Every night, I sit at the feet of the master. Not literally (on either score), but figuratively, metaphorically, I feel this way. I sit on the floor in his office, or perch on the arm of a couch, and we talk. Simply … talk.
We often talk about film, but film is not my forté and everything I know about the craft I learned from him, so that is when I listen. I’ll find a way to relate what he says to writing, and I always do, so I have something to contribute. He’s a writer too, and just as comfortable talking about words as he is talking about filmmaking techniques and processes that, quite frankly, make my eyes glaze over. But I listen anyway, because I know it’s important to him.
I know he needs to tell me these things, even though he knows I have no interest in getting into film, because he likes talking to me, and we understand each other on a deeper level — on the level where we are both creators simply working with different tools.
Sometimes our conversations spark ideas, and whole novels — trilogies, even — my mind has created and spewed at him at break-neck pace. I’ve come to know that he doesn’t forget, and talking to him is like talking into a voice recorder, sometimes — because he doesn’t forget. He’s not offended by my fervent search for paper, my rapid and insistent “SHHHHHHHH” as I’m grasping to maintain an idea I fear will slip away. I’ve lost more than I’ve gained. He understands that too.
Because he is a creator. He can keep up with my mind as it jumps from place to place, even when I can’t. He can bring me back to where I need to be, because he is the ground, and he grounds me. And every night, I sit at his feet.
I know what it is to be in awe of a teacher, to feel that you will never surpass someone, no matter how much you learn, no matter how much you know, no matter how far you go. I know, because every night, I sit at his feet.