Seen / Unsought – Sight / Unseen, Scott Thomas Smith
The idea of living a cinematic life. Somehow that came to dominate. Not so much that it was in the foreground of thought, but so much that it framed every shot I took, and as chances passed by…
So lights dimmed, and it seemed like more and more walking out of the theater was the way to go.
Just so, the way when one loves a cinematic moment, one describes it as “perfect”, and always, we say, life is anything but. As if the comparison is the way we look. And so I dressed in my favorite winter coat, all dressed up, and nowhere to go.
I woke up in the hospital.
Days? Later. The first thought was of a joke. The idea of a failed suicide attempt, as, aha, even this is a loss. You can’t even do this right! I would say to myself over-animated, as some relative who completely understands and just was suspiciously absent when needed, now appears, standing beside me, a ghost… come from some place that I had been missing.
But this is just the joke that I woke up choking on. Weeks in inpatient under watch, observed but mainly passing time being alive and not dying quite so literally. All the more disappointed. Warm food, enforced sleep, drugs and cigarette breaks. Not quite the resort passed last, but time turns around like a shitbox car, cornering badly on a two lane highway, blind, uncertain, conditional. Ditches to either side, one prays for traction; could read some mantra of the masses. I got out, eventually.
But not without the talk.
The insistence on reintegration. They want you back, the white coats assure you. They’re all rooting for you. The air insists you breathe.
“How are you doing today?”
“Just wondering when I can go home.”
“What do you plan to do with yourself when you get home?”
“Have you given any thought to what you want to do?”
“Well, I was supposed to take some film classes before I ended up in here. At the college.”
“Maybe I could still do that. I don’t even know what day it is. But I could still study film.”
“That’s a possibility.”
After we assured each other we realized we had to be on a program of self care, in a support network, to make sure we stayed healthy and aware of our mood, they let me out.
I remember the car ride home and how it felt like being released from another world into another world. The Mars rover. Remote control. Regaining gravity and prolonged exposures.
I watched ‘Jaws’.
This was no boating accident.
And still I was on the day program. Outpatient every day for a week. Then three days a week.
Show me the way to go home.
I heard for the first time the concept of an auteur, just by chance. A filmmaker who is recognized as enough of a ‘signature’ artist, that he is able to control all aspects of the direction of the film, and so, is taken serious as a name, enough to be an auteur… It seems a self fulfilling prophe..t of sorts. What does it take to become what one is?
Anti-depressants and regular psychiatric visits. But therapy is not for me we decide. It’s enough to say ten words and say “keep up the good work” in not so many words.
I watched ‘Les Enfants du Paradis’ – The Children of Paradise.
The whole truth, nothing but… And a charming costume.
As a child I was saner and more clever than the others. They never forgave me.
But I’m planning something grandiose.
My first film was on one of those handheld camcorder that claims to be HD and actually records better than a shoulder crusher from ten years ago. The thing is, I can’t tell you what it’s about…
I guess it goes like this…
If you spend your life knowing art is the one thing that matters to you, and one day you wake up knowing that art has failed you.. only to.. go back to sleep…
Then, to realize that the thing you need in life is something that isn’t up on the screen, or in the pages in a book, on pumping out of your best set of headphones…
You have to see it…
Scott Thomas Smith lives in St. Louis with two cats, and is currently working on: a screenplay, a video game script, and a half dozen other projects – including a novel trilogy. The hub of Smith’s web presence can be found at TheNeonHeart.com.
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Tags: artistic, cinema, movies, scott thomas smith, suicide