HELP WANTED:

Mentor needed for middle-aged hack seeking inspiration and all-round creative abilities.

Love-Story with rose

Forget the ad above, the job has been filled already, although I haven’t called the winning candidate to congratulate him just yet. Or to tell him the pay rate sucks.

This is a love story.

And I’m really sorry to tell you …  there will be no sex involved (unless you’re up to something while reading this), just unrequited adulation.

…………….

A fortuitous flame burns hot as molten lava, it pours over the upper surface and spills into the world for us all to see and revel in its heat and intensity. This is the nature of genius, whatever its form — scientific, artistic, athletic.

Each of you and I either has, or should have, a mentor(s), someone we admire and who will help to draw out the genius that exists in us all in some way, waiting to break free.

Ernest and Judd — NOT a Love Story

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Recently I wrote of my half-love — half-loath of Ernest Hemingway, both on a personal and a professional writing level. I don’t particularly like the person he was, and I don’t love his writing style or subject matter either. However, he has been a mentor to me in my writerly attempts to use slightly more spartan phrases to make a point — Like this. Or this. And then he was dead. The end.

Earlier still I wrote of my disdain for Judd Apatow,  the writer and producer of many ManBoy movies. Pandering to the lowest levels of body-fluid based humour jettisons him off my list of potential mentors. I want cleverness and intelligent wit, not baseball bats bashing through my boy’ish farts.

…………….

So. Enough negativity.

Today, it’s time I told you about someone I love.

Don’t we all observe someone else and say to ourselves, “Wow, I wish I could do what Janice does. I wish I could be just like her.” Of course we hate them for it, but we love them at the same time.

I’ve contemplated others frequently throughout my life and daydreamed I was as good at writing, interacting with others, running marathons, public speaking, painting scenery, picking up hot girls, thinking analytically, and on and on.

This isn’t bad. This is a really good thing to do so long as we don’t spend our entire journey from birth to death merely admiring, and not acting.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so we should flatter the hell out of our lives and imitate like crazy until we’re great at something, anything … except perhaps bank robbery or being a U.S. Republican Congressman.

And the time to start is today. Right now.

…………….

I LOVE YOU Aaron Sorkin

kristin-davis Aaron sorkin

Not only are you brilliant, but you get the hot chicks like Kristen Davis too…

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You’ll never know it Aaron, but I’m taking you on as my mentor.

I’m way in love, I’m smitten, I’m besotted with your writing, always have been. I relish your ability to compress massive, idea-rich thoughts into one or two irony-dripping sentences. How did you get to be so frickin’ brilliant?

I want to do a Being John Malkovitch and crawl inside your gifted little head and see how you do what you do because it’s beyond my meagre abilities to see it from here on the outside.

Whoa, stop right there.

       Did you really just say:Who the hell is Aaron Sorkin?”

  • The Newsroom
  • Moneyball
  • The Social Network
  • The West Wing
  • Sports Night
  • Charlie Wilson’s War
  • A Few Good Men

What do these TV shows or movie titles have in common? They were (or are, in the case of The Newsroom) all screenwritten by Aaron Sorkin.

Here are a couple of soundbites of his writing from various broadcasts, spoken by fictional characters of his making:

We [America] lead the world in only 3 categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies. Now none of this is the fault of a 20 year old college student, but you nonetheless are without a doubt a member of the worst period generation period ever period, so when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.”  

……….Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

You can’t handle the truth!

……….Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men

— Casey: How am I conversationally anal-retentive?
— Dana: Let me answer that question in four parts, with the fourth part first and the third part last. The second part has five subjects–
— Casey: All right, all right.   

……….Peter Krause, Felicity Huffman, Sports Night

I’m an alcoholic. I don’t have one drink. I don’t understand people who have one drink. I don’t understand people who leave half a glass of wine on the table. I don’t understand people who say they’ve had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer? My brain works differently. […] I don’t get drunk in front of people. I get drunk alone. […] You think it has something to do with smart and stupid. Do you have any idea how many alcoholics are in Mensa?”

……….John Spencer, West Wing

Jack Nicholson-you-cant-handle-the-truth

Aaron, if you had only one memorable, witty, hilarious, ironic statement in a TV episode or movie, I’d be relatively impressed. But no, you pile them bang bang bang, one on top of the other until my head is spinning with the messages, sent in riotous, quirky fashion.

Aaron Sorkin speaks in a voice that obviously resonates strongly with me. Watching, listening and imitating people like Mr. Sorkin will make me a better writer over time just as paying close attention to the easy way that Barack Obama speaks will help me connect just a tiny bit better with those around me. We’re swimming in a pond of potential positive mentors all of the time.

I want you to be great at something. So what I’m asking of you is to be vigilant. Pay attention.

Mentors can be people, things like movies or books, or the world and everything that surrounds and inspires us. The right mindset puts us in a place where a towering Ponderosa Pine tree can energize someone in some way.

The world is jammed with potential geniuses, including you, but I’m learning more and more that genius is far less about genetics and far more about ridiculous amounts of hard work, self-belief, focus and perseverance in the face of setbacks.

There is romance and love in greatness. My love affair with Aaron Sorkin can be yours, and with whomever you desire. No Help Wanted ads are necessary.

And if you ever get pulled up on charges of stalking, you can forget I ever said any of this.

Great to Start

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