Random Movie Review: “Crazy, Stupid, Love”

So, this past weekend, Jon Acuff hosted his first ever Quitter Conference (based on his book of the same name). Aside from having a serious case of “Quitter envy,” my weekend was a pretty good one. In fact, I drowned said envy (wherein I compare my beginning to some more successful soul’s middle) the watching of films.

'Steve Carrell, Get Smart' photo (c) 2007, TV Squad Julia - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

On Friday evening, my wife and I had our first date night in sometime, and saw the new Steve Carrell movie, Crazy, Stupid, Love. From the trailers, it appeared to be “yet another romantic comedy,” of which men, if you’re married (or soon to be married), you are contractually obligated to see a certain number of. (This number to be determined by your spouse/significant other).

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Art & Life: Art is Two Kinds of Sacrifice

>at knife's edgephoto © 2008 Jordan Hoskins | more info (via: Wylio)

In this series, we’ve talked a lot about what art is, how it impacts, explains, and supports life. But there’s an aspect we haven’t touched on yet; namely, that art is sacrifice.

It’s the name of the game. In order to make great art, we as creators have to be willing to give something (or many somethings) up. I’ve heard both Bryan Allain and Jon Acuff talk about a “Like List.” As in a list we compile detailing the things we truly love versus the the things we merely like. Anything on the like list, if it interferes with the creation of our art, must be jettisoned. This is, I suppose, another aspect of “killing our darlings” (which we touched on last week).

The balance to this, which I’m learning, is that family (and thus family time) isn’t something that belongs on the “Like List.” If it’s there for you (as it was for me), I strongly suggest you reevaluate your priorities. Stephen King, one of the most successful writers ever, put it this way: “Life is not a support system for art, it’s the other way around.” And that was a hard fought lesson for him, as he–at the top of his game–almost lost his family.

No dream, no passion, no calling, is ever worth that. Don’t you ever dare sacrifice truly living for art’s sake. Chances are, your kids (if you have any) won’t understand you constantly giving up time with them to “pursue your dream.”

That, my friends, is the delicate balance of art: jettisoning that which keeps us from pursuing our passions, while simultaneously sacrificing the dream if it interferes with our closest relationships.

Take heart: it can be done. There is a path through these two kinds of sacrifice. It’s along the flat of a blade, but it’s there. Finding it isn’t easy, but is so worth the energy and effort expended.

God bless you as you pursue your art, and your relationships.

What have you sacrificed in pursuit of your dreams? Where have you found your balance?

Owning Your Dream

>Dream!photo © 2008 Melody Campbell | more info (via: Wylio)

I am not cool, hip, or “with it.” I’m just a middle-aged husband and dad with a dream. A dream that includes a love of words. A dream that I let all but die–because I bought into a lie.

When someone I respected, looked up to, trusted, told me I wasn’t good enough, I believed them.

I believed them, and let the spark in me grow cold.

For nearly a quarter century, that dream lay fallow in my heart’s soil. Oh, there were some tentative forays, a few things that saw the light of day, that people praised.

But I didn’t believe them. I was still the scared high school freshman who’d had his crushed heart handed to him.

It is just within the last nine months, or so, that I’ve allowed my heart to come alive again–that I’ve dared to dream.

And fallen in love with words all over again.

This is why, despite the fact that I’ve read only the first chapter, I believe so strongly in the message of Jon’s new book, Quitter. In it, Jon contends that following our dreams is not a process of discovery, but rather one of recovery. Finding, and championing, that which we’ve always truly loved.

That has certainly been the case for me.

My name is Chad. I may not be “cool,” but whatever else I am– be it an employee, husband, father–I am a writer.

I’m owning my dream now, and I’ve given up believing the lies.

How about you?