Sunday, June 01, 2008

Inspiration in a Backyard

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.


Kath said...

You said it way better than I ever could have. Way better.

So glad you were along with the ride and that you 'get' just how important seeing this film and meeting Eric had become to me over the last several weeks.

Let me know when the yurt-warming is. I'll bring the vodka.

hotdrwife said...

Kath told me about your experience yesterday; I love those sorts of those unexpected encounters and reassurances you are doing the right thing by following a dream.

I look forward to taking a nice drive to Durango and hanging for a few days in your yurt. My cousin lives nearby and runs a great natural food store, too. I got connections, baby!

ClizBiz said...

You are both my Colorado Angels! It sure helps a girl to have friends that cheer them on - crazy or not.

eric said...

Thanks very much for watching and for the kind words and encouragement. I hope you find a plot of land that makes you think, "Bingo! This is it!!!"

It might not make your life any easier but I'd be surprised if the ratio of good to bad days doesn't improve. And don't worry about not knowing how to build. When you're backed into a corner, you'll learn all that stuff and people will surprise you with their helpfulness.

shiny, shiny said...

i vote you perhaps the only non bat-shit crazy person on the planet. And home depot has workshops on how to do everything- surely they can be adapted for yurts. And there's also HGTV which is ever so helpful in the do it yourself yurt improvement dept. In short, necessity will rise you to the occassion!

ClizBiz said...

Shiny, Shiny: It's the support and encouragement of people like you that will get me there. THANK YOU.

Bitty said...

Indeed, I stayed in a yurt in Mongolia for about a week. I was in Mongolia for about three weeks doing service project/missions stuff. It smelled like wood smoke from the stove in the center, and I liked having all your possessions out where you could see them, which is probably why I later lived in a small basement apartment. The yurt I stayed in had a lean-to wooden entryway where our Sunday lunch hung all night (to thaw?? please, somebody, tell me it was thawing), and the facilities consisted of an outhouse shared by another family, with no door, so that the neighborhood dogs could stop by and smile and wag their tails wondering what the human was doing squatting over a hole between the floorboards. "Shoo! SHOO!"
Wow, I ate a lot of mutton on that trip. Even now when Episcopalians try to serve me lamb and mint jelly I can't hack it because I filled my sheep quota back in Mongolia.