My Lighthouse

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Are you a human adult?

Do you find yourself unable to sleep some nights (even when you are utterly exhausted) because the great whirring globule inside your skull has chosen this exact moment to throw all of the personal challenges you have ever considered or thought about- into your face?

Maybe you trip down the rabbit hole of “what the fuck am I doing with my life?”

You wouldn’t be alone with that – almost everybody I know, childless or childful (is that a word…?) Teenagers, Twenties, Thirties, Forties, Fifties, Sixties… everybody is trying to figure out what they’re doing, why they did what they did, and what they are going to do next. All the while maintaing an immaculately maintained and crafted image of themselves on Social Media.

You think its just you?

I will be the first to admit that the last ten years have been a colliding merry-go-round of lucky breaks, happenstance and the ability to fall upwards.
From the University I attended, to the country I now live in, to the jobs that I have had – it’s all been one big “OKAY SURE!?” + tears.

I’ve had my goals and dreams, but while they remain a lighthouse on the coast, I’ve happily gone down into employment mermaid lairs and boarded pirate ships that have been more than diverting. (Are you staying comfortable with all the Metaphors?)

 

It is really hard to sail directly for the lighthouse when there is an unpredictable ocean (life) you are riding on. I am far from easy-going, but to avoid sinking, I’ve tried to take the waves as they come – and yet I see the lighthouse on the shore and it gives me pangs to see that some days it feels like I am further away from it than I was yesterday. That drives me crazy – especially when you feel like you’ve rowed as hard as you possibly could and it doesn’t make a difference – the lighthouse feels like an impossible target.

Still following?

For a long time now I’ve struggled to be honest about what it is I’m even sailing towards – because for a long time, floating at all seemed like the greatest achievement (hey look at me I’m on a boat and I haven’t crashed into the rocks!)

At 2am, for whatever reason, my brain finally decided to admit to itself what it is we’re aiming for and here it is:

I want to be a writer.

I’ve spent the last month funemployed and in that time (amongst the watching of numerous fail and cat videos) I buckled down and wrote a screenplay that has haunted me for four years. A story that I started and abandoned with no real deadline.

On Friday last week, I finished the first complete draft, 83 pages. And while my bank account reminds me that I need to get a real job again ASAP, I’m prouder of myself for those garbage 83 pages than I have been in anything for a long time.

And all the noise and splashing and the disquieted seas feel calmer now than they have in years because I don’t feel like an idiot for saying I want to be something – I AM something. I used to feel ashamed to admit that I wanted to be a writer because outside of this blog and the witty Facebook statuses I craft – I hadn’t written anything. I felt like a fraud with my Masters Degree in Creative Writing. I’d never in a million years have answered “What do you do?” with “I am a writer” because what a fucking fraud!

Now that I can admit what my goal is, all of the jobs and the career I’ve been carving – make sense. Because silly me – you don’t sail towards a lighthouse, that isn’t what a lighthouse is for. A lighthouse is a navigational tool. It helps guide you through the rocky sea and warns you of danger.

 

Thats what my brain was thinking about at 2am – that maybe you don’t ever reach your lighthouse – but knowing what it is and how it affects your decisions, is enough to see the path. Isn’t that we’re always looking for? Patterns and paths that make us feel like our lives aren’t haphazardly thrown together?

Find your lighthouse and then sit back and enjoy the boat ride.

Plot twist – Oh but of course

In a surprising turn of events that isn’t really, in any way, a shock – because my life sometimes reads like a bad D grade Screenplay, it turns out there is a mistake on my Visa.

Is it really a big deal that the legal document that allows me to work and live in the great white north has a mistake on it, made by some moron at the Border over a year ago when I arrived? Yes. I’d say my answer to that would be yes.

It’s not really a long story, but I’ll speed it up for you anyways. As an Aussie in Canada under the age of 30, I am eligible for what is called a “Working Holiday Program Visa”, which allows (if I meet the criteria – which I do) for me to work for any company in any field in any part of Canada (pretty sweet I know…but now you know why almost the entire population of Whistler is from Down-Unda. Add to this amazing visa the fact that you can renew it again and again while you still meet the criteria…and…well… now we know why there is such a love affair between our two great nations.

Imagine my surprise then when yesterday afternoon working my retail job (which – let’s be honest, I hate) I was busily unpacking a box of HEINOUS new button up shirts and was told I would have to leave immediately.

My first reaction was confusion, the Manager that approached me was not being a bitch and told me that it wasn’t personal, but that head office had called after checking my visa and that I wasn’t eligible to work there anymore. My second reaction was fear, I instantly started sweating, HAD I somehow done something wrong when I entered the country? But i’d been working just fine for the same Summer Camp company with no drama’s. My third reaction was panic (naturally) I left work and sat for what felt like 3 hours on the train trying to get back to my apartment to check my documentation and work it all out.

I always thought I was quite good under pressure. Nope, turns out I am a hyperventilating, snivelling, cry baby. Thank god for level-headed friends like Kate who came over with her own Aussie Passport and her calm nature. We called all the right people and figured out that this is what happened:

The guy who entered all my information into my visa fucked up.

Where my visa should say “Employer: Open” this douche-bag (who I remember so clearly by the way – even though I had been awake for 36 hours and was all alone in a foreign country – I knew this guy seemed so disinterested and pissed off) typed the name of the company I was planning on working for the summer (AND he spelt it wrong. Ass-hat).

So the people in Ottawa have to fix it now. All the paper-work has been sent off, but of course I cannot work until the visa is fixed and back in my passport. I cried and cried to the call centre with the information, but the only help they could give me was a form and a suggestion to write URGENT on the front. Good stuff guys. Great work.

No one is able to write me a letter to say “Hey um…we messed up…lol…sorry, she can work” to show my employer, so I am effectively terminated from retail until further notice.

Hum.

The timing of this is immaculate. I may have to steal this episode from my own life and implant it into a screenplay somewhere. Girl: 23 turning 24 in one week, hates job, wants to change life, is giving a week-a month (yep that’s what the time period is here…AHHHH!) of time where she can’t work. Watch how she changes her life and realizes what she was looking for was in front of her the entire time!

It is genius. Thanks Universe, you deserve a medal.

So here is a list of things I could do in a week-a month where I am unable to fold clothes and put minimum wage in my bank account:

LIST OF THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU’RE WAITING AROUND FOR IDIOTS TO MOVE THEIR ASS:

  • Finish the Screenplay I started in a fever last month and which I haven’t started since
  • Get my Youtube channel up and running, I have an idea for a comedy thing, (not sure how it will be received as it just involves me ranting at the camera and maybe puking)
  • Study for and ACTUALLY BOOK to sit the written drivers test in this country. OH GOD I’m going to be another year older and still drivers license-less
  • Apply for more jobs I don’t hate
  • Do all the menial boring jobs around the house I’ve been putting off, like donate that huge bag of unwanted clothes in our living room
  • Do my tax return that was meant to be done in May
  • Maybe do my Australian Tax return just to let them know I don’t live there any more (due..?!?)
  • Do some exercise and stop eating Pringles for breakfast
  • Go to the cheap Rainbow Theatre’s cinemas and see all the movies that are out that I want to see
  • Watch the entire first season of Deadwood
  • Finally go to the doctor and get my hormone levels checked so we can figure out this neck beard thing
  • Visit some friends in another part of Canada (leaving the country is out at this stage unfortunately…)
  • Throw myself into my internship and get more experience
  • Start day drinking
  • Read all the books I took from a free book giveaway a year ago that just sit on my shelves
  • Wander around the city and take in more sites (possibly shoeless and smelly, just to get the true homeless person experience – because that’s what I feel like I am right now)
  • Cat sit my friends new kitten
  • Learn to cook something that doesn’t suck

WOW! Look at all the things I could do!

I can’t help thinking about that AWFUL book that I read 6 pages of and then potentially on purpose lost “The Secret” which told me that the Universe listens to the vibes you are putting out (so the people on the Titanic were…what?) and about how much I have been complaining about retail lately………….

Universe? Are you listening? I’d like a writing job on SNL if possible? And an apartment overlooking Central Park in NYC…and a chocolate fountain in my bedroom and Tina Fey for a best friend…are you getting that? Hope so!

 

Paris

Is there something wrong with me?

This week I have seen two films starring child actors in central roles.

The first was “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and last night I saw “Hugo” in 3D with the boyf.

Both are based on books, and I had heard nothing at all about ELAIC but had heard rave reviews from boyfs brother about “Hugo.” On paper “Hugo” is amazing. It boasts some great actors, Ben Kingsley, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sacha Baron Cohen, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths (who I met in Hong Kong a couple of years ago) and some cute, wide-eyed child actors, Chloe Grace Mortez and Asa Butterfield. Not to mention is is directed by Martin Scorsese and has captured the use of 3D superbly.

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” also boasts some pretty big names, if you’ve ever heard about a little old actor named Tom Hanks, and some woman or other named Sandra Bullock (I think she won some kind of award or something last year before he tattooed retard of a husband left her for a woman with a swastika tattooed on her forehead – mama would be so proud). Also when I saw the trailer of the film, my first thought was “Oh god. Not another 9/11 film.”

But here’s the weird thing and the reason for the title of this blog. Hugo has 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and is generally accepted as a masterpiece of cinema, while ELAIC has a 54% rating, many people, like my initial reaction, questioning if 2011/2012 is not a little to soon to be dredging up memories of the “The worst day” (to quote Oskar Schell, the main character from the film.)

And how did I react to these films?

I loved ELAIC. I wept the entire time. I thought the cinematography was amazing. The script was tight. The characters were full-bodied, flawed and sweet. The scenery of various parts of NYC was visually delightful. The journey tore at my heart-strings apart, and then put me all back together with the final redeeming scene.

Hugo drove me a little bit nuts. I thought it was predictable, I found the main character aggravating (why are you always running away/looking teary eyed at people…yes yes I know you’re an orphan…AND?!) and I kept noticing sloppy continuity throughout the film, which fixated me far more than why the old man (Ben Kingsley) was so cranky. I groaned at some of the dialogue eg:

Weepy Child Actor: I’m sorry…it’s broken.
Gruff older man type, suddenly warmed by poor, brave little boy: (clearly talking about child) It’s not broken. It’s just perfect.

Boyf LOVED the film. “The best film I’ve seen all year” and was UTTERLY shocked that I was like… “meh.” So too boyf’s brother (a film buff and wannabe director), eager to find out if we adored it as much as he did. They have since both pronounced me fools, and although they deny it, I can see them re-evaluating my presence in their lives.

*Secret whispered conversation*

Boyf: Well if she doesn’t like Hugo, imagine what else she might not like!?
Boyfs Bro: You’re right! She doesn’t have the same judgement as us on this film…she’ll never be one of us!
Boyf: True… better just dump her now…oh? What was that? Yes coming dear. She’s onto us! Must go.

I love film, and although I’m lazy in remembering directors and actors names, I do view widely and have a very varied film taste.

My favorite Director is Wes Anderson and I most particularly love his film ‘The Darjeeling Limited.” But there are lots of other styles that have tickled my fancy, like Saving Private Ryan and Bridesmaids, which are as different as Metal and Moss (did you like that? I was going for something different from “Chalk and Cheese”).

I like to go into movies knowing very little about the film so I haven’t been swayed by my favorite reviewers or had my mind tainted by badly put-together trailers that give everything away.

So yeah, I was surprised by my reaction to Hugo vs ELAIC because I already had heard things about them.

I didn’t HATE Hugo as a film. There were a number of redeeming factors in the film, the visiting of early movie history with the Lumiere brothers and George Meilies turning out to be the cranky old man from the train station toy shop (very interesting). There is also the joyous and visually fascinating world of the inside of the clocks and mechanical devices in the train station which whir and click and are engaging combined with the wonderful time period (1930’s) and set in Paris too AND in 3D. Wow. But then that’s a small pet peeve – all British Cast in France, brummy accents, posh ones…It’s Europe…it’s close enough… (??!?!)

But definitely the major difference between the two films was that one had an actor playing a child with mild Asperges syndrome, doing an outstanding job, and then there was “The young actor in the title role (of Hugo), Asa Butterfield, (who) is a bland presence with a painfully narrow range of facial expressions.” (Joe Morgenstein, Wall Street Journal).

I don’t know, maybe that’s harsh, I didn’t act in a Martin Scorsese film at age 12 like Asa has.

Maybe (like my sweet Boyf semi-jokingly suggested) I have no heart.

But I don’t know. I weep in commercials sometimes. At certain times of the month anyway. And I would describe myself as a compassionate, liberal, loving person. So…

Boyf likened the story to Great Expectations (which I had to study in University and which I did HATE) so maybe it’s in the vein of that, poor boy coming up in the world (uhhuh…yawn).

Maybe I’ll give it another go when it comes out on DVD, but for now, too much cheese. See it for the visuals, but see Extremely Loud and Incredibly close for the storyline.

But what are your thoughts? Have you seen both? Did you have a preference?