I am a writer

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dept. of Signs

I've found lately that when I am introduced to someone new, I'm always introduced as photographer Melissa Sweazy. I'm proud to be a shooter and to be known as one, but honestly, it still makes me feel strange as I always have and always will identify myself as a writer, first and foremost.

On some days, I'm probably just as qualified to announce myself as a neurosurgeon than as a writer. The procrastination I've struggled with since high school still dogs me. I am the queen of starting huge, sprawling epics and then getting burned out or scared and starting something else. I literally have thousands of pages of unfinished screenplays, novels and short stories that once made me proud but now just as often feel like a big, fat, weight emblazoned with FAILURE. The works I have finished have accumulated so many rejection slips that I the manila envelope I keep for them can barely stay shut.

I think DAILY of giving up. I often long to give up, to turn off the stories in my head, take up a new hobby, meditate. Move on.

But then this happened.

I won.

I never win, y'all. I've come in second so many times that "almost" good enough felt like the label I was supposed to own.

But The Department of Signs and Magical Intervention won the grand prize in the short screenplay competition at the upcoming Vail Film Festival. I'll fly out for 3 days of schmoozing and movie watching, culminating with a staged reading of the screenplay for the festival audience.

I have had years of training in deflection, in making myself okay with not winning that I'm still having trouble processing - and accepting - their decision. But as the festival approaches, I can't deny the excitement that's building, the gratitude that buoys me - and the almost paralyzing fear over how - and what - to rewrite and have ready in time for the festival. Because you are only as good as your next hit, right?

So if I'm not around, I'm writing. Or doing the crossword. Definitely not succumbing to Words with Friends. Or maybe just dead from sheer, flat out excitement.

I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now back to denial.


  1. As someone who remembers reading your Wordsmith competition entries in freshman honors English, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to say, "You deserve it!!!" HELL YES!!! My girl is getting some props! I am so proud of you.

  2. Thank you! I'm hoping for a trophy I can put next to my Wordsmith ribbons :)

  3. Woo hoooooooo! This is so exciting! Congrats!

  4. Good luck. As someone interested in words, I thought you might like to look into the word play in cryptic crosswords (if you aren't already into them). I have been doing a series of posts about cryptic clues and how to solve them. This is the first one in the series:

  5. Yipee, Melissa! You rock dem words.