It’s Degree Day!!

The day has finally come friends! I can do this with my bachelors degree!

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Yay!! Woohoo!! And alright!! I mean I can’t physically do that with my degree just yet because it hasn’t…uh…come in the mail yet. But! I can, and am, wearing my epic t-shirt of victory! To other people it just says, hey she must have gone to American Public University. To me however, it says, I wrote my butt off for this degree, and it was hard, I had my doubts, and I almost cried a few times; but I decided to overcome myself, and achieve something awesome. Now I can do historian type things, you know, should the screenplay writing plan not pan out. Because, you know, I need be realistic. I can’t get to far ahead of myself. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a part of me that is 115% confident that one fine day a movie written by me that will be coming to a theater near you, I just need to keep her in check; and stay focused on/respect the process. And wait for school to start so I can actually hear my own thoughts, and not be interrupted with questions about batteries, snacks, or the classic “what’s for dinner tonight?”.

Anyway. It has been quite the long road, an eleven year long road to be exact, and much has changed since I began my first class back in June of 2006. I have moved 4 times, gone from active duty Air Force member to veteran, had 2 babies, adopted 2 cats and 1 dog, traveled to 11 European countries, taken classes at 3 different schools, started 2 blogs, honed my cooking skills, gone from married for 1 month to married for 11 years, gotten into fitness, discovered and loved Once Upon a Time, The Young Victoria, and James Buchanan Barnes. The student me is no more. She is in the past like, Air Force me, and mom who changes diapers..uh me. This transition has been more difficult than I had expected, each phase becomes apart of ones identity, and moving to the next is more challenging than most people care to admit.

The next phase is screenplay writer me, and it won’t be easy, I know that. But I can use this time to build my confidence, branch out, and not give up on a dream; and of course meet this guy.

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I’m just kidding.

No I’m not.

For now, I can enjoy the fact that I am a member of the American Public University’s….

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Yippee!!

Until next time,

The Texan

A Certain Amount of Magic

I am a writer. I have to remind myself of that quite often, mainly because before anyone else can see me as one, I need see me as one. It can difficult because while I am a writer, I’m also a wife, a mother, and a pet parent. The summer especially can challenging due to kids being home, and the lack of quiet time. But Rome was not built in a day and I need to let things take the time that they will take, good things usually do….you know..uh…take time. Anyway. I, of course, have my day dreams and my lofty hopes, I think everybody does. One involves the People’s Choice Awards and my husband is holding one hand, while Sebastian Stan holds the other as we wait to hear if my story, my screenplay, my movie, will win the the best comedy movie award.

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I then remind myself to be patient, and realistic, and stay focused on the present, which is tricky for me because I am very future oriented. I know that writing anything takes a certain amount of magic, mixed with talent, determination, luck, and just a touch of crazy. I know that the movie business might just chew me up and spit me out, and I’ll limp home proud of myself for trying, and try to devise a different plan for meeting Sebastian Stan…I kid, I kid. To loosely quote a song from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, “If I’m going to put my heart out on the line, then I need to let the magic in my heart stay true.” If I do that, then the right person will find me at the right time.

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Today I thought I would share with you a little scene from one of my movie ideas currently under the working title of “Brooklyn”. The main character is a writer who having a hard time getting published, her name is Samantha (Sam) York. In the meantime, to pay rent and such, she works part time for an event planning company that does charity events and things like that all over New York City. The scene is one of the first in the movie, as it opens Sam is talking with her brother and sister-in-law about a “Feed America” event she is going to that evening, in attendance will be some celebrities who live in New York. It is there that she will meet the male lead, a young actor named Carter Logan, but that’s for a later post. Sam’s brother, is a character I wrote with a certain actor in mind, I know that’s a big no-no but hey, you never know. His name is Stanley (Stan) York, and he is 12 years older than Sam. Stan seems to think that he looks like well…Sebastian Stan, but Sam and his wife Katy don’t see it.

Sam: “Sebastian Stan might be there too.” (trying to hide her smile)

Katy gives Sam a “why did you say that” look.

Stan: “Sebastian Stan? I love that guy!”

Katy rolls her eyes like she knows what he’s thinking.

Stan: (looking at Katy) “What?”

Katy gives Stan a be serious face and Sam starts to laugh.

Stan: “Come on, it’s true and both of you know it.”

Katy: “Oh my goodness Stan, you don’t look like him.”

Stan: “What?! Same eyes. Same hair. We’re like brothers from another mother.”

Katy and Sam look at each other trying not to laugh.

Stan: “You can’t deny that there are striking similarities.”

Katy: “Stan, I love you but honey, you don’t look like Sebastian Stan.”

Stan looks at Sam.

Sam: (puts her hands up) “Leave me out of this one.”

Stan: “Okay. Here’s what we’ll do. When you see him tonight, show him a picture of me and see what he thinks.”

Sam: “He’ll think I’m a crazy person.”

Katy: “No, he’ll think Stan’s the crazy person.”

Stan: (looks at Katy) “Alright hot shot. You say I don’t look like Sebastian Stan. I say that I do. We’ll let Mr. Stan decide who is right. And who ever loses has to…(thinks for a moment)…organize that closet upstairs.”

Katy: “Ugh, that closet is a disaster.”

Stan: “Are you scared you might lose?”

Katy: “Never. (sticks her hand out) Deal.”

Stan and Katy shake hands then bump fists.

Stan: (to Sam) “Just pick out a good one.”

Sam: “I will.”

Later on at the event Mr. Stan believes that they both right, because while he thinks they do favor each other, its not a straight up look-a-like situation. I figured he would be a good choice because A: he is nice enough to take something like that seriously and B: depending on his hair length, whether or not he has facial hair, or if he’s carrying a little extra weight, he can look quite different. Observe..

Maybe next week I’ll share more of “Brooklyn” with you, the Sam and Carter relationship has been a fun one to work out. I kind of modeled them after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. I know that sounds weird but, I heard in interview that was included in the special features of The Young Victoria, that Albert and Victoria where far better together than they ever could have been apart. They could be good on their own, but needed each other to be great. Sam and Carter are the same in that, they are each other’s missing piece.

Thank you to all my readers and followers! You all help to give me a little more confidence in myself, and help to make my lofty dreams feel more possible! Thank you for reading!!

Until next time,

The Texan

 

 

Home Sweet Home

On Friday, after 19 days of being gone, my family and I returned home from our epic road trip; which included driving approximately 4,200 miles and visiting/driving through 15 states, plus Washington D.C.! My last post was written from my brother’s house in Illinois, our road trip had only just begun. From there we headed for Texas, the state of my birth, to visit family, and enjoy lovely Texas things like heat and bug bites; but also awesome things like Tex-Mex. And yes the heat did have us like…

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We still had a great time visiting family, and hanging out with one friend that we hadn’t seen in 5 years, and another that we hadn’t seen in 3 years. From there we began the long drive back to almost Canada, and that friends, was were our highway endurance, fortitude, and digestive systems (we eat mainly organic at home and rarely eat out) were really tested. Not to mention our ability to “carpe diem” every single freaking day, and for this family of introverted homebodies; it was no easy feat. However, we made some great memories and saw some amazing things, and are truly thankful that we decided to take such an epic road trip. I suppose that, it was what really matters.

Pictured here is: the San Jacinto Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Gulf Coast, Monticello, a neat flower from the Mobile Botanical Gardens, the White House, the Civil Rights Memorial, the World of Coca-Cola, Montpelier (the home of James Madison), the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and a historical marker in Lynchburg, Virginia.

I also have some great, small, locally owned restaurant recommendations:

*Simply Falafel, Edmond, Oklahoma (Mediterranean)

*Hot and Cold Cafe, Lynchburg, Virginia (Indian)

*Al Carbon, Charlottesville, Virginia (Peruvian, mainly chicken)

*Pearl’s Bake Shop, Charlottesville, Virginia (Gluten free and vegan options)

*Real Food, Orange, Virginia (soups, salads, and sandwiches; lunch only)

*Abe’s Kosher Deli, Scranton, Pennsylvania

Now that everyone is rested and tummies are back in order, we can now bask in the glow of the awesome experiences that we got to enjoy. And look forward to crossing more places off of the “have been to list” in the future.

Until next time,

The Texan

 

P.S. To all the crazy drivers we encountered, this look is for you.

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An Epic Road Trip

On Monday my family and I began our most epic road trip ever! It by far surpasses the time we drove to Pompeii, and the time we drove to Denmark; combined. We will be away from home for nearly 3 weeks, will visit family, friends, museums, and plenty of rest stops! Our first stop was Canton, Ohio to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I recommend it if you’re a football fan. I stood in awe in front of Dallas Cowboys exhibits like Dak Prescott’s jersey, Troy Aikman’s helmet, and the video of Emmitt  Smith breaking the rushing record like this…

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But the Super Bowl movie were we had to watch the dumb Patriots win yet again had me like…

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It was a great experience and we had a nice guy take a picture of all of us in front of the building; who, as we found out the next morning, was staying at the same hotel. He saw us at breakfast and was like, “Hey. Didn’t I take a picture of y’all yesterday?”

Yeah. Good times! Now we’re hanging out with my brother before heading South to Texas, where I’m sure the heat will have us like…

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It’s gonna a good trip, and we’ll be able to check more states off of our states we have visited list. And finally see Monticello!! Woohoo!

I hope everyone is having a great summer so far!

Until next time,

The Texan

Rachel Buchanan

Last week I wrote about the first character I created, a young aspiring historian named Mae Forester, who finds more than she was expecting while attending Cambridge University over the summer. I look forward to polishing up this character and the story that surrounds her, hopefully being able to share it with the world. I finished reading Screenplay by Sid Field the other day. While I was mildly terrified by the idea that out of 75,000 or so screenplays that get submitted every year only about 450 get made into movies; I also knew that I could not give up. Because as Mr. Field wrote, people break into the movie business all the time. I can’t allow myself to think that it is something that only “other people” do.

This week I thought I would share with you a character that will never see the light of day. I know you may be thinking, now come on don’t say that. Or how do you know that for sure? Well because I do not have the pull that can influence the powers that be at Marvel Studios. Nor can I change the comic book story lines which have been around for decades, and govern the plots of the current movies. And I’m fine that. It’s cool. ‘Cause the thing about being a writer is when you get a idea, its important to write it down, or you’ll lose it. Even the stuff that won’t go beyond your IPad/computer/notepad can still make you smile when you read it, and encourage character creation in the future.

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After watching all 3 Captain America movies, on a long flight from Germany to Texas this past November, I came to absolutely adore Bucky Barnes. He’s such a perfect character, beautifully written, and brilliantly acted by the crazy talented Sebastian Stan. When we first arrived in Upstate New York, I had plenty of free time, and started thinking about the kind of person that I felt Bucky should be with. Sebastian has said in interviews that Bucky is not the Winter Solider anymore nor is he just Bucky Barnes, he is somewhere in between. While he ends up with Natasha in the comic books, and some people feel he should be with Steve. I felt it best that he be with someone who has no connection to either the Winter Solider or before Hydra Bucky. Someone who would know his past and understand that his past is just that. Someone who could help him focus on the future; that’s when Rachel Buchanan came to life.

Her grandfather was a SHIELD agent, and was friends with Howard Stark. Her father was in the Army, and spent some time stationed in Europe which exposed Rachel to history and different languages. She worked for SHIELD as a research assistant, also helped with foreign languages and logistics. After SHIELD fell, Tony Stark asked her to continue her work with the Avengers, due to her skill and her ability to keep a low profile. She has an appreciation for the classics, helps Bucky catch up on historical events, and loves to hear Bucky talk about what New York was like in the 30s and 40s. She first “encounters” Bucky at the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian, a few years before she meets him person. She feels a connection to him, and gets an unshakeable feeling that he is sad, or that something is wrong. When they meet, Bucky must feel the connection as well because he says to her, “This is going to sound crazy but…have we met before?” Below is one of the conversations that they have.

Bucky: “So technically your grandfather is younger than me?”

Rachel: “You were born in 1917, right?”

Bucky: “Yes.”

Rachel: “Only…eighteen years.”

They smile at each other and laugh.

Bucky: “Would you maybe be interested in going out….with me, sometime. I mean, I can understand if you wouldn-“

Rachel: “Yes.”

Bucky: “What would you want to do? Assuming we have time?”

Rachel: “Doesn’t matter.”

They smile at each other.

It’s not much I know, and there is more to the character and the mini story that I wrote, which I can share more of at later date should the interest exist. He’ll probably end up with Natasha, and I’m okay with that, anything that will make Bucky smile more. Because his smile is the world, observe.

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I’m learning that being a writer means, writing. Writing everything, not just the best stuff, or the stuff that will work, or sell, or actually become a reality. First efforts can always be polished, but once an idea is lost, because you never wrote it down, its pretty much gone for good. Besides maybe I can incorporate some of Rachel’s characteristics into a future character. I just need to keep writing. And not give up. Ever.

Until next time,

The Texan

 

 

My First Character

I have been enjoying not having to do school work, and riding the good vibes wave that comes with accomplishing something that was difficult; and also took a long time. I have yet to discover if the dean liked my paper, I also don’t know my final GPA, but the work is complete. And I am so close to being able to wear that t-shirt that I bought from the university store; or as I call it, the “t-shirt of victory”. I mean I know that I can wear it now, just wanna make sure everything is final first, you know, truly complete. I look forward to that day, its going to be awesome! You know sometimes its okay to bask in your own glow. Its important for each individual to recognize just how amazing they truly are, and then use that…uh…amazing-ness, to better the world around them. Imagine if everyone did that?

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But I digress.

I’ve been reading a book called Screenplay by Syd Field, to help in the process of making my unfinished yet to be finished screenplay, ready to present to the world. I started working on it about 2 years ago, and it currently has the working title of “Cambridge”. The main character is a young American women from Kansas, and her name is Mae Forester. Mae is a graduate student at the University of Kansas, and is only a few credits away from completing her master’s degree in history. She gets accepted to competitive summer program at Cambridge University, one of only 6 Americans chosen. When she arrives she meets Evan O’Brady, an aspiring chef, who is working as a Cambridge tour guide for the summer. The impact they have on each other is the story.

Now Mae isn’t looking for love, or in need of a man, more just tired of the ones that turn out to be a waste of time. For her going to Cambridge is all about finishing her degree, and proving to herself that she is capable of succeeding in the history profession; and then moving on from there. She’s not really expecting anything more, however, waiting in Cambridge is something more. This meeting generates happiness, but also conflict; which I hope will make the movie interesting. Today I would like to share with you one of my favorite scenes, when Mae (who doesn’t travel well) first arrives in Cambridge, and meets Evan.

Setting exterior in front of Cambridge:
Camera set under a bus showing the stairs. Feet in sneakers appear, one at a time. Mae walks off dragging her suitcase rather than using the wheels. She looks extremely tired, messy ponytail and wearing sweatpants that say “Jayhawks” along the side. Evan notices her, and offers to help.

Evan: “Miss. Excuse me miss. Allow me to assist you with that.” (He puts the suitcase back on its wheels.)
Mae: “Oh yeah. I’ve never been this exhausted in my life, this coming from a girl who has taken her fair share of final exams. I’m actually a little upset with England right now.”
Evan: “Why England?”
Mae: “Because it’s so far away from Kansas.”
Evan: “Kansas? Are you American?”
Mae: “Why else would I be coming from Kansas?”
Evan: “Good point.”
Mae: “Yeah I know. (looks at Evan) You don’t have to follow me, I’m just going over here.”
Evan: “Just making sure you get to where you need to be.”
Mae: “I am (big yawn) where I need to be.”
Evan: “Right.”
Evan watches Mae, as she meets up with the rest of the people that got off the bus. After a few moments they walk into the university.
Evan: “Hmm.” He walks away and the screen fades.

I’m excited to begin the process of polishing up, this, my first story idea, hopefully seeing it made into a movie, and then moving on my second story idea; which has the working title of “Brooklyn”. I also look forward to finishing Screenplay, that book is full to busting with tips and sound advice about screenplay writing, then reading a book called Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. I’m excited to learn all I can!

“Talent is God’s gift; either you’ve got it or you don’t. But writing is a personal responsibility; either you do it or you don’t.”  -Syd Field

I guess it’s time to write!

Until next time,

The Texan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Next Amazing Thing

On June 14th, my humble little blog crossed the “been around for 6 months” line. Happy 1/2 birthday “I Write A Little”! My blog has been viewed 414 times, gotten 70 likes, from people all over the world; 21 different countries to be exact, and has gained 20 followers! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, to all my readers; you sir/ma’am are awesome!

Welp, I have officially completed my degree, well not officially really, because my final grade has yet to be posted, so I don’t know what my final GPA is; and I have yet to hold that beautiful piece of paper in my hands. But! All the work has been done. My final paper has been graded. Which by the way, was very well received. My professor used words like; excellent, great details, and very simply, I knew you could do it. He also wrote that he had submitted my paper to the Dean! He could make no promises, of course, but the submission itself is a honor. Which makes me all like….

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For the last assignment, he wanted us to write about our plans/goals, in the forum section, so our class mates could read it as well. Here is what I wrote.

The journey to finally earning this degree began way back in 2006, just a month after I got married. I was taking classes through Southwestern Illinois College, known as SWIC, while still active duty. I was slowed down by babies, moving to Europe, and then back to the states; but here I am, at the end. I honestly have not given much thought to pursuing a master’s degree, just wanted to get this one with my GPA, and my sanity, still intact. I think I have done that successfully, and feel good about accomplishing a long sought after goal. If I were to pursue a master’s degree, it would be in history, most likely the “Public History” program at this university. I would like to work for a museum, or help with historical preservation; either would be awesome. I have also toyed around with the idea of being a historical consultant for movies, you know helping with historical accuracy and such, that would be really awesome!

I learned a good deal about myself throughout this process, have gained some writing experience, come to realize just what I am capable of, and to not settle for my own perceived limitations. I know that I will only go as far as I believe I can, so I need to reach for what I believe is possible, and then go beyond that. I have some creative writing interests that I look forward to focusing on, and by that I mean, screenplay writing. I have one completed story idea, one that is about half done, and a few others floating around in my head. I may succeed, and I may not; but the only way to true failure, is not trying. The dream of writing a screenplay, is something that I have been kicking around since I was 12 or 13, just never told anyone about it. Maybe I never thought I could do it. But this degree, my husband, “Breaking Benjamin” songs, and a book called You Are A Bad-***, have helped to instill some confidence. I look forward to what the future holds, and it is comforting to know that I will always have this degree. Next chapter here I come!

And to also send him a private message about something we learned while researching our chosen topic that we did not previously know. This is what I wrote..

I enjoyed digging a little deeper into this topic, especially the English side of the story. From the start, I was a “team Godwinson” kind of girl, and felt that Harold would have been a good king for England. This time I realized the motivation behind the English people’s will to fight, and just how loyal they were Harold. They were willing to follow him to hell and back, if that meant that they would have a chance to retain their way of life. Even after William won and gained the throne, they were still steadfast to their “Englishness”, or “Saxonness”. I felt inspired by their spirit, because it was that spirit that allowed them to win in the end; the final victory belonged to the people of England. The commitment to hold on to what is important no matter what, that is lesson that I will take with me. Much can be gained from the story of 1066, what that ends up being, depends greatly on who is reading it.

So now that I finished my degree, it time to move to the next amazing thing, for one is not only allotted one amazing thing. My next amazing thing, is to write a screenplay, or 2, or 3; and be involved in the movies. The idea of being in the public eye and achieving some level of fame is a dream that I have secretly harbored for years. My reason is one that I finally said out loud just this morning. “I want to achieve a modest level of fame, in order to use my platform, and money, to serve society in a bigger way.” And to also make people laugh, inspire them, and be the/a reason why they reach for their own dreams. To have an impact, like that, in the lives of other humans, would be well, amazing. It will encourage me to push past any failures or set backs that I will endure, for I know that the road to success is paved by failure. I am committed to giving the world my best, because it deserves my best. And when I feel like giving up, I will stand in front of a mirror and give myself the, “Steve Rogers eyebrows of disappointment”, see below for a visual aid.

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Yep, I am ready to step into the unknown, kick fear in the face, and follow my crazy, amazing, gonna be awesome dream, of writing a screenplay. And there’s the side perk of not only meeting this guy, but working with him. Might as well aim high, right?

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All the while I will be listening to my motivation mix which includes, “Hall of Fame” by The Script, “Failure” by Breaking Benjamin, “It Has Begun” by Starset, “American Noise” by Skillet, and “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.

Alright, the first step has been taken, let the journey begin!

Until next time,

The Texan