It was mid-afternoon Saturday. I was in the shower getting ready to go over to someone’s house on a social visit for the evening. The phone rang in the next room and my mind had an immediate thought.
“It’s probably her!” I thought.
I’ve had this experience over and over. When my phone rings, I think it’s her. When I hear that I have a new email, I think it’s from her. I even have the same thought — “Maybe it’s something she sent” — when there’s something unexpected in my mailbox.
This isn’t rational. I have no reason to expect to hear from her. But because something in me expects it — every single day — I can’t help believing that it’s about to come true.
For right or for wrong, I have strong images of who I am and what my future will be. What people see on the outside isn’t always what I see on the inside. Like the cat who stalks his prey believing he’s a lion, I see myself as a world conquerer.
Nobody around me knows this, of course. Nobody sees or hears the disappointment when it’s not her on the phone or when the email isn’t offering funding to make a film. But this hope — or faith or delusion or whatever you want to call it — is a key part of who I am.
At dinner tonight, we talked about all sorts of things. It was a good conversation, even if we disagreed about some key philosophical points about how to organize human society. But when the conversation turned to the films I want to make, something changed.
I wasn’t trying to sell someone on my ideas. I was simply outlining a future reality about what I am going to create. What I must create.
I don’t suppose I was especially realistic. I didn’t have a plan to propose. But I painted pictures of what something in me is driven to bring to life.
And that vision of what can be — even the parts which I couldn’t put into words — felt more real to me than anything around me at the moment.
Some people would tell me I should be “realistic” and accept whatever life happens to deal to me. They say that hardly anybody gets to follow his heart. They say that it’s good enough to settle for whatever love might be available. They say that everybody ought to just be thankful to be employed.
And maybe they’re right.
All I know is that my soul paints powerful pictures on the inside of my skull and then pulls me eagerly toward making them into reality.
And I can’t let go of those pictures. Even though part of me tries to squash the desires and the hopes and the faith that I’m heading toward creating those things, some stubborn part of me refuses to listen.
Have you ever really watched a cat when he’s stalking something? I’m not sure they understand that they can’t really conquer the dog or human or vacuum cleaner that they’re trying to take down.
But in their determined and confident minds, they are roaring lions seeking someone to devour. They are going to win whatever they want to win. That’s the way these pictures seem to me. Each one of them feels more real to me than three-dimensional reality does.
And that’s why I believe I’ll make that short film. That’s why I believe I’ll be wealthy. That’s why I believe I’ll make this other feature film.
And that’s why — when the phone rings next time — I’ll be sure it’s her. And one day it will be.