Each day through February 1st, the close of our application deadline, we’re taking a look at our esteemed faculty. Today, it’s screenwriting professor John Schimmel. And since we spend a lot of time in this program talking about writing across genres, here’s an excellent essay from John on his relationship with his father:
Flashbacks stalk me into my parents’ bedroom where I’m propped against the door jam, my wife the only living person with me. Murmuring from the living room barely registers. It’s my wife who notices that my father is lying flat on his back in his bed, released finally from the pain that has kept him curled for so long. I’m touched she noticed and ashamed I’m too consumed by what isn’t present to notice what is. Then the men from the Neptune Society invade the room with their gurney, big guys, like movers in scrubs. They never knew my dad but they are intimate with death and her ability to hollow out the living. I am unspeakably touched by how gentle they are as they prepare him. They show no hurry even as they zip the body bag shut, they could not be more respectful, but I would have collapsed from the finality of that zipper had my wife not caught me. I am, all these years later, still destroyed at each replay. Time shuffles like cards in a poker game.
And if you’d like to prepare for the Broadway revival of his play Pump Boys & Dinettes, a visit to Samuel French might be in order.