Broken

Dear you,

I love you. I hope you know that. I’ve always loved you. You were the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Maybe second greatest, to her. I know she loved you too. It was all a mess. An accident. Nothing was ever supposed to be this way. Do you remember the great times we had? Going out for ice cream, even on chilly fall days. Swinging around on the merry-go-round at the park. You felt free then didn’t you? Now you’re like a captive animal. I’m sorry. Remember when you went to pet that dog, but it turned and snarled at you and tried to bite you? You probably never felt so protected then. I tried then. I really did. It was just so meaningful back then. Now, there is no meaning. In anything. Except for you. Your eyes…they are just as blue. They still sparkle like the stars in the sky. It’s the only light in this place anymore. Even though most of it is gone. I’m sorry. This place is a mess. It practically reflects my head. My jumbled, awful thoughts…all a result of the memory, and my current state. I’m sorry. I don’t show love well. I suppose I never did. People probably thought that, after, too. Now I really don’t. Jack sits like the devil on my shoulder. Ginny sits on the other one. They tell me awful things, they really do. They are specialists in the art of persuasion. I’m sorry. I broke the mirror the other day. I know you probably already know this. I couldn’t stand the sight in it. It was ugly and dirty and foreign. Demonic, practically. But you’ve seen this firsthand, not through some dirty glass. I’m sorry. I hope I never used to look like that. I hope I used to be at least half as radiant as she was. She was like the sun, and I was just a small star, wishing I was as bright as she was. You had that about you too. In time, you would have been your own sun. Shining over everything you walked on and everything that surrounded you. But somebody put the fire out. That bastard…he drowned her and dimmed you, and doused me in gasoline. I’m sorry. God damn it, I’ve done more wrong than him. This time, I was that bastard. I put your fire out. And I only lit mine more. But I’m burning. I really am. This fire is burning me from the inside out, and I’m trying to tell you that. Soon I will be nothing more than ash, and you will be free to re-ignite yourself. God, I hope you do. I need you to know my efforts were the work of Jack and Ginny and never my own head. I would never do that if I didn’t have them here…they have their own set of matches and light every bad idea that could possibly go through my head. The good in me has been flooded out. The heat is starting to rise. Not to you this time. Not to you, ever again. It’s all to me. I’m going to put this fire out. I’m going to be my own savior, and hopefully one for you too. I hope you understand. I’ll say hello to your mother for you.

With much love and apologies,

Me.”

I wrote that last night as a character rant for my screenwriting class. I suppose if there were specific guidelines for the assignment, I didn’t know what they were, because that was how I wanted to write it and I didn’t see anything wrong that I should change. I guess we’ll see what he has to say next week about it thought. Anyways, it is the most intense thing I’ve ever written, and I probably could have done it a little better in the way that I wanted, but it was also about 4 in the morning when I wrote it and I really just wanted to get to bed. A “character rant” is basically a rant in the point of view of a character we come up with to use in a future screenplay. So I guess I should probably explain what’s going on with this.

Years ago, I was reading a lot of books and decided I wanted to try writing my own. Well I ended up starting two or three and not finishing any of them. I got farther on one, than I did the other, yet the one I didn’t make progress on was an idea I liked a lot better. I realized later on after years of English classes teaching me how to study books and write creatively that I am absolutely horrible at writing descriptions to build a mental image of what is happening in somebody else’s mind other than my own. So I guess that’s kind of why I went into film, even though I’m not a concentration in cinematography, screenwriting, or directing, I have a better chance of creating a good film than I have of writing a book because with film, I can make it look however I want and show the story however I want. Anyways, this book I started is now going to be a screenplay I will write in the future (I’ve already kind of started working on it.) The best way I can describe it in short terms is that there is a girl, she’s maybe a preteen, young teenager, something like that, and she is being abused by her father. When she gets out of the house, she hangs down at the orphanage a few blocks away. She has friends there, and she told the people that work there what’s going on at home, so they give her a tape recorder to use against her father in court. She is to use the recorder every night, especially keeping it running if her dad comes to abuse her. So the film opens up with shots of the grimy, depressing house; broken bottles everywhere, walls and floors that haven’t been cleaned in years, flickering lights and smoke stains on the walls. While you are seeing all this, you hear the tape recorder start up, and her start to talk to it. She is just telling about herself at this point, but all of a sudden you hear her dad yell for her, and stomping up the stairs. Her voice gets worried and she struggles to hide the tape recorder, right as you hear the door slam open and him cursing at her. She is screaming and he is hitting her, and when it goes black, the name of the film appears while you hear her weeping in the background. So that’s just the beginning. As the story progresses, you begin to learn that your idea that she is the protagonist is actually wrong. Your protagonist is actually her father. About halfway through the film, the point of view starts to shift to him. You learn, from flickering shots of pictures in his head, that he hates himself for what he does, but he can’t help it because of “Jack and Ginny”. A bottle of Jack and some Gin will speak dirty words into your head and make you do awful things. But some of the thoughts that we will be shooting cut scenes for are things like their family before the mother died, all happy and perfect, then his loss of emotional stability after the funeral, and then him staring in the mirror and breaking it, and then picking up a piece of glass in his hand, while shots in between of him beating his daughter. So at the end of this internal conflict scene with him, he decides he’s going to go try to apologize and fix things with his daughter, despite what Jack and Ginny are telling him. So he goes up to her room and when he opens the door, she looks like a beaten puppy hiding in the corner. He’s drunk, but is trying to talk to her, and he is seeing she will not listen because of how scared she is, and this makes him mad. So he punches the wall, and then grabs her by the shoulders and starts shaking her and yelling at her to listen to him. She wrangles herself free from his grip and runs downstairs and out of the house. She starts running toward the orphanage, while he stumbles back downstairs, and the both of them are sobbing. There are cut scenes between both settings, her running, and him stumbling to the kitchen. He is gripping the counter top trying to get himself together. Each significant point that she gets closer to the orphanage, cuts to a significant emotional portrayal on his face. Sooner or later, he grabs the kitchen knife that’s sitting on the counter. Still cutting between her running, and him now staring at the knife. Finally, she trips and falls face first to the pavement, and then it cuts as soon as she hits the ground to him slitting his throat. As she looks up from the ground to see the steps and sign for the orphanage, you cut to the final scene of him falling to the floor. In this shot, he falls with his head turned away from the camera, and the closest things, as well as the only things in focus are his hand and the bloody knife, while everything else is out of focus. Cut. It ends with the final line “I’ll say hi to your mother for you.”

Amazing the things film school can do for your mind, even if it’s rather messed up.

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