Category Archives: Writing

Everyone Who’s Anyone: The Confession.

My daughter, who recently endured a very tough Master’s Class with a renowned vocal performer (yes, she/he will remain nameless), sent me this video link today:

Jon Nakamatsu’s “Loser’s Club”

Keep playing.  Keep Singing.  Keep writing.  Run the race.

Advertisements

Epiphany

Bdj_A50CYAEGmTv

:::

A few unrelated thoughts came together when I woke this morning:  Yo-yo dieting, credit cards, my lack of discipline and my long distance spouse are all symptoms of my trapped life’s struggle.

  • Credit cards.

They are convenient, allow me to buy things I need in the moment, but they are bad for me and keep me in a financial rut.  One of my 2014 decisions was to cut all the use of credit cards.  But try as I might not to use them, I’ve discovered how many things I’ve subscribed to that automatically charge my account and shock the hell out of my budget calculations.  Expenditures that I forgot were coming.  For example, I thought I’d paid off one card for good and yet here is a 99 dollar charge.  Hosting fees.  Yeah… I guess I kind of “need” to keep that.  Now if I would finish and relaunch my website to make it worth the expense…

  • Dieting.

I’ve been back and forth with the same five pounds for well over a year now.  Can’t get past that rotten five-pound loss to get ONE SINGLE DIGIT closer to my goal of a total of a ten pound loss.  When I am one digit  from what I view as the speed bump on the scale, I over eat and gain two back.  Which for some reason means I will likely over eat for two more days, gain 3 more pounds and there ya go… I start all over.  Last night I was HUNGRY but I did not eat.  This morning I woke up hungry and I still am.  If I can remain hungry for one solid week I’ll notice the numbers on the scale drop.  But that’s not the trick.  Staying hungry for two weeks is the trick.  The fait accompli would be to stay slightly hungry for a solid month and more, throw in daily exercise and Voila!   Then let’s see what that bastard of a scale has to say.

But will I?  Hmm.  It’s so simple. Daily effort.  Daily steps. Inch by motherfecking inch.

  • Writing

And then there’s writing (slash) career.  Yes, let me be honest with myself for one minute.  I have no career because I have never put my entire effort toward this goal.  I have never, with unceasing effort, day in, day out, repeated the act of pumping out pages of work.  Nope.  And it shows.  I have been a mom, which, yeah — I know — everyone says is the hardest job in the world and it is, because the nature of the job is that the mother’s personal goals and needs (career, money, hair appointments) are always dead last in terms of importance.  But now?  Now that I “know” my children’s long-term survival and well-being count on whether I acquire a back bone?  I need to switch it up.

  • Wedded Bliss

Not quite.  I have settled into a stagnant, maddening, situation and nearly every day for years — even before his departure to La La Land — tolerated it because it was easier than facing the truth. (“Situation” defined:  waiting for him to return, holding hope for him to “come through” with his own career,  the constant state of lack and loneliness).  I have repeated these phrases or similar for two decades: “but he’s a really good guy.”  “He loves us.” “His heart is in the right place…”  All of which are true — but — I’m starving here.  We are starving here.  It’s the kind of starving that makes me do stupid irrational things like, go adopt two more cats, plus two more cats.  It’s the kind of starving that encourages me to seek comfort in a bottle of wine, eat greasy, salty or sweet comfort foods.  It’s the kind of starving that sent me to see psychologist after psychologist to ask only one thing: “What’s wrong with me?”  And though it is not my long distance spouse’s fault, the imagined security of marriage  has prevented me from seeing my oldest daughter at college, from developing friendships or from driving a mere 10 miles outside of my town for fear the vehicle would break down, stranding the kids and me on a single lane highway to nowhere.  It has prevented me from living my life — this waiting.

And meanwhile, I let the writing go to the bottom of the list of importance.  The one thing I could do simply by making the time to do it — I let go.  It is no one’s fault but mine.

Idiot.

I have not spoken to him on the phone for two weeks.  He calls everyday to speak with the kids (and me).  Before this, For over seven years, we spoke to each other daily (via phone) and of course when he came home to visit.   Now I’ve stopped talking.  It’s connected to my failed diet attempts, my reliance on credit cards, my poor discipline as a writer, my lack of gumption as a filmmaker.  But refusing to talk to him,  as difficult as it is, (trust me, it’s difficult) seems to help.  I’d like to say this clarity is something new — but it isn’t.  I’ve tried to face facts before, many times. Always for the same reasons.  2010, after my grandmother died, the sorrow woke me then, too.  He isn’t going to do it. He isn’t going to change, improve his own life or fight for his family.  I told him I wanted a divorce.  But I love him, so we found God, Joel Osteen and tried hope again.  This past year, it was my father’s heart attack that opened my eyes.  My spouse flew in, offered support and comfort – and it was good.  I was so grateful that he came home, that he was with the kids, was here to see my dad, to see me.  Grateful my spouse came home.  Isn’t that proof that he is a great guy?

I don’t know — even now as I write this my heart struggles.  I remind myself:  My life depends on my choices.  I control the action.  If my life was a screenplay I would see immediately the problem.  The story is not controlled by the antagonist but by the choices the protagonist makes.  There is no story unless the protagonist drives it toward her GOAL.

I am saying with my forced silence, I control me.  I control my time.  I control my thoughts and emotions, not him.  I make the decisions for myself, our children. Let me remind myself:  November 7th 2006.  That is how long it’s been. That’s how long he’s been gone.

And yet…

Within that time, had I not been such a coward, so weak with excuses and dependency — had I written even two pages a day, where would I be now?  Had I written, committed to my own goals and vision, daily, in spite of the circumstance — where would I be?  Maybe I would save our marriage. Maybe.

The road is still there.  It’s not route 66 and if it is, it’s closed for a good reason. There is always another road that will get me from here to there.  I have coffee in the thermos, I have the map  — now I just need to buy the car.


You Should See My Desk

996092_10200804720432219_1642794810_n

If you were here, you could see my bookshelves, the clutter of sticky notes with my user Id’s and passwords.

You’d know all my secrets.

You’d see the hodgepodge of books, plays, CDs,  and the bedroom paraphernalia: earrings, cough drops, eye drops, eyeglass cases, sunglasses, Chapstick, thread, framed photos, necklaces, cameras, lotions, jewelry boxes and contact solution.  I have everything I need, from this morning’s cup of coffee to the night before last’s empty glass of wine.  You’d find my passport and stacks of photos, backup discs and printed screenplays, radios and scissors, pens (some that work), ceramic gifts crafted by my children at school, squeezy stress ball thingys, decorative boxes filled with receipts and sealed envelopes marked with the date, the child’s name, and a tooth inside. The tooth fairy gave them all to me.

The desk.  It’s covered with an open binder of work I need to do.  ( A script, blah, what else?)  I’m to write a query letter RIGHT NOW, but instead I am writing this.  Guess which is easier?  Guess who the child is in the room?  Yeah, and I am at her desk.  It’s a good size desk with poor storage options.  On this desk is a shiny, Hollywood gift shop gag of a fake Oscar.  The inscription:  Oscar Winning Screenwriter.  It was a second-hand gift from my husband.  He used it as a prop in one of his short student films over 10 years ago.  On this desk are quotes I copied from The Bible, quotes I copied of particularly inspiring acceptance speeches, and certain sections of Joel Osteen marketing letters.  Yes.  It’s true.  I should be embarrassed, but I’m not yet.

I even have good stuff underneath my desk.  Three external hardrives –  4.5 terabytes in all — stuffed to the gills (if hard drives had gills).  Also underneath my desk is a big box of Italian Language discs.  (I’ve wanted to learn another language for a long while now.) Another default gift.  My brother sent it here, but forgot to leave room in his suitcase when he went back to Japan.  I am not springing for the postage.

The WALL in front of my desk bursts with more INSPIRATIONAL STUFF.  My headshot photo which includes the following graphics: SAG-AFTRA, WGA.  (Some of it is true).   I put it there, and it will remain there until it is all true.  Also printed on cheap paper, a photo of a GIANT Oscar statue and the words The ACADEMY AWARDS.  I have note boards, magnetic boards, dry erase boards, all held with ticky tack, pins, nails and packing tape.  Calenders with contest deadlines, rejection letters,  an old birthday card from a former friend that says:  FOLLOW YOUR BLISS.  I have a check made out to myself for 1 Million dollars.  I signed it 3 years ago. I have a magazine cover page featuring myself as a filmmaker — I designed it, wrote it, printed it and taped it to the wall.   I have my current body weight (not going to say) and my goal weight.  Current goal weight is 117 pounds, but I’d really like to get down to 112 or so.  This too, has been up here for a while.  I have pamphlets from skin doctors of procedures and injections I’d like to try.

All of this done to keep myself inspired and encouraged.

It all helps a little, but not nearly as much as the feeling of getting to page 105 and typing THE END.  Nothing inspires as much as the weight and sound of my newest first draft,  holding a receipt from a contest submission, or seeing emails come in, requesting I send my screenplay.

Yes.  Those things inspire.

*    *   *   *    *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *  *

There.  That (See above) out-of-the-way.  Now on to write my query letter.  On to the rewrite of a short.  On to another frickin’ stab at a script of mine that I am SICK of looking at.  On to reading and reviewing another friend’s work.  On to reading THE WOLF OF WALL STREET.  Later tonight, after cooking for the kids, harping about homework and music practice, after feeding and cleaning and listening and hugging and saying, “Everything’s going to be alright…”  I will have my date with a bowl of buttered of popcorn and watch a screener of The Dallas Buyers Club.

If you were here, you’d know all of it, first hand, front and center, in your face, Full Monty, not gonna lie,  it ain’t pretty madness of the woman in this room. 

Consider yourself lucky.


A Morning Before Christmas Eve

Two days before Christmas Eve, and it all begins.

I have been foggy with another bout of Vertigo.   I’ve done the things expected of me: wrapping, baking, cooking, cleaning, yelling, helping, shopping — things I must do because if I seem steady and capable, it calms everyone else.  They (my children, my family) know better, of course.  I am not a calm person.  But as long as I hold it together, everyone will be okay.  That’s what I believe anyway.

I woke at 3 a.m., troubled.  I may have had a dream.  Yes, I can feel it.  I can almost remember it, but I know it woke me and the subject was something I did not want to remember.  But awake, I began reading articles from my cell phone, “liked” a few things on Facebook, and then what?  Sleep would not comfort me now.

I think I am a somewhat reliable person.  I hope so.  I strive to be real, truthful, honest.  I strive to look at what is real around me, to call it what it is.  For all the sadness that creeps around me, I know the sadness does not belong here. It is an intruder, but I am not quite sure how to get rid of it, other than to brew a cup of coffee, boot up this machine and try to make some sense of it.

Two nights ago I wept and said out loud:  “I’m scared of growing old.  I miss being pretty.  I miss feeling like I matter.  I miss feeling hope.”  My husband heard me, said nothing, made love to me anyway as though that would cure-all.  Angry, I stomped away as far as the sofa, throwing expletives at his head and feet.  In the end, my venomous, but blessed, Italian temper saved me from my melancholy.  I don’t often receive comfort or soothing wise words of understanding.  Who does?  That’s what wine, beer and sleep are for.   Tonight (or this morning) I hear the rhythm of my husband’s breathing a few feet away.  I hear him sigh.  There is a separation between us.  Literally, figuratively, mentally, emotionally — all those –lys.  There is a separation between us.  Usually the distance is of miles since he works so many states away, but this a.m., it’s a folding screen.  My marriage teeters on an edge of sweet romance and delusional wishes.  Both options could be nice, unless I fall off that edge. But I love him.  He is the one I chose and even with all that is wrong, I know what love is.

Right now, my cat Molly purrs in my ear as she sits on my desk, near my left arm as I type.  She wants my attention. We bump foreheads together.  I admire the way she holds her dainty two front paws together.  Such dignity.  So feminine.  Always gorgeous.  My cat is an inspiration.  But as I pet her long fur, I feel the matted clumps near her hind end. I’ve tried to brush her. She doesn’t like it much, but I try.  Even she, as beautiful as she is, has areas that are not so hot.  She’s still beautiful and her matted fur doesn’t seem to detract from all that is right with her.

It is Christmas time.  I am one of those people who begins listening to familiar chestnuts of Christmas music before Thanksgiving because it makes me feel warm, young and hopeful.  I like the music others complain about.  I like listening to Nat King Cole and Andy Williams.  I like hearing John and Yoko sing, “So this is Christmas…”  My kids and I put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving.   I bake cookies I shouldn’t eat.  I look forward to snow just as much as my kids.  During this season,  there is always something to look forward to, always something I must do.  Like in a box of Cracker Jacks, there is the possibility of a surprise and of something good and unexpected.

Usually the beginning of the Christmas season sends me into a state of despair.   The money is always tight, the bills always more than my husband and I can truly pay.  I have been perpetually “broke” for as long as I can remember — and yet, somehow I manage to keep going, to keep an illusion awake and fueled for my kids’ sake and for my childish sake. I buy presents for my children because their joy gives me joy. I want them to feel hope and the excitement of wishes fulfilled even if  I cannot.   On the name tags I write either “from Santa” or “Love Mom and Dad.”  Santa doesn’t love them, but I do.

But when Christmas arrives, my mood usually improves. You may not believe it — at times, I don’t — but this season always gives me hope.  It’s in the waiting.  I wait to hear the first Christmas song, to watch an old Christmas movie, to take the first ornament out of the box.  I wait, along with my kids, for the first snow and look forward to the first time I pull on my Sorels, my hat, my gloves.  I love to see the evidence of tracks of all the deer, rabbit and raccoons that crept through my yard without me knowing.  I love seeing my kids play in the sugary snow and the sound of their stomping boots as they come inside, cold and wanting hot chocolate.  It’s in the moment I push the switch and see the tree light up like a giant electric gumdrop.  I love crossing the street on a dark snowy night, just to see how pretty the house looks, decorated with a couple of cheap strings of Made-in-China-lights.  (I take pictures, but the photos never turn out as lovely and ethereal as my version of reality).  I love seeing my children open their presents.  Even more, we all love seeing how excited our dog and cats are to open their presents!  I love the exhaustion that sets in as I begin collecting bows to use again for next year, the sound of the crunching wrapping paper as we shove it into garbage bags.  One child will look under the tree, hoping for one more.  Maybe he or she will find one.  Things like that happen.

After the melee, the messy house cannot provoke me to clean or to care.  Let it be.  Let it rot.  Enjoy another brandied eggnog.  Dressed in my old robe, I will fall asleep on the sofa and let the kids yell, play, make sound effects and destroy the house with all their new STUFF.  It’s Christmas, doggone it.  This year my father survived a heart attack — nothing can stop the joy that brings me.  It’s Christmas.  It’s messy.  It’s noisy, unorganized and fun.

And if it’s not?  If it’s sad?  If someone I loved didn’t make it? (Not this year, thank you!).  But if my truck broke and died?  (It did).  If I am too broke to leave the house to go skiing, sledding or to church (I am) or too sorrowful and glum to bake Fattigmand?   Then it’s just one of those years I’ll write about later.  And when I write about it later I will find something beautiful about it anyway.  In spite of all that is wrong, I will find something that is beautiful and brings me hope.

The stories of my faith retell the story of one precious child born in a stable.    There were witnesses to the event, I suppose, but perhaps many saw it as ordinary and common.  I’m sure His birthplace reeked of animal dung, dirty fur and moldy feed. I imagine it was cold and that the only twinkling lights were the stars above. But the beauty of the event, the hope it inspired is what people (like me) remember.   The child, the retelling of His story brought a promise and created a faith that keeps many of us going through all that goes wrong, right, or otherwise, as we wait for yet more promises.  Some saw it in a star.  Some saw it in a child.  Some saw it because they were searching for a prophecy to come to pass. And others, many others, saw nothing at all.

I believe in the promise of Jesus Christ.  I believe.  Mock it. Belittle it.  Jump on it.  Laugh at it.  Throw sticks and stones.  It won’t matter.  I feel the truth of it, the hope and beauty yet to come.  I feel the truth there, just as I am able to feel that bad dream that woke me a few hours ago.  What I dreamed doesn’t matter.  What matters is that it woke me and something good, something beyond me made me get up again to write.


TWO DOWN!

I just now finished another 10 page short.  Already, I have ideas regarding production, folks I want to call for a table read and other hungry actor/friends who might want to play.

Feels so good to type THE END. It never ceases to amaze me how the tiniest bit of WORK (that is WRITING, not laundry, not dishes, not vacuuming) makes me feel beautiful.

I am still stuck behind THREE unfinished feature specs, but at least for TODAY I have something that I can work with, clean up and see if it’s worth producing.

I’ll take it.

Thank you Muses (God).


ReBoot

md-snowglobe1Middle of the Night. I had thoughts that told me to keep fighting. ( I am only fighting myself.  There is no other fight.)

This morning, I have a headache and wait for my coffee to finish brewing. Need it now…

The TV is on and a Congressional hearing discusses the debacle of the “Affordable Care Act.”  No doubt the hearing will result in bluster and posturing, but solutions? Ha — only if one side can blame and ruin the other side.

I have a three-hour block of time before I have to leave my lair.   After those three hours, all the other stuff will resume,  But at this moment I remind myself that everyone has to fight.  And I cannot allow myself to give in to my doubts. I cannot allow despair to enter.  The circumstances don’t matter.

If I twist my life around as if I were looking at it through a snow globe, it looks pretty good.  It’s a good life. Exciting?  No.  Lonely?  Sometimes — whose isn’t?  But I’m still here.  I’m still going for what I’ve always wanted.  I haven’t quit — despite appearances.  Sometimes I wish I could.  It’s at those times I become sad.  Today I cannot allow it.

If I could pick a driving emotion today I would pick anger over sadness.  Sadness signals that I’m weakened.  Anger means I won’t go down without a fight.  Is there an option that is neither of those that will propel me forward?

Joy?  Thinking…

But not for too long. I’ve got some things to finish and need to put my thoughts there instead.


Status Update

I just added my blog address to my Twitter page.

[Imagine SCARED EXPRESSION HERE].

I hide.  I hide a lot.

But every few months or so — I attempt posting my blog for people ( who? Could be very creepy, icky people) to read the stuff I write.

As soon as I know my posts are available, I become afraid.

What am I afraid of?  Easy question, easy answers:

  • YOU might be a sick son-of-a-bitch and reading my blog to hurt me in some sick, twisted way that I will have ZERO control over.
  • I will find a way more sick and twisted to retaliate.
  • YOU will think my writing sucks.
  • I will readily admit my writing sucks.
  • YOU will read all my posts
  • I become aware that within my posts I’ve made endless promises to myself and that I have broken them all.
  • You note that I am full of shit and that all my proclamations and affirmations are more bogus than your own.
  • I will have to go into hiding again.

and I will.

I give my attempt at going public to last for less than one month.  That’s probably all I will be able to stand. I am hoping that if you bothered to click on my link at all, you will be merciful and at the worst, bored.  If you’re bored — Move on.  That makes two of us attempting to do the same thing.

In the meantime,  after posting this dribble I am going to work on my other stories.

Ciao.  See you in the virtual funny papers.

~Fringe

P.S.  My writing doesn’t suck.