Catch and Release

This is an admittedly bizarre title choice for someone who once bawled her head off when taken on a fishing trip as a child (early indication of a future vegetarian). But the words came to me the other day when I realized that – as much as I like to think I’m a “go with the flow” kind of gal – I’m still prone to giving in to the temptation to put my dreams in a headlock and wrestle them down the path I’m oh-so-sure is the best one.

Of course, the wiser part of me knows this is a recipe for disaster (or at least disappointment). But sometimes the id screams like a toddler being forcibly removed from the toy aisle and the hubris of me insisting on doing things my way prevails.

But in saner moments, I realize that I simply need to catch the dreams and ideas that come to me, give ‘em some love, take a few action steps…and then release the trajectory of their manifestation to God.

My best friend recently gave me one of the most beautifully thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received: a very cool replica of an old school drive-in theater speaker. Her note said:

“To remind you that you are a screenwriter and filmmaker. Regardless of the fact that it may not look like what you thought it would.”

I was touched not only by her belief in my work, but how spot-on she was about the fact that our desires don’t always come to us in neat little packages designed by our imaginations.

Ever since I fell in love with screenwriting in college, I pictured that my films would one day end up with one of the big studios.  (Granted, this was when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and before everything was available on YouTube…but I digress…). My producing partner Curt Apduhan and I tried for years to get into the Hollywood club. Curt is an Emmy award-winning cinematographer, who has worked with a lot of famous people who are well-entrenched in the studio system. But even with his personal and professional connections, we always seemed to get thisclose with one of our scripts, and then…crickets.

Finally, we decided that it was time to stop wasting time courting approval and just make a movie on our own. Even if it wasn’t a full-length feature backed by millions of dollars and starring a household name, it was still tangible proof that we knew how to write and produce something screen-worthy.

So, we shot our first short film, “Anniversary” with an amazing cast of three in a friend’s home (whose living room was miraculously transformed by our set designer into a hotel suite). We were on a shoestring budget, but everyone involved gave so generously of their time and talent that we ended up with a beautiful film that was very well-received at several festivals in the U.K.

We may still make it to Hollywood one day. Or maybe not. But I will never forget the thought that came to me as I stood on set for the first time and watched the actors say my words:

“I don’t know if I could be any happier if this were being played out on a giant soundstage or a glamorous location. I love filmmaking, period. I just want to be in the game.”

And as of this writing, I still am. Another short film produced and screened at festivals last year, and one more in the works that will be expanded to a feature. At least that’s the plan.

(I know, I know…cue the “we plan, God laughs” jokes.)

But I’ve done my best to catch and cultivate the dreams that come to me. Now begins the continual process of prying my fingers off of the steering wheel.

Time to let the Divine do the driving.

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  • Reply Richard “Dick” Dahlgren October 9, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Good one Mary! I am learning about the arduous journey filled with frustration and anger at times, ending holding a book I wrote in my hands. And to reassure myself I can write, selecting a random page and reading a few paragraphs. A smile comes to me. I say to myself, Dick this is good stuff…I am not bad. I can do this.

    For the time being my new novels, in what I consider good enough shape to pass on to an editor, seem hopelessly stalled.

    It is people like you who don’t let me give up. Bless you Darlin’.

    • Reply Mary DeRosa Hughes October 9, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Dick, it makes me so happy to know that I encourage you to never give up…because you absolutely shouldn’t. You have so much talent, and any editor or publisher who doesn’t see that isn’t worth your time. Your stories ring true because they are born from a life well-lived. So, write on and on, my friend! 🙂

  • Reply Tori October 9, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    The image of “look: no hands!!” springs to mind and makes me smile… I’m so happy you write! It’s a true gift to conjure up all that you do in your brilliant mind and transmit it as inspiringly to others!

    • Reply Mary DeRosa Hughes October 10, 2018 at 7:48 am

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Tori…they mean a lot coming from one of the most incredibly talented women I know. ❤️ Your artwork is simply stunning…as are you! 🙂

  • Reply Roz October 9, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Very nice Mary. Keep living your dreams. The best ones will come true.

    • Reply Mary DeRosa Hughes October 10, 2018 at 7:31 am

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Roz! Love you…❤️

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