I’ve never had a blog all to my very own.
Oh, sure, I keep a blog about trying to work on a movie. But that’s more of a video diary, about one subject. No real chance to explore topics that are important to you when you’re trying desperately to hold the attention of the average YouTuber.
I had a website, once, with links to stuff I had worked on. But I’ve never sat down and tried to explain me to anyone else. Why should I? To most of my friends, I’m an uncomplicated guy. Young to be married and a father of two, sure, but so what? I’m barely political, I don’t get into arguments, I’ve never gotten into a fight, I’ve never done or been addicted to drugs, not an alcoholic. I live in a white house with a picket fence, for fuck’s sake.
Oh yeah, there’s that. I swear too much. If that’s a problem, you’re going to want to bail right now. Then again, you probably wouldn’t have clicked on the link in the first place.
Anyways, all in all, not too much going on here, as far as most people are concerned. So in my mind, why start a blog? I received tons of encouragement and advice from people, saying it was a great way to get yourself out there, to create an audience for yourself. Yippee kay yay. I’d rather build an audience through my films, since that’s what I want you all to be watching anyways.
The only reason I thought I would ever start a blog is to work out my own shit, and honestly, I haven’t had shit I’ve felt the need to work out. But if I did, who would want to read it? It would be my own ranting, venting or philosophical pontificating (that’s right bitches, big words!). And other blogs I read rarely do that – when they do, it bores the crap out of me.
Well, prepare to be bored, because here I am. Starting a blog. And the reason why is so fucking ridiculously removed from any of the reasons anyone ever told me I should.
Tony Scott killed himself yesterday.
I heard the news right before I sat down to watch “Expendables 2” with my dad. (Don’t fucking judge me, I reserve the right to cheap, mindless entertainment when I want it). Pulled up Facebook on my phone, and there were half a dozen posts with “OMG Mr. Scott RIP!”
I was shocked, but not floored – it was like…well, it was like hearing some famous celebrity died who you weren’t a huge fan of but were definitely familiar with. It was the way I felt when (forgive me) Michael Jackson died. That feeling of “Wow…shit.” Maybe I didn’t know the words to all of Jackson’s music, and maybe I couldn’t quote Scott’s films line by line like I could with the Cohen Brothers, Kevin Smith, Tarantino and Pete Jackson. But still, these were big men. (Metaphorically only, in Jackson’s case). They were giants in their industry.
No, I wasn’t massively moved by Scott’s death until today, when I read it’s very possible he killed himself because he was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer.
Then, TMZ reported that this story was false, and Scott’s family said he had NO cancer or any other serious illness that may have prompted him to take his own life.
But it was too late, the damage had already been done, to me at least. Because of tomorrow.
Tomorrow would have been my mom’s birthday, if she were alive. I believe she would have been 56. But she won’t be. Because she died over a year ago.
From brain cancer.
It started out as breast cancer. She was diagnosed in 2003. Maybe 2004. I don’t remember, not because I was too young to care (I was 16 or 17) but because I thought people in my family were immune to it. Dad had already had lukemia and survived with flying colors. He’s as healthy and fit today as a guy half his age. Well, maybe a decade or two younger, anyways.
So when mom got diagnosed, my reaction was one of “Oh, jeez. That sucks. Chemo, huh? Well, I guess we’ll all just take it easy on mom for a year or so.”
Maybe my parents felt the same way. Maybe they just didn’t want to burden me with their pants-shitting terror. But for one reason or another, life didn’t change much. I spent more time with mom. She went bald from the treatment, got thinner. Was still running around and doing shit like a crazy person. She planned my wedding and the weddings of all three of my best friends (each one separately – not a three-way marriage, sickos). For each one, she was running around the chapel while weighing 110 pounds and wearing a wig, yelling everybody, getting them to get their shit together.
It was pretty awesome.
Over the years, the cancer went into remission, then came back with a vengeance. It went to her lungs, it crept up into her brain. And as bad as the cancer hit her, the chemo was worse. Yes, objectively worse. Fuck anyone who says otherwise, chemo hammers your ability to think, move, or act. It’s necessary, but it’s fucking evil. It took all the vitality from one year of my dad’s life, so that he could have all of the rest of his life to live. And it tried to take all of the vitality from my mom’s life for almost a decade. Tried, and failed. She was still up, still active, still doing things. I thought she was unstoppable.
And then she stopped.
This is all back in the forefront of my mind since yesterday. Until I read that “news” story about Scott and brain cancer, I didn’t even remember that my mom’s birthday was on Tuesday. That’s how hard I’ve tried to forget about everything, to push it out of my mind. And I can’t now. Can’t stop thinking about it, can’t stop wanting to just go off by myself and cry and scream and punch…anything.
I did cry, at lunch. I had been doing okay, but then I turned on the radio, and for the full-on Perfect Storm effect, a song came on the radio called “Little Talks” by Monsters and Men.
Peppy song, right? Catchy beat, great instrumentation, just makes you want to rock out, in a folksy way.
Yeah, it’s actually about a woman dying from a terminal and/or mental illness that’s slowly removing her ability to function in any normal way, including dressing herself or determining fiction from reality. It’s also about her partner (husband, boyfriend, whatever) who’s taking care of her as she slowly slips away from him and from life itself. In the ambiguous final verse, they’re each bemoaning the loss of the other, and it’s unsure if the man is visiting her in his dreams or planning to end his own life to be with her in the next one.
I love that fucking song. I hate that fucking song.
Fuck brain cancer. Fuck cancer in general. If it were a person I would force feed it all of the dicks.
In the long run, to me, it doesn’t matter if Tony Scott turns out to have inoperable brain cancer or not. The problem is still out there. It took someone I love and it takes many more people that other people love every year.
And I can’t do anything about it. Except get rich and donate millions to cancer research, which for over sixty years has not come up with a better answer than “almost kill the patient so that the cancer dies, too.” (But I’m still going to donate, if and when I strike it rich).
Other than that, I’m a helpless victim of cancer, and always will be to a degree, even if I never get it myself. Because my mom never met my son. She never even knew he existed (he was conceived after she passed). She never saw me direct a film. She will never see my direct my first feature film, or win my first award, my first Academy Award (one day, goddamnit!).
My own religious beliefs are that she is in a new body now, and we will cross paths again. But though she’s the same being, she’s not the same person, the same identity. I will never hear her say, “Good job, son. I’m proud of you.” It will be coming from a new her, a new identity.
It’s like she’s a superhero who just assumed an alter ego – and no matter how awesome she is in her new life, I would sure as hell rather get a compliment from Spider-Man than from Peter Parker. Because she really was a super hero to me. Your parents always are, aren’t they? Even if you hate them, which I didn’t. There’s some corner of your mind that holds them as untouchable gods of perfection who can do no wrong and suffer no harm.
And whether or not cancer is what caused Scott to kill himself, we are all victims of cancer, or will be. Statistically speaking, it’s almost a certainty that YOU know someone who’s a little less complete than they were before cancer took someone from them.
The one thing I hate more than anything else is feeling helpless, at total effect of my environment. And that’s what I’ve been going through all day. At a time in my life when everything else is going so right, this has sent my whole mood crashing down.
Maybe that’s the burden of anyone who’s suffered a loss, like the loss of a loved one or a massively failed purpose. (Oh, did I mention the loss of my mother was linked to not getting a job on that film? But that’s a post for another day).
Sorry for the shitty, depressing first blog post. I guess I just needed to work some shit out. Here’s a picture of a puppy.
Tonight I’m home with my family. I can hug my son and feel a little better, kiss my daughter and be a little less sad, and hold my wife and get a little more hopeful. Tomorrow, and in the future, I’ll try to write something less crushingly depressing. I may not. This may be the only post on this blog. But I hope not. I guess I could really use a place to work some shit out.