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  • rileysoloner

Creative Time Travel

On Saturday I had an epiphany and I’m thankful I did something with it.

The lightbulb moment: being my ideal future self requires extending more kindness to my past self. And I can practice that kindness to Past Riley by picking up the unfinished ideas he leaves all over the place.

There's a stack of note cards gathering dust on a corner of my desk. A creative exercise from David Lynch’s advice on writing a screenplay.

You get yourself a pack of 3x5 cards and you write a scene on each card and when you have 70 scenes you have a feature film. So on each card, you write the heading of the scene and then the next card, the second scene, the third scene, so you have 70 cards each with the name of the scene. Then you flesh out each of the cards and walk away you’ve got a script.


I remember some version of this where David insists it doesn’t matter the order of the scenes. Maybe that just tells you where I’m at when it comes to watching DL movies. Anyway. Back to my stack. I have about 20 cards. They were fun to write -- several months ago. I set them down and now dust settles on top of them.

I didn’t want to revisit them because I didn’t want to unleash the critic. Better to not go there than to even flirt with giving him ammunition for this vulnerable, delicate concept. A whiff of blood in the water can really set him off. You know?


But this lightbulb on Saturday: what if I thought like a beloved mentor my past self would be so excited to meet with? What if, as that mentor, I welcomed Past Riley's ideas like a gift from someone to be trusted? And what if instead of critiquing and editing from a strictly analytical thought-and-story place, I operated from a feeling place?

It was sweet! Treating a young idea like a game between friends. I breathed life into the idea balloon, instead of poking holes and swiping at it with claws. This feels like a worthy, valuable practice.

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