Sorkin, Sidney and the Silver Star

My latest short story, and one of the few pieces of prose I’ve written that you can find online is titled Quo Vadimus.

The title is taken from the final episode of Sports Night, the show that got me started on Sorkin scripts. It’s Latin for “Where Are We Going” (in as much as you can get clear translations for Latin when everyone on the internet likes to argue about it). Quo Vadimus is one of my favourite episodes of Sports Night, which is a favourite show of mine. Also, if you’re a Clark Gregg fan and haven’t seen it you’re missing out on a real treat.

When I first watched Quo Vadimus the thing that came to mind was another favourite episode, this time from my all-time favourite television show – M*A*S*H. Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler was an episode in Season Four and had two of my favourite guest characters. The ever-loveable Sidney Freedman and the eternally hated Captain Flagg. The episode centers on an injured bombadier who believes he is Jesus Christ and therefore cannot kill anyone. It’s poignant and brilliant and shows beautiful insight about the human mind, character and psyche.

When I was in America back in 2009 travelling around the country by (mostly) train I talked to a lot of people. I had a British accent and in America, especially out of big cities, that means you end up talking a lot. I did a lot of overnight trains, met a lot of interesting people and had some incredible conversations. One sticks out.

I took the Silver Star from Union Station in DC to North Carolina to meet my best friend and his family. On that trip I met an amazing woman who became the basis for Miss Joceline Trager and our conversation was the basis for the story itself. The accent, the dropped g, is from one particular person who gave me some excellent advice, I cannot remember her accent especially and as a Brit a lot of Southern accents sound similar so it could have been anything from Cajun to Texan. I do remember being called ‘Honey’ all the time and I remember the lost g.

The conversation I had, like a lot of important ones, is a little blurry and I remember the overall feeling rather than the precise words but the spirit of that train ride is in the story. And the additional turn is that it was a result of that conversation and many more like it that led me to trying to fix my anxiety, stop living a life that was damaging me and start writing – writing things like this. Full circle.


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