Kapow! and you step back and gloat…

Then... (with his grandfather)

Then… (with his grandfather)

We all know our kids are special, however ordinary they may seem to other people. In any line-up, our own are the fascinating, fully-formed human beings shining brightly against a montage of cardboard cut-outs. Even when they’re old enough to build lives and worlds of their own, we’re the ones who know the layers hidden behind the adult persona – layers built up over years of quirky childhood, boundless curiosity, growing understanding and endless striving.

But when they become public property – when the name you gave that tightly-wrapped bundle of potential starts popping up as part of people’s favourite TV shows – it takes a bit of getting used to. He’s not one of the stars, but he’s part of a package they regard with proprietorial interest: their show, their entertainment in their living rooms. It’s as if he’s developed an alter ego: a nebulous, shadowy being that viewers consider theirs.

But it seems that was only the beginning. Last Thursday, my son tore himself away from his desk, donned his suit, I assume (unheard of!), and presented himself at the American Consulate in Sydney as requested. Shorn of homelife and history, for that evening, he was yet another person I didn’t know: Theirs. One of nine screenwriters shortlisted for the 2014 Enderby Entertainment Screenwriting Scholarship, circulating among the big-wigs, boffins, champagne and finger food of an official reception, together with ten playwrights shortlisted for the 2014 Edward Albee Playwriting Scholarship.

Until he wasn’t. Because he’d won.



This scholarship involves a four week residency in LA under the mentorship of the independent film company, Enderby Entertainment. Its purpose is to develop the screenplay that won him the award, provide a sustained introduction to the Hollywood scene and introduce him to LA agents, producers and studio execs in the interests of his future career.

Oh. My. God.

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18 Responses to Kapow! and you step back and gloat…

  1. Wow! And Gosh! Is this when you let out your breath and think “He’s going to be okay”? Or does that never really leave you no matter how successful they are? [crosses her fingers, hoping for the former]

  2. bkpyett says:

    What a thrill for you to see your son succeeding and congratulations to both of you!
    You for your achievement in bringing up a successful young man, and to him for succeeding in such a tough arena!! 🙂

  3. Oh, wow! I have to force myself away from that dazzling smile to read and re-read the post! Happy news!

  4. Monicle says:

    Wow! you must be so proud!

  5. Fabulous! I hope he remembers to name check you at the Oscars 😉 xx

  6. Helen, We are all special in some ways – recognized or not. One of the ways I know you are special is this post and that you are a limerick writer par excellence. What follows may be too long for a post and you may decide not to use it or cut it just to just first couple of sentences. Should you allow it, I think it is germane. It is the introduction to a book I’m working on “How I Managed NOT To Become Famous” under going final edit and soon to hit Amazon and maybe print. Do as you think best:
    INTRODUCTION – How I Managed NOT to Become Famous

    This book is about how, through trial and error over many years, I have been able to turn an ordinary life into an ordinary life. Because we’re probably pretty much alike what I’ve written may be an inspiration to you. In most chapters it will make you laugh. A few items may make you think, but not very hard.
    Don’t get me wrong this early in the book – every life is extra-ordinary, including yours and mine. We are all unique. It’s the “extra” part only those closest to us become aware of – which leaves “ordinary.” Except for the time you were the world’s cutest baby, most of us are stuck with not becoming famous and live out our days that way. A few of us become “infamous” but that’s another life entirely. It’s not one I aspire to or – should that be: “not one to which I aspire.”
    Like you, if you are still twenty-something, I pictured myself riding the crest to notoriety. “Riding the crest” is a great goal at that age and a pretty fair objective if you’re still able to ride a surf board at any age. “Multi-millionaire by age 30” may be a goal and a legitimate one in some fields such as basketball, football, baseball, golf, tennis or other pornographic career.
    But for most, that kind of talent has passed us by, even when we have a good solid education – or in the more athletic of those occupations, as little education as possible. Or should that be “morals?” For a surf-boarder, the opposite of riding the crest is riding the trough – sitting looking over our shoulders for the BIG ONE, for which we can paddle forward furiously and catch just before the tide begins to break.
    The old saying “Time and tide wait for no man.” is also as important to fishermen as to surf boarders. When the tide turns, or for hopeful Izaak Waltons, it’s the best time to bait up and hope for the BIG ONE.
    To help those of us who have given up the more athletic preoccupations and settled for fishing, there are Tide Charts printed daily in most seaside areas. Somehow, that perfect “catch the crest” or landing a whopper never happened and I became proficient at riding the trough. All in all, it has been a comfortable place, floating quietly looking over my shoulder until I now have more wrinkles than most prunes. Could I have just picked up the wrong Tide Chart?
    I’ve divided this book into sections and the chapters, which may be loosely thought of as “Essay / Memoirs” assuming “loosely” is one of your strong points. They may strike a responsive chord with your own life – probably a little off key – since, despite plenty of practice, I never made it to Carnegie Hall either. Could I have taken the wrong subway?
    At any rate, depending on your level of incompetence, you may see yourself in some of what I write. But, that’s your problem. Mine is maintaining my own level of incompetence, which if I read THE PETER PRINCIPLE correctly I was able to achieve while still a young man. From then on I was able to complete a series of “lateral arabesques” as the author, Lawrence Peter, called them, which has left me at age 82 approximately where I started.
    Had I remained in the Air Force after washing out of Cadet School by flunking a color vision test I’d be officially “over age in grade”. Considering I’d gone into the service right after graduating from art school flunking a color test was something I’m glad my art instructors never found out
    Cadets in training actually have a military rank just below a Warrant Officer, so in addition to being blind to shades of some colors, I had, militarily, worked my way down from above a Sergeant to an Airman Second Class. I still think, in these days of political correctness, the Air Force could have come up with a better title for someone who had dropped so precipitously down the totem pole.
    Lawrence Peter wrote his best-seller in 1969, the perfect year, for me at age 38, to begin my series of sideways spirals. But, who knows, perhaps I can still change direction and this book will become MY best seller and let me start over where I left off.
    Like so much of what has gone before that’s pretty much out of my control. You and any other readers, should there be any, hold what little future I have left in your hands if you will tell others how much you enjoy this book and rave about why they must rush out and buy it.
    Looking back over the last sentence, it strikes me “rave” may be a poor choice of words, but choices like that probably contributed to where I am today – in your hands, so to speak. Still at twelve years beyond my Biblical allotment, there isn’t much I’d change, even if I could.
    Perhaps, had I been an “early adapter” as the technologically cutting edge whiz-kids who built empires from their garages or bedrooms, I’d have mastered using the computer at the same age I mastered the alphabet. I AM, however, using a computer to write this book – hunt and peck style. I’ve been asked by some people why, if writing is something I do, I never learned to touch type. My honest answer has always been, “I don’t see any advantage in being able to type faster than I can think.”
    When I got my first computer and asked my then elementary school grand daughter for some pointers about stuff I didn’t understand, her response was, “Grandpa, didn’t you ever go to third grade?”
    Been there – probably longer than she’s been alive.

  7. Pat says:

    Well, hail the wonders of a mother who watched and nurtured as it all unfolded. 🙂

    Leaving you breathless and wondering, I suspect?

    Well, truly, more than an accomplishment and delight – but as his mother, you will always *hold* the special and deepest rights; and if you consider that his *true shadow world* is the one that shaped and influenced him, allowing him to grow into the talented man he is now, then, whatever *theirs* and their perceptions, notions and concepts are of him, are but weak reflections of the person they can never know.

  8. ChristineR says:

    “I tend to think any problems are down to me, the successes are theirs alone!” You cannot have selective responsibility, Helen. You just have to take the good in stride, hard as it is. Most of your joy will just be because he is so happy, perhaps more than the achievement, itself. OMG. 😀

  9. He really wants to get this screenplay off the ground, and feels this is the way to do it. He didn’t think he’d get the scholarship, though, which makes it doubly exciting.

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