Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Rock the Tree (of Life)

Never one to back down from an idea that has penetrated my consciousness, I now find myself toying with a new storyline centered around religion. It’s a tale of lost love, religion dismissed and the vapid presence of God someplace in the background.

My relationship with God has always been tenuous at best. It’s now playing itself out in a new movie script concept that is slowly leaching out of my brain in the form of vapid scenes, running dialogue and undercurrents of love smashing up against ingrained religious belief.

Rock the Tree (of Life) is a story of finding, losing, and rediscovering God in a whole new form-I think.

My disillusionment with God, religion, heaven, hell, the afterlife and all things religious began in Eighth grade. After eight years of Catholic indoctrination at the hands of those daughters of Christ and men of the cloth, I finally hit a Catholic truth I couldn’t accept. It was simple enough; the fact that unless one is baptized as a Catholic, one couldn’t get into heaven. That simply didn’t jive with my immature brain that thought if God is all knowing and all great, he/she would never dismiss my friends as unworthy of heaven simply because their parents were of another religion.

Further study into many other Catholic doctrines I’d been taught and I was gradually finding myself falling away from the confinements of my mother’s religion. That lasted through high school and college and a good portion of my ‘lost years.’

There was a brief return to the church during the Sixties when my friend, Susan and I, discovered the Newman Center on the University of Minnesota campus and their semi-hippie approach to God and goodness and fellowship. That feeling of fellowship and community continued with intense debates and honest discussion amid pitchers of beer at the old Triangle Bar on the West Bank.

It also initiated a plethora of soul-searching in the form of poetry and song lyrics as I tried to examine what I was feeling at the time.  That brief return of examining my faith left with Susan when another phase of life called marriage began.

Years later, the subject matter reappeared in one of my first story forms of a play/movie/novel called ‘Cafeteria Catholic.’ The core element of the story is simple enough. A man, devoid of any faith, meets a woman who is a believer. The plot revolves around their newfound love for one another and the challenges of one believer connecting with a non-believer.

In truth, the core structure and plot elements of ‘Cafeteria Catholic’ are now morphing into a new storyline call ‘Rock the Tree’ with added conflicts and more layers of love added in. The background setting is different but the core conflict remains the same.

It’s not as if I don’t have enough to write already. There are two completed movie scripts that still need to get under Hollywood’s radar and a plethora of other projects screaming for my attention. Yet, this question of the existence of God and all of its surrounding baggage is a subject matter I find fascinating. Garnish it with the warmth and depth of true love and there is a story inside just waiting to get out.

I have no idea if I will even begin this new writing project this summer. Yet the ideas keep coming out and snap me to attention deep into the midnight hour. How can I ignore a storyline as strong as that?


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