I love that scene in the movie The Holiday where Iris is having dinner with her unlikely and charming friend, an old man named Arthur Abbott. They’re discussing gumption in leading ladies on film and he tells her to quit playing the ‘best friend role’ in her own life. She says, “You’re right. That was brilliant. I mean, you’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for heaven’s sake!”
By the way, you should know that aside from burritos and GIFs of SNL-funny-ladies, movie quotes are basically my love language. As a self-confessed movie buff, I sometimes get a lot of flack for watching the same movies over and over. (I also get a lot of flack for using the word “flack”, but that’s a story for another day.)
I do realize that watching one film more than 5 times seems excessive and frivolous, but guys! Sometimes I actually learn things, okay? Plus, it’s like therapy, only better. I get to lie on a couch and sort out important life lessons but it only costs a fraction of the price and I don’t have to put on real pants. I think I’m onto something here.
So is Iris, by the way.
In the story of my own life, I may as well swing for the fences and shoot for the role of leading lady, right?
Arthur and Iris got me thinking- about stories, and how every good story requires adventure. And every great adventure requires some amount risk and courage.
Now, before we get too flowery and aspirational here, let me just pause.
I get it.
Living “an adventurous story” and being “a leading lady” who “takes risks” is all fine and good and nice to talk about on a Thursday morning. But it takes actual courage.
Courage is one of those words that are fun to say and hard to do.
And finding courage when you lack it can be even harder.
As I continue to pursue writing, I find myself saying “yes” to all kinds of new, scary, and difficult things. I find myself taking risks, even when I have no idea how it will end. Not because I’m some kind of a badass superhero, but because I’ve simply reached a point where I can no longer ignore the dream and the lure of it’s possibility.
Which is really not like me, by the way, and has led to some extremely anxious, sweaty-palm, nervous-stomach moments when I feel like I’ve suddenly misplaced my courage like it’s a lost set of keys.
Writing is a bit of a lonely endeavor. It requires a lot of time and space to think, to get inside your own head, and to wrestle the words onto the page. Sometimes it feels easy and fun but other times it feels like you’re clawing your way up a mountain.
And terribly unprepared.
With only, like, a couple of carabiners and some ill-fitting spandex shorts. Like Tom Cruise in that one Mission Impossible movie, but minus the multi-million dollar budget and fancy props. Read More…