The Two Daves

“The Ruins of Our Past” went through phases. It started off as a kid’s action flick ala TMNT called “FBKIS.” As I got older, it moved away from set piece silliness and became more of a gritty coming-of-age crime drama called “Debt to Society.” In college, I wrote it as a reflective romance and called it “Home Street.” All of those pieces eventually came together as I began to edge upon middle age in a holiday adventure through one man’s life and his subconscious mind.

One of the reasons I was so drawn to the film “Adaptation” was because it had something in common with my “Home Street.” In it, Charlie Kaufman split himself into two characters, Charlie (an insecure introvert) and Donald (a somewhat dim extrovert). I was actually doing the same thing. Paul, my a plot protagonist, was the introvert haunted by the past, and Bill, the b plot hero, was an extrovert yearning for the future. Personally, I began to refer to my ambiverted personalities by these names, splitting my psyche in two, and I had girlfriends who actually told me which version of me they preferred.

As I have gotten older and begun to understand psychology a bit more, I have become convinced my distinct personality profiles actually are likely representational of some undiagnosed degree of a bipolar disorder. Truly, my life can be segmented into peaks and valleys. Bill, my more manic side, is endlessly creative, loves to buy things, and obsessively create lists. Paul, my depressed side, eats too much, is freed by complacency, and cries watching happy movies.

The existence of two beings within one skull is both a blessing and a curse. Obviously, there are definitely concerns with health when speaking of mental health, and extreme ways of thinking are rife with problematic opportunities. Bill has to work off Paul’s calories, and Paul has to improve Bill’s credit score. The whiplash can bring me crashing down and doubting the merits of even natural highs. It has made the whole more empathetic and, honestly, a better writer, actor, and human being.

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