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The Thread Philosophy
Posted in My Journey as a Screenwriter 3 min read
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Photo of boat and Charles Davenport by CND - 2018

In 2019, My 80-year-old grandfather shared a bit of wisdom when we pulled up to a stoplight. We saw two guys use the crosswalk. One was in his twenties; he slouched, wore baggy shorts, had a three-day bird’s nest of a beard and smoked a vape while the other, a cleanshaven marathon runner in his mid to late fifties jogged passed him. After the light turned green my grandfather said, “Threads.” The subtext of his comment can be linked to choice.

There are two things you need to know about my grandfather. The man comes from the generation of grit having grown up in Louisiana of 1940 and after marring my grandmother, at 19-years-old, he has spent over half his life operating all sorts of boats where a tool called, ‘a Line’ is found. This tool is more commonly known as a rope. On a boat, a rope’s most important use is that of a lifeline when someone goes overboard. In this situation, you need to have natural trust in your tool to assist the saving of another’s life.

Ropes need to be dependable, withstand the weather and last a lifetime. However, if you don’t coil it properly, hang it in the sun to dry and keep it laying around for others to trip on, it isn’t dependable. So, what exactly makes a rope dependable? I think the answer lies in how it’s made. A rope, whether it’s cotton, nylon or linen is a simple series of twisted fibers which when woven further together strings a tight braid of thick yarn. It’s nothing more than a collection of tiny threads all interlaced which in a metaphorical sense, is how my grandfather views the composition of life. The choices we act upon (or don’t) are the threats of a rope which develop and shape us into who the people we are whether we know it or not.

His wisdom is a combination between Newton’s third law of action and the butterfly effect. Basically put, it translates to mean is what we choose to do in life is incredibly significant, not only for the people around us, but more importantly for the dependability of ourselves. A similar piece of wisdom is, “You are what you eat,” or “Bird’s of a feather,” the list goes on, but the thread philosophy infers that the seemingly involuntary choices we’re faced with on a daily basis are the most important.

C. Neil Davenport with Charles Davenport 2021

Similar to how a rope is constructed, you become the individual you are today through an incremental process of actionable choices and whether the result is applauded or rioted, you like myself and the rest of the world are a product of them. So, when you wake up in the morning and look at yourself in the mirror (as cliché as that is) will you continue to cut your threads or make an effort to interlace some new ones into the braid?


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