2012 – What Would Blake Say?
Who best to welcome in the new year from Blake’s perspective than Tracey Jackson, Blake’s oldest friend? Our guest blogger is a screenwriter who has written over 15 feature films and 14 television pilots, including The Other End of the Line, The Guru, and Confessions of a Shopaholic. Her documentary Lucky Ducks, nominated for Best Documentary at the MIAAC Film Festival in 2009, explores issues of parenting and adolescence, following Tracey and her teenage daughter from Park Avenue to Mumbai as they attempt to unravel the complex relationship boomer parents have with their over-indulged teens. In 2011, Tracey published her first book Between a Rock and Hot Place – How Fifty is Not the New Thirty. The book is in its fourth printing with Harper Collins and was purchased by Lifetime for a movie which Tracey is writing. Tracey is an avid blogger, whose blog Tracey Talks can be read on her website. She also contributes to The Huffington Post, The Partnership for a Drug Free America’s Decoder blog, TinyBuddha.com and WowoWow.
It’s the beginning of a New Year and we must all start it again without Blake. After someone has been gone a while, it becomes harder to eulogize them. I think I have publicly mourned his passing in every way possible. I have told funny stories, detailed who he was and what he meant to me, I even sang in front of 200 people. What would he have said about that? Not sure I want to know!
When someone dies you suddenly have one more day of importance; there is the person’s birthday, death day, and then the holidays.
I don’t think Blake and I ever spent a New Year’s Eve together, as we usually both had significant others of some sort. I know he wasn’t big on resolutions as he was refining himself on a constant basis. Neither one of us were big resolution makers. Fix it when it’s broke; you don’t have to wait for a holiday.
So when BJ asked me to write the end of the year ode to Blake, I really had to think what is appropriate as we end this year and begin another.
I still miss him daily, some days more than others — that happens when people pass on. I still have the urge to reach for the phone, but this year I finally deleted his number from my cell phone. I abandoned my Blackberry for the iPhone. Blake would have been the first call from it. He would have said, “About time, you will LOVE IT!” with that infectious enthusiasm that was uniquely his. He loved his and had an early one. I still think how thrilled he would be that Save the Cat! has an APP. You’re an APP, Blake!!!!
I wonder what new things he would have taken to and what old habits he would have held tight. Would he be reading with a Kindle? He would totally have an iPad. He would love the ability to watch movies, read, do his email, and work. Would he still be driving the same car? My guess is yes. There are many days I ponder what he would say if her were here. What movies he would like. He would have broken down Bridesmaids in 20 minutes. He would miss the more simplistic comedies he and I liked to write and watch (though he respected the tentpoles as long as they had tight stories). I’m sure he would see the through line and appeal in the Twilight saga (though we would have made endless fun of it).
I had my own book come out, and while it will never be anywhere as successful as his, he would have been right there cheering me on. He would have taken photos every time he saw it in a bookstore, instantly emailing them to me, saying “Go Tracers.” I so missed him this year as I went around promoting my own book. I had so many questions for him.
When I sold my book to Lifetime and was suddenly back in the film business, I looked up to the heavens and said. “OK, Snyder you got your way, happy now?”
I have only one photo on my desk, his.
I keep it there alone, as I feel he deserves that. He had a special place in my life and I want him unencumbered by the memories or presence of others when I look at him.
I also look at him for moral support when I’m working. Since I can’t actually talk to him, I have him sitting there watching me and I am then able to channel what he would say.
So what would Blake say to all of us at he beginning of this New Year?
I think he would say…
1) Work hard.
2) No does not mean “never,” it means “not now.”
3) Perfect your craft. If you do good work, work will find you.
4) The world wants good stories. It’s your job to come up with them.
5) Don’t give up on your dreams, make them happen. I believe in you, so you must believe in yourself.
6) And I think hindsight being 20-20, he would say life is short, sometimes shorter than you think, so live each day to the fullest. Live, work, accomplish, make it count, love your friends, and believe in something outside yourself. And if he wouldn’t have said that, I’m saying it for us both — that is something losing him has really taught me.
And finally… Have a Happy, Healthy New Year!
That was loving and wise.
Thanks Tracey, you’re the best and Blake would be more than proud of you! Gave me goose bumps reading it!
Thanks Tracy… I only knew Blake for a short time. I loved his enthusiasm for life. He would always make time for you making you feel like the most important person in his life. I miss you Blake… Happy New Year buddy…
- Susan Modregon
Thanks Tracy. I really felt the feeling from everything you said. It made me think of how I felt the first few years getting over the loss of somebody close to me. Till now I’ve been only thinking how sorry I am that I missed out on knowing Blake and getting his wisdom and the light encouraging spirit I felt from his writing first hand. I forgot how fresh the hurt must be for some people. Blake certainly made the most of his time. Maybe that’s why some of the best people we come to admire are promoted to paradise so early.
I’ve found fixing things when they’re broke works better too. Blake might say we’re in constant transformation. If you wait for a holiday to make resolutions like a routine ritual, it might have about as much meaning (or as much chance of coming true) as a wish when you blow out the candles on a cake.
- Forrest Knutson
Thanks Tracy, for sharing your heart with us once more. Happy New Year.
- Randy R. LaBarge
Thanks for sharing, Tracey. I knew Blake for far less time than I wanted to. He was the catalyst that launched me into screenwriting. I live in Washington state and even though I knew he was a busy, busy man, I was always astounded at how quickly he would respond to my emails. I too have a photo of Blake on my desk. And I too, miss him a lot. Have a wonderful and proposerous New Year.
- Bradford Richardson
Thank you for the warm smile, and reminder of how essential Blake became in all our lives. Wish I’d met him in person. Yet I felt I knew him, thanks to the email wisecracks we shared.
Hope you have a great experience adapting your FIFTY IS NOT THE NEW NEW THIRTY, novel for Lifetime.
In the years I knew Blake, he mentioned you many times and always with a devious smile. You were, I think, his best friend. I know he’d love this piece.
- Cynthia Ros McClendon
80 hour weeks (makes me tired just typing it!)
- Louise Scotti
Happy New Year Tracey. Thank you for such a warm and kind message. Its hard to believe that Blake is not with us any longer, even after all this time.
I too, talk with Blake asking for guidance as I write. I ask, “Blake, how would you fix this issue? What would you do?” Serendipitously, a great answer usually pops into my head right afterward. I feel as if he is watching over all of us, cheering us on to be the best writers we can, and for that I am still so very grateful.
Have a wonderful New Year to you and to all my fellow STC writers. May your belief in your writing abilities be powerful, your ideas be plentiful, your characters: colorful and may your screenplays be produced!
I just discovered your writing this morning and feel it was a gift from Blake to get me back to writing. I was feeling sorry for myself following another “no”. Thank you Tracey for your wonderful words and sharing Blake. I still speak to him and ask his advice.
Happy New Year.
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Thank you, Tracey, for such a heartwarming sharing of your memories of Blake. I, too, never make resolutions, but have one for this year: finish the novel and get back to screenwriting. I like to think Blake just smiled at the thought. Quiche, Blake.
“Lord, I miss you child.” (M. Jagger)