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Catalog | Cast Recording | The Story of My Life

The Story of My Life CD Image

  $14.95 Add to Cart

Album Release Date:
 June 2, 2009


what the critics are saying
 


“A heartfelt musical with an emotional pull”
–Associated Press


“This year's most underappreciated Broadway musical, an unabashed, irresistible tearjerker.”
–USA Today


“There's a high level of craft, the lyrics being literate and full of detail, and the music often appropriately intense and always rich in emotion.... The Story of My Life, with its story of friendship forged and frayed and fragmented, makes one think and feel deeply.”
–Talkin' Broadway


The Story of My Life
Original Broadway Cast Recording
Malcolm Gets & Will Chase

(A funeral chapel in a small town. Thomas Weaver enters, looks around the space with familiarity and makes his way to the podium. He opens a notebook and reads.)

THOMAS
We are gathered to honor the life of Alvin Kelby. He was my best friend.

(He finds a pen and makes a correction.)

My good friend.

My oldest friend.

My insert-adjective-later friend.

(He tears the page from the book and tries again.)

Hello. My name is Thomas Weaver. Iím a multi-award-winning, best-selling author and I have absolutely no idea what to write.

Write what you know, Tom.

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.

(Thomas writes.)

WE MET IN FIRST GRADE.
WE WERE FRIENDS FOR YEARS.
GOOD FRIENDS.
INSEPARABLE.

(He stops writing.)

THAT MUCH I KNOW.
THAT MUCH I KNOW.

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW, TOM.
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.

(He resumes writing.)

HE WAS A SMART KID.
HE WAS SORT OF ODD.

No. Interesting.

No. Odd.

HE WORKED IN HIS FATHERíS BOOKSTORE.
HIS FATHER GOT SICK.

(He stops.)
THAT MUCH I KNOW.
THAT MUCH I KNOW.

BUT THATíS NOT THE STORY.
THIS IS JUST FACT.
WHAT WAS THE CRISIS THAT WENT UNDETECTED?
WHEN WAS THE INSTANT IT SPLINTERED AND CRACKED?

WHAT WAS THE MOMENT?
I MISSED IT SOMEHOW
AND IF I COULD NARROW IT DOWN TO A MOMENT,
WHAT GOOD IS KNOWING THAT NOW?

WHAT WAS MY RESPONSIBILITY?
WHAT DID I OWE?
AM I TO BLAME
FOR ALL OF THE DETAILS IíLL NEVER KNOW?

BUT HOW COULD I KNOW?

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW, TOM.

(He makes another attempt to write.)

I WENT TO COLLEGE
ALVIN STAYED BEHIND.
HIS FATHER PASSED AWAY.
I LEFT HIM HERE ALONE.

(He stops.)

THAT MUCH I KNOW.
THAT MUCH I KNOW.

SOME LIVES HURTLE FORWARD
AND SOME NEVER BUDGE
AND SOMETIMES A LIFE TAKES A DIFFERENT DIRECTION
WITH AN INNOCUOUS INNOCENT NUDGE.

DID I DO THE NUDGING
WHEN HIS LIFE CAREENED?
NOW HOW DO I BOUNCE THROUGH A LIFETIME
TO PINPOINT WHEN I SHOULD HAVE INTERVENED?

WHERE IS THAT STORY?
WHAT SHOULD I SAY?
I'VE GOTTA DO THIS RIGHT, ALVIN.
IíVE GOTTA FIND THE PIECE OF THE PUZZLE
THAT BROUGHT ME HERE TODAY.

(As Thomas violently tears the page from his notebook, the funeral chapel fades and Thomas finds himself deep inside his own mind surrounded by endless shelves cluttered with papers and books - a lifetimeís accumulation of memories and stories. Seated among them is Alvin Kelby.)

WHAT IS THE MOMENT?
WHAT IS THE STORY?
USE YOUR OWN WORDS TOM.
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.

ALVIN
There's gotta be thousands of stories in this head of yours, Tom.

THOMAS
Don't bother me, Alvin. I'm writing.

(Alvin looks at Thomasís empty notebook.)

ALVIN
No you're not. There's nothing there.

THOMAS
Writing's a process. Words are just the final step. Now be quiet. I can do this on my own.

ALVIN
Really? And when was the last time you actually wrote something, Tom?

(This touches a nerve. Alvin starts to collect up loose pages.)

So, here's what we're going to do. We're going to pick a story and you're going to write it down. Then we'll pick another... and another... and another. You get the idea? That's all a eulogy is, Tom. You tell a bunch of stories, save the tear-jerker for the end and...

(Alvin places a large stack of pages in front of Thomas.)

... there you have it. My eulogy. The story of my life. Written by best-selling author Thomas Weaver.

THOMAS
You make it sound so easy.

ALVIN
Isn't it? Here's a thought. Why don't you begin with this one?

(Alvin selects a few pages and reads.)

ALVIN
The Beginning.
A story about Alvin Kelby.
MY MOM PASSED AWAY
IN THE SUMMER I TURNED SIX

Write that down.

THOMAS
Alvin, what's the point?

ALVIN
Trust me.

(Thomas writes in his notebook.)

THOMAS
Alvin's Mom passed away in the summer he turned six.

ALVIN
Good.

AND LEFT A SINGLE FATHER AND HIS SON.

BUT DAD HAD THE BOOKSTORE
WITH A LEAKY ROOF TO FIX.
SO I WAS ON MY OWN
FACING THE UNKNOWN,
THE TERRIFYING PROSPECT OF GRADE ONE.

BUT AT THE TIME HOW WAS I TO SEE
A KIND AND GENTLE SOUL WAS WAITING THERE FOR ME?

MRS. REMINGTON, OUR FIRST GRADE TEACHER
MADE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL A BETTER PLACE.
BUT HER SINGLE MOST DISTURBING FEATURE
WAS THE COARSE BLACK HAIR ON HER FACE.

MAYBE SHE WAS MENOPAUSAL.
LACK OF ESTROGEN WILL CAUSE
A LOT OF ODD CONDITIONS,
SOME ACUTE!

THE IRONY WOULD NEVER FAZE HER
NAMESAKE OF A FAMOUS RAZOR.
AND TO BE SO FACIALLY HIRSUTE.

BUT MRS. REMINGTON SMILED
AND SHE WOULD BRIGHTEN MY DAY.
BACK THEN A TEACHER HUGGED YOU
TO MAKE YOU FEEL OKAY.

THOUGH MY FACE SORTA STUNG
FROM MRS. REMINGTONíS BEARD,
WHEN SHE HELD ME, MY PROBLEMS DISAPPEARED.

MRS. LYNCH WAS AN IGNORAMUS,
MR. POLLACK WAS JUST PLAIN MEAN.
MRS. REMINGTON WAS NEARLY FAMOUS
FOR HER PARTIES AT HALLOWEEN.

PUMPKIN HEADS OF EVERY SHAPE
WERE CUT OUT OF CONSTRUCTION PAPER.
EACH AND EVERY ONE WOULD BE DISPLAYED.

THE HIGHLIGHT FOR THE CHILDREN WAS
TO MAKE A REALLY SPECIAL COSTUME
FOR THE YEARLY HALLOWEEN PARADE.

MRS. REMINGTON SMILED
AND SHE WAS CLEARLY CONTENT
AS SHE LOVINGLY PRESIDED
OVER THIS, THE MAIN EVENT.

SO WEíD NERVOUSLY WALK
PAST HER CRITICAL EYES
AND WEíD VIE FOR MRS. REMINGTONíS TOP PRIZE.

THOMAS
There was this one kid wearing cardboard wings, a coat hanger halo, carrying a bell and a homemade book that said Tom Sawyer. Nobody had a clue what he was supposed to be.

ALVIN Except me.

(Alvin becomes his younger self.)

Oh, oh, oh, Mrs. Remington!

Pamela Koshan thought he was the Statue of Liberty.

Mrs. Remington, I know!

THOMAS
Donnie Carter thought he was a Thanksgiving turkey.

ALVIN
Mrs. Remington, I know. Heís Clarence. The angel from Itís A Wonderful Life. He was my motherís favorite.

THOMAS
The class laughed.
ALVIN
I cried. And Mrs. Remington announced that I was next.

BUT MRS. REMINGTON SMILED
IN THAT WAY THAT SHE HAD.
A SMILE THAT MADE YOU REALIZE
THAT THINGS WERE NOT SO BAD.

AND I KNEW FROM HER FACE
THAT THIS FEELING WOULD PASS.
SO I WENT TO TAKE MY TURN BEFORE THE CLASS.

THOMAS
Those poor kids were still trying to figure out who the heck Clarence was...

ALVIN
... when I shuffled onto the platform in fuzzy slippers and bathrobe, with pink sponge curlers in my hair. "Alvin Kelby," Mrs. Remington said, "And what are you supposed to be?"

Iím a ghost. The ghost of my mother.

LUNCH THAT DAY WAS AWFUL LONELY
SITTING BY MYSELF AND ONLY
WEARING FUZZY SLIPPERS AND CHENILLE.

WHILE ALL THE KIDS WERE MAKING FUN
IN CAME MRS. REMINGTON
WITH CLARENCE DRAGGING SLOWLY ON HER HEEL.

"Clarence," she said, "Iíd like you to meet Mrs. Kelby. Sheís a big fan of yours."

AND MRS. REMINGTON SMILED
ĎCAUSE MRS. REMINGTON KNEW
THAT THE BATTLEFIELD OF CHILDHOOD
WAS EASIER WITH TWO.

MRS. REMINGTON WATCHED,
AS THE ANGELS DO,
AND ON HALLOWEEN THAT YEAR
SHE SAW TWO MASKS DISAPPEAR
WHEN MY MOTHER MET HER ANGEL
AND I MET YOU.

(Alvin selects another story and reads.)

ALVIN
The Greatest Gift.
A story about Alvin and Thomas.

THOMAS
Alvin and his father lived on the second floor above his father's bookstore.

ALVIN
It was called The Writer's Block - New and Used Books.

THOMAS
One Christmas Eve, Alvin and I made snow angels and watched Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life.

ALVIN
Our annual tradition.

THOMAS
Then Alvin took me downstairs to the bookstore. We were eleven.

(They take a step into the past.)

ALVIN
Trust me.

THOMAS
What are we doing?

ALVIN
We're going to pick out a book for your Christmas present.

THOMAS
Cool. Which one?

ALVIN
I don't know, but it's somewhere in this mystical place.

THOMAS
Mystical place?

ALVIN
Mystical place.

THOMAS
Itís a bookstore.

ALVIN
No. Itís a great and powerful force capable of extraordinary feats.

THOMAS
Alvin's father was known for having the uncanny knack of finding the perfect book for each of his customers. Of course, Alvin saw things... differently.

ALVIN
EVERY DAY
PEOPLE COME INTO THIS BOOKSTORE.
NEVER KNOWING IT WAS BUILT
ON SACRED HOLLOWED GROUND.

THOMAS
Don't you mean ďhallowedĒ?

ALVIN
THEY TRAVEL HERE FROM ALL AROUND.
POOR SOULS LOOKING FOR STORIES.

THOMAS
Where's my present?

ALVIN
These desperate pilgrims enter this shrine. My father says...

ďGOOD AFTERNOON,Ē

Or ďmorningĒ as the case may be.

ďIíM THE OWNER OF THIS BOOKSTORE.
CAN I HELP YOU PLEASE?Ē
AND THEY SAY, ďNOT RIGHT NOW SIR, THANKS A LOT.
BUT IíLL PERUSE THE BOOKS YOUíVE GOT.
IíM JUST LOOKING FOR STORIES.Ē

SO DAD ALLOWS THEM TO SEARCH THE STACKS.
AND THEY HUNT AND BROWSE
AND THEY READ THE BACKS.

BUT EVENTUALLY,
INEVITABLY,
THEY ASK FOR DADíS ADVICE.

They talk a little.

THEN HE GETS THIS LOOK ALL DAZED AND QUEER.
AND HE MUMBLES THINGS I CAN'T QUITE HEAR.

(Alvin imitates his fatherís mumbling.)

THEN, LIKE A SHOT,
HE GOES RIGHT TO THE PERFECT SPOT
AND FINDS THEIR SPECIAL BOOK,
THE ONE DISTINCTIVE BOOK,
THE STORY THAT WILL CHANGE THAT PERSONíS LIFE.

You see?

THOMAS
See what?
ALVIN
This store speaks through my father. He's a conduit. He's an instrument. He's a vessel. And I am his son. I too hear the prophetic whisper of the bookstore spirit. I will now attempt to use my ancestral gifts to guide you to your present.

(Alvin listens intently for the prophetic whisper.)

THOMAS
You couldnít just get me a model airplane?

ALVIN
Shhh!

SPEAK TO ME
NOBLE SPIRIT OF THE BOOKSTORE.
THIS IS ALVIN HERE.

THOMAS
And Thomas.

ALVIN
IS THERE SOMETHING YOU CAN RECOMMEND
AS A GIFT FOR THOMAS, MY BEST FRIEND?
CAN YOU FIND HIM A STORY?

(Alvin listens again.)

THOMAS
Do you hear anything yet?

ALVIN
No.

Wait! It needs... something. It needs both of us.

THOMAS
What do we do?

ALVIN
NOW WE STAND UP STRAIGHT LOOKING SHY AND MEEK.

THOMAS
NOW WE STAND UP STRAIGHT LOOKING SHY AND MEEK.

ALVIN
AND WE HUMBLY WAIT FOR THE STORE TO SPEAK.

THOMAS
AND WE HUMBLY WAIT FOR THE STORE TO SPEAK.

BOTH
SOON WE WILL HEAR THE ANSWER
THAT WE'RE PREPARING TO RECEIVE.

ALVIN
NOW THE NEXT PARTíS NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR.
ITíS THE PART WHERE DAD GETS DAZED AND QUEER.

THOMAS
I think you nailed that part.

ALVIN
I see... I see... I see a guy wearing cardboard wings, a coat hanger halo, carrying a bell and a homemade book...

WAIT!
HOLY COW!
I KNOW WHICH BOOK TO GIVE YOU NOW.

THOMAS
Well.

ALVIN
YOUíLL BE GRATEFUL THAT I INTERCEDED.
AND FOUND THE BOOK YOU NEVER KNEW YOU NEEDED.

THOMAS
Come on.

ALVIN
THE STORY THAT WILL CHANGE MY BEST FRIENDíS LIFE.

(Alvin plucks a book from the shelf and hands it to Thomas.)

THOMAS
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
By Mark Twain.
A book report by Tommy Weaver.
Sixth grade.

(Thomas addresses his sixth grade class.)

I got this book from my friend Alvin. It's a really good story but my favorite part is in the pre-face. It goes like this.

(He opens the book and reads.)

ďPart of my plan has been to try to pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in. The author. Hartford. Eighteen seventy-six.Ē
(He closes the book.)

THOMAS
IN EIGHTEEN SEVENTY-SIX
CARS WERE NOT INVENTED.
THEY DIDNíT HAVE THE RADIO
OR MOVIES OR T.V.
AND THEY HAD MORE DISEASES THEN
WHICH NOW CAN BE PREVENTED
BUT SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK THAT YEAR
THAT STILL GETS READ BY KIDS TODAY LIKE ME.

IN EIGHTEEN SEVENTY-SIX
THERE WASNíT INDOOR PLUMBING
THEY DIDNíT HAVE A TON OF THINGS
WE TAKE FOR GRANTED NOW.
THOUGH EVERY YEAR THERE SEEMS TO BE
SOME LUXURY THATíS COMING
A BOOK LIKE THIS FROM WAY BACK THEN
IS STILL AROUND SOMEHOW.

I GUESS I USED TO THINK
THAT BOOKS WERE ONLY WORDS ON PAPER
BUT WHEN IíM READING THIS
ITíS LIKE TOM SAWYERíS REALLY HERE.

WHEN THINGS ARE WRITTEN DOWN
THEY DONíT JUST DISAPPEAR LIKE VAPOR.
THEY TRAVEL ON THROUGH TIME
BEYOND THAT ONE SPECIFIC YEAR.

AND I THINK WRITING STUFF LIKE THAT
WOULD MAKE A NEAT CAREER.

IN EIGHTEEN SEVENTY-SIX
SOME GUY FROM MISSOURI
PUT ALL THESE ADVENTURES DOWN
AND MADE THEM COME ALIVE.
AND JUST BECAUSE THAT WRITER
WROTE THIS ONE AMAZING STORY
EIGHTEEN SEVENTY-SIX
WAS SO MUCH BETTER THAN
EIGHTEEN SEVENTY-FIVE.

Thank you.

(Thomas returns to the present, to the podium and to his notebook. He writes.)

THOMAS
And so I started writing. Anything and everything got put on paper. A one-sentence preface...
ALVIN
From a book I gave you.

THOMAS
... nudged me into a "neat career" as...

(He tears the page from the book.)

This isn't about me.

ALVIN
Isn't it?

(Thomas writes.)

THOMAS
We are gathered to honor the life of Alvin Kelby.

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW TOM.
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.

(Alvin selects another story and reads.)

ALVIN
A Stupid Squashable Bug.
A story about Alvin and Thomas.

THOMAS
One afternoon, when I was fourteen, I borrowed one of the magazines my father kept hidden in his nightstand. I found Alvin at the bridge by the falls staring intently at a butterfly.

(Alvin steps into the past.)

ALVIN
Tom. Watch this. They say that every time this butterfly flaps it causes a tiny ripple in the air that can spread out and grow and change wind currents and weather patterns. They call it the butterfly effect. One flap could cause a blizzard in Africa.

THOMAS
To any other fourteen-year-old, Alvin was a freak.

ALVIN
I prefer the term "individual". Watch.

(Thomas joins Alvin. They watch the butterfly for a very long time. Nothing happens.)

THOMAS
This is ridiculous.

AL, WEíRE STARTING HIGH SCHOOL IN THE FALL
AND YOU DONíT SEEM PREPARED FOR THAT AT ALL.
WHEN EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT
AND THE KIDS ARE MOSTLY NEW.
YOUíLL SEE HIGH SCHOOL CAN BE HARD
ON ďINDIVIDUALSĒ LIKE YOU.

ALVIN
Whoa. It's flapping.

THOMAS
Itís a bug. A stupid, squashable bug.

THOMAS
LOOK AT THIS MAGAZINE, ALVIN.
SEE WHAT REGULAR GUYS ARE OBSESSED WITH.
YOUíRE CHASING INSECTS
WHILE YOU COULD BE LEARNING
WHAT MISS APRIL TATTOOED HER GIANT BREAST WITH.

(Thomas shows Alvin the cover of the magazine.)

ALVIN
Get that out of my face.

THOMAS
BEING ECCENTRIC WAS FINE
WHEN IT WAS JUST JUNIOR HIGH.
IF YOU WANT TO FIT IN AT HIGH SCHOOL, AL,
BE NORMAL.
JUST TRY.

(Thomas opens the magazine.)

Miss April... likes action movies, stock car racing, and soup.

You like soup.

ALVIN
She looks uncomfortable. Crap. Whereíd the butterfly go?

THOMAS
YOUíRE GONNA NEED TO BE DIFFERENT ALVIN.
YOU GOTTA DRAW LESS ATTENTION.
ITíS BETTER TO JUST BE LIKE ONE OF THE CROWD
THAN A DWEEB WHO DROPPED IN
FROM THE FIFTH DIMENSION.

(Alvin sees the butterfly.)
ALVIN
There you are.

THOMAS
WOULDNíT YOU LIKE TO BE MORE
THAN JUST ďTHAT WEIRD KELBY KIDĒ?
YOU COULD FLY UNDER THE RADAR, AL
BE NORMAL.

ALVIN
Shhhhh!

THOMAS
NO MORE PLAYING WITH BUGS, ALVIN.
NO MORE WEARING YOUR DEAD MOTHERíS ROBE.
THERE ARE BULLIES AND THUGS, ALVIN.
EVERY ONE A POTENTIAL ALVIN-O-PHOBE.

(The butterfly flaps.)

ALVIN
Whoa!

THOMAS
THE TINIEST TRANSGRESSION,
LIKE TO STICK OUT OR REBEL,
WILL DESTROY THEIR FIRST IMPRESSION
AND TURN HIGH SCHOOL INTO HELL.

Al!

ALVIN
Sh!

THOMAS
I threw Miss April at the butterfly.

(Thomas does so. The butterfly flies away.)

ALVIN
No! Itís flapping. Itís flapping. Itís flapping a lot. Oh my God. Thereís no telling what chain of events you just set into motion.

THOMAS
Nothing's gonna happen!

ALVIN
Donít move. If a stupid, squashable bug can have that kind of power, what about us?

THOMAS
Alvin moved his finger.
ALVIN
What do you think that did?

THOMAS
And then his hand.

ALVIN
Or that?

THOMAS
And then his whole arm.

ALVIN
Or that?

THOMAS
Until he was flapping around like some crazed pterodactyl.

ALVIN
Woo hoo! Look at me Tom. Iím changing the weather. Iím redirecting the jet stream.
Iím melting the polar ice caps.

THOMAS
Nothing is changing! You look like an idiot!

NOBODY SAID IT WAS EASY, ALVIN
NOBODY SAID IT WAS PRETTY.
AND HEARING THIS STUFF FROM A FRIEND MAY BE HARD,
BUT NOT KNOWING AT ALL WOULD BE TWICE AS SHITTY.
YOUíLL GET THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL UNNOTICED
THEN YOUíLL THANK ME, YOUíLL SEE.
SO DONíT BE THE GUY WHO BUCKS EVERY TREND

ALVIN
Give me that magazine.

(Alvin picks up the magazine and examines it closely.)

THOMAS
WHO I HAVE TO JUSTIFY AND DEFEND.

ALVIN
I didnít see that before.

THOMAS
IF YOU WANT TO KEEP BEING MY BEST FRIEND
BE NORMAL...

(Alvin plucks something from the cover.)
ALVIN
A caterpillar.

THOMAS
... LIKE...

(Thomas selects a story and Alvin falls to the ground writhing in pain.)

ALVIN
Tom!

THOMAS
Bullies and Thugs.

ALVIN
Tom!

THOMAS
A story about Alvin Kelby.

ALVIN
Tom!

THOMAS
For our tenth grade Halloween party, Alvin came to school dressed as his motherís ghost again. Bathrobe and all.

ALVIN
Tom!

THOMAS
What was cute at six was just weird at fifteen.

ALVIN
Tom!

THOMAS
Donnie Carter chased Alvin all the way to the bridge and, by the time I got there, had him pinned to the ground and was pummeling him mercilessly.

ALVIN
Tom!

THOMAS
Get off him!

ALVIN
Tom!

THOMAS
I said get off him now!
(Thomas helps Alvin to his feet.)

ALVIN
Heís got my robe, Tom.

THOMAS
Give him the robe, Donnie.

ALVIN
Please give it back.

THOMAS
Give it back now.

ALVIN
No. Donít do that. No no no. Please. Please. Donít!

THOMAS
Donnie threw the robe over the side of the bridge and ran away. We watched it disappear over the falls.

But seriously Al, what were you thinking?

(Alvin selects a story and reads.)

ALVIN
What Alvin Was Thinking.

THOMAS
A story about Alvin Kelby.

ALVIN
I REMEMBER MOM WOULD MAKE MY LUNCHES
EVERY AFTERNOON WHEN I WAS FIVE.
SANDWICHES, AND CARROT STICKS IN BUNCHES.
ITíS STRANGE HOW CERTAIN MEMORIES SURVIVE.

WEíD BOTH SIT ON A KITCHEN STOOL.
IíD TELL HER WHAT I DID IN SCHOOL.
HOW IíD CARRY ON.
PEOPLE CARRY ON.

WHEN YOUíRE A KID YOUR WORLD BECOMES YOUR PARENTS.
I SAW THEM LIKE A MOVIE IN MY MIND.
DAD WAS GEORGE AND MOM WAS JUST LIKE CLARENCE
AND I BECAME THE TWO OF THEM COMBINED.

THEN ONE DAY OUR FAMILY
WAS SUDDENLY JUST DAD AND ME
BUT WE WOULD CARRY ON.
PEOPLE CARRY ON.

TIME WENT BY.
WE CHANGED AND GREW.
I BOUNCED BACK LIKE CHILDREN DO.
BUT MOM WAS ALWAYS CLOSE TO ME.
HER ROBE WAS LIKE HER LEGACY.

I FELT LIKE SHE WAS WOVEN THERE
IN EVERY STITCH AND QUILTED SQUARE
REMINDING ME OF THINGS THE WAY THEY WERE.
BUT SOMETIMES DISTANT MEMORIES CAN BLUR.
I KNEW MY MOTHERíS ROBE,
BUT SOMEHOW IíD FORGOTTEN HER.

I REMEMBER LEMONADE AND PUNCHES
LAID OUT LIKE REFRESHMENTS AT A PROM.
SANDWICHES AND CARROT STICKS IN BUNCHES.
I WAS SIX THE DAY THEY BURIED MOM.

MY BORROWED TIE, THE PERFUMED AIR,
THE FLOWER BASKETS EVERYWHERE.
EVERY TRIVIALITY IS LOCKED INSIDE MY MEMORY.
DETAILS WILL SURVIVE THE YEARS
WHILE MOM JUST SLOWLY DISAPPEARS.

BUT PEOPLE CARRY ON.

PEOPLE CARRY ON.

PEOPLE CARRY ON.

PEOPLE CARRY ON.

(Alvin selects another story and reads.)

ALVIN
A Neat Career.
A story about Thomas.

THOMAS
Okay.

My college application required a sample of my writing, a short story, and I had nothing. I'd been writing things down for years but nothing resembled an actual story. So, in a panic I went to find Alvin at the store to tell me what to do.

ALVIN
There's gotta be thousands of stories in that head of yours, Tom. Just pick one and write it down.
THOMAS
So I picked one and wrote it down. Three hundred and fifty words amounting to, I suspected, a pile of crap. So, I decided to read it to Alvin and let him decide if it was any good at all.

(Thomas reads.)

The Butterfly. By Thomas Weaver.

ALVIN
The Butterfly?

THOMAS
Yeah.

IN A FAR OFF LAND
THERE LIVED A BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY,
IN A KINGDOM FULL OF BLOSSOM COVERED TREES
AND WINDING THROUGH THIS PARADISE
A RIVER DANCED ALONG
AND PLAYED WITH THE CONSTANT SUMMER BREEZE.

(Thomas hesitates, losing confidence.)

ALVIN
Keep going.

THOMAS
THE BUTTERFLY
FOUND A TINY BRANCH AT THE RIVERSIDE
AND WATCHED THE WATER RUSHING WHO KNOWS WHERE.
CAREFULLY HE SHELTERED
FROM THE POWER OF THE BREEZE
FOR SURELY IT COULD TOSS HIM THROUGH THE AIR.

ďIíM A BUTTERFLY,Ē
HE SAID,
ďTRIVIAL AND SMALL
AND IN THE GREATER SCHEME OF THINGS
I DONíT MEAN MUCH AT ALL,
SO IíLL FLAP MY WINGS TO STRETCH MYSELF
AND JUST ENJOY THE VIEW.
IíM A BUTTERFLY, WHAT MORE CAN I DO?Ē

ONE AFTERNOON THE BUTTERFLY ASKED THE RIVER,
"MADAM, WHAT MAKES YOU HURRY SO?
WHAT SPLENDID DESTINATION
ARE YOU RIPPLING TOWARD?
WHERE, OH WHERE DO YOU GO?"

THE RIVER SAID, ďIíM HEADED FOR THE OCEAN,
AND THE SUMMER BREEZE INSPIRES ME TO RACE.
MY FRIEND, YOUíD LOVE THE OCEAN.
ITíS REMARKABLE TO SEE.
WONíT YOU JOIN OUR FRIENDLY CHASE?Ē

ďIíM A BUTTERFLY,Ē
HE SAID,
ďTRIVIAL AND SMALL
AND IN THE GREATER SCHEME OF THINGS
I DONíT MEAN MUCH AT ALL,
SO I FLAP MY WINGS TO STRETCH MYSELF
AND JUST ENJOY THE VIEW.
IíM A BUTTERFLY, WHAT MORE CAN I DO?Ē

SO THE BUTTERFLY, HE DREAMED OF THE OCEAN.
HE LONGED TO FLUTTER HIGH ABOVE THE SEAS,
BUT THERE ARE DANGERS IN THE SKY
FOR A TINY BUTTERFLY.
SO FROM HIS BRANCH
HE ASKED A QUESTION OF THE BREEZE.

"WHAT MAKES YOU CHASE THE RIVER
TíWARD THE OCEAN?"
THEN THE BREEZE TOLD HIM A MOST AMAZING THING.
ďIíM SIMPLY MADE UP OF THE CURRENTS IN THE AIR
THAT START FROM THE MOVEMENT OF YOUR WING,
YOUR TINY WING.Ē

ďYOUíRE A BUTTERFLY MY FRIEND,
POWERFUL AND STRONG
AND I'M GRATEFUL FOR THE WAY
YOUíVE ALWAYS HURRIED ME ALONG.
WHEN YOU FLAP YOUR WINGS TO STRETCH YOURSELF
IT MIGHT SEEM SMALL TO YOU
BUT YOU CHANGE THE WORLD
WITH EVERYTHING YOU DO.Ē

SO HE STRETCHED HIS WINGS
AND TOOK OFF FROM THE SAFETY OF HIS TREE

AND THE BUTTERFLY FINALLY SAW THE SEA.

(Thomas selects a story.)

THOMAS
Goodbye.
A story about Thomas.

THE FIRST TIME THAT WE SAID GOODBYE
WE STOOD BY THE CAR FOR AN HOUR, I SWEAR.
THE USUAL PLATITUDES HUNG IN THE AIR
THE FIRST TIME THAT WE SAID GOODBYE.

THE FIRST TIME THAT WE SAID GOODBYE
I REALIZED I DIDN'T WANT ALVIN TO KNOW
THAT SECRETLY I WAS EXCITED TO GO
THE FIRST TIME THAT WE SAID GOODBYE.

HE SAID HE WAS GLAD I WAS LEAVING.

ALVIN
YOU NEED THIS.

THOMAS
HE SAID HEíD BE FINE ON HIS OWN.

ALVIN
I'VE STILL GOT DAD AND THE STORE
AND THE NEW FALL RELEASES.

THOMAS
HE HUGGED ME.

ALVIN
Youíre wearing cologne?

BOTH
THE WEATHER WAS CHANGING THE LEAVES
IN THE SEPTEMBER SKY.

THOMAS
BUT NOTHING WAS CHANGING FOR ALVIN.

ALVIN
EVERYTHING CHANGED

BOTH
THE FIRST TIME THAT WE SAID GOODBYE.

ALVIN
The Homecoming.

THOMAS
It was Christmas Eve at the bookstore. Iíd come home for the holidays with an assignment deadline looming over me.

(Thomas tries to write as Alvin watches him impatiently.)

ALVIN
Let's go outside.

THOMAS
Sh.

ALVIN
What are you doing?

THOMAS
Writing.

(Alvin looks over Thomasís shoulder at the blank page.)

ALVIN
No you're not. There's nothing there.

THOMAS
It's a process. Words are just the final step.

ALVIN
Thereís gotta be thousands of stories in that head of yours, Tom. Just pick one and write it down.

THOMAS
You have no clue how this works. Do you?

THOMAS
SOMETHING IS APPROACHING, ALVIN.
THIS IS WHERE IT STARTS.

ALVIN
My God, youíre dull.

THOMAS
TUESDAYíS EMBRYONIC IDEA
WEDNESDAY, COULD BE CLIMBING THE CHARTS.

(Alvin looks out the window.)

ALVIN
Look at that snow.

THOMAS
SUDDENLY IMAGINATION PERCOLATES AND SPINS.

ALVIN
Excellent packing qualities. A light dusting of powder.

THOMAS
THATíS THE ANCIENT ART OF CREATION

ALVIN
The perfect combination.

THOMAS
AND HEREíS WHERE IT BEGINS.

ALVIN
Come on. Letís go outside.

THOMAS
Sh!

A SPARK CAN BE EXTINGUISHED, ALVIN
WITH THE SLIGHTEST MOVE.
LET ME FAN THIS FLAME OF A THOUGHT
AT LEAST UNTIL IíM INTO A GROOVE.

ALVIN
Itís not going to last forever.

THOMAS
IDEAS ARE JUST VISITORS, EPHEMERAL AND RARE.
I JUST NEED SOMETHING DOWN ON THIS PAPER.

STILL NOTHING THERE.

ALVIN
Look up from your page, Tom.

THOMAS
WHEREíS THE INSPIRATION?
A WRITER NEEDS A MUSE.
I NEED SOME INSPIRATION.
THEREíS NOT MUCH HERE TO USE.

ALVIN
If you need me, Iíll be outside maintaining a tradition alone.

(Alvin runs outside.)

THOMAS
Arenít you a little old for that?

IDEAS ARE IMPORTANT
BUT IDEAS ARENíT ENOUGH.
NEXT YOU NEED A VIABLE OUTLINE.
THEN THE WORK GETS TOUGH.

AND THATíS THE PART THAT SEPARATES
THE CHILDREN FROM THE MEN.
THEN YOUR ONLY FRIEND IN THE WORLD
BECOMES YOUR FAVORITE PEN.

(Alvin falls onto his back and flails his arms and legs.)
ALVIN
Iím making a snow angel!

THOMAS
STRUCTURE.
YOU STRUGGLE WITH STRUCTURE AND FORM.
WORKING OUT ONE LITTLE SPOT,
A TWIST OF THE PLOT.
BUT STILL YOUíRE JUST GETTING WARM.

PATIENCE.
WITH PATIENCE YOU FINISH A DRAFT.
ASSUMING YOU GET TO THIS PART,
ITíS TEN PERCENT ART,
REALLY ITíS MORE ABOUT CRAFT

AND RULES...

THE RULES ARE SWIMMING THROUGH YOUR MIND.
BECAUSE YOU MEMORIZED EACH TEXTBOOK AND LECTURE.
EVERY DETAIL IS REWORKED AND REDEFINED.
BUILDING STORIES IS JUST ARCHITECTURE.

ALVIN
Look at me Tom! Look at me! Oh, I got snow down my pants.

(Thomas watches Alvin.)

THOMAS
BUT ITíS ELUSIVE, ALVIN.
ITíS LIKE ANGELS IN THE SNOW.
TURN YOUR BACK
AND THERE THEY GO.

ITíS LIFE.

Stand back, Al. Here I come!

(Thomas joins Alvin.)

EVERYTHING IS STARTING, ALVIN.
EVERYTHING IS REAL.

ALVIN
MAKE YOUR ANGEL RIGHT OVER HERE
THE SNOW IS JUST IDEAL.

(Both fall onto their backs flailing their arms and legs.)

BOTH
IF ONLY FOR A MOMENT
WEíLL HAVE PERFECT ANGEL TWINS.

THOMAS
THANK YOU FOR THE FINE DEMONSTRATION.
NOW MOVE OUT THE WAY.

ALVIN
THIS MIGHT BE THE MOST INSPIRATION
YOU HAVE FELT ALL DAY.

(They stand up and proudly observe their work.)

BOTH
THATíS THE ANCIENT ART OF CREATION
PROUDLY ON DISPLAY
AND HEREíS WHERE IT BEGINS.

(Thomas selects a story.)

THOMAS
THE NEXT TIME THAT WE SAID GOODBYE
THE OLD TOWN SEEMED QUIET AND FROZEN AND SMALL.
AND THINGS THERE FOR AL
HADNíT CHANGED MUCH AT ALL
THE NEXT TIME THAT WE SAID GOODBYE.

THE NEXT TIME THAT WE SAID GOODBYE
IíD COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS TO INTRODUCE ANN,

ALVIN
Nice to meet you.

THOMAS
MY COLLEAGUE, MY GIRLFRIEND, MY NUMBER ONE FAN,
THE NEXT TIME THAT WE SAID GOODBYE.

SHE WORKED FOR A NATIONAL WEEKLY.

ALVIN
Impressive.

THOMAS
IíD BEEN PUBLISHED IN HER MAGAZINE.

ALVIN WAS STUCK SELLING BOOKS
WHILE HIS FATHER GOT SICKER.

ALVIN
Youíve grown up.

THOMAS
HE STILL LOOKED EIGHTEEN.

Annís waiting in the car. You coming out to say goodbye?

ALVIN
I canít.

THOMAS
Why not?

ALVIN
Dadís left me a list of things to do.

THOMAS
Itíll take ten seconds.

ALVIN
Itís a really long list.

THOMAS
He didnít like her.

ALVIN
No. No, sheís great. I'm sure she'll have you settling down in no time. Getting married. Buying a house. Getting a dog. Having a kid. Do you think sheíll let you name it after me?

(Thomas doesnít know how to respond to this.)

I mean the dog.

BOTH
YEARS ARE LIKE SNOWFLAKES
THAT PASS IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE.

ALVIN
IíM SO GLAD TO SEE THAT YOUíRE HAPPY.

THOMAS
ALVIN SEEMED SAD,
THE NEXT TIME THAT WE SAID GOODBYE.

ALVIN
SOME LIVES HURTLE FORWARD.
AND SOME NEVER BUDGE.

(Thomas returns to his notebook and the task of writing the eulogy.)

THOMAS
We are gathered to honor the life of Alvin Kelby.
ALVIN
SOMETIMES A LIFE TAKES A DIFFERENT DIRECTION
WITH AN INNOCUOUS INNOCENT NUDGE.

(Alvin selects a story and hands it to Thomas who reads.)

THOMAS
An Innocuous Innocent Nudge.

Alvin's father's condition worsened and eventually he was moved into a home. So Alvin assumed ownership of the bookstore. I shuffled my schedule and ran back to town to help with the paperwork. With each turn of the page this old store, The Writer's Block - New and Used Books, became more and more Alvin's.

ALVIN
I feel like such an adult. I feel like you.

(Alvin signs the last document.)

THOMAS
Well, itís all yours. And may I say I'm glad you got writer's block and not me. A little literary joke.

ALVIN
Very little.

THOMAS
So, what the hell are you going to do with it?

ALVIN
I don't know. I've never had options before. You want to stay and help me decide?

THOMAS
All I could think was... I've got too much to do.

ALVIN
You could stay through Christmas.

THOMAS
All I could think was... I've got three book signings.

ALVIN
It'll be like we're kids again.

THOMAS
All I could think was... Ann would never let me.

ALVIN
What do you say?

THOMAS
But all I could say was... why don't you come to the city?

ALVIN
Really? George Bailey? Leave town? I've never done that.

THOMAS
I took care of all the arrangements.

ALVIN
Dad's in good hands.

THOMAS
I booked the train.

ALVIN
I can do what I want with the store.

THOMAS
I booked his room.

ALVIN
I can actually do this.

THOMAS
In spite of that, a day didn't go by without a phone call asking what he should pack.

ALVIN
Do I need a tie? I don't have a tie.

THOMAS
Or how much cash he should bring.

ALVIN
I bought a money belt. It'll be safer. Right?

THOMAS
Until one final phone call.

ALVIN
THIS IS IT, TOM.
THIS IS IT.

THOMAS
The morning before the big trip.

ALVIN
TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AND I WILL BE THERE.

THOMAS
All I could think was... boy this day came fast.
ALVIN
TO RUFFLE YOUR FEATHERS AND GET IN YOUR HAIR.

THOMAS
All I could think was... I have things to take care of.

ALVIN
THE WHOLE TOWN CAN PERISH, I DONíT EVEN CARE.

THOMAS
But all I could say was... see you tomorrow.

ALVIN
THIS IS IT, TOM.
THIS IS IT.

I never thought this day would actually come.

THIS MORNING I FINALLY BELIEVED IT.
I WOKE UP AND FELT IT BEGIN.

"IíM SHAKING THE DUST OF THIS
CRUMMY OLD TOWN OFF MY FEET."

Take that, George Bailey!

I'LL MAKE UP A SIGN FOR THE BOOKSTORE
AND HANG IT WHERE PEOPLE COME IN
SAYING ďCLOSING FOR CHRISTMAS.
THE OWNER IS HITTING THE STREET.Ē

LOOK, IíLL NEVER BE A WORLD TRAVELER.
I JUST WASNíT BUILT THAT WAY.
STILL, THIS COULD BE MY INDEPENDENCE DAY.

THOMAS
Aren't you blowing this a little out of proportion?

ALVIN
I THINK OF THE TIMES THROUGHOUT HISTORY
A DAY UNREMARKABLY DAWNED
THEN ONE MAN WAS SEIZED
BY THE RESTLESS DESIRE TO EXPLORE.

HE LOOKED UP AND SCANNED THE HORIZON
AND WONDERED WHAT MIGHT LIE BEYOND.
THEN HOISTED HIS ANCHOR
AND SAILED FOR SOME UNCHARTED SHORE.

WELL NOW MY DESTINYĎS CALLING,
AND I CAN HEAR IT SAY
THIS COULD BE MY INDEPENDENCE DAY.

THOMAS
It's just a trip to the city, Al.

ALVIN
Of course you wouldnít understand.

THIS IS A FEELING YOU MUST FEEL EVERY DAY
AS PUBLISHINGíS LATEST MAN-OF-THE-HOUR.

Four bestsellers and counting, Tom.

I REALLY CANíT COMPETE WITH YOUR RESUME.

BUT SOMETHING DEEP IS STIRRING
AND SHIFTING INSIDE.
THE BOUNDARIES ARE BLURRING
AND OPENING WIDE.
IT'S SUDDENLY OCCURRING
THAT FINALLY I DESERVE
TO STRAY AND REACH AND YEARN
AND DARE TO SAY
IT MIGHT JUST BE MY TURN.

ITíS RARE THAT YOU NOTICE A MOMENT
THE MOMENT ITíS HURRYING BY
AND INSTANTLY FRAME IT
AND SAY THATíS WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED.

BUT NOW, THEREíS A MOMENT APPROACHING.
IíM STARING IT STRAIGHT IN THE EYE.
PREPARED FOR A FUTURE
OF MOMENTS THAT ARENíT PREARRANGED.

OLD GEORGE BAILEY WAS CHEATED
HE NEVER LEFT HIS TOWN.
BEATEN DOWN AND DEFEATED
HE EVEN TRIED TO DROWN.
BUT LOOK AT ME, IíVE BEEN TREATED
TO LIFE TURNED UPSIDE-DOWN.
WELCOME TO MY INDEPENDENCE DAY.

THIS IS IT, TOM.
THIS IS IT.

THOMAS
All I could think was... I never told Ann he was coming.

ALVIN
CHRISTMAS, THE TWO OF US, JUST LIKE BEFORE.

THOMAS
All I could think was... I never told Alvin I'm engaged.

ALVIN
LIKE BACK IN MY LIVING ROOM OVER THE STORE.

THOMAS
All I could think was... things here have gotten complicated.

ALVIN
WHO SAYS THE HOLIDAYS HAVE TO BE MORE?

THOMAS
But all I could say was...

ALVIN
THIS IS IT, TOM.
THIS IS...

THOMAS
Al. Don't come.

(Silence.)

ALVIN
Why not?

THOMAS
It's not a good time. Al? What do you think, Al?

ALVIN
THIS IS IT, TOM
ME AND YOU.

THOMAS
THE NEXT TIME THAT WE SAID GOODBYE

ALVIN
IF YOU COMMIT, TOM
YOU SEE IT THROUGH.

THOMAS
WHY IS IT ALWAYS GOODBYE?

Goodbye, Al.

ALVIN
Goodbye, Tom.

THOMAS
RELATIONSHIPS THRIVE OR DISSOLVE
WITHOUT OUR KNOWING WHY.
AND SOMEHOW GOODBYE BECAME EASY.

Wait! Let me explain. It really wasn't a good time. I...

(Thomas selects a story.)

THOMAS
Weaver - Table For Two.
A story about Thomas.

(He sits at a table and addresses an unseen dinner companion.)

I LIKE IT HERE.
THE WAITRESSES TEND TO BE RUDE
BUT THE FOOD IS SO GOOD.

THE LAST TIME I ATE HERE MY PUBLISHER PAID.
HE SHOULD WHAT WITH ALL THAT MY STORIES HAVE MADE.
I HAD THE LAMB WITH THE MINT MARINADE.
I LIKE IT HERE.

ITíS COMFORTABLE.
THE TWO OF US SITTING AND CHATTING
AND SHARING SOME WINE.
AND SOME HUMMUS.

THE PRICES THEY CHARGE HERE ARE REALLY A CRIME.
WE EVEN PAY EXTRA FOR WATER WITH LIME.
STILL I COME BACK AGAIN TIME AFTER TIME.
I LIKE IT HERE.

YOUíRE PROBABLY WONDERING WHY WE ARE HERE
WHEN THEREíS SO MUCH TO PLAN,
LIKE THAT THING WITH YOUR FATHER,
BUT I NEEDED YOU TO MYSELF FOR AN HOUR TONIGHT.

SEE, EVERYTHINGíS MOVING SO QUICKLY.
THEREíS ALL THESE DECISIONS TO MAKE
AND I STILL HAVE MY DEADLINE.
MY HEAD IS SPINNING
AND SOMETHING JUST DOESNíT FEEL RIGHT.

I GUESS WHAT IíM TRYING TO SAY
NOW THAT WE HAVE A MINUTE
IS LATELY YOUíRE ASKING FOR MORE
THAN IíM ABLE TO GIVE.

I THINK YOU DESERVE MORE THAN
SOMEONE WHOíS HEART ISNíT IN IT.
INSTEAD OF US PICKING OUT DISHES AND BEDDING,
I WONDER IF WE SHOULDNíT POSTPONE THE WEDDING.

Ann? What do you think, Ann?

ARE YOU OKAY?
YOU HAVENíT HAD MORE THAN A BITE
OF YOUR TUNA TARTAR.
OR THE HUMMUS.

LOOK, ALL THAT IíM ASKING
IS CANíT WE JUST WAIT
AND PUT ON THE BRAKES IF IT ISNíT TOO LATE?
GIVE ME SOME TIME ANN
AND THAT WOULD BE GREAT
FOR EVERYONE.

JUST WHEN TWO PEOPLE GET INTO A GROOVE,
THEREíS ALWAYS THIS PRESSURE
THAT THINGS HAVE TO MOVE.
WHY DO RELATIONSHIPS HAVE TO IMPROVE?

I LIKE IT... HERE.

ALVIN
You should have told me about that.

THOMAS
Alvin never would have understood.

ALVIN
Yes I would.

THOMAS
I had too much coming at me.

ALVIN
You should have said something.

THOMAS
I couldn't work. I couldn't write. I had to streamline my personal life.

(Alvin selects a story and reads.)

ALVIN
Money and Prizes.
A story about Thomas.

Having streamlined his personal life, Thomas was able to focus on more important matters.

THOMAS
But as much as I tried to focus, there was always this voice in my head - Alvin's patient, supportive and aggravating voice.

ALVIN
Another award? You are so talented, Tom.

(Thomas addresses an award ceremony audience.)

THOMAS
Thank you so much for this. Iím flattered but completely at a loss as to why youíve chosen me.

ALVIN
YOUíRE AMAZING, TOM.
AND TO PROVE IT
THEYíRE THROWING THIS BIG FANCY DO
FOR YOU.

YOUíRE AMAZING, TOM.
IF IíD KNOWN ABOUT THIS
IíD HAVE BEEN THERE TODAY.
WELL, ANYWAY.

IíM SURE YOU HAVE NO TIME TO CALL.
I KNOW THAT YOUR SCHEDULEíS TIGHT.
YOUíRE PROBABLY NEEDED AT SIGNINGS AND PARTIES.
CíMON, IíM YOUR PAL, ITíS ALL RIGHT.
YOUíRE AMAZING, TOM.

THOMAS
I'm frequently asked, "Where do your stories come from?" I don't know. All I know is there's got to be thousands of stories in this head of mine just waiting for me to pick one and write it down.

ALVIN
YOUíRE AMAZING, TOM.
YOUíRE EVERYTHING I ALWAYS KNEW YOU COULD BE.
TIMES THREE.

THOMAS
But it's lonely work. Just me and the blank page.

ALVIN
YOUíRE AMAZING, TOM.
AND TO THINK THAT YOU MADE IT HERE
ALL ON YOUR OWN.
WELL, WHOíD HAVE KNOWN?

YOUR WRITING HAS PASSION AND SKILL
WHILE OTHERS ARE CHURNING OUT FLUFF.
ITíS EASY TO PANDER TO LOW EXPECTATIONS,
BUT QUALITY STORIES ARE TOUGH.

THOMAS
And the indescribable feeling of writing those first few words knowing I'm on my way to changing peopleís lives.

ALVIN
WHAT YOU DO IS IMPORTANT.
WHAT YOU DO IS AN ART.
WHAT YOUíRE DOING IS FEEDING YOUR READERS
IDEAS WITH HEART.

LETíS ADMIT IT, YOUíRE MAKING
THE PLANET A HAPPIER PLACE.
ITíS BECAUSE OF THE MINDS YOU ARE SAVING
THAT SOMEONE IS WAVING
ANOTHER AWARD IN YOUR FACE.

YOUíRE AMAZING, TOM.

THOMAS
Every one of my stories - The Butterfly, The Marvelous Mystical Bookstore, The Memory Robe, even the incredibly popular Mrs. Remington's Hallowe'en - every one was up here just waiting for me to set it free.

ALVIN
YOUíRE AMAZING, TOM. THE RESULT OF THE CHOICES YOU MADE IS SUCCESS.
I GUESS.

YOUíRE AMAZING, TOM.
ITíS HARD WHEN YOU HAVE TO LEAVE
SOME THINGS BEHIND.
WELL NEVER MIND.

SOME PEOPLE MARCH IN PARADES.
WHILE OTHERS JUST WATCH THEM GO BY.

THOMAS
Of course, I can't leave the stage without a few thank-yous.

ALVIN
SO SOAK UP THE PRAISE AND ENJOY THE OVATION.

THOMAS
My publisher.

ALVIN
THOUGH NOBODY SPECIAL WILL SHARE YOUR ELATION.

THOMAS
My agent.

ALVIN
MONEY AND PRIZES ARE FINE CONSOLATION
AND TANGIBLY INDICATE WHY...

THOMAS
And the single most important person in all of this. The one who buys my book.

ALVIN
... YOUíRE AMAZING, TOM.

(Thomas confronts Alvin.)

THOMAS
ITíS ELUSIVE, ALVIN.
ITíS LIKE ANGELS IN THE SNOW.
TURN YOUR BACK AND THERE THEY GO.

(Thomas selects a story.)

THOMAS
Angels in the Snow.
A Work In Progress.

I hunkered down and got back to work trying desperately to avoid any distraction.

ALVIN
Merry Christmas, Tom. I hope this card finds you locked in your office writing, otherwise I simply won't excuse your not coming home. When are we going to see a new book from you? Customers keep hounding me. I tell them, don't rush him. It's a process. So, how's the process? Miss you. Love Al.

(Thomas writes, trying to ignore Alvinís interruptions.)

THOMAS
EVERY CHRISTMAS EVE,
WEíD MAKE ANGELS IN THE SNOW
JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER KID HAS DONE.

WEíD STRETCH OUT OUR ARMS AND LEGS,
THEN WEíD WAVE THEM TO AND FRO
IN A...

IN A SOMETHING...

IN A HALO OF THE LATE DECEMBER SUN.

ALVIN
Merry Christmas, Tom. How can you bear another Christmas without me? Where's your new book? Why aren't you writing? Why aren't you writing me? Love, Al.

THOMAS
PROUDLY WEíD CREATE
OUR TWO ANGELS IN THE SNOW
WITH...

WITH...

WITH REVERENTIAL ROBES AND PERFECT WINGS.

WEíD SPEND HOURS IN THE YARD

ALVIN
Merry Christmas, Tom.

THOMAS
ALL THOSE CHRISTMASES AGO

ALVIN
Another Christmas. Another card.

THOMAS
AND WHEN AT LAST THEY WERE COMPLETE
WE FELT LIKE KINGS.

ALVIN
I wish you'd write.

(Thomas becomes more and more frustrated with his inability to complete the story.)

THOMAS
THEN AS THE SUN DISAPPEARED...

ALVIN
Love, Al.

THOMAS
AND WHEN AT LAST THEY WERE COMPLETE
WE FELT LIKE KINGS.
THEN AS THE SUN DISAPPEARED...

AS THE SUN DISAPPEARED
WE WOULD...

ALVIN
Merry Christmas, Tom. From the Kelbys.

THOMAS
THEN AS THE SUN DISAPPEARED...

ALVIN
Please write.

THOMAS
AS THE SUN DISAPPEARED...
AS THE SUN DISAPPEARED...
AS THE SUN DISAPPEARED...
AS THE SUN DISAPPEARED...
AS THE SUN...

I JUST NEED SOMETHING DOWN ON THIS PAPER.

STILL NOTHING THERE.

NOTHING THERE.

Whose story is this!

(Thomas abandons the story and returns to the podium. He frantically writes in his notebook.)

ALVIN
We are gathered to honor the life of Alvin Kelby.

THOMAS
We are gathered to honor the life of Alvin Kelby.

(He stares at the blank page.)

NOTHING THERE!

ALVIN
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW, TOM.

(Thomas rifles desperately through the collection of stories in his mind releasing fragments of memory as he does.)

THOMAS
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW, TOM.
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.

THE WORLD MUST KEEP MOVING
AND CHANGING SO FAST.

ALVIN
ITíS RARE THAT YOU NOTICE A MOMENT
THE MOMENT ITíS HURRYING BY.

THOMAS
THE TRICK IS IN KEEPING
THE PAST IN THE PAST.

ALVIN
If a stupid, squashable bug can have that kind of power, what about us?

THOMAS
WOULDNíT YOU LIKE TO BE MORE
THAN JUST ďTHAT WEIRD KELBY KIDĒ?

ALVIN
I KNEW MY MOTHERíS ROBE
BUT SOMEHOW IíD FORGOTTEN HER.

THOMAS
WORDS HAVE NO POWER TO CHANGE
WHAT IS DESTINED TO DIE.

ALVIN
May I drop down dead in my tracks and rot.

THOMAS
I GUESS WHAT IíM TRYING TO SAY
NOW THAT WE HAVE A MINUTE
IS LATELY YOUíRE ASKING FOR MORE
THAN IíM ABLE TO GIVE.

ALVIN
Look up from your page, Tom.

THOMAS
HE TURNED INTO SOMEONE IíM NOT SURE I KNOW.

ALVIN
MONEY AND PRIZES ARE FINE CONSOLATION.

THOMAS
SOME FRIENDSHIPS CONTINUE AND SOME YOU OUTGROW.

ALVIN
You're amazing, Tom.

THOMAS
AT BIRTHDAYS AND CHRISTMAS
A TOKEN HELLO

ALVIN
Iím gonna miss you.

THOMAS
TILL THE LAST TIME WE SAY

ALVIN
Goodbye, Tom.

THOMAS
HIS FATHER PASSED AWAY.
I LEFT HIM HERE ALONE.

(Alvin addresses the gathering at his father's funeral.)

ALVIN
Thank you all for coming. Weíre gathered to honor the memory of my father, Gordon Kelby.

THOMAS
I snuck into the gallery of the chapel to watch him. To watch him try to do what Iíve devoted years of my life to doing.

ALVIN
Let me tell you a story about my father.

THOMAS
Look at him standing there. Look at him! Comfortable. Confident. Smug. Telling story after story after story after goddamn story about his father.

(Thomas examines this memory of Alvin more closely.)

And they were good. They were so... good.

Look at him.

I DIDNíT SEE THAT TEAR ON HIS COAT.
I DIDNíT SEE THE WAY THAT HIS HANDS WERE SHAKING.
THE WAY THE WORDS GOT CAUGHT IN HIS THROAT.
THE WAY HEíD FIXED HIS HAIR.
I DIDNíT SEE THE WAY THE PLATFORM
MADE HIM LOOK SO TALL.
NO, I DIDNíT SEE ALVIN AT ALL.

I DIDNíT SEE THAT I WAS THE FRAUD,
OR NOTICE IT WAS AL WHO WAS BORN THE ARTIST.
I TOOK THE BOWS WHILE HE WOULD APPLAUD.
I HARDLY SAW HIM THERE.
IT TURNS OUT IT WAS ALVIN
WHO INSPIRED ME EVERY DAY.
BUT I DIDNíT SEE ALVIN THAT WAY.

YES, HE WAS ALWAYS THERE
OFFERING SO MUCH.
HE WAS CONSTANT AND DEPENDABLE LIKE STONE.
I DIDNíT STOP TO SEE WHAT ELSE IíD LOST
WHEN WE GRADUALLY LOST TOUCH.
BUT LOOK UP FROM YOUR PAGE, TOM.
LOOK UP FROM YOUR PAGE.
YOUíRE ALONE.

I DIDN'T SEE...

I DIDNíT SEE THE END OF THE ROAD.
IíD SET MY VISION FIRMLY TOWARDS THE FUTURE.
BURYING THE DEBT THAT I OWED
TO ALVIN AND MY PAST.
I DIDNíT SEE THE SAND SLIP THROUGH MY FINGERS
WAY BACK THEN.
AND I DIDNíT SEE ALVIN AGAIN.

ALVIN
The End.
A story about Alvin Kelby.

THOMAS
I'm done with stories, Al.

ALVIN
Have you finished my eulogy?

THOMAS
No.

ALVIN
Then you're not done.
The End.
A story about Alvin Kelby.

That's the one you're looking for, right? How did a kid who once thought a butterfly could melt the polar ice caps end up in a frozen river on Christmas Eve? And, more importantly, what did it have to do with you?

YOUíLL NEVER KNOW, TOM.
YOUíLL NEVER KNOW.

ALVIN
There's gotta be thousands of stories in this head of yours, Tom. Donít look for one that isn't there.

(Alvin looks around at the mess of papers and books strewn about in Thomasís mind.)

THIS IS IT TOM
THIS IS ALL THERE IS.
AND ISNíT IT AMAZING?

HERE WE SIT, TOM.
FOREVER TOSSING BRANCHES OFF A BRIDGE.

HERE WEíRE FROZEN AT TEN.
HERE WEíRE AWKWARD YOUNG MEN.
AND YOU FILED AWAY THESE MEMORIES
BIT BY BIT.

NOW LOOK AGAIN.

YOU WANTED A STORY, TOM
WELL THIS,
ALL AROUND YOU,
THIS IS IT.

ADMIT, TOM
YOU EXPECTED MORE.
BUT ISNíT THIS REFRESHING?
THIS IS IT, TOM.
SURE, ITíS NOTHING LIKE THE PICTURE ON THE BOX.

AND NO SECRETS EXIST,
IN SOME MOMENT YOU MISSED,
JUST ACCEPT THAT SOMETIMES PIECES
MIGHT NOT FIT.

AND THATíS OKAY.

ĎCAUSE ALL THAT YOU NEEDED, TOM
IS HERE.
ALL AROUND YOU,
THIS IS IT.

Look at them all. Stories about you. Stories about me. Stories about us. Just waiting for you to pick them and write them down.

YOU ARE A WRITER.
TAKE WHAT YOU KNOW.
HERE THERE'S A LIFETIME OF MOMENTS AND DETAILS
NOW YOU MAKE THEM BLOSSOM AND GROW.

FIND WHATíS IMPORTANT.

THOMAS
FIND WHATíS IMPORTANT.

ALVIN
HELP IT TO THRIVE.

THOMAS
HELP IT TO THRIVE.

ALVIN
WHEN YOU REARRANGE THEM AND TELL THEM
YOU KEEP ALL OUR MEMORIES AND STORIES ALIVE.

THOUSANDS OF STORIES

THOMAS
THOUSANDS OF STORIES

BOTH
CONSTANTLY NEW.

ALVIN
SO OUR STORIES REMAIN

THOMAS
STORIES REMAIN

ALVIN
FULL OF LAUGHTER AND PAIN.

THOMAS
MIXED WITH CAPRA AND TWAIN.

ALVIN
TOLD BY YOU.

YOU AND ME, TOM
THIS IS ALL WE GET.
AND WASNíT IT EXCITING?
BUT DONíT YOU SEE, TOM
IT ISNíT REALLY OVER, AFTER ALL.

JUST LIKE STONES IN A LAKE
AND THE RIPPLES THEY MAKE
STORIES CARRY ON THROUGH TIME
AND NEVER QUIT.

ITíS UP TO YOU.

THIS ISNíT MY STORY NOW
ITíS YOURS.
LOOK AROUND YOU.
THIS IS IT.

THIS IS YOU.
THIS IS ME.
THIS IS LOVE.
THIS IS LIFE.
THIS IS IT.

(Thomas picks up a few pages.)

ALVIN
What's that?

THOMAS
A work in progress.

(Alvin takes the pages and reads.)

ALVIN
"Every Christmas Eve weíd make angels in the snow, just like every other kid has done. Weíd stretch out our arms and legs. Then weíd wave them to and fro, in a halo of the late December sun."

"AND ONCE A YEAR WE BELIEVED
THERE WAS MAGIC ALIVE IN THE AIR
FOR THE ANGELS WE MADE LYING THERE."

Hm. I like this.

"PROUDLY WEíD CREATE
OUR TWO ANGELS IN THE SNOW
WITH REVERENTIAL ROBES AND PERFECT WINGS.
WEíD SPEND HOURS IN THE YARD
ALL THOSE CHRISTMASES AGO
AND WHEN AT LAST THEY WERE COMPLETE
WE FELT LIKE KINGS.

THEN AS THE SUN DISAPPEARED..."

(Alvin realizes that this is all Thomas has written.)

This is it, Tom?

(Thomas takes the pages from Alvin and searches for words to complete the sentence.)

THOMAS
THEN AS THE SUN DISAPPEARED...
AND WITH SNOW DOWN THE BACK OF OUR PANTS
WE WOULD WAIT FOR OUR ANGELS TO DANCE.

(Thomas tosses the pages into the air creating a blizzard of papers. The blizzard becomes a gentle snowfall.)

THE ICY WIND WOULD WHIP THE SNOW FROM THE GROUND

ALVIN
AND THE TREES WOULD MOAN A SWEET CELESTIAL SOUND.

THOMAS
THEN THE ANGEL SOULS WERE WIDE AWAKE

BOTH
AND ALIVE ON EVERY SINGLE FLAKE.

THEY WHIRLED ALL AROUND US
AS WE STOOD LIKE STONE.
THOUSANDS OF ANGELS WITH LIVES OF THEIR OWN.

EACH ONE WITH A SEPARATE STORY
JOINING IN ONE BURST OF GLORY.

THOMAS
BUT THEN THE SNOWFLAKES SCATTERED AND THEY FLEW
AND OUR ANGELS DID TOO.

BOTH
EVERY CHRISTMAS EVE
WEíD MAKE ANGELS IN THE SNOW

THOMAS
AND EVERY YEAR WEíD WATCH THEM DISAPPEAR.

ALVIN
THEYíD DISAPPEAR.

THOMAS
BUT I KNOW THAT THEYíLL RETURN
AND THOUGH THE YEARS MAY COME AND GO
WHEN I NEED TO HAVE THEM WITH ME THEYíLL BE HERE.

(Alvin looks Thomas in the eye with reassurance.)

ALVIN
THEYíLL BE HERE.

THOMAS
THEYíLL BE HERE.

ALVIN
THEYíLL BE HERE.

BOTH
SWIRLING ROUND AND AROUND
IN A MAGICAL CHRISTMAS EVE GLOW.
THE WAY THEY DID THEN
BACK WHEN WE WERE JUST TEN
ALL OUR ANGELS AGAIN
IN THE SNOW.

(Thomas and Alvin embrace one final time and Alvin vanishes. Thomas finds himself once again in the funeral chapel. He goes to the podium, closes his notebook and speaks.)

THOMAS
We are gathered to honor the life of Alvin Kelby. He was my best friend.

Let me tell you a story about Alvin...

track listing
 
  1. Write What You Know
  2. Mrs. Remington
  3. The Greatest Gift
  4. 1876
  5. Normal
  6. People Carry On
  7. The Butterfly
  8. Saying Goodbye (Part 1)
  9. Here's Where It Begins
  10. Saying Goodbye (Part 2)
  11. Independence Day
  12. I Like It Here
  13. You're Amazing, Tom
  14. Nothing There
  15. I Didn't See Alvin
  16. This Is It
  17. Angels in the Snow
 


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