The History Behind My Screenplay

I wrote this piece in October of last year and I wanted to re-share this post as I work towards getting an agent so that I sell my first screenplay. It’s been on the back burner the last couple of months as I had hoped to place in a screenwriting competition. It didn’t work out but I am determined to sell my screenplay and to finish writing the novel version. As with all things in life patients is the key.

Looking Back on How Memory of Shane Came Into Existence

I thought it was time to talk about my biggest project out there right now, my screenplay entitled Memory of Shane and its subsequent novel that I am writing. This story is really about two years in the making and since I am writing the novel version the idea continues to be ongoing.

The project started as a short story that I wrote for an advanced writing class about two years ago. I never imagined that I would write this story beyond this class because it was a good piece, and there were so many places I wanted to go with it, but the ten-page limit really made me believe that I was done. But, when the opportunity came to choose a story for my second screenwriting class (where our goal was to write the first draft of act one of a full-length screenplay) I jumped at the chance to explore my story again.

DC961514-2189-445E-9F18-33E63D6A49F3.jpeg

Writing the first act was so amazing. I really got to know the story down to its bones, and I knew the developing it into a screenplay would give me the opportunity to refine my dialogue skill to a new level. In my advanced screenplay class, we finished act two and looked toward the future for act three. I knew by the end of my advanced screenwriting class where I would go in the final act, it would be a few more months until I finished my complete first draft, and of course, there was a long editing period.

But where did this story come from? I will admit the story is a work of fiction, but as any writer will tell you, it is impossible for your real life not to make its way onto the page. The basis of Memory of Shane is a love story between Adriana, the young nineteen-year-old not looking for love and Shane the young writer hoping for his big break. What drove me to even start to write a love story was rooted in what happened in my own personal relationship with my girlfriend at the time in 2007.

I will written several blogs about diagnosis the inception of The Bipolar Writer blog. After leaving the psychiatric ward for the first time there was true chaos in my life.

I was on new medication that I didn’t believe in. I had some idea where my life was heading, and so I was worried about the emotional toll that being in a relationship with me would be for my girlfriend. I loved her, and she was willing to stick it out with me, but I did the unthinkable and ended my relationship in a very Bipolar way. She came to my house and I broke up with her. I was a jerk, there is no getting around that now. Looking back, I know my girlfriend would’ve stuck by with me through the extreme ups and downs, but it just wasn’t fair to her because, as I would find out, 2008 and 2009 were the worst years of my life.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, when writing Memory of Shane I had the opportunity to explore if and how two people could coexist when one of the people in the relationship is bipolar. On some level, I wanted to imagine if a person like me could be in a healthy relationship. I worked so many scenarios in my mind that it gave me the ability to write a story that, at some level, could have been my own life. Our past choices are long gone now, but it’s great as a writer to explore your past through your writing.

It is almost impossible for my own life not to sneak into my writing, and in my screenplay my character Shane does reflect my own experiences with Bipolar One. We both fell in love at the start of our diagnosis although Shane tried to hold on to Adriana. Both Shane and I can trace our symptoms to our teen years. I even wrote a scene where Shane spends days laying down in his bed in complete darkness, I did so many times during my long cycles of depression.

Beyond the diagnosis, both Shane and I tried to take our lives three times, thought Shane was unfortunately successful became a statistic. There was a part of me that, when I wrote Shane’s death in the story, that once and for all that any thoughts of suicide in my own life died with this character. I would no longer walk down that dark path that leads to suicide. It became true​ when I made the decision to end my character Shane’s life, I would lock that part of me away that piece of me forever, and then I decided to start a blog and write memoir. Life is funny like that sometimes, and I have talked extensively about suicide on this blog.

After finishing my full-length screenplay of Memory of Shane it came down to if I would write the novel version. I put so much into this project, could I really do it again? It took months before I could revisit the idea again and eventually I gave in. It will be interesting for me to explore this story once again.

So, there is a little history on my project Memory of Shane.

J.E. Skye


Photo Credit:
unsplash-logoJustin Luebke

unsplash-logoJason Yu

Goals in Mental Health Recovery

Yesterday I introduced a new series on the blog. My real life journal entries during some of my toughest times. My Mental Illness Journal. Today I want to talk about goals in mental health recovery.

What Are Your Mental Health Recovery Goals?

In the life with a mental illness, it can seem difficult to set realistic goals. Its roots are in the fears that come with recovery. In my own life, being Bipolar means the constant ups and downs affect my everyday. When you add more things like social anxiety and dealing with insomnia, it can be constant chaos. So goals can feel impossible most days.

Even with everything that comes with your mental illness, it is important to make goals. Setting life goals is an important part of your mental health wellness and recovery.

There are things that you can ask yourself that can be quite helpful in figuring out your goals.

What motivates me?

For me five years ago I knew I had to go back to school. I always considered myself a writer, but I need to refine my skills. I knew if I went back to school It works to keep me motivated from week to week, and it has done that in my life. As I near the end of my Bachelor’s degree my motivation is even clearer to go beyond and start my Master’s Program. It has been a tough journey of ups and downs but the motivation has always been there to succeed. It drives me.

garrhet-sampson-178990.jpg

Writing is what gets me up each day and thought it wasn’t always so, it has been for the last two years why I wake up each day. It motivates me to write my memoir, this blog, and to always be looking for my next writing project. I write for me first, and second to share my life. What motivates me is ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

What would I do more of if I was able?

This is the hardest question to answer, what would I do more if I was able? It’s tough because if you have ever been in the darkness that comes with depression for a long period, it may seem impossible to believe that you can do more. We have all been there, including yours truly. But, it is an important to find what is the one thing you could do more of, and for me, it was writing.

What do I want in life?

It is important to know what you want out of this life. To get to the point of starting the journey of real recovery this question seems important. I would even go further and ask what you want in this life outside of your mental illness? Find what makes you happy. We are already not normal people those of with a mental illness. So, don’t worry if what you want out of life isn’t normal. If your goal right now is to get better beyond your mental illness then that should be the goal.

jon-tyson-232630.jpg

Where do I want my life to go?

For me, this question was never simple. It took me writing my screenplay starting in 2016 and ending in 2017 to find my focus. When I started this blog near the end of last year, it helped me focus on where I wanted my life to go. I want to share my story with the world through my memoir and this blog. I have done a good job so far.

What brings me joy?

This is simple and it will be very important to know moving forward. I know what brings me joy. Writing, listening to good music, sharing my experiences, and reading a good book. It might surprise you that the things that help you on your mental health recovery are the things that bring you joy.

What I did is something I would recommend to all. Five years ago I answered each of these questions so that I could find my goals in my mental health recovery. I found one thing was constant when answering these questions, it still is. My need to write. It took me a while to get to this place, but I know who I am now. A writer that writes first for me and second for my people. All the other things like selling my screenplay and self-publishing my memoir are just the results of working on my mental health goals.

Mental health recovery is never straightforward. There will be plenty of bumps along the way. Peaks and valleys. Its how you deal with it that will help aid you. Find your place in the world because even with a mental illness, you always have a real place in society.

andrej-lisakov-360099.jpg

What are your mental health recovery goals? I challenge each of my fellow bloggers to share within their own blog.

Always keep fighting.

J.E. Skye

 

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoKelli Stirrett

unsplash-logoGarrhet Sampson

unsplash-logoJon Tyson

unsplash-logoAndrej Lišakov

10 Things You Should Know About The Bipolar Writer

Sorry for being not so available this week. I’ve had finals. Once I am done with this week, I will be writing three new feature articles in my ongoing series Interview Features – The Series

I love these lists because it gives insight to you my fellow bloggers about pieces of my life. You know about many of my issues and how I deal, and you even know my history. But what about me personally?

Well, here are 10 things you should know about The Bipolar Writer.

  1. I love books – I guess that might not surprise you, but that love started as a young child. I was read to my whole life, and by age three, I could understand on my own reading chapter books. I read at a college level by the fourth grade. I have some favorite series like Harry Potter series, Game of Thrones, and yes even the Twilight series.
  2. Music is life – I have this sincere appreciation for all things music. I don’t have a specific genre that I listen to because my theory is if it sounds good then I will listen to it.
  3. I love to read poetry – I am not great at writing it. I am taking a poetry class my last semester, and I hope to write poetry book in the future.
  4. Edgar Alan Poe is my favorite author – A close second is Earnest Hemingway.
  5. I have a sincere appreciation for the people in my life that stuck with me through the bad and the good. There is a good chance if you saw me at my worst and still wanted to a part of my life you are family to me.
  6. I am not a great people person in real life – It is part social anxiety and part introvert that keeps me from being openly communicative in public. I tend to walk with my head down trying to not make eye contact.
  7. For the first three years of my diagnosis, I didn’t believe that I was Bipolar.
  8. I love sports but especially baseball. I love that from April to October I get a chance to watch my favorite team the Dodgers play.
  9. I am an outstanding role-playing video gamer. It’s in my blood. I played my first game, Alex, the Kid on the original Sega, when I was three. Been playing games ever since. I excel at strategic role-playing games.
  10. I love to write because I can get lost in worlds that create. My characters are always an extension of who I am as a writer.

So there you go. Another ten things list. Check out my other list of ten things in my life.

10 Things the Bipolar Writer is Afraid Of

Ten Things I Wish People Knew About My Social Anxiety Life

My Article for PSYCOM

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoAaron Burden

My Quotes Notebook

I was starting my Spring cleaning today because I noticed that things were getting messy in my workspace and where I sleep. The books were piling up and so where the notebooks. I wrote about in A sign of Depression – A Messy Room. I came across something I hadn’t seen a long while, my notebook with my favorite quotes handwritten.

A few of them were of my own design. I had forgot that I once thought that one day someone would use a quote I wrote in their novel. It was a grandiose thought, but I have had many over the years. When reading through them I had a thought, “Why not share some of them?”

They come from my favorite video games, movies, books, my favorite people, and things I have read at some point in my life. Quotes for me often have to resonate with me for them to have some importance.

Some of my Favorite Quotes

Kairi to Sora from Kingdom Hearts 2

“Thinking of you, where you are. We pray for our sorrows to end, and hope that our hearts will blend. Now I will step forward to realize this wish. And who knows: starting a journey might not be so hard, or maybe it has already begun. There are many worlds, and they share the same sky— one sky, one destiny.”

Unknown

“Never tell her goodbye, instead tell her “till I see you again, my love.” Goodbye means you might not see her again.”

Sammy Farha – Poker Player

“You have to gamble to win.”

Lady Jocelyn – A Knights Tale

“Your name makes no matter to me, so long as I can call you my own.”

Chaucer – A Knights Tale

“I will evicerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for day. You will be naked for eternity.”

”I’m a writer, I give truth scope.”

Holly Golightly/ Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (My favorite movie)

“You know those days where you get the mean reds.”

“No. The blues are because your getting fat and maybe it’s raining too long, your sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what your afraid of.”

Huck Cheever/ Eric Bana in Lucky You

“The money’s just a way of keeping score. Poker is competition in the purest sense. Doesn’t matter who you are or what you are; everybody’s equal at the table.”

Mike McDermott/ Matt Damon in Rounders

“Listen, here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.”

“I want him to think I’m pondering a call, but all I’m thinking about is Vegas and the fuckin’ Mirage.”

Unknown

“To say I can live without you, would be the biggest mistake I will. ever make.”

”Letting you go is all I have left. I can’t as you to stay, even though my heart wants you to.”

Bella Swan – Twilight (Book: Stephanie Meyer)

“Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Nobel even. That ought to count for something.”

Mark Twain

“There are few things in life that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker. The upper class knows little about it. Now and then you find ambassadors who have some general knowledge of the game, but the ignorance of the people is fearful. Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kindhearted, liberal, sincere and all that, who don’t know the meaning of a flush. It’s enough to make one ashamed of the species.”

I realize there a lot of poker quotes. I love the game of poker. It really is pure. I was once very good a poker but at the best of times you can lose. I often write about poker, and I have a short story that I am considering turning into a screenplay.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed these. I may do one or two of these. I do love a good series.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoThomas Welch

What J.E. is Thankful For This Year

Happy Thanksgiving my fellow bloggers.

I thought long and hard about writing my thoughts on the things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. It has been a crazy week for me, it always is during Thanksgiving week, but with the passing of my ten-year diagnosis and suicide anniversary, it was extra special kind of crazy. Still, I am thankful for many things and here is just a few.

1. I am alive, and that means the world to me.

2. Thankful for all the positivity that my fellow bloggers have brought to my blog.

3. I am thankful for finding my place in this crazy world and how I am working towards carving my own little niche in life.

4. I am thankful for those people who are in my life today and have always been there as family and friends that I would trust with my life.

5. I am thankful for the strength to write my story down and be honest within the space I am allowed on my blog.

6. I am thankful role-playing video games and music because, without both, my depression would consume me most days.

7. I am thankful for every blogger who has shared a piece of their lives with me on my blog, you mean the world to me.

8. I am thankful that I have the ability to write and change the stigma of mental illness as much as one writer can.

9. I am thankful for starting a new journey, a new ten years where I will conquer everything I can in life.

10. I am thankful that in 2010 someone, God most likely, intervened in my suicide and kept me on this earth. I truly believe I can connect with people through my writing.

11. And lastly, I am thankful for every blogger who spends a moment of their day on my blog. I couldn’t write without you.

What are some of the things that you are thankful for? Please share in the comments below.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours. Share smiles with the ones you love. Be happy that we are alive.

And always keep fighting.

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit: Pro Church Media

Sorting Through my Recent Depression

The last few weeks have been a great test for how much my depression can affect my day and week. I have spent a lot of time recently tracking my mood especially my depression.

I worry about my effectiveness in my writing because as my depression has increased the last few weeks, I still have things to do on a daily basis. My school work is always a priority, I try to blog as much as possible, and of course my writing projects. I am amazed that I can do things as depressed as I have been lately.

It’s been a ride. So I thought about what is causing my depression. The changing of the season is one of the factors. I always get depressed at this time of year. But it goes deeper than seasonal affective disorder. I am really stressed about this time of year.

Just because I have passed my ten month anniversary yesterday, doesn’t mean all is well in my life. I am still stressed about so many upcoming things like completing my memoir which I have tirelessly been working towards the last three months.

My mind is filled with doubts because there are more things that I have to do, I need to grow my brand The Bipolar Writer and it means taking my blog to new levels. I am stressed that I am not ready to do what I need to do and as my depression grows deeper I worry there are not enough hours in the day.

I worry so much and the depression worsens by the minute. At night it can get so bad that I start to have bad panic attacks. I feel so lost at night and I have talked about how much I feel lost and alone.

I have been writing lately but it doesn’t feel right. I feel lethargic when I wake up, and even with coffee in my system, I am not as effective as I want to be. I think I could just give up right now, it would be so easy.

I want so bad to give into the depression. It would be so much easier. I could just lay in bed all day and not worry. I could let the depression take hold of me. It will make life easier. I wouldn’t have to fight for every inch of my life, and wouldn’t struggle every day. Sure the depression would still be there, but I could give in.

But, I made a commitment to do better and to keep writing no matter what comes my way. I know my depression is getting worse so I figure I can do the little things. More mindfulness breathing when I wake up and throughout the day. Meditation in the morning, during the day, and at night.

I can use my lightbox for longer each morning. I can combat my depression by writing more and stressing less. I will tell myself that everything happens for a reason. That I am worth all of it, and I am going to take The Bipolar Writer to new heights.

I could even smile more, smiles are so important. I don’t smile enough.

I can get back on a regular schedule where I wake up at a decent time and focus on getting down to being who I am, James the writer, The Bipolar Writer.

I have survived depression so bad that I wanted to end it all, and this depression is not on that level. I have survived three suicide attempts and I have learned so much on my journey that I know, I will continue to fight.

What are your thoughts? What are some of your triggers for depression and how do you deal with it?

J.E.Skye

P.S. I am still looking for testimonials for my blog. If you would like to write one send it to my email jamesedgarskye24@gmail.com with your testimonial, your blog site, and a picture to feature.

Photo Credit: Ian Espinosa

Its the Little Things in Life

I have to learn to love the little things in life, like going for a walk on the beach. I never do that anymore.

This will be my last blog post this week as I am spending the rest of my weekend editing my screenplay again before I submit it for a few competitions. I am also going to find some time to watch football and read a good book. With that said here are just a few of the little things in life that I love in this crazy life I live.

My blog posts have been overly serious this week as I dive deeper into working on my memoir, The Bipolar Writer. I really love what I have shared so far here in my blog because it is a passion of mind to explore the many parts of the last ten years since my diagnosis. But sometimes my writing takes a lot out of me and I just want to write about things that make every day worth living.

One of the things I love in life, especially during the winter months when seasonal affective disorder (SAD) starts to take hold, is zip-up hoodies. I can remember wearing them as a teenager, with a beanie and the hood up before it became a “thing.”

As an adult, I still love to wear my hoodies this way because it became a part of me. If you ever see a guy with a hoodie and beard wearing a beanie in a corner table of a coffee shop with his headphones lost in his writing, it will probably me. Just so you know.

Music has helped me get through tough times in my life. Like today, I spent the day writing and listening to a wide range of music like the Hamilton soundtrack and one of my favorite artists Paramore. My playlists on iTunes music are endless, and it really depends on my mood or what I am writing. I don’t discriminate. I listen to almost every genre of music at some point in my life. I’ve listened to everything from hardcore rock to indie to classical. I even love Korean pop music (which has been an ongoing obsession for the last six years) or any pop music for that matter. I can’t classify myself as liking one type of music genre because if the lyrics get me in my feels, I am hooked.

It’s funny that one thing that has always been a constant in my life is my love for books. I only own about a million of them (okay nowhere near that but my collection is formidable.) One of the best things about being an English major is that I have taken about every literature class available and it has expanded what I read over the last few years.

I have my favorites of course like Rowling, Hemingway, and my all time favorite Edgar Allan Poe (the “E” J.E. Skye is in honor of one of the greatest writers I have ever read.) I have been reading since I was about three or four. My obsession with reading books came from easy access to books my whole life. I grew up (well middle school and high school) on The Harry Potter series, but I read so many amazing different authors in my life.

Within my book collection (which lately has included audiobooks) you will find every genre imaginable. My latest books that I am conquering are re-reading the Game of Thrones series and catching up on reading Stephen King. I am fan murder mysteries and I used to be able to say that I was a huge fan of James Patterson’s Alex Cross novels (though lately I have been turned off by his style, I am not sure it is even him writing anymore.) One of my favorite memories in life was going to the library and picking out books and just getting lost in the worlds that authors created. I could be anyone when reading a book. I could be the hero. Some of my deepest and darkest depressions that I got lost in the ugliness might have been worse without books.

I think my love for books is why I love to write. I am better when I am writing and it is my favorite way to communicate with people. This is why it is easier for me to discuss and explore my diagnosis on my blog rather than talking to my therapist.

One of my greatest loves, of course, is coffee. I am an addict and a better writer when I have coffee in my system. I am one of those people who you probably won’t want to talk to before having my coffee. When I had to give it up for a time this year I was insufferable to be around. I complained openly about having to give up coffee (because of my ulcers.) One of the happiest days this year was when my stomach doctor told me that I could drink coffee again.

The reason I wrote this particular blog post is that as I continue to share my life with the blog world, and I don’t want people to think that all I do all day is get lost in my writing and talk about what is wrong with me. I kinda lost sight recently on the good things in life. Like when I smile after listening to lyrics to a song that spoke to my heart. Or that moment when my favorite holiday drink comes out and that first taste of my gingerbread latte hit my system. I forgot how great it feels to have a hardcover book in my hands and getting lost in the pages. I forgot the feeling of going for a walk. I got caught up in the last few weeks trying to meet a deadline that I lost perspective on why I am writing.

I am a passionate person and sometimes I forget that the little things in life make life worth living. So tonight, after a long editing session, I will open one of my favorite books in the middle of the story and get lost again.

What are some of the things you love? It doesn’t have to do anything with your mental illness or diagnosis.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Senor Sosa

For the Love of Coffee

In my life, coffee and writing go hand in hand, so does coffee and reading.

There is nothing better than when that first sip of coffee hits your taste buds. The world changes. Everything comes into focus on all levels. I listen better. I feel as if nothing is out of reach. I feel as if I could write a million chapters in my novel. Yes, it’s just a temporary sugar high, but why not? Coffee is life.

This post is different than the ones I have written so far since creating this blog. I wanted it to be lighter, and about one of my favorite subjects.

As I sit here at Starbucks right now, I am thinking about the justifications of paying six dollars for a cup of coffee. When did coffee get so expensive? What I order of makes a big difference in why I pay so much.

Of course, I go all out when it comes to my caramel macchiato. I must get the almond milk. Extra charge! And there aren’t enough shots in it so, extra shot. Extra charge! Let’s make it extra hot (hey, they don’t charge extra for that!). It is no wonder that my therapist recommended no coffee after 12pm.

I think I can remember my first cup of coffee. I was maybe fourteen. The coffee was less than a 1.50, and at 7-11 if I remember it right. You always remember when that first taste of coffee changes your world.

Over the years, I have consumed more cups of coffee that I care to admit from a coffee pot. Lots of sugar and creamer. It always amazed me that you have powdered creamer and regular creamer that isn’t milk. Never been a fan of the first. Sugar always stays the same.

Now life is so complicated. Now they ask me do I want a latte or macchiato. Almond milk or soy milk. Hot. Cold. Frappuccino? There is always the classic cheaper option at Starbucks, the house blend black, no sugar or creamer. It costs less and it’s a great option for the struggling writer.

Then Starbucks goes and throws a curveball at me. They offer me a selection of fall and holiday drinks. My favorites are the chestnut praline latte and the gingerbread latte BTW.

The way that I justify spending six dollars on a cup of coffee is if my production that day is greater than the price. My production has been great lately so I can relish in this thought the output outweighs the price of consumption.

I don’t spend six dollars on a cup of coffee every day, but I do drink coffee daily. I usually have options in my refrigerator like cans of a double shot of Starbucks espresso, or the new sweetened black coffee that Starbucks offers in a glass bottle at my local grocery store. (I’m starting to sense a theme.)

I don’t know if my love for coffee is good or bad. But in my life, coffee is life. If this post seemed all over the place that was by design, it is a very Bipolar-esk written piece.

I’d like to know your thoughts about coffee, and if, for you, coffee is life.

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: Nathan Dumlao