Monday, June 9, 2014

Things Have Been Happening

So, you know how I mentioned I was writing a screenplay?

Well, I finished it! 120-something pages, and I can now say I've written a feature film. Not one that's been filmed, mind you. Just scripted.

But yeah! Suck it, fifteen-year-old me sitting around writing Doctor Who scripts while thinking I wanted to be an actor. Tough luck, you're a screenwriter!

...or, uh, an aspiring one. At least.

But, as if finishing the thing wasn't exciting enough, a few days later it won Best Feature Screenplay at the Hofstra University Film Festival! AHHHHHHHH!!!

I was very excited. Words can't really describe how excited I actually was - it can only truly be expressed by leaping up and down screaming. I would demonstrate, but I have new roommates I'm rather determined to have a good impression on. Considering how early on in the relationship I had to text one of them to let me in after locking myself out, I really do need all the decent impressions I can get.

But, yes. In the space of about a day I went from some chick with a thing for Legends of the Hidden Temple to an award winning amateur screenwriter. And then, several days later, I went from award winning amateur screenwriter to my cousin's bridesmaid.

It was a particularly transformative couple of weeks.

After spending five days and four nights in Cleveland - wearing a lot of wisteria, having my hair cemented into being unrecognizable, drinking, wearing heels, riding in a limo, having my name announced to the Doctor Who theme - I then immediately moved to New Paltz, NY to start my job as a Theater Program Specialist at a fairly local girl scout camp.

New Paltz is a bit like Twin Peaks, if Twin Peaks was on the East coast and crossed with Portland, Oregan. On my first night, I sat in a local bar and chatted with a group of people who had been here their whole lives, and the consensus was that New Paltz is "different" from other towns in New York. Indeed, the people are laid back and friendly, the food is relatively inexpensive and almost always good, there are three used book stores within a street of each other, and the coffee is wonderful. The population is divided between young, usually white, college-age hipsters, and older, grizzled locals in some variation of plaid. The hipsters live in coffee shops and vinyl record stores while the locals haunt dive bars and creaky, wooden churches.

Being a clear outsider, but not a SUNY New Paltz student, I'm somewhat of an anomaly - a designation that extends outside the village to my job at camp.  In general, a conversation about my place of origin will go somewhat like this:


An OLDER PERSON smoking a cigarette in a quiet, dark corner stares at me with a raised eyebrow. 

You're from where

New Hampshire. But, I've been living on Long Island for a few years. 

The older person takes a drag, nods. 

Ok. Where on Long Island?

Well, right now, I'm actually living in New Paltz.

Ok. Let me see if I can get this. You grew up in New Hampshire, but you lived on Long Island for how long? 

Around five years, but for half of one of those I was living in South America. 



But, now you're in New Paltz? 

Yes. Just for the summer. 

The older person sighs, takes yet another drag, shakes their head.  

I'm too old for this. 

So, yeah. No one's entirely sure how to react to me. Do they treat me like someone from the quiet, idyllic trees of New Hampshire? As a New Yorker? As a traveler? Without a distinct category, everyone seems to have just settled on "not from here" which, as a native New Englander, I can appreciate. 

So, with a feature film script under my belt, and a girl scout pocket knife in my bag, I have arrived in a fairly familiar, but utterly alien new world.