Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Call from an Old Friend

I picked up my ringing phone and was launched back to high school! Best friends forever, The BeeGees, playing volleyball in her church youth group, cowl neck sweaters and Farrah Fawcett hairdos.

"Shawn! I'm coming to your area! Let's get together and hang out for the afternoon."

And I thought we shouldn't so I told her that we would be like ships passing in the night because I was going to be gone that weekend. And, oh how sad, because we have so much to catch up on!

Catching up was precisely why I didn't want to see her. It all seemed so exhausting. We really don't know each other anymore.

Her life is strange to me. She is married to a pentecostal pastor and they were going to be in town to meet with other church leaders in the community.

We found each other through and in a recent email exchange, she sent me a photo of herself. She is as beautiful as ever. She was standing in front of her fireplace at home wearing a long necklace with a cross. She exchanged her Farrah Fawcett hair style to a length longer than her gown she was wearing.

When I think of her, I think of notes passed between desks in Government class. "I love Dave but Coreen loves him. So I'm going to settle on Kenny. Do you like the song Torn Between Two Lovers. Have you heard it on the radio? KFRC is playing it alot these days. Sounds like me! Ha!"

My mom can drive us to see Grease tomorrow night. Can your mom pick us up? If not, I will ask if Karen's mom can."

We washed our faces with Noxzema and shampooed with Gee-Your-Hair-Smells-Terrific and played the BeeGees, Fleetwood Mac and Peter Frampton on our stereos.

When she moved away with her family out of state, I worried how I would endure another year in school without my best friend. She hugged me and promised to write and I followed the UHaul truck all through town until they reached the onramp to the highway and disappeard into the distance.

I remember feeling so lucky to have her as my friend and I didn't know what I'd do without her.

But now I do. I do without her all the time.

It has been too many years we haven't kept in touch that it's difficult to conjur up the energy now to spend an afternoon with her. Maybe another time. Maybe because she is pentecostal and I am not. Maybe because she knows I was once a missionary, living out of a suitcase living in neighborhoods some cab drivers wouldn't even venture down and doesn't know that was a lifetime ago for me and I no longer go to church.

Maybe I'm just not ready to talk to her about it. Maybe I worry about being judged by her. Maybe because I am still sorting out all the feelings and thoughts surrounding my full time ministry days. Maybe it is all those things. I am just not ready to talk to her about it.

But she will never know that.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Benny and the Birthday Berries

I got a phone call from Tony that summer.

"Ya wanna do some writing for me?"
I knew him personally, plus he was a huge name in the Christian Publishing and I was just 23, recovering from a major injury and of course, I shouted, "YES! YES! YES!"

Initially I called the berries rash berries because I wrote into the story how they broke into a horrible rash.. a result from losing self-control and eating them. That was deleted among other things. I like to think that my original story was filled with sweet emotions and "ah-ha!" moments in cute, simple word structures. Once it was edited, I barely recognized my story. But that seemed okay by me. I was now a published writer. And I was just 23.

You can actually view my book here that turned to video:

This was during what I like to call my internship years. I was paid $30.00 a week to write the book which is still in publication today. My name is long gone from the credits but I still keep a few of the first editions where my name is still there in print.

I also did the inking in the illustrations using pantone felt pens and later when we put these books to video, I did the camera work, which makes me cringe when I see the quality of work.

We were all so young back then. Each day I would show up to work, I would pinch myself to wake me incase I was dreaming. I was so happy to be in such a creative job. It was one of my dreams coming true.

I've had many since then. But this was the beginning. This was the platform that started my fun, creative career.

Funny the things you can find on google.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dooog's Garage Theater brings memories!

I stumbled upon this video while on a google search of a kid's book i wrote in the middle of the 80s called Benny and the Birthday Berries.

I was the camera operator on this very episode ... among other things.

We were working in Pleasanton, California and I would pinch myself every morning before going into work because I couldn't believe I was working at such a fun job. We spent some crazy hours on this. I have a videotape making this film. A fun behind-the-scenes footage incase I ever decided on creating a documentary, which sometimes i still daydream about doing.

I giggle at this video now. It really does appear amateur and when I think back to those fond memories of us working on that video ... I realize the reason why it looks so amateur was because.... we were!