It was my dad’s birthday on the 11th. So I thought a wee bit about it and here are this year’s reflections
Can’t remember if I mentioned this before, at least here, but I started my filmmaking club in my dad’s honour. I’d started writing after losing my mum, and it seemed to work—funneling the energy of her loss into a creative outlet that she enjoyed. And my dad loved films. It made sense. And once again, it seemed to work.
Now I frequently get told about someone who got a sum of cash to make some film or other. I think there’s supposed to be an implication of, “fingers crossed, Leo, it could happen to you!” Or perhaps, kindly, “Your work deserves that kind of recognition/support!”
I’m totally guessing though. I’ve consumed a lot of scripts but I cannot read the ones running in everyone else’s heads. There are forever serious miscommunications, and big disputes about the character I’m supposed to be playing, what he’s supposed to be doing.
I would know best of all of us, and still I have serious doubts sometimes. Though when I do, I can remember the core tenets of what it means to be a Robertson, as learned from my dad.
At his memorial someone said to me, “We were just asking ourselves why Charlie never ended up a millionaire. He was just too generous!”
I realised while writing this (just curiously, no judgment): I have never wondered why anyone I know isn’t a millionaire. I’m willing to bet my dad spent no time asking himself that same question either.
He was too busy sneaking wine gums or enjoying fry-up breakfasts just like his mum used to make for him. Too busy browsing local shops for the perfect cheese, cool new glasses, a book that would fit in the pocket of his new favourite jacket. Too busy browsing the internet, clicking from article to article, in his dressing gown, chilled glass of white wine beside him—looking up to say, “I could do this all day!”
He loved his wife dearly, and was bereft when she passed. His favourite people were his own kids.
He remains a shining guide on how to extract the most value out of life for yourself and others. We Robertsons, for better or worse, are oriented towards gratitude for the ordinary, optimism and romance more than anything.
I’m so very pleased to hear from people that I have inspired them. Truly. Already more than I could hope to help out personally. But you don’t need my help, nor anyone’s permission. That’s always been my message.
I know you’re scared. Do you think I’m not? What even is life? What are we all doing? No time to ask, gotta fill out a tax return or something. It’s so weird.
And hey, you think I’m inspiring? You should have met my dad. Seriously, I’m what you’re stuck with. I am not by nature a people/party person like he was. My energy has to get into the world in its own spikier, more awkward way. But I do it in his honour, and I’m so glad it’s paying off.
And to those of you who have learned I’m a writer/filmmaker and love to tell me about what you will make one day–who enjoy the feeling of a potential story rattling around in their heads—perhaps so much that you delay getting it out of there and taking a look at it—you are in good company. My dad was the same. He told me about this hilarious radio play idea he had, about angels, heaven and hell.
Several times he told me that. Never more than that. Over years. Can’t tell you more about it.
Because like you, he was going to get around to it one day.