Monday, October 12, 2009

Holidays & the Secret

Seeing as there are two holidays today, I'm planning to celebrate both. Here it's Columbus Day, a somewhat disputed holiday, certainly by native Americans and others and it's Thanksgiving in Canada. 

So I'm gonna have a turkey dinner and drive out to the Mojave to explore a little bit. My Ford Explorer will stand in for the Nina, or was it the Santa Maria?  I never knew why Canada celebrated Thanksgiving in October and the U.S. at the end of November until I was 50. 

And the reason is so simple, 

I would never have thought of it until my farmer friend said "our harvest seasons are different." What he meant was that Canada's harvest comes a lot earlier because we're further north.  Simple as that. 

Moving on. ..

I received an email from my friend Nic and with her own blog listed in my Blog List, she was curious about "the Secret".  She  explained what she meant; how did I manage to succeed (to an extent) in such a tough business and at such a late age ( I came to LA at 43 when many writer careers are over at 40)?  First of all, we Canadians have an incredible inferiority complex, no matter what some might argue.  Success is not a word many of us would ever use because, as my dad said, "don't show off".  He also said "never think your boss is your friend", but that's another story. 

You've heard the joke... how do you get 20 noisy Canadians out of the pool? 

You ask them.

Okay, you still don't believe me.  Maybe ten years ago or so I met Keanu Reeves at a movie theater and we talked about being Canadian.  I suggested he must feel pretty good being such a success.  He smiled that Canadian smile, sort of apologetic and said that he felt sort of, kind of successful but wouldn't dare say it out loud.  So it wasn't just me.  Maybe it's changed a little, but I doubt it.  Someone suggested I write a book about my experiences in Hollywood and my first reaction was to call it "Making My Way to the Middle".

So what is the secret?

This I know. I have had an amazing career for a Ukrainian boy from a tiny village (546 people) in Northern Canada who stuttered and had little encouragement if any from parents or teachers or mentors.  But as I got older I realized what I wanted was beyond their understanding so I really didn't fault them.

I do remember one teacher, Grade 6, a beautiful girl of 18 who had her first job at my little school. I adored her and followed her everywhere and became her "teacher's pet" willingly.  And she gave me attention, and laughed and and encouraged me when I said I wanted to make movies some day. I met her again in 2005 and she said she wasn't surprised what I was doing. 

So what's the secret?

I still don't know, I'll have to think about it.  I know it has to do with incredible stubborness and perseverence. You have to really want it.  More than anything.

Mostly it's hope.

Naturally I use two lines from movies to explain this.  I think it was Robert Duval who said in Tender Mercies; "Hope ain't nothin' more than having something to look forward to in the morning." 

And Mr. Spock from Star Trek said this: "Each of us have our own private purgatories, mine is no better or worse than anyone else's."

Works for me.

Maybe I'll find out more about this secret, but not too much, I'm already awkward about talking about me. In the meantime, have a good holiday and those of you in England, France and India, have a good day too.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Jim!

    Here is a plate full of cyber perogies and cabbage rolls, along with some turkey and nonchynka (sp?) with gravy.

    We feel very blessed. We have so much for which to be thankful!

    - From your friends in O-Town

  2. Now that's what I'm talkin' about. Tell us more...