I am back in Atlanta!! Right now I am sitting on our back porch enjoying the warm breeze, watching our dog Cilantro do some damage to sticks. Our cats Azza and Baby Kitty are watching closely from the other side of the screen door, soaking in some sunshine. It is good to be home. There are so many things to share!
My last week in Wilmington couldn’t have been any better. It just so happened to align with their Surfalorus event, so I got a good dose of all of the faces I’ve come to love so much. The Cucalorus folks threw us a wonderful going away party late Saturday night – hamburgers were grilled, fancy drinks were served and fun music blasted from the speakers. I had several meaningful conversations that night that I will always remember. Everyone wrote short messages for us on our Cucalorus screen prints as a goodbye gift. It couldn’t have been a more perfect send-off.
So what exactly did I do in Wilmington for the last 2.5 months? I took advantage of an opportunity of a lifetime – taking part in a creative residency where all I was responsible for was writing my feature script. In January of this year I saw Cucalorus post that they were officially starting the residency program and taking applications. I remember saying to James that I was interested, but didn’t have the first clue as to how I would pull off leaving my day-to-day life for this adventure. It seemed a little too good to be true honestly. I went ahead and applied anyway – and was eventually accepted. Other things in my life miraculously aligned enabling it to be a reality. Next thing I knew – I was off to Wilmington! Not only did this residency allow me the luxury to focus 100% on my writing, but it also brought some unexpected challenges. I was taken out of my comfort zone, I opted to not have a car during my stay, and my budget was super tight. I think Dan, the director of the fest, put it the best – it makes you come face to face with your true self. It’s not always pretty. There were a few moments when I didn’t know if I could do it anymore, but I stuck it out. My reward for facing those demons were twofold – solid friendships were formed, I discovered new things about myself that I admired, and most importantly, I finished what I came there to do. I officially have a first draft of my feature film Electric Bleau, which is a companion feature for our short Little Cabbage. Pursuing a creative idea or passion project comes with many unique challenges, more so than one would think. Most people from the outside would say that it looks like fun, how they wish they were lucky enough to do things like that. The truth is that it’s work, just like anything else. Doing things that you love is a choice, not a luxury. The rewards just happen to be greater though once you’ve completed your task. Unexplainable joy like none other you will experience. I do not make money at this point in time making films. In fact, it costs me money and a great deal of my spare time. But I love it with all of my heart, and I have no plans on stopping. Is there any greater sign that you’ve found your true passion? At 35, it feels good to say that I am honing and developing an area of my life that brings me tremendous happiness. THANK YOU to Cucalorus for this amazing opportunity. If you are interested in doing it yourself, the application will be up soon on their website. They have shorter week-long residencies available for the summer. The fall will welcome back the longer sessions of 2-3 months, which will also coincide with the film festival itself in November. They are looking for folks who have a film-related project to work on in any phase. If it benefits or features Wilmington in some way, even better… but it isn’t necessary.
I get to see my family and friends in Birmingham this week as well, which makes me so happy!! It’s good to be home, but I do miss my Wilmington – the little spooky town by the sea, full of creative folks and inspiration. I will also miss my Mandi – the other half of Jendi (or Mandifer, which ever your prefer). 🙂 My little sister from Wilmingtonia, with an amazing doc in the works. We spent a wonderful day yesterday in Atlanta, memories for a lifetime!