As readers might already know I’ve been helping set up several sites with a group of like minded people. The idea is to bring together those of us who paint, or draw, or write and I think that even at this fledgling level its helped spur on some of its members to create more, or to be more positive in what they are creating for the world.
One such site is “The Think Pot“, which is administrated by one of my oldest friends Paul. In 1990 Paul wrote a novel, the last in a succession of long works, but the first to use a particular small group of friends as characters within the story.
This was not new for Paul, he had done this previously with adaptations of stories based on the movie “Blade Runner”, but this I think he would agree was something a little different. I have not read those previous works (I don’t even know if they still exist) but from my many talks with Paul I have always felt that this last work differed from the previous in many ways.
This last novel was called “Goonies 2” and the reader would be forgiven in thinking that it was written as a sequel to the popular movie from the 80’s. However this isn’t really the case.
We were all fans of the film, it was one of the few movies that seemed to capture all our imaginations equally. We were different types of people in our group. Paul was interested in adventure stories at the time, the bulk of his entertainment being made up of the likes of Indiana Jones; swashbuckling adventure. Deane, his brother (who you can find at “OgitArt“) centred his attention on science fiction, Star Wars and Star Trek taking up the bulk of his time. I on the other hand was more interested in horror movies and things that went bump in the night.
Somehow in 1986 the movie Goonies not only brought us together, but kept us there. We had been friends along time, but that movie spoke to us in a way that made us appreciate our friendship just a little bit more and inspired Paul in ways that can still be seen to this day.
By which comment we come full circle, back to today and this collection of internet sites we have dubbed The Blackbridge Community Server (this is one of several projects, and I think I’ll talk about the origins of that name sometime later).
To build the site Paul dubbed “The Think Pot” (to discover the origins of that name you should ask the man himself), Paul has decided to write a history of his written work in an attempt to the rise and fall (because there was a fall) and the battle to rise again. So when this idea occurred to him he began searching for evidence of his exploits in the field.
Fifteen years ago (it may even be more) Paul presented to me the only copy of “Goonies 2”, a partially handwritten manuscript, and asked me to keep it safe. This I did and now I am slowly scanning it in and making a permanent record of it that Paul may decide to put up on his site for you all to see.
But thats not all.
Back in the early 90’s when this story was written, or at least when I read it for the first time, it was decided (I don’t remember by whom) that I should read it aloud to a small group of friends. So Paul, who was obviously there for the reading, heard the story for the first time through someone else and I believe that perhaps this is the way he most strongly remembers it.
So I’ve decided that an audiobook version is going to be created in an attempt to replicate that moment of our youth.
Which brings me to my point, because oddly this post does have a point (unlike many of them on this blog).
Why does this story written by a friend mean so much to me still?
The story could be seen as a “what if” tale. What if this small group of friends found themselves in an adventurous situation? What if they all rose to the challenge?
What Paul created was something like a wish fulfilment tale that began with people he knew and ended with idealised versions of the same. At the beginning of the tale I recognise myself in the character, I see my infirmities and flaws, and by the end I look and wonder how much of me is actually in the hero Paul produced from those raw materials.
Two things were presented to me within the story half hidden under the veneer of adventure, the person I was and a variation of the person I could be.
So perhaps in some way Paul was as much a father to the man I became as anyone, through writing a tale of adventure that generously used his friends as its protagonists he presented us with a glimpse of what could be; and through it made us question.
There is a saying “behind ever great man there is a great woman,” but this is not entirely accurate. The truth is that behind everyone, good or bad, is a host of people who have influenced and taught without even knowing it. Behind us all are a multitude who will never be thanked for their deeds or even acknowledged for them, and in many cases, perhaps even most cases, those people will not even be aware of their greatest achievements and deeds to their peers.
So perhaps sometimes we should take a moment to think it through… Count to ten, go on… Think about who you should thank…
For the typewriter when you were young, for the football as a teen, for the kind words, for the harsh truth… For it all…
Now go on… Thank them, you’ll feel better for it.