Philip Brubaker: “Existential Crisis”

Philip Brubaker Looking

A sunken feeling seemed to emanate out of my prostrate body and circle the whole bedroom, swooping up the venetian blinds and waltzing into the spider web-claimed corners of the ceiling.  My mind was painfully erect, as if it had been mickeyed with an industrial over-strength of Viagra.  I couldn’t stop thinking and I was only thinking of things that made me more upset.  But, who thinks of anything else?

A cut-rate hack I was, making a go of something that I should have left for gone.  Why do I want to make movies?  I had a better shot of being a pool hustler, at least that only required interacting with a handful of people.  My dearth of social confidence predisposes me as a writer, and I’m a good writer. Why aren’t I satisfied with that?

Why do I want to direct films?  This dark night of the soul, a grandiose term that is apropos to my mental melodrama, has caught me insomniac and vulnerable.  A man of 31 fearing about what his life legacy will be?  We should all oversee the view of things from atop Maslow’s pyramid.  But I am preoccupied with it more than most.  I already feel like I have been too absent in my relationship with Emily, due to the never-ending run with (blue) devils I must undertake to keep from drowning.  Every night I find myself up late, in the home office, chasing a muse and trying to make something out of her.  “I’m no good,” I tell myself.  Reaching for the stars is only good if you’re not standing on the top step of a ladder with banana peels strapped to your feet.  Sometimes it feels like that’s what I’m doing.

I got myself so wrapped up in being creative that I have forgotten there are other ways to make a living.  I fall in love too easily with my own art and get devastated when I see it through the merciless prism of someone else, someone dispassionate.  Such is the life of an artist!  If I settled in a safer line of work I would always wonder what it would be like to live as I am now.  My gestation period is only in its infant stage right now.  When I emerge from the cocoon there will be a whole new set of challenges to face me.  I am in school to learn and to make connections, and it is the latter with which I have the hardest time.

I do not want to end up a one-man film crew.  A director needs to be so many things.  He needs to be a football coach capable of rousing people with his strength and command.  He needs to be a sensitive soul, too.  What we’re talking about here is effort.  I prescribe more hard work.  My feelings of being a director are beyond dreams.  They are obsession wrapped up in ego.  I may not be able to be a director but I can’t not be a director.  To achieve glory I have to confront my fears.  Everyday life rarely seemed this Greek.

I always believed that you can’t be a writer for a living.  You need something write about.  Nothing like pain. It’s good subject matter.  I’ll try to forget for now, and see if I can get some work done.  This is the hour when I get ideas. This is when I make sense of the films I am editing.  I have everything at my disposal when I sit in front of the computer.  Editing a movie is a lot like writing.  It’s safe respite from fieldwork.

It’s a learning process.  But it’s hard to see that when you’re in the middle of the bad times.

– Philip Brubaker ’13