Reason #11: I’m a screenwriter.
At first glance, eleven might feel like a high number to rank my profession on a list of reasons I’m going to hell, but allow me to explain.
The top ten is, of course, reserved for the biggies like (spoiler alert) I don’t believe in God. But a person’s profession is a big part of their identity. You think Al Capone’s career choice had an influence on his eternal destination?
I think most reasonable people would concede that while screenwriting is a dastardly profession, it doesn’t generally rate as high on the evil scale as say, Ruthless Dictator.
For me, though, it’s a bit of a different equation. It seems that my writing wheelhouse is consistently in areas that are, as one friend put it, “hard on God.”
My very first project, a sitcom called OH, BROTHER!, centers on characters that were born out of long conversations with my brother regarding areas of faith. Specifically, my lack of it.
Since birthing that project, I’ve written several others that also hinge on questions of faith.
Recently I entered a new project in a contest sponsored by the evil-doers at the Center For Inquiry and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. (I didn’t win, but since they don’t announce runners-up, I’m left to assume I finished 2nd.)
The decision to enter the contest forced me to face a fact: I’ve been pulling my punches. It’s not to say I need to be harder on God. It’s just, I need to be more okay with who I am, and let my work reflect that.
I don’t believe in God and I don’t pray for divine intervention. Well, except when I really wanted to win the Atheist screenwriting competition. Then I prayed, just for the delicious irony of it all. (It didn’t work.)
I need to be as comfortable not praying at family gatherings as my brother is praying. I need to not get my gander up when my brother unintentionally intimates that I’m incapable of making moral decisions. (Breath. He didn’t mean it that way. I think.)
I need to own the fact that I entered a contest sponsored by groups that align with my values, but not those of my parents. If you’re reading this Mom and Dad, consider yourself informed. (That counts, right?)
And, as a screenwriter, I need to be comfortable writing projects that reflect my voice, evil as it may be.
So, I announce to the world: I’ve written a feature drama called THE HAND OF GOD. It’s about a guy who absolutely knows that God exists. He just hates Him.
No, the lead character is not me. He’s not even a reflection of me. But the script does represent my desire to write every character exactly as they are. No pulled punches. Even if that means I write a story about a God I don’t believe in.
If I’m hell-bound because I'm a screenwriter, so be it. At least I'll have something to do.
On a highway to hell? Lonely screenwriter looking for salvation? Drop in a comment below.