DON’T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER

In this business of show
The best advice I can give is
Don't take no for an answer
Your work will be judged by idiots
And by genius
And guess what?
Sometimes they all get it wrong
And if all these experts know everything
Then how come they make so many flops?
Your greatest guide 
And you must protect it
Is your instinct
For those of us who believe in a higher power
I believe our instinct is God talking to us
But guess what?
Most times we second guess ourselves
And go against it
Or allow ourselves to be talked into doing
Something that doesn't feel right
And the end result is always disaster
And recriminations
If everyone followed sound advice
And stuck to the tried and true formula
We'd have had no DaVinci
Or Glenn Gould
Nikola Tesla
Or Picasso
Marlon Brando
Beatles
Elvis
Hitchcock
Bob Dylan
David Lynch
Breaking Bad
And so on and so on...
The Beatles were told that "Guitar bands are out of fashion"
Tesla was told that "his ideas wouldn't fly"
Yet he lit up the world
And in return it broke his heart
Elvis was threatened with jail if he continued to rock the boat
And Dylan was laughed at as a freak
I'm not saying that sticking to your inner voice
Wont be a difficult road
It will be
But when was anything worth having easy?
All the people I have mentioned had only one thing in common
Persistence
Fuelled by a total self belief
Don't get me wrong
I'm not saying don't listen to good advice
Do
For only a fool turns their back on a good idea
But trust your own instinct as to what is right for you
And what isn't
My mother once told someone that if you want Frank to do
Something for you just ask him and he will
But order him to do it
And he'll do the opposite just to piss you off
So I guess I was born with a rebel soul
And all I know is this
Every time I was told 
"You'll never make a film because you haven't made one before.
So go home and forget about it, sonny, and leave it to the experts"
It somehow made me stronger and more determined to prove them wrong
Every time I was told "Don't bother trying to get that big name star 
For your movie, because it won't happen"
It did
Or "You can't make a film about that because it's too personal and no one 
will get it other than you"
That was the one the people responded to
In an era that I believe is the darkest age for movies
When they are only making films about comic books
Don't give up
Where some see a wasteland 
Others sees a golden opportunity
Never before has an original idea been such a valuable commodity
Be bold and mighty forces join you
The future belongs to you
If you are brave enough
And strong enough
And stubborn enough to grasp it
And to those who are
We at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival
Salute you

(SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE 2017 MELBOURNE UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL)
(c) Frank Howson 2017






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THE DREAM IS OVER

So many battles I've had to fight alone. Betrayed by those I loved
the most, they were also the ones I had been fighting for. The
weariness of this realisation makes you weak at the knees and 
yet you must continue to fight or else the duplicity of their 
motives will win the day. You become hollow inside, not by cancer, 
but by the fact that something deep and magical and life enhancing 
has closed down never again to be reignited. You feel lighter as 
you inch closer to death. All that remains on most days is a shell. 
This is when you are called upon to become an actor and give
'em what they want. A performance. A great performance because it 
is so convincing most people think you still function and have risen 
above the hurt and damage of the shadow people. But then again, your 
life, or what's left of it, hangs on the thread of your ability to 
push on through the small talk and darkness of "What if...?" without 
puking on someone's expensive shoes. So many amongst us are asleep 
at the wheel and do not understand or care about what is at stake. 
Love is a distraction. Pain is the only honest constant and it has 
become your friend. You cannot be hurt anymore, which is 
disappointing to a lot of women. You cannot be brought down any 
further, which is crushing to many men. You cannot be bought, 
because there is nothing you need. You cannot be humiliated 
anymore, which is pleasing to God. For now all layers of bullshit 
and make-believe have been ripped away. You are free now. God 
almighty, free at last! You once had a dream too. But now you 
have awakened to see the game for what it is. Nothing can scare 
you now. You are impenetrable. This makes you frightening to those 
who only operate by spreading fear amongst us. And at the dawn of 
our demise you are noticeably at peace. And powerful again.


(c) Frank Howson 2017

Painting by Frank Howson (c) 2017

HOME

The street was the same as I remembered it. And the birds swooped as if to herald my return. So it was true, I hadn’t dreamed it. For a moment I stood and took in the beautiful cacophony of noise that I’d never fully appreciated before in all its ugly glory. The sun came out to shine on cue and its warmth informed me that I had now entered a safety zone for lost boys.

How can you know a place so well and yet feel that you are seeing it for the first time? If this is a dream and I awaken now I will be angry all day. Maybe all days.

I continue moving on further into it until I reach the gate no one ever closes, and the narrow cement path  leading to the apartment block steps I once knew so well I could climb them in the dark, and under the influence of too much life. This time there seems to be a lesson learnt in each step and greater effort needed to conceal the weariness of the outsider.

Halfway up I enter the glow from the first storey window that conspires to shine God-like behind the statue of Buddha as if even the universe is welcoming my return.

More steps and more weary remembrances of lessons learned and I am at the front door, knocking in a drum pattern of whimsy and familiarity.

After an eternity of seconds the door is opened and I see your smiling face as I remembered it from a long ago carefree time. Bright, loving and kind. I can now die in my footsteps and not be lost to wander and wonder.

I enter and am surrounded by the comfort of the greatest books and music ever written. Each word and note a friend of mine. And I sit at the empty table. Alone no more. Everything and nothing has changed as I take my place amongst it.

You ask me how I am. But there are no words to convey the miracle of ordained destiny.

For in that sheltered moment, I am home.

 

(C) Frank Howson 2017

SECRET LIFE OF THE MARRIED WOMAN

once I smiled

and doors opened

now they are shut

and bolted

 

I see a husband and wife

in a sushi bar

he attempts to talk

small

but she ignores his

existence

as if trying to swallow

a load

of

past recriminations

too wise

or well schooled

to bring them up

now

here

perhaps

they no longer make sense

anyway

but this is all they have

now

this was their life

and cannot be

discounted

or forgotten

otherwise

it’s all been for

nothing

 

what would you like to order?

 

watching them

we know that strangers know

some things

no,

strangers probably know

more

about his wife

than he does

she has probably shared more

with

them

opened up

fully

everywhere

exposed

giggled

slap me

he won’t care

he never has before

the stranger can take her

anywhere he wants

she’s all his

it’s easy

she’s not really herself

and knows this is going

nowhere

other than back to her husband’s bed

and

the swallowing of more secret

recriminations

of a damned parade

of meaningless

words

that meant everything for a time

but

don’t hold up

to

examination

in the daylight

 

ah, but the memory of

those dancers

who took her once

to

somewhere

she

would hate it known

she

has

visited

 

he has gone

too

the husband

somewhere else

that other country

called lost in ambition

and

small print

of a thousand deals

that came unstuck

so did he

briefly

pulling himself together

he went on

like his father before him

never acknowledging

that he

died

over dinner one night

still

no one noticed

so he got away with it

 

once

when he was gone

on business

in paraguay

or somewhere

doing something

that would come to

nothing

she put on a dress

in his absence

a red one

to match her lips

a tight one

a low cut one

a short one

so they could see

thigh highs

heels

nothing more

oh, and the wedding ring

just to be naughty

she went out

alone

this night

to a downtown bar

and sat

alone

trying to look bored

drinking

while strangers looked at her

and smiled

even some of the women smiled

she blushed and looked

away

acting her part

knowing they like a challenge

seeing her wedding ring

they approach

hi there

she smiles

acting surprised

soon she’s surrounded by men

all horny

for the conquest of the married woman

asking where her husband was

oh, he’s away

that’s too bad they lie

looking at her breasts

sitting beside her

buying her drinks

joking

flirting

lying

stripping her with their eyes

dropping hints about how big they are

big house

big job

big car

big bank accounts

well-built

she looks up

interested

they’re not sure about what

she dances with some of them

they grind into her

letting her know

the truth

some are impressive

some just big talk

some put their hands on her married

ass

challenging her to object

she does not

and the whole room sees

the wife is burning

on a mission

to feel something before

dawn

her husband thinks she’s at home

watching tv

she smiles

what he doesn’t know would kill him

 

the chosen one

drives her home

to his place

she objects

hollow sounding

he takes control

just because she lets him

he’s too dumb to know that

he takes her

inside

and strips her

roughly

like a birthday gift

finally

seeing the other man’s wife

fully exposed

being offered up to him

to take anyway he wants it

both of them knowing he will

 

on the other hand

he was fully exposed to her

hours ago

she knew everything about him

and knows he’s too stupid

to

ever be a danger

to her real life

he does tricks

in an effort to surprise her

he takes off her high heel and

penetrates her with it

her back against the wall

her dress pulled up at the front

hoping the good wife

will enjoy being ravaged

in a way

her husband would never

dream

or dare

“would your husband like seeing this?” he smirks

“seeing how you respond?”

she represses her urge to laugh in his face

 

“beg” he begs her

 

how far will the respectable wife go

he wonders

she smiles

letting him know there are no limits

tonight

there is something in her smile

that makes him tremble

now

who’s in control?

he orders her to get upstairs

and into his bed

where she belongs

as she runs up the steps

he slaps her sexy ass

with all his might

until she squeals from the sting

 

he makes her lay

across his bed

on all fours

she does so

and hears him open the bedside table drawer

behind her

 

she closes her eyes

 

he will be big

 

he will make her cry

again

and again

 

but she is so pleased

that she chose him

he was just the darkness she needed

before

returning to the

light

of a reality

that is slowly killing her

 

she has defeated temptation

by

giving in to

it

 

she hopes her husband’s trip has gone well

 

(c) Frank Howson 2013