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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In a word...

Perhaps the largest hurdle I've had to get over in my struggles to be accepted as a writer has been the one that has been put there by myself:

Am I worthy?

That question has been my biggest nemesis as I sit there staring at that white screen; Staring at that blinking cursor as it impatiently demands some sort of input.

I can drive myself near to madness sometimes, heck if I thought about all the half-finished stories I've got on my computer, the various scenes and lines of dialogue tossed away... All of it left unfinished because, well, 'who am I?' Surely there are people out there who've already said my words - and said them better. What can I possibly add that would be of any value?

Even as I fill out my application for the Prime Time program I can feel that fear writhing inside me: I'll be going up against best people in the country - some for whom this will not be their first application - who am I to think that I can get into this thing?

I've been learning the hard way, all my life, that self-doubt will absolutely destroy you. And it's something that rings especially true in an industry that (oh, so recently proved once again) prides itself on making you feel helpless and, well, unworthy.

For a long time I've struggled to find my own voice, burned myself countless times by trying to be things that I'm just not. I've tried to be the 'funny' guy, the 'brooding' guy, the 'witty' and/or 'wise' guy and well, I'm just not any of those things. The truth is that I'm just a guy, I grew up in the armpit of Ontario with my brothers and sisters; Living so far below the poverty line that having Pizza for dinner meant that mom won at Bingo that night.

I tell good stories, I share freely what I've learned and I'm prone to being a bit too big for my britches from time to time - but you know what? That's real. It's (part of) who I am. I'm the "Poor kid who done good". And it's taken me a long time to realize that that's okay. That my voice, my words and my perspective are valid - that there is room for me.

And that's why I'm here, thankful and utterly humbled by the letter of recommendation that Karen Walton has taken the time to write for me as I continue to work on getting into the CFC.

She wrote this letter for me at the end of January and I've kind of been sitting on telling people about it. In truth, I wasn't quite sure what to do. How do you react when someone whose opinion matters to you says things that not only validate you but inspire you to keep fighting? I mean, I said "thank you" of course, but some how it just didn't feel like it was enough. It didn't get across the true measure of what it meant to me.

I've been struggling for a while now, trying to think about how to show the full measure of it - fighting against that little voice in my head trying to shame me into silence. "Just accept it and be quiet" it says to me, even as I write this, "Don't embarrass anybody".

But I've never really been one for listening to the little voices in my head (thankfully). So please indulge me and allow me to properly thank a person who has made a great impact on my life:

Karen, you have made me feel worthy.

And I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.

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