Catalyst for Passion: “Overtime in the Woods”

20 May

A couple years ago I was asked by my cousin (Michael T. O’Reilly), an aspiring independent film maker, to audition for a role in a short film he was making (Five Mile Road). He ended up giving me the part, which required that I spend two weekends filming in the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We had a great time shooting the scenes and the movie turned out really cool. If he ever releases it on the web, I’ll try to get a link up for those curious.

Overtime in the Woods

(early colors)

While there, working with the cast and crew I felt a real camaraderie. The experience was great. I got an opportunity to express my creative side which had laid dormant for some time. I remember talking with everyone about making the film and the creative process. I hadn’t talked with people in that way for such a long time. Not since I was heavily involved with the management of the metal band: I Decline. I missed it. I missed sharing ideas and creating things from nothing. The experience was literally a breath of fresh air.

When I got home, I started thinking about doing another project. So I picked up my pen and outlined an idea for a story, with the thought of making it manageable for an indie film. Then I wrote that story. That was how my next story came about: “Overtime in the Woods.”

Once I finished the story, I decided to reconnect with my old writing group, The Southland Scribes, to get some feedback. That was the catalyst. The kick, I needed. I started coming up with ideas for another story, then another, and another. Now a couple years later I’m continuing to write at a pace I had never previously succeeded in maintaining. I’ve got a number of short stories under my belt and rough draft for a novel. When I look back, I’m surprised that I’ve been able to keep up such output. I guess that’s why they say, you never know what you can do until you try.


3 responses to “Catalyst for Passion: “Overtime in the Woods”

  1. Kathryn OReilly

    May 20, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Way to go bro! Proud of you…keep writing!

  2. jeannemeeks

    May 21, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    That’s a great story to answer “Why do you write?” or “How did you get started in writing.”
    Will it show up at the writers’ showcase June 1???

    • Ryan Sean O'Reilly

      May 21, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      I don’t know. That’s a good question. I’m sure I’ll bring it up. It certainly answers how I got going writing lately. But why do I write? That’s different. Writing is such a singular and lonely activity. People write for so many different reasons. Sometimes people write as an outlet or for catharsis. Sometimes, its because they feel they have a great story to share. Sometimes it’s because they want to change the world.

      There’s a quote that I have hanging up at home to inspire me. I listened to an audio interview of the author Richard Adams and he said this about writing his first book (which is considered a classic):

      “Asked if he enjoyed writing it, his response is quick and pithy. ‘No, I hated it. To be quite frank, writing is bloody hard work.’”Richard Adams on writing: Watership Down. If you’ve never read that book–you should! Every person I ever suggest it to has loved it. The thing is phenomenal.

      Anyway, I always take heart in this quote, because I very often find writing painful and difficult. Then I question my motivations and abilities and I think: “Why am I doing this?” Hearing Richard Adams admit the difficulty in the craft, made me feel that I wasn’t alone. Not everyone sits down and “loves” the process. Oh, I definitely have “inspired” movements of elation that are quite unexpected and fun, but that feeling does not make up the majority of what I experience when I write.

      As I’ve thought about this, I’ve sort of come to the conclusion, that one of the main reasons I write is because I feel that I have to. I enjoy the result–looking back and feeling that I’ve accomplished something. Created a thing out of nothing. There is happiness in that. I’m not sure if that’s a good enough reason to continue writing, but I know that I feel more satisfaction with life when I’m actively writing. I feel as if I am working towards a goal. That’s just one of the reasons “Why I write.”


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