there’s that urging feeling to reboot, start this shit all over again and live
life the way we really want to. I mean we’re still young, so why not? It’s not
that we all want to be someone else; we just want to be the person we see in our
imagination… so why not become that? It’s you without the insecurity and
bullshit obligations you’ve made important in order to feel secure. If you can’t
change who you are completely, then DON’T — just be who you want to be. It’s
really that simple; you’re just going to need the proper excuse. Let me
This story begins because of how it ends, on West 58th and 9th Avenue near
Central Park. I stood outside the Hudson Hotel, which earlier that week I’d
appropriately nicknamed “the closet”, due to the small size of my expensive
room. I stood there realizing that the life I’d once lived was over, as there
comes a time in every young man’s life when he must make a choice.
Mine was simple. Either I was going to continue to bullshit and live the life
I’d once lived, or instead, become the man I’d always longed to be. I’d toiled
with the option for too long. Fortunately, for all of my indecisiveness, the
universe forced my hand that day. My entire life – everything I owned – was now
in the trunk of a town car, somewhere in New York City.
But that’s the end of the story…
It started a few days earlier in Los Angeles. On a mattress, in an apartment
better suited for a drug addict, rather than a talented screenwriter. See,
anyone who’s ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to
be poor. I was there, next to a naked woman I’d wanted to bed for the past three
years. When I’d met her, she was barely nineteen and I, nearly twenty-three. At
the time, she represented everything that was right about Los Angeles: young,
rich, beautiful, alcoholic.
But at this point, three years later, I despised her. She was an out of work
actress and me, an unemployed genius. We knew we’d never last. She was there
because her friends had distanced themselves, and I was the only one currently
willing to fuel her drunken nights. She now represented everything I’d come to
hate about Los Angeles: young, lazy, pretentious f*cks. Me included. Oh… I
should’ve moved to New York City when I had the chance. Fear. F*cking fear. But
this was my life. Poor choices and fear had put me here, but I wasn’t ready to
settle into a life of mediocrity and self-medication.
I wanted to change my life. Transcend. I just needed the proper excuse. You
see, unfortunately, for as talented and charming as I believed myself to be, at
twenty-six, I’d become everything I’d never wanted to be and consequently,
everything everyone else expected me to be: a failure. But who said potential
couldn’t last this long?
My real problem was I couldn’t see past the grandeur of my own imagination.
There’s a certain error to knowing you’ll succeed. You sometimes forget to do
it. Sometimes you become too entertained by your own mischief, and for as
entertaining as it can be, it’s the unhealthiest thing a person can do.
Sometimes the metal on the sullen ground doesn’t glimmer from the sun. Sometimes
it blinds people, and they avert that area all together. If you haven’t read
‘Henry the Fourth,’ that’ll probably make no sense.
A better excerpt: “I’ll so offend to make offense a skill, redeeming time
when men think least I will.” Much better. I thought, such as this, that when I
was ready to be great… I would be. That theory is dangerous. If you offend to
make offense a skill, you run the risk of never defining yourself. That was my
fear, that I could easily be forgotten because I hadn’t become someone that
someone would want to remember.
So now that we know how much of a f*ck up I was, let’s go to the end, which
is back to where this story begins – that day outside the Hudson Hotel. The
bellhop at the hotel noted how strangely optimistic I was about my current
situation: “If those were my bags in the back of that car, I’d be livid!”
*In case you were wondering, I was in Manhattan shooting a documentary for
the release of the film ‘Red Tails,” but who gives a fuck; I just didn’t want
you wondering why I was in Manhattan and not Los Angeles.What the bellhop didn’t know is I hated everything in that luggage. It
represented an odious cancer attached to my true identity – that odious cancer,
of course, being myself for the past three years. If only I could change,
upstage myself in every boastful comment I’d ever made. The anxiety I was
feeling was the same feeling I had pacing in my parent’s kitchen back in
Seattle, knowing I was meant to do something great; I just had to take the risk.
Eliminate fear. Conquer. Become.
Become him. It. That. The cultivation of everything I’d ever learned.
Experienced. Experimented with. The drugs. The women. The education. The late
nights. I gave “it” a name: SAINT VINCENT BLACKWELL. The name itself was strong.
Saint was a more supreme version of Dominic, like, my ten million dollar self.
Saint was a far more impressive presentation of a man. Regal even. Immaculately
articulate. Well read. Meticulously well dressed. A gentleman. Whiskey drinker,
champagne too. An international sybarite. Rich, but not gaudy. Gaudy, but never
too lively. Adored. Respected. Sought after, but reclusive. A man-about-town.
Worked hard. Played harder. Worked while playing, then went back to work when
everyone else had went to sleep. Saint was quietly boastful. Humbly great.
Overzealously ambitious. Saint was I.
To sum up Saint in a word: SPREZZATURA – an Italian word. Originating from
Baldassare Castigliones’s book ‘The Book of the Courtier.’ Defined as, a certain
nonchalance, so to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says to be
without effort. The ability of the courtier to display an easy facility in
accomplishing difficult actions which hides the conscious effort that went into
them. Defensive irony.
To become Saint, I’d have to forget. To forget, I’d have to suffer. To
suffer, I’d have to commit. Saint would require sacrifice, and in order for
Saint to survive, I’d have to suppress all my excuses about why I wasn’t who or
what I wanted to be… and just be him – that burning desire inside myself to
supersede all notions of success. To be Saint, meant to be great — the two go
hand in hand.
It started to rain outside the Hudson Hotel, as I watched the town car
service drive away with all my shit. I smiled at the thought of all my
belongings being somewhere in New York City. I’d become too comfortable with
mediocrity and routine. I was too addicted to alcohol. I was too distant to my
loved ones. I wasn’t the person I wanted to be.
But now, I could finally change. I had the proper excuse to start over.
Having nothing, for the first time, meant I could set out to achieve everything
I wanted all over again, a clean slate. I would still be Dominic, but with
Saint’s mindset, characteristics, discipline and dreams. Saint would become my
stage name, while I was performing in real life.
The head of Hudson Hotel security came outside to take a report on the
incident and extended his hand. I extended mine, “Saint.” “Nice to meet you
Saint.” And there, standing in the street, I thought to myself, “Me too.”
Everything in life happens, whether it’s for a reason or not. And if you
don’t like the way shit is going… change. You don’t have to be who you were
yesterday. Be the voice that talks to you in the mirror in the morning, that
confident mother*cker who wouldn’t worry about the simple sh*t you worry about.
Create your alter ego, define yourself, live your dreams and always find another
excuse to be better, or at least the best possible version of yourself. That’s