When Life Creates Art

A few months ago, I wrote about @jeannevb and how beautifully her life was altered with the creation of IMPASSE. She watched, at #PaneraOffice, as a couple engaged in a most remarkable battle. Neither side would back down. They were at an impasse… and her observations of this clash of Titans gave birth to a magnificent script and what promises to be a beautiful and heartfelt film.

Last Friday, I met with a writer/producer who was seeking assistance. I’m looking for work; I freelance as a writer for corporate, training and infomercial videos, so the thought of getting paid to write content that was more creative was enticing. We had an enjoyable meet at the Coffee Bean; afterwards I began the winding journey over Laurel Canyon – and to home.

It was hot that day. I’m not a very good judge of the heat. Once it gets into the 90s, my body figures it could be 99, 109 or 119. It’s all the same to me.

It’s not all the same to my car.

As I approached Mulholland, I happened to glance at my dash and saw that I was close to overheating. I’m pretty cautious, not to mention broke. The thought of having to acquire a new car brings me to my knees. So, I made it through the intersection and pulled over on Dona Pequita to let my little girl chill. I popped open the hood, opened the windows and sat in the shade.

After what I believed to be an appropriate amount of time, I grabbed two rags from the trunk and some coolant… and I opened the radiator.

A geyser of boiling liquid shot out, coating my right hand and arm. I had a direct hit to the face; thankfully my sunglasses protected my eyes. I fell back in shock… and seconds later the pain began.

I cannot describe what it felt like. I said it was as if acid was being poured on my arm… and it was… but that did not begin to articulate what this felt like. More like a medieval torturer was peeling the flesh from my bones, one dermal layer at a time. Only worse.

I had two bottles of water in the car; I doused my arm and face with them. I tried calling for help – I could not get ahold of anyone. Shock began to set in; my entire body was quaking.

I took a deep breath and tried to clear my brain. I knew that I needed medical attention immediately, and that my car was short of coolant. I poured what was left in my container in – I had dropped it when I fell back – closed the hood, started the car and pulled onto Laurel. I was like a somnambulist. All I could think of was the Shell station on Laurelgrove and Ventura and that I could get more coolant there.

About 20 minutes later – an eternity when your skin is continuing to cook – I pulled into the Shell station. The mechanics were wonderful; they plunged my arm into a bag of ice, added coolant to my car, and called the burn center to seek advice.

The following is pretty graphic. If you have a weak constitution, you might have your mother read this to you. Although she can’t, because it is a photograph. Hmm. Anyway, proceed at your own risk.

Flash forward to yesterday, when I went in for a follow-up appointment to have my wounds cleaned and re-dressed. When the doctor removed the wrappings, this is what I saw. Spectacular, isn’t it? My arm looks like an alien garden slug.

What does this have to do with writing?

After a hellacious night, the words “plastic surgeon” echoing in my brain, coupled with “no insurance,” I woke. The first thing I thought was that the area on my arm burned equals about 3% of my body. Maybe 5%. I thought of all of those poor souls who have 50-90% of their bodies burned… and I could not imagine the horror, the pain. I looked at the teeny burns on my face, and thought of my eyes, and just how fortunate I was. Then, my brain switched gears. I thought of Jeanne and IMPASSE, and the very personal journey that she embarked on in the creation of that film, after her experience at Panera. And then I had a thought… a woman, burned beyond recognition… and how her life might alter.

So a new script calls me. It’s a short; I want to shoot it. I’ll probably even crowdfund it, even though I had pledged to not go that road again. I’m considering this action because I think the story might have value. I’m fairly certain I have something to say. At any rate, once again, my life is giving birth to art… and I must listen to my Muse.

Now, go write.

HRH, Princess Scribe

About princessscribe

Screenwriter. Creator of things. I love tacos. "Midlife on Fire" Volumes 1 & 2 now available at Amazon.com.
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20 Responses to When Life Creates Art

  1. Sweet Jesus. There’s emotional pain and physical pain. Hard to tell which is more difficult to recover from. Praying you heal quickly and the words flow smoothly. xo


    • 🙂 Pain is pain, however it is manifested. It’s when we surpass our threshold that life gets interesting. I remember a saying of McKee’s – that to find out the value of your characters, what they are like as people, put them under unimaginable pressure… and see how they respond.
      I’m going to turn the little lemon into lemonade. xo


  2. Marisa says:

    Oh, I hated reading this. I feel so sorry that you suffered so much physical as well as emotional pain. Prayer to all the deities that you heal completely, and that the road on this new manifestation of your creative art is smooth and painless.


  3. Pat Mikulec says:

    Reading the article brought a couple of things to mind…. First, and foremost, I will wait 4 DAYS before checking my radiator, should it even look like it is overheating and if I want to have art iminate life, I will consintrate on iminating something like dealing with buying the wrong color towels or something equally mundane. Still praying for you.


  4. Pat Mikulec says:

    Didn’t spell imitate correctly either time — at least I’m consistent!


  5. JT says:

    Yikes! That’s one hard way to learn a lesson. Hope you heal up without any permanent damage. Great that you are able to find inspiration from it.


  6. Hard lesson to learn…and an even hard way to learn it. I wish a speedy healing process for you and that, hopefully, someone else learns from this too.


  7. dehelen says:

    A picture is worth a thousand screams. omfg. Do not let this get infected, that is all I have to say. And I’m saying it to the gods and goddesses, guardian angels, and anyone else I can call on to protect you. Something good must come of this, because no one deserves it more than you.


    • Honey, we ALL deserve good. It’s just part of life. I am coated with Silvadene daily, wrapping changed, wounds cleaned (oy). I’m just so happy to have something cool come out of all of this! I don’t know where it will lead me and I have a lot of other work in front of me but I am so happy to have had that Jeanne driven vision.
      I just wish it had been a wee bit easier to come to me, but nothing worth it comes easy, yes?


  8. Sometimes it seems when you can’t take any more crap, life drops its drawers and shits all over you again. Yikes. But…screenplay…character.


    • It is a gift. Not the kind I fantasize about in Tiffany Blue with that lovely crisp white ribbon, but one more soulfully tangible.
      Plus, I was told today to wait for two fucking hours. Words to live by.


  9. Frank Wood says:

    As my mother used to say, bless your heart, girl. My profoundest empathy. May you heal quickly and may pain become inspiration.

    The same thing happened to me, and I have since carried a heavy blanket in the trunk. I’m always too hurried to wait for the cool down. Toss the blanket over the radiator, loosen the cap (one half turn) and dive for cover. Try to leave the motor running while refilling; it’s easier on the engine, but don’t let the blanket get tangled in the radiator fan. That’s another potential inspiration.

    It’s gonna be alright.

    All good fortune with ITF.


    • Frank, thank you, how kind!

      I had a quilt that I keep in my trunk for impromptu picnics and outdoor lounging. Did I use it? No. Why? Derrrrrr… 😉

      But, as I said, I feel so lucky. It could have been so much worse… and the thought of a new story is most tantalizing… though next time, I hope my muse goes a little easier on me 😉 or I grow a brain.


  10. cherylsavala says:

    Thank goodness for your sunglasses. I wish you a healthy recovery.


  11. Pingback: A Fine Line… | Princess Scribe's Blog

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