming together and everyone gets excited.

During the Oscars I noticed the people winning awards for Pan’s Labyrinth had such reverence for Guillermo Del Toro, they were so moved to be a part of his vision, and to further it and make it grow. I was so touched, that is the mark of a good director. To make something so beautiful that the people working on it feel it as a passion more than a job.

I love the obsession that happens with film, it is such an intense process. When I’m in the thick of it EVERY thought is devoted to that film. I wake up puzzling over it and I go to sleep puzzling over it and I dream about it. Some of my most profound editing moments have happened while I’ve been asleep. I have almost died at least once trying to make a film come to life, I think it was worth it but people still don’t know how to feel about that particular work. Maybe it’s before it’s time.

I’ve had the worst time with this screenplay I’ve been working on. It’s been three and a half years of slogging through it. I’ve learned a lot about writing feature length work, but there was something missing, I could not put my finger on it. I had never had such a hard time working through an idea. And now that I’ve been getting off of my medication I figured it out. It’s THE MEDICATION that was hindering the process. One shot which I have agonized over for at least two years suddenly came into such clear focus. I was writing it in a literal way with a voice over to explain it, but suddenly I saw this vision of what the feeling was in that moment. And it is such a horrifying vision but so dazzling in it’s clarity and perfection. I practically creamed my jeans when I saw it. Not that it’s sexy per se, but if you love thought and ideas as much as me that kind of breakthrough is climactic. Wow. I was so speechless just imagining it, down to each grain of 35mm depth. And I saw more things, I saw where I was crippling it because of what I felt I OUGHT to say, rather than the truth. Because the truth is so complex, and in a certain way so special and sacred, I didn’t want it trampled.

But making a film about what I thought I should say rather than what needed to be said, I can’t do that. It feels tawdry, like I’m being superficial with this one thing I adore and which adores me back in it’s own idiosyncratic, demanding, intense way. When it works, when my process really works, it feels more like I am channeling from some higher more divine source. I can’t explain it, except that it’s like accessing higher consciousness. Like being a conduit. And the medication shut off that conduit. Stuff leaked through sometimes, but the total all encompassing power of pure thought never tore through my body the way it normally did. I think when that kind of divine inspiration and obsession hits, people can get kind of uncomfortable. I’ve been known to bathe less frequently, have uncombed hair, and sometimes even forget to eat when I’m in that state. I don’t think that’s bad really, but it does show you where all my energy goes.

I have missed that feeling, I have missed love. Without my extremes, I also lose my passions. And when I lose my passions I feel I have lost everything. Being medicated felt like the bleakest period of brokenheartedness I have ever felt. Not even losing my first true love hurt that much. And I felt scared to tell the truth to people. I never felt that the bipolar diagnosis fit me exactly, but I was told I HAD to accept it, I had no choice but to accept it, and if I disagreed it meant I was sick again. And I remember when I was in the hospital when I started losing who I was. I don’t mean the psychosis, that was me, completely, just amped up to a huge degree. No, I remember I was on 20mg of Zyprexa and lithium and ativan and I was reading a book and suddenly the words started changing, they started to disappear and fade away. And I remember trying to collect them again, I would read the sentence over and over and each time I would get two words in and the rest of the words would vanish from my memory. It was like watching my brain get sliced and parsed and diced into miniscule fragments. And I wasn’t ever really the same after. I adapted in certain ways, but that brilliance, that access to knowledge and understanding was gone. In a lot of ways it felt like my very soul had been ripped out of me. And then I was supposed to be grateful.

I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was really close for at least a year, and then somewhat close for the rest of the time until now. I think people just assumed it was the psychosis that smashed up my brain, but it wasn’t, it was the chemicals.

And now my love has returned. I don’t want to ever lose it again.