Last night, at the invitation of Kath, I attended a backyard screening of "Everyone But You", a auto-biographical film by musician and first time filmmaker, Eric Shively. Located in a quiet leafy neighborhood known as Highlands, I approached the porch and had to chuckle at the red carpet that came down the front stairs. The porch keg already had a gathering around it.
Of course, I'd arrived before Kath so I knew not a single soul. Things like this never matter here in Colorado. I awkwardly mumbled something about being 'a friend of a friend' and the hostess merely asked about my wine preference, "Red or white?" Kids, dogs, babies and lots of cool adults swarmed the backyard, gathered around snacks and observed the backyard screening-room set up take place.
When dusk fell, we gathered to face the outside wall of the garage which had a giant projection screen hanging from its roof. A Mac, poised high on a ladder, contained the film. Camping chairs and patio furniture were arranged in anticipation. I didn't know what to expect but I had seen a short video by Eric giving a guitar lesson. As a struggling guitar student with a soft spot for quirky folk, I took to him immediately.
Eric's film, "Everyone But You" is the story of Eric's determination to follow his dream of finding a place for himself in this world. To his great amazement, he makes good on his promise to himself. He buys 40 acres in Alamosa, a smallish town in Southern Colorado. Then, he rents a trailer to live in while he plans his dream home/recording studio. The film follows his challenges, his defeats and joys along the way.
We meet his beloved dogs, his funky friends, the folks at the County Planning Department, talented musicians and at least one object of Eric's affections. His struggles as a musician and his determination to make a living out of his art are admirable. Like real life, the film has moments of great hilarity and spells of outright sobbing. Mostly, it is a joy to watch this amazing man do things his own way.
He could not possibly understand how much this film meant to me personally. As some of you know, I harbor a dream about buying some land and living in a yurt until I can have my own straw-bale home built. My family (with possibly the exception of my brother) think I am bat-shit crazy. My friends (with the exception of Gins) think that it might be the most outlandish idea I've had yet.
Eric's narrative voice alludes to this reaction from others in his life. I'm so impressed that he ignored them all and did what he wanted. But what really spoke to me was how often he admitted that he didn't know the first thing about what he was doing. That is my biggest fear for I have little to no skills in the Home Depot section of my brain. My only hope is that I will make friends (my only skill, really) who know more than I do and are willing to help. Or that by some miracle, I will magically acquire home repair skills simply out of sheer necessity.
Later this summer, Gins and I are taking an exploratory road trip - going shopping for places where all this might be possible. I'm looking at the Durango/Pagosa Springs area. I'm forever grateful that Eric has reminded me what I knew deep down, that just because you are doing things differently than everyone else, does not make you crazy. In fact, who's to say that you are not the sane one after all?
Eric's film, "Everyone But You" will be featured at the Jackson Hole Film Festival June 2-5.