ThinkKit: Fuel for the Creative Fire

First, I’d just like to make an important announcement: I’m in love…with my new HP Chromebook. It’s chic. It’s fast. It’s aqua blue. Enough said.

Now on to business: ThinkKit, the blogging challenge I half-attempted in December (oops), has been carrying on throughout the year with a new topic each month. I was invited to suggest some prompts and this month mine was selected. Since my name was attached to it, it would be quite embarrassing to not actually answer it, right? So here we go:

What creative work has had the biggest impact on your life? Was it a book that changed your perspective in high school? A painting that gets your creativity flowing? Maybe it resulted in a project, a renewed sense of purpose, or a new viewpoint.

My kinda-sorta secret love is screenwriting. My senior year of writing classes at DePauw were devoted to the craft, and I left with a very rough (code for it makes me want to throw up a little bit when I think about it) draft of a full length screenplay (my capstone project for my major) and a shorter romantic comedy that warranted a jock to write to me in his workshop comments that he enjoyed it so much he would see it in a theater even if he didn’t have a date. I’ve kept that comment and will use it as blackmail in the future if need be.

I’ve always had a soft spot–or addiction–to films and TV shows, and I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. But there’s one thing that led me to connect the two together and spark a passion: the ending of Six Feet Under.

My mom was/is a huge fan of HBO’s Six Feet Under. When the show started in 2001 I was in the beginnings of middle school, meaning I was way too young to watch the series, though I picked up bits and pieces from my mom on what the show was about, the characters, and the drama. By the end of the series I was 16 and old enough for an invitation from my mom to watch the last of the finale with her when she was re-watching it a few days after it originally aired.

Despite the fact I didn’t watch the show on a regular basis, despite the fact I wasn’t a fan, despite the fact I didn’t have an emotional attachment to the characters or the series, I was moved. And to this day I still consider it one of the best series finales I’ve ever seen. Maybe the selection of Sia’s “Breathe Me” played a role in the poignancy and impact of the scenes, but the writing and the choice for wrapping it up was so. Darn. Perfect.

In case you’re not up on the series (and confession, I still haven’t watched it, though I’d like to at some point)–it follows a family who owns a funeral home, and each episode began with a death, the screen going white, and the person’s name and birth and death dates appearing on the screen. The finale honored the style, and in a little over eight minutes at the end of the episode took us through eighty years, showing us not only what happens in the lives of the characters but showing us how and when they all die.

On the surface the description is incredibly depressing, yet there was something so magical, so clever, so impactful. When I watched it, it just clicked. I knew I wanted to write something that could make people feel the same exact way, and that it didn’t just mean becoming a novelist or a journalist. I could write things that would show up on a screen, could come to life with talented actors. And that was a pretty cool revelation.

If you’re curious about the hype I’ve portrayed, check it out here. (Also, bonus points if you notice the little Mindy Project connection in there!):

I should mention my runner-up is Stargirl by Jerri Spinelli, which I read in middle school and still consider to be one of my favorite books of all time. It’s one of the few I’ve read multiple times and I currently have it on my to-read list for this year. This quote…just…writing perfection:

“She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a cork board like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.”

So what about you? What creative works have impacted you in some way?

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