My favourite show of the year is a dark comedy-drama on FX called Mr Inbetween. It’s centered around Ray Shoesmith, a conflicted hitman juggling his personal life and criminal activities. It’s a superbly written and produced Australian series.
Recently, I read an article about the creator Scott Ryan. I was so impressed with his unfiltered rawness and honesty about his life and struggles, it was refreshing to read.
A few quotes and stories I plucked from the article:
If you wake up with a sense of purpose, it can save your life. And if you don’t, it can destroy you.
The greatest warrior is the one with the most love in his heart.
If you’re a sensitive kid in a working-class area, there’s always a predator who’ll sniff your weakness and take advantage of it,” he explains. “So I acted cool and calm to fit in and disappear. That’s how I survived.” Ryan’s eyes are shining, but he doesn’t blink. “It was f—ing horrible, but that struggle made me who I am.
Ryan is often contacted by survivors of bullying, self-harm or other trauma. “I didn’t expect that, but it’s great that people respond. I mean, if you suffer you might as well share it. Otherwise, what’s the point? Speak about it, illuminate it, help people realise, ‘I’m not alone.’ I’ve been through a lot and my greatest achievement is turning myself into the person I am now. If my talking about it can help people in the dark find their way back to the light, great.”
The final straw was when one barked at him to stop dragging his feet. “He was rude about it, so I told him to f— off and started high-stepping to goad him,” Ryan seethes. “I had piss running down my leg, I was so scared, but for some reason I felt compelled to do it. So, this bloke dragged me into a classroom, said, ‘Ryan is a bit of a smarty-pants’, and made me walk up and down as kids threw stuff at me. It was completely humiliating, and I never forgot it.”
Deep in his 20s, Ryan finally had his epiphany. “I had no job, no prospects, not many friends. I was on my own, living in a rooming house with alcoholics and junkies, locks on the door, looking out a window onto a brick wall. That’s when it hit me. Writing. It’s what saved me.”
Often, as we walk, Ryan stops and swivels to confront me with a hard truth or challenge a twisted bit of logic. At one stage, he tells me about a childhood dream. He’s dead in a coffin. People mill around his grave, then move away. It’s the start of Scott Ryan being forgotten. “That was a driver for wanting to be somebody, to matter,” he says. “When people tell you all your life, ‘You’ll never amount to anything’, part of you digs in and says, ‘We’ll f—ing see about that.’ ” He jabs at his heart, then his head. “It all goes in here. My revenge is proving you wrong, being successful, living a good, happy life. That’s how I beat you.”
Little comes easy to Scott Ryan. “I’m a very unlucky person,” he deadpans. “Nothing falls in my lap. I’ve had to bust my arse for everything. See, I believe in reincarnation. We’re like Formula One drivers pulling into the pits for new tyres, then we’re off in a new life. But the past carries through with you.