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[Essay] Two Cups by Tom Provost

Two Cups

by Tom Provost

About a month before the pandemic hit the US in full, February 10 to be exact, I went to a favorite place, Disneyland, with two fellow Disney nerd-friends, Tiffiny and Joanne. We had a wonderful time. We drove from LA to Anaheim the previous night, had an excellent dinner, and slept in a hotel so we could be up early and first in line with time to visit both of Disney’s Southern California parks, Disneyland and California Adventure. Included in all of this was the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which is pretty mind-blowing, and the greatest ride in the history of the world, Rise of the Resistance. Wow. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried on the ride.

In one of the Galaxy’s Edge stores, I saw two cups right out of the original movie’s cantina and had to have them. They were so cool! I knew I would use them all the time, particularly with wine. Of course, me being me, I left the cups in Tiffiny’s car when late that night she dropped me off at home.

Then came the lockdown, which became real to me not when I moved from working in an edit bay to editing at home, but when Disneyland closed. That’s still a little bit inconceivable to me. This pandemic has made many inconceivable things come true.

In mid-April, Tiffiny was nice enough to drive to my house to bring me some enchiladas. She’s a marvelous cook and I was thrilled. But no touching! She left them at the front door…along with a bag. I opened the bag and suddenly I remembered the cups. I’d forgotten I even bought them.

I pulled the cups out of the bag, and my immediate thought was, what the fuck was I thinking? What a silly waste during this unprecedented time.

It’s not bad to buy expensive cups from Star Wars land. I know that, even if they’re silly. There’s nothing wrong with keepsakes and memories and something fun from which to drink wine. It just seems so different now, so far away, a time I bought silly cups with no thought at all. We never knew things could change so dramatically, so quickly.

I believe my time will now be measured by “before” and “after” the cups. There’s no going back to the way things were before, at least not in full. I don’t think I’ll ever buy a souvenir again with the same levity of heart. Some people want to see a complete return to normal. However, while there are sure to be tough times ahead, I believe good things will come after, I hope, a change in perspective.

I may again buy silly Star Wars cups. That return to a semblance of normal would be fine. It was an easy existence: comfortable, fun.

Perhaps, though, it won’t be buying Star Wars cups, but something different and even better. Not easy or comfortable—that time may be gone—but a time that’s deeper and more meaningful. A time after. After the two cups.

Tom Provost graduated from The University of Texas at Austin’s prestigious Plan II Honors program, with emphases in both English Literature and Film. He moved to Los Angeles where he has worked steadily writing, directing, editing and acting. (And, for while at least, waiting tables.) He was hired to adapt a script for Academy Award Winner Morgan Freeman’s production company, Revelations, a screenplay made into the film Under Suspicion starring Freeman and Academy Award Winner Gene Hackman. The screenplay was nominated for an Edgar Award.

Provost’s feature directorial debut was The Presence. He also wrote the film and is one of the producers. The genre-twisting ghost story stars Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino, Shane West, Golden Globe Nominee Justin Kirk, and Tony Curran. After winning numerous awards on the festival circuit including Best Picture and Best Director, Lionsgate picked up the movie which was released in Fall 2011.

A graduate screenwriting professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Provost works steadily as a script doctor and consultant.

He also teaches the popular series of classes on filmmaking called Cinema Language: The Art Of Storytelling, both in Los Angeles and around the country, often in conjunction with Mark Stolaroff’s No Budget Film School.

You can find some of his writing at


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