Choose Me. Pick Me. Love Me: The Screen Test for Your Next Door Project
By Jacey Eckhart
No sooner did I complete my Next Door Project and start my awesome new job when the knocking started. A pack of possible Next Door Projects was at the door, calling my name, trying to get me to come into the hallway with my ice bucket, ready for change. Mine whisper their temptations through the keyhole and sound like this:
“Hey, J. Remember how you always wanted to buy a fixer upper? Look at this 100-year-old house on Realtor.com with no kitchen!!!”
“Psst, are you wearing a fur coat? Or is that the same 20 pounds you have been trying to lose since 1994 around your waist?”
“Pardon, but it isn’t enough to write a novel. You have to market it too. With devotion. When were you going to start that?
How do you choose a Next Door Project?
You are probably sensible and make a list of pros and cons or something. That would be smart. Instead, I have my own ways to think through choices, and I’ll share them with you this month.
The Screen Test
One of the ways I think through choices is to figure out which of three categories they fit into: a) the ones I love; b) the ones that love me; and c) the ones that own me. I can only tell them apart because they sound like some of my favorite characters from the big and little screen. See if these sound familiar:
The Meredith Grey Option
This Next Door Project choice is the one that loves you best. This choice is like Dr. Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy when she is begging Derek to dump his ex-wife and stay with her because she loves him. “Pick me. Choose Me. Love me,” Meredith says. (Such a great line, Shonda Rhimes.) This choice is probably the fixer upper for me.
The John Cusack Option
This NDP choice is the noble underachiever looking for a dare-to-be-great situation. This is the one who loves you like crazy, but is kind of homely on the outside—like Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything. It stands outside your window with a boom box over its head, begging you to realize greatness coming for you if you just go out to meet it. This one is the novel, definitely.
The Kathy Bates Option
This one is the choice you are bound to, the choice that keeps breaking your legs every time you try to get away from it. This is Annie Wilkes in Stephen King’s Misery, determined to get what it wants out of you even if it has to kill you to do it. This, I fear, is the weight loss goal.
Choosing something because you love it, or it loves you, or you are bound to it can all lead to great things. Think through your possible Next Door Projects. Do you have any that would fit in these categories? Are there other categories I haven’t thought of? Let me know.