Today’s sermon at Pacific Crossroads Church was called “Single Like Jesus” and it was all about being single. Which I am. The pastor referred almost exclusively to 1 Corinthians 7, which contains a lot of guidance on the matter. “ The over-arching point of the sermon was that there are times in life when we are called to be single and single for a reason. There may be something God wants us to do that we can do better uninhibited and unattached. If a given person is called to do this or that, it might be easier to do single. They can give it more attention than if they were in a relationship. And if they can do that, great. But maybe that person can’t do that, because they also really want to be with someone; well, that’s another division of focus, and they can either fight against that and maybe they’ll overcome it, maybe not, maybe their plans will change, who knows? But one thing is for sure, and that is that there is a division of focus when two people are together. It’s not good or bad, it just is, it’s just true.
I saw Quentin Tarantino’s new film, “Inglourious Basterds” on opening day, which was a little over a week ago. Since then, I can’t get the movie out of my head. It keeps coming up, and I find myself pouring over reviews and interviews, and the other day I found a new Charlie Rose interview with Tarantino (click here to download it for yourself). So, I’ve been watching it, and I finished it this morning before church, and during the sermon, it hit me. Tarantino has talked about this very same subject in the interview. I’ve copied down what he said, though this is not a 100% accurate transcript probably:
Charlie Rose: What would be the greatest impediment to achieving the things that you want to do?
Quentin Tarantino: If anything, I’ve learned not to get distracted by side things…For instance…I’m not married, I don’t have kids…I had a couple of situations that if they had worked out in a different way maybe I would be married now and maybe I would have kids. And that would be fine. But you know, I wouldn’t be sitting here at this table talking about “Inglourious Basterds.” But those little things could have made it very very different. Truth be told, I would rather, I don’t want anything to be more important than my movie right now…This is the time to climb Mt. Everest…
Charlie Rose: But you don’t want to do anything right now that divides your focus.
Quentin Tarantino: No, I don’t want to serve two masters.
I think about this often. I am a different writer when I’m in a relationship. I don’t become a bad writer, it’s just the focus thing. I don’t write as much. I spend time with that person, talking to them, thinking about them, I’m just not as active in some ways. My junior year of college was my most productive year by far in terms of how much I wrote, the progress in the quality of my writing, and how much I was reading. That was the only year I was single.
But I am also different. I’m perhaps an angrier writer when I’m alone. Part of that is because I may have the instinct for that. Partly, it’s because I’m usually mad about the relationship, if in fact it is the same relationship it’s been forever. But I don’t think that’s all a bad thing. That anger can be a drive. Rather than just unravel a person, it can focus and direct. Anger can create additional energy, and a great way to use it is to point it at a screenplay or at editing or any artistic endeavor. Does it change the way you view things? Maybe, but so does being happy. So does having a cold. Some people shut down in this situation. I like to think I’m more active.
There are things I want to get done. I used to think I’d have a family by about now. Wife. Kid. But those were a 20 year-old’s thoughts. They were misguided, but perhaps understandably so at the time. And things have changed. For now, there are things to be done. There is writing, there is editing, there is filming, there is directing, there may be acting. There are projects and projects and projects. Maybe I’m a bit cold. Maybe I’m a little bitter. But maybe I can use that to my advantage right now.