As I head out the door, I ask Stella to grab a pad of paper and a pencil, so we can leave for her dad’s house as soon as I return from walking Jake. When I climb into the car, I see the writing on the pages of the legal pad. I don’t remember what it is, but I vaguely recall the ideas behind my scrawled handwriting. Reading the four pages of what was entitled “His Last,” I realize this was what I put down after being struck with inspiration during a mountain hike.
This was how “Peaking” began.
Fast forward almost three years. Past week after week of my retail life. Beyond rare pockets of respite that would inform my creativity. Push past when I adopted the moniker of Sebastian Shepherd and published “The Ruins of Our Past,” and stop during a period of quarantine and anxiety. Push play during a time of death, both of humans and economies, lacking outdoor activity and social interaction.
A month and a half ago, * my day job was closed, and as I was put on furlough, I dedicated myself to the writing of a screenplay. I soon realized it wasn’t a story that could be adequately told in two hours, so it went from three to five to eight as I honed it into one-hour episodes of a limited series format. All I wanted to do was finish before I had to go back, and I had no idea when that would be. Some days – some episodes – were more difficult than others, and occasionally, I was like a man possessed.
I returned to my day job today, and I finished the final first draft polishes the night before last. That means I actually had Sunday as a day off to celebrate my small victory. I accomplished what I set out to do.
I don’t know what happens from here. I still don’t have an agent to help me sell my work; all I know is the work itself. So, that is what I will focus on. Even as I grope for a way to get this made, I will collaborate with brilliant people in order to make this as strong as possible.
This series is written to inspire the viewer, and my goal has always been for the making of it to inspire others to tell their own stories. As I set out to bring this to life, all I can say right now is that I am inspired.
Peaks and valleys will come to define our life if you do nothing to create a different path. No, you can’t always control what happens to you, but sometimes you get to decide what it means. I have taken this challenging time as an opportunity for creation, and amongst the sadness and despair of the coronavirus crisis, I will always be able to reflect upon this summit, even if I can only stand on it for a moment.
*I had to look that up, because I had no idea how long it had actually been as I lost perspective on days and weeks.
Sebastian Shepherd is the author of “The Ruins of Our Past,” which can be found here.