Tag Archives: writing

,When: She Writes A Little

22 Jan

One of my favorite  humans has just left. 

…I hermit myself,  quite often,  because as an anxiety-fueled person,  it is a requirement.  But I imagine it must be somewhat akin to a person with onslaught senility…in that a part of me very much wants to participate  and understands the joys and loss,  while the other part of me is just incapable  of dealing with that information. 

…Anyway, I’ve missed her. 

And,  as we do,  we had a good walk, and talk. About all the things. As Aaron Sorkin  would want us to.  And she was honest and brave. And she was real.  Which is always such a privileged thing to be on the receiving end of.  

…And this comes just after a fantastical hang time with my “Dark’s,” –the surviving drinkable age range of the show that drove me to my last break down, (they didn’t,  but–you get it) leaving  me (ironically)  with a buddy-crew of mates,  I would not trade for fucking gold.  

…And I am writing again.  For real. 

I’ve a stage read this Thursday,  and last week was the first time in over half a year that I enjoyed going to rehearsal. Or acting. Or any of it, frankly. Followed then by seeing a well played show this weekend, hang time with my mates, an Act and two scenes into a new script since Tuesday, and an artistic retreat  with a group of women, to be met with none other,  in two weeks. 

…Just us,  a cabin, and infinite artistic abilities. 

Outside of my artistic  cocoon: it is shit.  But inside…inside I am protected by heart-family,  energy,  wit, and a shit ton of very stiffly-poured drinks.

…And characters,  that fill my mind and tell me secrets, and appear,  all of a sudden (from out of nowhere), in print. 

I’ll take it. 

~D

I Wrote A Little… 

8 Aug

So… ‘member that time I bought that blank journal under the pretext of filling it with writing exercises to get me actually creating real wordsmithery again,  versus whatever the hell you wanna call this blog thing? 
… And,’ member how I have like 15 of those journals just sitting in my house, because of serial journal-purchase-syndrom, still waiting for words to be put in them,  and still totally empty, or long since converted to “show-research-journals?” 

… Cuz, ‘member how, (like dusting my house), I totally operate on a best-intention basis, but then often fail in my goals because I don’t wanna dust, potato chips are delicious, and facing a blank piece of paper with proper punctuation, plot, and sentence structure is really hard work? 

Well, chalk one up for me, bitches!  Cuz, I dun wrote me a story. 

It was Sunday. The place: my bed. I had just finished coughing myself awake,  and lay there re-exhausted from my efforts. Thinking to myself, “Well, I don’t even care what time it is…I’m so not getting out of bed after all that,” I decided to hide my apparent misplaced weekend-lay-about-in-bed-all-day guilt, by grabbing one of previously described blank journals and popping up my autoprompt app. 

…Hating the first two offers on demand, I took the third, and started scribbling long-hand, for what I assumed would be about fifteen minutes. 3.5 hours,  eleven pages, and a giant caffeine headache later, I realized that I’d just completed the mutherfucker, and really needed a damn cup of coffee (or 12.)

…Because,  that’s the way time works when I’m actively “Arting.” Sketching, researching, line-learning, blogging, or writing…once the juices get goin’,  I seriously cease to notice the present reality surrounding me. I’m told that I come by this honestly as an inherited trait. Apparently my great grandmother would start painting in the morning, and still be at it late into the night,  with only a depleted sleeve of saltines and empty glass by the canvas as proof of any pause for even sustenance. Which I completely understand, and could “see”  with multiple empty stomaches and/or late night writing sessions on whiskey turning into early morning hour alcoholic tendency accompanied by dry Cheerios by the handful,  direct from the box…which doesn’t really count as morning alcoholism because technically, I  hadn’t gone to bed yet, so it was still just really-late-yesterday o’clock, and anyway stop with that judgy-look,  just because you like to hide your morning alcoholism in disgusting tomato juice…!

…Anyway…where was I going with all this? Oh yeah: I wrote a little, this weekend. On like, a real thing. And it’s all pencil-scratchy, with horrendous spelling, and some of the words I can’t even really make out entirely because even stone cold sober, my creative writing comes out looking like a ten year old,  arthritic physician wrote it, but still. It’s mine. I haven’t reread it since…so,  it’s prob’ly terrible. But, I did it. I said I was going to,  and: there it is. 

… Only,  don’t get too excited though. I have no real intention of dusting, or giving up my post rehearsal junk food. It’s about “baby steps,”  people. And at 3.5 hours, I’ve already clocked overtime in good intentions this week. 

… The rest is just gonna have to hold its damn water for a while. 

~D

Some Early Sorkin

24 Dec

image

I am festing “Sports Night.”

…It is my first night off for the Holiday, we start tech for “Arcadia” on Monday, which is, (coincidentally), when Corporate takes up residence in my office lobby again for a week, and top brass shows up the next. Just in time for Opening.

…I’m saying: this is the last breath before I suffocate under a mountain of stress, but even knowing that…I’m cool. Cuz I’m sipping on Christmas whiskey (as in ” a present” not “vintage” or “flavor”), and am watching one of my favorite writers, with a newly favorite cast, hinting at shadows of what is to come in all our futures.

I’ve always loved Sorkin, but it’s been a complicated relationship. Like many of his characters, he is an elitest, Ivy-League-educated, smarmy, asshole. But I can’t help liking him. Cuz talent is fucking sexy.

…Just so happens,  I have read and seen his plays, his master television works are quotable yearly fested go-tos,”American President” is one of the first of five DVDs I ever owned, and I have had countless conversations on character trait shares and cross indexing ‘tween all his works.

…’Cept this one.

…Because his Freshman effort is the last I have seen, and only, which I don’t own. Which is strange, and inexcusable, but “fact.” I know that whether I like sports or not, I would still be intrigued, cuz: it’s his. But for whatever reason, it has stayed an illusive missing piece, until my newly anointed Theatre Hubby and I got talking the other day (as we constantly do) and I mentioned my egregious error.

…So, he’s fixed it.

…I am blazing through his complete collection copy, like a house on fire…acknowledging the nods which will be addressed in Sorkin’s latter works, enjoying his spin this round on his particular formulas…and (possibly due to the math and patterns of “Arcadia”), really picking up on the specific algorithms of his life’s writing…like a thesis. You see how “this” character here, would later inspire “that”…his ever evolving ensemble troop of actors, is already well mixed and (though younger), well seasoned. The themes he will continue to deal with, the moments of contrast he will continue to play with, the dude-chick in upper-middle management power, the surly but lovable asshole…the liberal-with-a-cause, the unrequited love angle, the massive missunderstandings and false suspecting. The witty, nerdy, sexy, neurotic. The lion-hearted patriarch. It’s all there…even from the beginning.

…Which blows my mind…because even in its infancy, this was a cut above all the rest. Even the death of the unfortunate (but period-consistent) live audience laughter, was put to rest, well before say, M*A*S*H’s was. Because this wasn’t a comedic sitcom. It was not…even in the 90’s king of comedy years of “Frasier,” “Friends,” “Seinfeld” and the rest…to be labeled as such. This was “theatre”… on television. And it seems that once they “got” that…all worked in it’s smooth, undulating, quirky way.

…Which is why it keeps getting canceled as well…because it doesn’t fit the “box demographic.” Sorkin requires you to listen, participate, and think. These are not (sadly) the things a television audience wants to do at the end of the day. They want to be “entertained.” And because Sorkin is a playwright, who makes film and television, his audience base is unfortunately the people who can’t tune in and up the ratings. Cuz we’re busy creating our own, on show days.

…So when we HAVE time, we fest. We feed, like thirsty vampires, on his creative blood.

…And it is delicious. And heartbreaking.

…Because we cannot seem to keep his work solvent and Prime Time , alone anymore. Which is a giant fucking shame. Because his gifts from politics to art to humanity to romance, are fucking brilliant. He’s that guy I’d love to antagonistically fight with and make love to, for like eternity. And in this: I am not alone.

…But the point is: to KNOW his work so intimately, yet be introduced to it’s beginnings at the end, it like a timewarp in evolution of art and politics of our time. He was so forward-thinking, yet so constructively challenging. He knew what we needed, but not how we’d get there. He built archetypes not within boxes, but hovering just outside them, and like Tennessee Williams, has spent his career perfecting the through-line of imperfection, within these archetypes.

…But, in the beginning it was different. It was younger, fresher, less “loaded” with bogged down realworld, shit.

…Which is almost heartbreaking. Because nearly every episode begins with an establishing shot of two buildings in New York, which we had always (until now) taken for granted.

My God, how much has changed for all of us, since then…

…Anyway, this is all to say, “Thanks, Bernard, for the brain and emo toys.”

Love,

That Hannah Chick.

~D

It’s Cute, How I Thought I Knew Some Stuff

3 Jan

image

Tonight was the first of what I will refer to as “The Lady B Sessions,” so called, as it is a project in which my dearest former Mama (Lady Bracknell) and I (her former Gwendolen), collect her fifty years of theatre, polish it up bright as a new penny, and build it into a one-woman show.

After shooting her a 70-question Q&A sheet a-la “Inside The Actors Studio” for prep, I arrived with pad and pencil in hand, stayed thru dinner, dessert, and tea…until, I finally kicked myself out of the poor woman’s house, 5.5 hours later.

…From this, I have exactly one page of written notes and the original question sheet print-out, with zero minutes of what I’d planned to record digitally.

I am a lousy documentarian, all of a sudden.

…Which is super inconvenient, when you are starting research on a one-woman show…

…But it isn’t all my fault.

I blame Ezra Stone. And Sara Seeger. Also Opera stars: Dorothy Kirsten, Richard Tucker, Anna Moffo, Sherrill Milnes, and Marilyn Horne.

…I blame Rogers & Hammerstein, Gilbert & Sullivan, Puccini, Verdi, Wagner, and Offenbach…as well Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, Richard Nash, Michael Cristofer, Alfred Uhry, and James Goldman.

…I blame The Metropolitan Opera, Polish theatre tours, La Boem, downstairs Czechoslovakian dinner-swaps, music theory, Amelia Earhart, WWII, original snapshots of major film stars from the late 40’s, Concerts in England, theatre in Germany, Holocaust Memorials, the American Airforce, and Betty Buckley.

…This is but a grain of what makes up the entire freakin beach, which could only fit in the first five-and-a-half hours conversation about this one woman’s life.

Her Mentors, her costars, her roles, the people she’s met… across fifty years: Solid gold.

…The more I listened and gaped with my mouth hanging open, and head nodding in reply, the less and less I felt sufficient to share table and tea with her, never mind the stage.

I was frankly hypnotized. For over five hours.

THIS is what a career in theatre means…even though she claims to have “never really gone pro.” If THESE are the stories, the people you work with, the memories you make, even without a Union Card under your belt…I feel ever so much more secure about my artistic future…lemme tell you.

…Provided (of course) I’ve got the “it” which is required to keep going. Which she so obviously does…to the point of brain-spinning brownout.

My mind has absolutely no idea where to start, how to filter this information between what she laughing refers to as, “only the good and interesting stuff,” and “other”…and fit it all into a neat and sleek little 90-minute or less package.

Fifty years in Opera and Theatre…from American soil to Europe, and back again. I’ve acted with this woman on stage, ate from her plates, sipped her tea…and she’s entrusting me to help collect all her memories into a piece worthy of the grande dame she doesn’t even realize she is.

…I gotta tell yuh: I used to think I knew some stuff. But that was like six hours ago. I know better now.

These two feeble pages of notes, are laughing at me as my brain circles back to Blackheath, Mobile, Frankfurt, Seattle, New York and all the places in between.

…How in the hell do you fit 50 years of that into an hour-and-a-half?

…And when in heaven’s name do I get to go back, and hear more of it?!?!

-D

Giggle Bubbles

9 Mar

image

Acting is a weird profession.

…What other one on the planet requires you to be other people, embrace and empathize with serial killers and monsters, partake in voyeuristic fake sexual activities, and fuck with your mind and emotions on a continual basis as “part of the job?” 

Maybe an undercover cop. 

That’s about it.

…But what’s even more screwed up, is the fact that this seems perfectly normal to us and aside from a few character-inflicted hangovers, can come and go in any combination or variety, multiply even as needed, simultaneously, and then go cold turkey dormant at the drop of the hat…sure leaving a few mood swings in their wake, but other than that, fairly harmlessly.

…I mean, we do shit on a stage that puts people behind bars for life, sends them into lockdown therapy, demands suicide watch, and lands them on the cover your more unsavory pulp-newspapers and magazines. Pretty much on a continual basis. Then, two hours (or sixteen) later, we go home, pop a beer cap, and eat some pizza, like nothing has happened.

I don’t care who you are, that’s just fucked up.

And we’re, you know, just sorta used to that.

…But every once in a while, it does kinda throw you.  You’ll do a role a little too close to home, or something will get into your head a little too deeply, and it becomes more difficult to divorce yourself at the end of the day. 

…Sometimes you have that Christopher Reeves-Somewhere-In-Time penny moment, when you become suddenly distracted by the most innocent of things and it rips you out of your happy little acting bubble, realizing that it’s all fake and you are you, and the delicacy of the moment is completely shattered…scrambling helplessly to hold onto the last tail end of this projected truth so you can do the job that people in the seats, right now, staring up at you, are waiting for you to do.

…And sometimes you’re just artistically sideswiped and get the giggles.

Epic giggles.

Inappropriate-can’t-hold-your-shit-together-for-the-life-of-you giggles.

There is no cure.

This is the kind of thing where you so suddenly realize the total absurdity of the situation you are in and that this is your life, and this moment needs to happen because people and their jobs and careers are depending on you…which should put enormous amounts of significance on it all, you would think…but doesn’t…because it’s all riding on the right timing of a burp, or how fast you can drop trow, or how much tongue to use in this kiss, or even just delivering a line which has some double meaning to you and your scene partner, and so now neither one can look the other in the eye at all, when it comes time to say it.

Giggle bubbles.

…I’ve just hit one.

I am currently sipping coffee, on break from reading a script. It is not a comedy. In fact it is the most far flung from it. I keep expecting with the next page turn that it will invent a new apocalypse, strain of disease, or drug O.D.

…It is a one-woman show, containing several characters undertaken by the single actor. I will not be responsible for the acting portion of said piece, I will be the stage direction usher, for a dear friend, who will be.

…This all comes as part of a gig for one of the Universities, in their writing department. A script writing and development class has come full circle and they have brought in a few professional actors to stage read the shows for the playwrights, so they can take notes on further changes and workshopping needed before launching them out into the world and publisher’s doorsteps.

…There are several scripts and all of the actors split time in role sizes and stage directions, as “cast” by the facilitator of the gig. None of the actors have read the scripts, or know the roles until the final edit has trickled in and been forwarded. Of the four pieces I’m in, this is the only one I’ve received thus far. And it is a masterpiece of definition in being a new work by a new playwright.

What does this mean?

…People are told to write what they know, write what will catch your attention and draw an audience, know the audience you are writing FOR, and/or make a statement or impression that will stay with you.

…Because of this, there are many, many, many plays in this world riding the soap opera wave of personal tragedy with shock-theatre gimmick, attempting to assail you with either a deluge of tears, pissing anger, sexual enticement and/or whatever performance art involving a dude taking a dump on a five-dollar-bill while dressed as a mime, falls under.

Classic new playwrighting syndrome.

…And this particular script has it all.

I seriously can’t keep a straight face while reading.

This poor woman central character is emotionally pushed through so many events in 30 pages, and had so many orgasms while doing it, that it’s like a theatrical version of Rasputin. She’s been hypothetically, stabbed, shot, gutted, run over by a car, a bus, a train, thrown off a plane in flight, survived a couple of world wars and her dog just died.

…I’m only on page 13.

…I had to take a break.

…From laughing.

My fucking stomach hurts.

…Now, I’m not intending to be “mean,” this is just one of those instances I was talking about before…when I realize the total absurdity of what we do and how we do it, and what we are asking the audience to do, by trusting and coming on this journey with us…which (literally in this case) is about every sexually erotic and explicit deed and curse word, with every broken down junky personal tragedy you can throw in there, in an explosion of screaming in your face offensive, yet autobiographical who-de-haw, that I’ve read in a long-ass time.

And this Wednesday, I will be it’s narrator.

…At some point I will need to actually face an audience, with my dear friend, and support her, as she undergoes fucking herself, the audience, and the English language all to hell.

…And I need to do it with a straight face.

My job is just cocking weird…is what I’m saying.

~D

Ode To A Line Run

17 Aug

image

Lines. 

Running them ad-nauseum, just to make sure that they stick.  Mini pockets that don’t. For any number of reasons. 

…In this case: quick-succession repetition.

Pamela Edwards (the Brit), has a habit of repeating what she and other people say, forty or fifty times, but in slightly different orders.  Remembering which one we are on, gets tricky.  Also: the “one-worders.”

…This is an actual thing.  It’s not the proper name (prob’ly), but it’s what I call them.  They happen in Mamet, and comedy, frequently…and in farce, they run rampant. Mostly to show awkward social skills and sexual tension.

When you put someone who repeats things constantly (only in slightly different order each time) in a one-worder situation, you get something that looks a little like this:

(…Actually, you get something that looks a LOT like this…in that this is directly from the script.)

Hannay: That’s alright. Well —

Pamela: Well–

Hannay: –we ought to be–

Pamela: Yes —

Hannay: –going I suppose.

Pamela: Mmm.

Hannay: Right. Um —

Pamela: Yes?

Hannay: Which —

Pamela: What?

Hannay: — room are they staying in?

Pamela: Who?

Hannay: What?

Pamela: Who?

Pamela: Those two men?

Pamela: Sorry?

Hannay: The two men you overheard?

Pamela: Staying in?

Hannay: Mmm.

Pamela: Well, they’re not.

Hannay: Sorry?

***

…Believe it or not, these kind of lines aren’t the easiest to get.  Not only because you are telling a story about nothing, and have the panic situation of cutting the other guy off in time…(often having less than one word in order to remember what yours is again), but also the fact that if you fuck up at any point in the sequence, it all goes to absolute hell in a handbasket.  The beat-structure HAS to be the way it is written, or it’s like throwing a stick through the spoke of a bicycle, going at full speed down a heel.  Crash and burn, baby.

…And I guess the lesson I learned today, (while picking metaphorical gravel out of my bloodied hands, knees, and face), is that I have some more work here to do.

By the third section of this repeated dialogue style, I had completely lost any sense of rhythm, in utter despair of constantly fucked with word repetitions, and the final clip in my one-wording cue-a-thon turned into this: (Actual lines in quotes.)

Prompter: “Well…”

Me: Yes?

Prompter: No, “well.”

Me: “Well.” Yes?

Prompter: No.

Me: What?

Prompter: “Well…”

Me: And I said, yes.

Prompter: No, ‘yes.’  Just “well…”

Me: What?

Prompter: It’s just, “Well.”

Me: Mine?

Prompter: Yes.

Me: So this time it’s just, “Well…” and “Well.”

Prompter: Yes.

Me: Okay, so take it back to the beginning.

Prompter: That was the beginning.  “Well…”

Me: “Well…you’re a free man…”

(Long pause.)

Prompter: “…Anyway.”

Me: Yes?

Prompter: “…Anyway.”

Me: What? Line?

Prompter: “…Anyway.”

Me: No, not ‘cue,’ my line.

Prompter: “…Anyway.”

Me: I know that’s next, but what is my actual line?

Prompter: “…ANYWAY.”

Me: What?  Read the whole thing to me.

Prompter: “Well…you’re a free man anyway.”

Me: Oh, it’s the end of the line this time.  Cuz it began it before, the last time…

Prompter: Right.

Me: …Followed by…?

Prompter: “Right.”

Me: No, I know, I get it.  What’s the next cue.

Prompter: “Right.”

Me: “Right” is the cue.

Prompter: Yes.

Me: Can we go back?

Prompter: “Well…”

Me: “Well.  You’re a free many anyway.”

Prompter: “Right.”

Me: “Saved the country too.”

Prompter: “We both did that.”

Me: “Not really.”

Prompter: “Anyway…better be um–”

Me: Yes?

Prompter: “Right.”

Me: What?

Prompter: No, it’s “Right.”

Me: Which one?

Prompter: The first…one.

Me: So it’s Yes, Right, What…?

Prompter: It’s, “Right.” “What.” “Quite.”

Me: “Right.” “What.” “Quite.”

Promper: Then, “Yes.”

Me: THEN, “Yes!”

Prompter: — Right.

Me: THERE’S where it was…I knew a ‘yes’ was somewhere in there.  So, cue at the top of the one-worders again?

Prompter: “Anyway…better be um–”

Me: “Right.”

Prompter: “D’you want to–”

Me: “What?” 

Prompter: “Nothing.”

Me: “Quite.”

Prompter: “Better be going.”

Me: “Yes.”

Prompter: “Got the decorators in and — you know…”

Me: “Certainly do.”

Prompter: “Well — bye.”

Me: ” Bye.”

Prompter: …And scene.

Me: FUCK YOU, PAMELA EDWARDS, AND YOUR DIALOGUE WRITING TEAM!

Prompter: Want to run it again?

Me: Not even with a bottle of Jameson in my hand.

Prompter: So…a break?

***

…So this was my break.

I guess.

…Obviously have some more work to do.

…So, I guess I’ll go back to doing it. Then.

Think kind thoughts for me…

~D

Art According To Sylvia

15 Aug

image

…Am seeking a name for m’new Lit blog.  Thought I’d start with some quotes from the brilliant and famous…and several hours later: here I still be.

…Reading.

No kidding, if you’re disenchanted with the creative process of words, in the least…you should pop on over to this page, and it’ll cure it for you.

Meantime, I’m still trying to rip myself away, and focus on the new house I’m trying to build for my new Group works.

…So I’ll go and do that then.

…But not before first leaving you with this:

“…Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ― Sylvia Plath

So, there is that.

Now: stop making excuses, and get to work.

~D

Sleepy Times Shakes

30 Jul

image

Can’t. Keep. Eyes. Open.

…Spent my blogging time working on a guest writing piece for a theatre company.

Conclusion: It’s weird writing for someone else. Going back to academic essaying legit vs the SWAL voice I’ve been talking in for the past year: also weird.

…I really need to branch out more. Like, in general.

Meanwhile…how about that Julius Caesar?! Shakespeare: a real ballbuster, am I right?!

~D

Dear Prop Diary…

3 Jun

image

I’ve volunteered to fill my prop diary with “sensational entries”…so tonight will be just a blip of a blog.

…Takes me back to filling a giant spiral notebook and text book with lecture notes, highlights, margin comments and pull-quotes for “Oleanna,” several years ago.  The stage was extremely intimate, so there was no question that the notes had to be there, and a lot of them.  It also sincerely helps as an actor for every piece of legitimacy that you can be given to use to tell the story.  Tiny details, that only maybe the actors can even see, in costume, props and set pieces are a giant help in helping one to further the facade of make believe.

…And when it is such a personal prop, sometimes it helps for you yourself to invest in it.

Of COURSE I want to play and build Gwendolen’s diary. Why the hell WOULDN’T I?

…Even though it is merely her small “travel” variety.  I think of it as her “Greatest Hits” record: a transcription of all the really juicy bits from her larger, more in-depth one at home.  She’s been around a bit, and  per Algy, is frequently flirted with and proposed to, so there is certainly a legit amount of steam in those pages. 

I don’t doubt.

…Not a bit.

…Meanwhile , at rehearsal tonight: Run of nearly all first act, with notes and some set-change choreography. Small bits of delectable “yum” worked out in the lobby with dear Earnest, ‘tween scenes. At least we thought they were.  Given a couple more passes at the timing, we’ll be launching them at the room in general on our first main full run in the theatre on Wednesday.

…See how it goes.

Whether they are “keepers” or not, the ideas and the work and the finessing is excellent exercise for the characters, so totally worth it no matter what.

…But based on our own giggles, I’m betting we found some “keepers.”

Right!

Off now to create new faux worlds of delight.

…Of course, I could just fill the book with random sentences or lines…but what would be the fun it that?

I shall consider it more backstory-delight, and dive in with creativity and a mug of tea and see where it takes me.

~D

Killing Off The Lead

19 May

image

I’d like to start a petition to kill off Mr. Selfridge from the next season of “Mr. Selfridge,” only they almost never will kill off the lead.  Especially when the whole show is titled for him. And it’s based on history. And he lived into his 90’s.

…I can’t take watching Jeremy Pivin that long.

…I can’t take watching him this long.

I get this horribly overwhelming empathy for every poor bastard he does a scene with, which actually drives me to continually shout at the screen in every scene he is in.  Things like:

“HOW ARE YOU THIS BAD AND STILL EMPLOYED?!”

“WHY DO YOU HAVE TO YELL EVERY SINGLE FUCKING LINE?!”

“HOW DO YOUR BRITISH CHILDREN AND AUSTRALIAN WIFE ALL SPEAK WITH BETTER AMERICAN ACCENTS THAN YOU?! YOU COME FROM ILLINOIS!”

“I’VE WATCHED TAMPON COMMERCIALS WITH PEOPLE WHO EXPRESS MORE CHARACTER MOTIVATION!”

“WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE THE ONE REPRESENTATIVE AMERICAN…YOU MAKE US ALL LOOK LIKE TOTALLY TALENTLESS, INCOMPETENT, ASSHOLES!”

“I HAVEN’T BEEN THIS PISSED OFF FROM TOTAL WASTE OF CO-ACTORS SCENE-GIFTING, SINCE THE TOM CRUISE CASTING FIASCO IN ‘VALKYRIE’!”

“HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE SEXUAL CHEMISTRY WITH THAT?  HAVE YOU SEEN HER?!?”

…and…

“WHHHHHHY?!?”

…I’ve stuck with it because the critics are right: tons of other characters are totally invested and worth it.  ‘Specially the women. Which just makes him stick out worse.  My old favorites are acting perfectly up to speed of my expectations of their excellence, and new ones have been found to join them in the ranks.  It is often delightful, always eye-candy, the wigs make me breathless, (and the Frenchman), I’m appropriately in love with everyone I’m supposed to be, and hate the ones I’ve been taught to…except for the leading character…which is just totally screwing up the whole balance of everything.

…He was bedridden for one episode and it was one of the best parts of my day. Cuz he slept through about 85% of it.

…Then the bastard woke up again.

…And I yelled at the screen some more.

Meantime, I feel I should clarify that this is not merely a matter of a “character” I happen to dislike, (as one frequently does in BBC drama…and usually for well plotted and planned out reasons, as supplied by the writers.)  I am saying that the character would be ideal if played as written…by a seductive, charismatic, likable human, with some shred of sexual chemistry, and the ability to deliver a line without yelling it in a monotone manner at whomever he happens to be facing at the the time. 

…And yes, I have to say “yelling AT” because he has yet (7 episodes in) to have an actual “conversation” with anyone.

…And I have to say “facing” because that is all he does.

…And I have to say “lack of any sexual chemistry” as he (apparently) fucks everything that moves, and yet every times he goes to kiss one of the poor women I actually, physically wince for them.

If one was looking for someone to “SHARE” a scene, or converse appropriately, or conduct some sparks with: Joe American Entourage King, sure as hell ain’t it.

…He ain’t.

…And isn’t.

…And I’ve been festing this now across some days.  

…So I feel like I’ve certainly given him more than a fair share of opportunity to prove me wrong.

…But he didn’t.

…And he won’t.

…And I know there is a second season coming.

…And because I’m a history geek, I know that bastard is gonna live forever.

…And I’m sorta really bummed out about it, frankly.

…(And that Lady Mae didn’t re-sign. Cuz she’s one of my most delicious character favorites.)

Oh, the woe that is my LIFE!

…Good thing I’m back to rehearsals tomorrow.  My artistic frustration needs a good blowout.  Obviously, yelling at the TV isn’t quite cutting it.

~D

The Parable

17 Jan

image

I’ll not write what this is really about…instead it’ll be an exercise in restraint, specificity and coded themes.

…How can one mix such an oxymoronic cocktail?

I dunno.  But people seem to frequently, so lets see if I can keep up.

(And, I can.)

…I’m actually getting better at this all the time. 

The power of print is a heady beast.  Ask anyone who has it, or takes it, or prostitutes it at will.

As bloggers, we all do.  In some way. 

A point of view struck in type is just our slant on the world, coded in html text, and slapped on a server.  Used to be more of a “to-do” than that, requiring physical paper and ink…and (for a readership,) usually an editor and some kind of talent.

But not anymore. 

…Even with the editor and paper and ink, the written word often seems a dieing artform. Any idiot with a computer or cell phone can vomit words on a “page” now, with nearly limitless readership…for instance: case in point:

I have a blog.

And you are reading it.

Sucker.

Now, some will take what I say as fact.

Some will not.

Some will agree with what I say.

Some will claim that I am full of shit.

…But I suppose what I find most interesting about all this (in fact “interesting” is not quite the correct word, I suppose “annoyingly irritating” comes as a two-part substitution), is when words are put to politicking use, where there was absolutely no reason to, in the least.

…Like all those annoying FB updates belching extremism all over the place.  Cuz THAT is what you wanna scroll through on your finally achieved coffee break, or while slamming a sandwich at lunch.

…And add to that, the “hipster” craze of ridiculousness, and really…sometimes my stream makes me want to just close the account and walk away forever. Only I can’t. Cuz I’m a fucking human. But that doesn’t change the fact of how goddamn irritating it is, that it’s a “fad” now for people to quote principles they don’t necessarily believe in, or go against the agreed-upon plan or opinion, just because it is the different, non-mainstream thing to do.

It is fucking asinine to me. 

Really?

…You can’t like your favorite band now, because other people have actually heard of them at this point? 

…You’ll vote against that one dude just because they are the current establishment? 

…You hate that brand, movie, actor, car, restaurant…because other people actually enjoy them? 

…Because it makes you smarter than them to not have partaken of the Kool-Aid (or some shit), and everyone in power now is always wrong, and every choice was poorly made because you weren’t the one to make it, and now your frustrated little poser heart, (which unfathomably seems to get-off on taking the opposite opinion view, just because its “different”)…can secretly orgasm with delight tonight (alone, of course, because no one is good enough to actually sleep with you…and if they were, you wouldn’t want them anyway…)

…Or maybe not.

…Maybe I’m misjudging them, like they do to the us’s.

Is it “fair” that I should get to, if my gripe is all about them doing it first?

Do two wrongs make a right?

This is me: trying to understand what it really means…the frustration that I feel…why I feel it…as well as using the best of my conscious ability to see it from all (even the asinine) points of view.

Which is more than most people will give you.

…And you know what? It STILL pisses me off and is wrong.

…But that’s just my own humble opinion.

Only let me tell you this one thing. As my own little “case in point.” And then I’ll shut it down.

For now.

…A kind of parable if you will:

A woman walks into the ER, and after showing her ID, is taken into the IC ward. There is a young person laying there, face beat to shit, bones broken, bruises everywhere, blood seeping through the sutured wounds.

“That’s my son,” she says as she looks on in horror.

“Are you sure?” the Doctor says, bringing her closer to the bed. “He had no ID on him at the time of the accident…and he’s severely wounded.”

“I know my son,” the woman says, reaching her hand out to grasp the one on the hospital bed. “I’d know him anywhere. By smell, by feel, the way his eyelashes fall..that freckle by his left ear…I know the way he breathes when he sleeps, like he’s doing right now. There’s nobody can tell me different. I carried that boy inside of me for months. My whole body labored for him. I’ve nurtured him, cried with him, laughed with him…I know him better than anyone else in the world…because it was my job to. And no manner of beatings or broken bones or bruises could ever disguise what I know to be true. Nothing anybody says or does, will ever change that.”

“I’d guess you’d know best,” the Doctor then agrees, with a scribble on the chart before him. “Can’t argue with the woman who gave birth to him, now can I?”

“Well, you could, Doctor,” the woman comments from her station beside the bed, “but you’d look like a damn fool if you did.”

~D

Nine Hours

16 Dec

image

I totally cheated on my boyfriend, hardcore, today.

Again.

…I dunno if it’s worse and counts for more by the “day” or by the “event” or by the separation of the amount of “years” in between, digging up old wounds. But either way, there I was, making a TOTALLY conscience decision (nine times, to be exact), to have a passionate affair with someone else…forsaking him for the second time after finally getting over the last betrayal, seven years ago.

This is my confession.

I feel a letter, is the least I could offer, in explanation and is what he deserves.  He deserves to know the full, unvarnished truth.  And its a useful prop after the words are done being read…to print it out so you can ball it up, or shred into a zillion pieces, or set fire to, or all of the above (which is honestly, the way I would prob’ly go.) 

So here it is:

Dear Aaron Sorkin & “Newsroom”,

First of all…It’s not you, it’s me. 

It isn’t your fault that I was seduced so easily by that one trailer they ran on the internet, before you had even aired.  After all, the creative team you were flashing with that stellar, sexy smile, included luminaries of so many lovers from my past.  I knew I would be gone on you in an instant, and only the lack of an HBO subscription kept me from total, succinct, obsession. 

…Even still, I confess to driving by your house, upon occasion, pressing my face to the car window, to watch your every move of beauty and action through internet-posted episode teasers and season wrap-ups. 

…I googled your pictures, savoring them like a kind of really classy porn. I’d post them on my computer (at home of course, because your sexiness was too much to risk during working hours.) And glory in the newest teaser clips and extended YouTubes…forcing me lap at a glass of wine, while moaning, and french kissing my pillow, just to help ease the unholy desire you would unleash.

With all of this steadfast dedication (to the extent that I was monetarily able), how COULD you but expect me to be then: forever faithful?

Believe me when I say, that I am equally as shocked as you are at this so sudden alteration in my affections. I’m usually so steadfast with my adoration. Ask any of my 16 other boyfriends, to whom I have been utterly faithful, well into double-decades.

Decades…!

…Most of my lifetime dedicated to the aching, heart-stirring, squelching, passion-filled, kind of internet-stalking that makes that one diaper-wielding Astronaut look like a total amateur.

“This feels awful-horrible. I wanna puke all the time. I cry at movie-clips. I wanna curl into a ball at every speech of rejection, of every misguided argument, of every death…filmed in slow motion…in the snow…in period costume…with music just absolutely slobbering out shrieks of horrifying grief and pity with every note. I feel like total shit. THIS. IS. LOVE!,” (I have often thought, time and time again.)

…And I truly believed it was. And it always would be. And nothing would ever stop that.

(Except for that one time, seven years ago. Which we decided that you forgave me for, and we’d never speak of again.)

Look: I loved “Studio 60″…and I frequently make out with it to this day…but “30 Rock” turned out to be this really hot cousin of yours I met at that party that one time, and I sorta had a fling with it (for until it ends this season)…but then you decided to do a guest spot on it after “Studio 60” got killed, and I sorta took that as your “blessing” (in a way) for me, signifying it was okay to move on and love again.

So I did.

…And see, then last week the Golden Globe nominations came out…

…And this one show I’d never heard of before was on the list…

…And it’s reviews were things like, “better than ‘Mad Men'”…and, “This is what ‘Newsroom’ SHOULD be!”

…And it’s not like I really “believed” all that was said, but I confess that a quick, innocent, search was pulling up a lot of drooling beauty and concept-love. Plus, you KNOW how I get around men who talk in accents…

I confess, I video searched, clip-watched, and asked it out for a drink.

…And even just in previews, it was charming and witty and sexy and smart…and we both have this big thing for whiskey in common…and then it seemed like maybe the lunches and late night flirts over drinks, might possibly be going further than either of us had intended…

…Until, squirming my stocking’d feet in my high heels beneath the nightclub table, found myself accidentally lighting up a virtual cigarette.

I smoked the FUCK out of that unfiltered tar-stick.

Then we steamed up the windows a little, when he dropped me off at home after our first real episode date…

…And when he walked me to my stoop…well…

Long story, short: We “schtupped.”

And he was reeeeeeeeally good.

…He looks even better outta the beautifully tailored, period suits then IN ’em.

(And who in the hell would have guessed that was even possible?!)

…With like this amazing rejuvenation turnover time, that allowed immediate follow-ups through all of Season One…

(With only occasional pauses to bring more food to the pillow-strewn, heavily-sexed room, in between.)

He was an animal.

…And after finally finding and ramming (pardon the explicitness) through the first three episodes of Season Two, I laid back totally exhausted. Which was fine, cuz by that time he was totally spent.

After nine hours, I suppose even an epic-sexer, runs out at some point.

It was only then (shamefully), laying in the arms of my lover…the whole house reeking of food and word-period-visual sex…that I once again thought of you.

You: my first loved in the genre, and my (now) forsaken.

…Which is why I felt that I needed to stay awake long enough to write this to you.

Do with it as you wish.

It was certainly not meant to pain you further.

…I’m confident that we will find one another again…the world (after all) is a small place, really. And I’ve loved you for so long…in all your previous artistic incarnations, that our history will always be a sweet one for me. And I thank you for that.

But I have to tell you: I sorta bought Season One at noon today, in hard copy, from Amazon.

…The wedding is on December 24th.

We both hope you will wish us joy.

Sincerely,

~D

One Hundred

20 Oct

image

SWAL is now 100 posts strong, well past our 3000th view and has 75 followers in a little over 4 months since we opened shop here on WordPress.

…We aren’t one of the Big Boys with gillions of traffic hits, but we have great affection and appreciation for each and every one of you, our readers. We enjoy making new friends (which in real-life we happen to suck at.) We enjoy stopping by your pages and catching up on your days and weeks and projects…we enjoy little blurbs left now and then on our posts, and we enjoy the fact that our “likes” aren’t a popularity contest…each one of them mean that you totally know what we’re talking about and are kindred spirits in these things, day to day. Or maybe, we just made you smile, or feel glad you don’t have the 9-5 job we do. Either way, today’s post is for YOU.

Thanks, for daily giving me a forum to vent and wonder and create in. Thanks for keeping me honest, and on task with each days post…even when I’m too busy or tired and don’t feel like writing. You have saved me thousands of dollars in additional shrink fees, and help rise my spirits when they land in the shitter.

I’ve learned a lot, since writing m’first post here.

…To be honest, I would really appreciate the million-viewer blog as well, but for different reasons…reasons monetary, that could help fund bill paying and other such incidentals. And I tried. But seems that SWAL had other plans in mind. She’s decided her own fate I think, and chooses to keep it closer to home. After a couple of months, I finally got that, and let her follow her own path.

…Letting go of your children (albeit even artistic ones) isn’t always easy. You might plan out this entire bright future for them that they are not designed to fit into. You can write a play that gets at fest levels and runs the gambit, but never goes mainstream. You can write a book that took everything you had in creative resources and never sees a pressing. You can have a 40 year career in Hollywood playing “second guy on the right,” never quite getting the big break you were hoping for. But if you are doing what you love and need to do, at some point you will accept the cost of it, without expecting a big payout in dollars and cents, end-of-the-day.

Just doing it will be enough.

SWAL’s blogging voice is a different character, almost completely, from last incarnations on blogs I have built in the past. She has become this other being: a slightly more butch, openly biting, yet ultimately more forgiving version of me. But she is a “character”…and with realizing that, I’ve come to realize I’ve built this person who lets me be more balls-out than I usually am in real life, and helps me build up a little more urgency to my life force as a whole.

I like her.

…She’s ain’t elegant or necessarily subtle, is much more effusive and daring, but she’s who I needed when I needed to create something new. As I’ve learned more about her, by writing her, I’ve come to respect her own voice, and will even go back and edit out (or in) certain formats of language because they either do or do not fit her “character.”

…Essentially, (from the writing perspective), I am a dramatist, a “playwright.” It’s the medium I am most comfortable with, yet haven’t created anything new in nearly two years. It seems to me, that SWAL has winked her way into my life as a reminder of what I do best: create characters. Filter life through their perspectives, yet do it in such a way as others can relate to them. Write a person you understand…parts and pieces borrowed from dozens of others you have met, that when put together build specifications and realism’s to what is in fact only a name on a piece of paper, until you make something more of it.

After three months and 100 posts, SWAL is very much her own person, and steadily pressing on. Her daily script of Improv may change, but in the end, by reading our posts, you’ve encouraged our strange little serial Telemudo to continue to grow and further it’s grasp in the world.

…And the royal “we” just wanted to say, “Thanks, guys.”

🙂

~D

Word Fairies, On A Walk

17 Sep

image

A walk.  To battle the  Monday-after-Vacation, gross obeseness of crud.

…There’s this walk I take, that we call “the loop.”  It’s the long circle that takes you down the full length of the north-end neighborhood, and round to the point, looking down on Old Town, rising up from the sea. I usually take it when my brain is too full to negotiate actual directions and choices. It’s easy because it never wanders too far from itself and always comes back home again…like a good dog. Which is really convenient when you’re clearly too busy talking to yourself like a schizo, about all the things you didn’t get around to today, but need to, and how the associated reporting materials will be filled out, and in which order.

…Also, the ocean is good to focus on after a rough day. (If you let yourself.)  It’s calming, somehow.  Maybe because it’s bigger than anything that could possibly be bothering you at the time.  Maybe because it’s so “in your face,”  that you can’t help but get sidetracked by it.

…Sorta like how you can trick a kid outta crying if you give ’em something new to focus on, instead of whatever it is they first wanted, or was taken away, that they can’t have now.

I totally know how that kid feels, today.

Those bastards stole my vacation goodness away…and I was pretty ticked about it. 

…So clearly, after work was done, (and my car payment was made), “the loop” was in order. 

…Anyway…the point I was getting at is: mid-between casa de mi, and the beginning of “the loop,” is this house:

image

About once a week, they print out a poem, short story or anecdote in bulk, and plop it in that little plastic holder bolted on the post and driven into the ground, just on the corner, there. I dunno what the owner’s story is…I frankly don’t think anyone does.  And not too many people take the souvenirs, but I know I’m not the only one who stops to at least read ’em.

The rule is: it can only take up one page. 

…So far, that’s the only quantifying identifier in content or theme. And it has become an addictive reader board, like a fortune cookie’s guts, housing who even knows what words of wonder, day-to day. The top black flip-up cover says, “take one”…like those realtor get-ups you might use to sell a house.  Only this one is used to sell you “thoughts” instead.  Sometimes they’re goodish ones.  Sometimes not. Sometimes I wanna write a note back, and pop it in the box, for the Word Fairies.  Things like:

” I liked the one about the dog.”

…or…

” Sylvia Plath isn’t always totally depressing like I thought

…or…

” This one hurt my inside parts.  But that’s okay sometimes.  So, thanks.”

…Also, I wonder if they take requests?

” Maybe less Politics please…”

” Can you find something about sunshine for the next one?  It’s been raining for six solid weeks…”

” Have you ever considered limericks?  I’d suggest a good Dottie Parker…”

Regardless…its always nice to have some clean, warm air…to hear the sound of sprinklers and dog pantings and runner’s tread…and watch the sun set out over the water.  Its nice to have words like these in my head, other than the chanting of “to do” lists for tomorrow, and the balancing of my checkbook.  Those things can wait.  But a hard-earned piece of goodness and mental rest after a long day, cannot.

…So: “Thank you, Word Fairies.  Keep up the good work!”

(Here are a couple, most recent…)

***

Poem: “The Clearing,” by Gregory Djanikian
from “The Man in the Middle” (Carnegie-Mellon University Press)

**”Poetry is an act of generosity.” ~ Don Skiles**

And something will happen:
You will stand at the edge of a field

hearing the wind-skirted
leaves of the trees, and you

will try to remember
the woman you almost married,

though her life will spiral
like a hawk away from you,

and you will want her,
as deeply as you’ll want

the hawk to settle on your fist,
or the wind to empty

your eyes of grief for all
you’ve renounced to become

what you now are, but
nothing this day will claim you,

neither hawk, nor wind, nor lover,
and you’ll sense how your past

has seduced you through the years
to this field, this reckoning,

to, finally, this poem
which you will write by learning

what matters is not the words
but the unlabored

breath through which
they’re spoken and given up,

like hawks, or lovers
or this life you keep on revising.

***

Poem: “You should at times go out, ” by Elizabeth Daryush

You should at times go out
        from where the faithful kneel,
visit the slums of doubt
        and feel what the lost feel;

you should at times walk on,
        away from your friends’ ways,
go where the scorned have gone,
        pass beyond blame and praise;

and at times you should quit
        (ah yes) your sunny home,
sadly awhile should sit,
        even, in wrong’s dark room

or ever, suddenly
        by simple bliss betrayed,
you shall be forced to flee,
        unloved, alone, afraid.

***

~D

Literary Excuses

16 Sep

image

Today I finally finished Jenny Lawson’s laughtrack to her life, and realized that aside from a spectacular session of reader’s theatre that The BFF and I entertained one another with, over Whiskey and cigars the other day…it was the first book I’ve finished reading in prob’ly upward of three months.

…That shit is ridiculous.

…And I totally know whose fault it is, too:

The summer.

J.J. Abrams.

And you.

…The reason I haven’t finished a damn book in so long is because there is sunshine out there…and that almost never happens in this state…and I NEED to freakin’ be out in it, every second that I possibly can

…And when I’m not outside, I am prob’ly glued to “Alias” for the first time…wondering how in the hell I have lived this long on earth without finding out that J.J. Abrams is prob’ly the magical movie “third” in writer-imagination-kickassness, right after Sorkin and Whedon. But no matter how excited I get about it and wanna tell someone, they’re all like, “Uh. Yeah. Everyone already knows that, dumbass.”

WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THIS, YOU GUYS?!  I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS!!

…My next reason in actively forsaking the written novel/history/biography/NY Times Best Seller, is that I’ve been glued to the fucking computer since first opening this blog. 

For some reason I thought it would be a great idea, and not at all stressful, to blog every single day…whether I happen to have something to comment on or not.  Which has already gotten me into a ton of sticky wickets due to the fact that (in case you aren’t a full-time reader)…my life ain’t all that spectacular. 

…If I had to compare apples to oranges, I’d say that’s exactly like doing a one hour stand-up improv routine, every. single. day. I have no idea where the material is supposed to materialize from, but I’m standing here on the damn stage…with the mic on…so I better just come up with something…and kinda quick…cuz I have to do this all over again, tomorrow.  And since you all are in the audience, (and keep insisting on reading it), I figure you’re basically enablers. So really, it’s all your fault.

Naturally.

…I keep waiting for the inevitable anxiety attack that this will bring on, as the days pass, and I start rehearsals on top of work. Which leaves only about enough time to take a shower, eat one meal a day, and schedule my pooping time (because I can’t “poop” just anywhere, you know…and that takes some serious navigating and preplanning.)

Meanwhile, rehearsals start this Saturday, and I have no idea how I’m gonna make all this fly.

…Which is not to say that I don’t enjoy the challenge it presents: the fact that I often have to just pull a theme outta my butt and run with it, or mix up the media presentation a bit, or figure out how to spin something that is still a bit too raw at the moment, into something we can all laugh about less than 24 hours later…when you’re reading it from your phone, while undertaking your morning after-coffee BM.  (A lot of you do, and you know it, and I’m totally okay with it. Really.)

…Anyway.  What I’m getting at is — this isn’t just a “chore” thing.  Only sometimes it is.  Like when I’m tired.  Or grumpy. Or traveling.  Mostly it is an enjoyable clean slate for the day, on which to scribble upon.  But I DO miss a paper book in my hands.  And I DO need to make more time (somehow) to continue to study from them.  And I DO have lines that need learning.  But I DO think I can fit it all in.  And this is my accountability clerk, jotting it all down in ink (is it still “ink” when in type on a screen?)…so that I will remember my pledge and uphold it.

It may be something as simple as streamlining. Less words per day from my brain, in order to have time to soak up others’.

…Which I can live with.

What I can’t do is another three months and only one novel checked off the “read” list from the three-zillion-and-one piled up beside my bed, waiting to be next. 

Don’t forsake my education…even while I practice what I’ve learned.

I need both.  All the time.  It keeps me centered. And focused.

~D

The Episode The BFF Wrote

25 Aug

image

The BFF decided to commandeer m’blog yesterday while visiting me at work. Because she brought me coffee, I let her. Then, because it sounded glamourous, I contracted her to be my Foreign Correspondent Guest Blogger when she to moves to L.A. next month. Because L.A. is foreign to everywhere that isn’t L.A. And because I can. Following is her first installment. I took the liberty of including Editor notes for her. She took the liberty of completely ignoring them. I claim Executive privileges by including them anyway:

Listen up bitches, It is I. The BFF, and I will be your author this morning for a very special installment of MY BFF’s* blog. (*Editor’s note: The double BFFing might get confusing. Maybe you should just call me The Diva. The BFF note: Maybe you should shut up and let me write this blog.)

We sit, bathed in dirty white fluorescent light.* (*Editor’s note: Nice detail. Very Noir. The BFF note: Yes. I know. That was the point.)

She, pouring over insanely large paychecks she will later be forced to hand over to assholes who will later return to complain that they were not quite insanely large enough. Or they will send their bitch wives to do it.* (*Editor’s note: I love you. The BFF: It’s mutual. Now stop interrupting me.)

Welcome to Friday morning! $17,557.00 today and counting.

I, having taken improper advantage of a car accident I was in yesterday to beg out of work today, sit across from her, hijacking her blog and making faces at her when she’s not looking.* (*Editor’s note: Bitch. The BFF note: I’m making another face at you right now. And a gesture to go with it. Guess which finger I’m using.)

Side note: The Diva’s* first urination of the day occurred at 11:01. (*Editor’s note: See, I told you it would work better. The BFF note: I will leave right now and take the coffee with me.) She has asked me to keep track of this. We have a special bond.

Also, she has asked that when I quote her directly, I do it so that she will seem about 20 pounds lighter and about 2 inches taller.* (*Editor’s note: Thank you. The BFF: Alright then.) Use your imaginations people.

To continue, It should be known that she and I know how to have fun.* (*Editor’s note: This is scientific fact. We did about forty studies to make sure. The BFF note: At least.) I mean, we do it right. Case in point-

She: “I’m gonna have one of those bread pizza things, and it’s gonna be awesome.”* (*Editor’s note: Most people won’t understand how this is relevant to the above statement about “having fun.” Explain in more detail maybe? The BFF note: If I have to explain how food is “awesome” to these people, they are reading the wrong fucking blog.)

We go on adventures, we play hooky, and we travel. We picnic, we movie watch, we antique.* (Editor’s note: Thank you. The BFF note: Yeah. Whatever.) We are young, and poor, and tied to jobs that require sitting at a desk all day, and we absolutely refuse to let any of those things get us down. Hence days like today. Should I be at work? Yes. Is lying wrong? Yes.

Me: (When reviewing my life choices) “I am a liar.”

She: “But only a little bit, and it’s not like you’re going all Bernie Maddoff.”

Me: “Yeah, but you can’t embezzle from a non-profit that helps the homeless…”

She: “Well you can….”

Us: “That’s the line!” –We say together in unison.* (*Editor’s note: It’s good to have one. The BFF: Yes. Editor’s note: Also, you really were in a car accident, and I’m not sure taking time off is the same as embezzling. The BFF: We’ll go with your logic. This time.)

She and I, we understand each other. I respect that all the bean cans in her cabinet must be organized with labels facing out,* (*Editor’s note: I appreciate that. The BFF: I’m here for you.) and she puts up with my loud voice, relentless quests for change, and incessant Louis Armstrong impressions.* (*Editor’s note: Do the Louis Armstrong turkey one! Do it! Do it! Ha! The BFF note: You’re welcome.) So it works.

“I’m gonna be super extravagant and go pee again,” she says. We live such privileged lives.* (* Editor’s note: Rock Stars only wish they were us right now. The BFF: Yep.)

And on a day like today, when work is too pointless,* (*Editor’s note: Right?! The BFF note: Pffftttt) and the sun is too bright and sunshiny,* (*Editor’s note: Still can’t find my fucking sunglasses. The BFF: I keep telling you – buy new ones!!) and the clock is ticking towards a time when the two of us will be much farther apart than a text message and a drunken stumble home, it is important to share meaningful friend time.* (*Editor’s note: I miss you already, like I would my big toe. The BFF: Thanks? Editor’s note: You know, like — not having you around throws me all outta balance and stuff. The BFF note: Oh. Can I maybe be a different anatomy piece? Cuz you hate your toes, and — Editor’s note: — It was a metaphor! The BFF note: Actually it was a “simile” but, anyway…)

“Don’t you wish your last name was Tamara Frisbee?” she says between sips of coffee.

“Yes, yes I do.” *

———————————–

(*Editor’s note: You forgot to note that this was the part where I was working on the Open Order report, calling out funny customer names. People are gonna read that and be all, “where the hell did that come from?” The BFF note: Really? Cuz that would be so different from all the rest of your blogs, how? Editor’s note: Wow. When are you moving again? Can I buy you a one way ticket “now,” or do we have to wait…? The BFF note: You’ll miss me when I’m not around to fight with anymore. Editor’s note: I know. So shut up about it.)

(* Editor’s note: Wait. Was that the end? The end of the whole blog? The BFF note: I like to leave things in suspense. So my answer to that would be —)

~D

What’s The Poop?

18 Aug

image

If I was ever going to write a book, it wouldn’t be a literary epic.

Obviously.

…I’ve tried ten or eleven times to do one, and I always get lost in the middle. 

If I wrote a book, it would have to look almost exactly like this blog; same kind of content, same format…only minus the kinds of things that could get me sued for “defamation of character” once people figured out who I was, and the place I work at.

I would sell something like fifteen copies total (ten of which would be purchased by my mother. ) All the critics would hate it,  due to its total lack of resounding theme or tone or purpose. And I would call it something really random.  Like, “Not Another Bathroom Book.” 

The first entry would go something like this:

As my title informs you, this is not just another bathroom book.  I mean sure, you can carry it with you to the john for an epic camp-out if you want.  I won’t judge you.  And I won’t take it personally either.  What I mean by it is: this book is not a short read of interesting stats and averages about curious creatures and mind-bending “didja knows?” I have no anecdotes to share with you. I don’t know what the fattest man in the world weighs in at, the annual rainfall of Idaho, or anything about the small tribes of peoples who occupy the Congo.

I can almost guarantee you won’t ever win a game to Trivial Pursuit just by reading this.

…What I hope you do do (heh…I said “do do”), is allow it to divorce yourself from your day-to-day “haftas” and “s’posed  tos” for a little bit of R&R time.  And maybe give you a laugh.  Because you deserve it.  And you deserve to sit in a proper chair not made of porcelain with a poop-hole cut out of it, while this takes place.

Before we begin, a heads up to the ground rules:  If you are adverse to occasional curses, swears and oaths as practiced by the saltiest of sailors, just put the book down now.  I don’t wanna piss you off with my linguistic acrobatics…it’s just the way I talk.  I was once advised that filtering it out would bring more readers and a higher class of critical acclaim. To which I said, “Balls to that! If I can’t be ‘me’ then what the hell is the point?” And I’ll stand by that statement til my dieing day. 

…Or at least til I’m granted my first audience with the Queen of England.

Next: If you are the type or grammarian-Nazi that my Editor is, this book may not be for you, either. Just because I converted them to the dark side, doesn’t necessarily mean I can achieve this on everyone.  I frequently make up words, disregard all rules and regulations to format and sentence structure, my run-ons can get more epic than the entirety of “Beowulf”…and I really like ellipse.

…Like, a lot.

If, by chance, you can suffer these criteria… I am told by the dozens and dozens of  three people who have been screaming at me to write a freakin’ book, that you’re prob’ly gonna have a pretty good time swimming through these words.

If not: I’m sorry. 

But only a little bit.

…Because frankly, you already bought the book, the buck-fifty is mine now, and you can use it as extra toilet paper when you run out, for all I care.*

(* I lied just now.  But at least I did it with conviction.)

So, without further ado: I give you a collection of informal essays and quips guaranteed to make you feel better about the life you lead. 

“At least I’m not like that poor bastard,” you will say any number of times throughout.

To which I reply: “You’re welcome.”

~D

Another Kind Of Life

8 Aug

image

The other day, I was trolling the nets looking for something to put writing focus toward, and found this script-call, due that day.

…Of course, there was no way on earth I’d be able to get it in on time, but the subject matter intrigued me, so I decided to use it as a writing prompt and do it.  After furious attack in type, I finally took a rest away from it for a bit, and returned to it yesterday with the often true realization, that it was shit. 

The obsessive nature in me had gotten too caught up in this world…in my head it was moving mountains and healing the sick…but I had forgotten to let the paper in on it.  This happens with me, sometimes.  Thinking too quickly and deeply, and it all comes out in a mish-mash of awful.  And now I’m sitting at that extremely familiar crossroads of whether to scrap it all n’ re-boot, or just shrug it off and call it, “free exercise.”

I decided I needed a Pro’s & Con’s list.

…Then I decided that I was too lazy to write one out, and that it would ultimately come down to just one of two things anyway:

1. Am I just opting out cuz I don’t wanna do the work?
or
2. Did I already get out of it, everything that I needed to?

…Which lead to:

1. Is this in fact just an “exercise” to nimble up a bit?
or
2. Do I want to actually bulk up on the concepts and body-build my techniques a little?

…Bringing on:

1. How important is “finishing” the work, so I can hold it up and say, “See, I have this whole thing over here.”
and
2. What in the piece is salvageable, and is it enough foundation to build a decent house on?

…Which finally culminated on down to:

“I need a Pro’s & Con’s list.”

So, for the sake of accountability and things, here it is:  

PROS

* I like the people.
This may sound vein…(being as the characters are products of my own imagination)…but they have good weight and balance, in personality, idiosyncrasies and humor. They have really valid points in arguments, are often smart-asses, and make me laugh. We’re “friends” now, in our way, and I dunno that I’m okay with just being the casual kind.  Maybe we should date? I dunno…

* I’m learning stuff.
I know “of” the topic matter, but not intimately.  This is requiring research, investigation, charting and google picture-looking.  I love going full “nerd” in book work again…I love learning things and looking at the stuff that I do know, a little differently.  It isn’t easy (or particularly “restful”), but hard work is sometime fun, and mostly good for you.  ‘Cept when it’s not.

* The topic is underappreciated.
Why not share the love?  Expand on something different, something not of the peanut butter and jelly norm.  Maybe it’s time for a little peanut butter and banana or peanut butter and pickle…you don’t “know” what tastebuds may or may not want if given the option!  The whole world could be just sitting here waiting in the wings, for me to set the new precedent of “awesome.”  And if I don’t do it, someone else will.  Which is how we get travesties like the “Twilight” series…

* I already have like 25 pages.
25 pages ain’t bad!  25 pages, is a solid thing…a two-scene operetta…a one-act…a really good appetizer with garlic and butter melted all over it! 25 pages is: 25 pages!  That ain’t nothin’ to sniff at!

* There’s no law saying I have to share it.
Even if I finish it…even if I spend days and weeks on it; even if it sits complete on my computer with no voices to it, I can still say I did it. And if it’s terrible or too strange or too revealing…if I chicken out in actually showing it to someone, I can still say, “I did it.”  “It was done!”  “I made that!”  No one may ever know or set eyes on it, but much like that recipe book I haven’t cooked a single thing out of, but still keep cuz the pictures look really good…it’s mine, and I own it!

CONS

* I can’t tell the “Baby” from the “Bath Water”
I know it isn’t “good” but I’m not totally sure which parts are definitely the “bad.”  Stripping it down to it’s nakeds and trying to separate it out might be impossible, what with the ever-loving infinity of ways I can take the thing and spin it.  So, if I were to go at the script with a wrecking ball right now, how the hell am I supposed to know what to keep and what to blow apart?

* What is my point?
I don’t know that I have one.  Which actually means that I don’t.  This shouldn’t totally discourage me, as plenty of scripts without a point have been written, produced and have purchased beach houses for their composers, before this. Also, sometimes a point will arrive later when you sit back and view the piece as a whole.  But those cases are when you have to go back and beat the crap out the script with more and more edits to clarify just what the hell that is.  Which is a lot of work.

* It’s a lot of work.
Maybe I have enough “jobs” right now.  Maybe I don’t need another place where my head has to go and be all reasonable and thinky and things.  Maybe it just wants to sit on a couch after work and watch Buffy.  That could totally be what it needs right now.  Course, I’ve sorta already been doing that a lot lately.  Which is how I gained all this weight.  So, maybe I should scrap writing altogether and get my fat ass out on a damn walk for a change.

* It’s never as good on paper as in my head.
Often, it’s just sheer disappointment.  I dunno why.  We speak the same language, and know all the same similes, gimmicks and jokes…but my head is always smarter, funnier and better looking than the words end up as, on the page.  It’s a once-removed ratio of goodness.  Like my speaking vocabulary is severely limited and made awkward because of dated exclamatories (“Rad!”),  too slow call-up recognitions (“you know, that thing with the stuff by whats-his-face?), and general social-retardedness with regards to small-talk (” I well too, you? How are.”) Where I know without a doubt, that I come off better on “paper” than “in person,” there is equal truth that I’m gooder in “brain” than in “write-speak.”  It’s just true.

* I have other things I should pro’bly be doing.
Shows are starting up again, people are consistently missing at work leaving holes that need filling in.  Then I’ll be taking my own vacation, with a Cuz in tow… to see the world of everything we have here to offer.  Also, I really need to start back into exercising more than just my jaw (while in the act of chewing.)  Digging in right now is just not the best timing.  It never is, but this might be a particularly worse “not the bestness” of it.  Also, I think I’m just lazy.  Not so much that I can’t waste hundreds of words bitching and making excuses about writing a thing…but enough to put off just going ahead and actually agreeing with myself to write it.

…So goes the battle, friends.

Wonder which one I’ll pick.

~D

Your Mission, Should You Accept It…

13 Jul

image

In around 18 hours I will magically turn into a screenwriter, through the science and technology of filmdom. 

…Our group has a google chat already set off and binging continually on our phones, with info from every department.  Tech, Location, Costume, Catering…it’s all been arranged like we’ve already done this upwards of 10,000 times…and I am perfectly aware (as everyone is stellar and collected and organized), that until me and the writing department build an actual script…with the actual specifications and genres, (which we will not know until actually half a day from now), there is nothing anyone can actually do.

…So, no pressure.

…Which is good, for anxiety-ridden peoples such as myself.

…But that isn’t the best part.

…The best part came mid-yesterday as a general text went out to all involved, from our Producer.  It stated the following:

“Has everyone had chicken pox?”

Why?

Because our Director/Editor has contracted a case of Shingles. Overnight. (As people do.)

That’s why.

…Which immediately told me that this is not going to be your “average shoot.” (Whatever that is.) And that clearly, I would need to take notes, as the blog that will follow the completion of this process is gonna be straight up ridiculous.

So, I’ve decided to open a note-pad on my desktop and contribute occasional notes  throughout the process, as I see fit.  You know, with all that “free time” I’ll have just lying around.  And sometime mid-week, (when I’ve finally gotten some damn sleep, and this is all a past-tense dream), you will be getting a first-hand record of a gorilla film-shoot in Seattle…the summer of 2012.

Wish us luck.

…Donations of caffeine and alcohol can be made directly through me.  We will light a special candle in Chapel, in thanksgiving. And  I don’t even think a single one of us is Catholic. 

But we will convert. 

…That is how serious we are about it.

~D

When It’s Time For “The End”

12 Jul

image

I have a friend, who has been a part of my family for a little over twelve years now. 

…When I first met him, he was a single dude, working in Corporate hell, doing theatre on the side.  Now, he’s married (to one of the awesomest of humans), is Managing Artistic Director of one of our most popular local theatres, and is a proud father of two sons…and a comic book shop. I count it as a privilege to have been there to see the birthing and growing of all these changes in his life, not least of which because he was always, always there to help me usher in mine as well (no matter how totally different they were to his.) 

…And I supposed that is what “family” is about, really. They are the people you support and share these things with…in all life’s infinite alterations.  But as we get older, “time” begins to play in the equation a bit, and it isn’t only the “births” of things you are then present for…but the endings as well.

He’s been there for mine.  I’ve been there for his.  Loss of Parents.  Loss of Grandparents. Loss of sanity. 

…I was there, the first day he quit the Corporate safe-house, and I was there the day he opened his shop.  I was there when he expanded to a new location, and there when he blew the roof off his third.  And because the economy is rough, banks are “Boss,” and people are only (in the end) “human”… today, I was there at 9PM, as the final sell…from his shop.

The receipt said customer number 49,516.

Now think about that a moment, if you will.

I did.

…Hanging out with him behind the register after work today, I couldn’t help but think about it.  Never-ending lines of people, many with their own personal stories to tell about why THIS shop, was THEIR shop…and just what it had meant to them.  An entire new generation of comic readers and gamers and artists were teethed in those walls. A whole collection of fan boys (and girls) began their lifelong thrill of geekdom in the shadow of it’s trademark seal. Careers were launched in it, signings were given in it.  Friends were made in it.  Week, after month, after year. 

…He staffed it with knowing enthusiasts of all things film, art, language, humor, escapist and deviousness. He catered to any group or any club which needed a home to practice their art, their play, their  passions in.  He never let you leave empty-handed, even stocking selves of free-bees, just to get you to give this special world “a chance.”  And he was a walking dictionary of knowledge stacked, shelved and inventoried within it’s walls…because he was just like you: a fan, of some of the coolest outlets of imagination ever invented. 

He cared about his Shop friends and family…and not just as numbers on a sale’s sheet.  Perhaps if he hadn’t so much, he wouldn’t have been in the position he was today. Constant sales and discounts…I helped him clean and collect three cabinets-full of painstakingly archived subscriber files, several to half a year or more in money never collected, for special orders it would certainly have helped not to eat the cost of, which were never sold, but were waiting patiently for the day that their buyers would come and claim them.

…On the other side, however…many an “old faithful” shuffled through the line, looking a little like lost souls with no body now to host them.

…There were College students, reminding him of the first comics they’d ever read as kids, which he had personally put into their hands, starting their imaginations in an entirely new sphere of wonderment. 

…There were gamers whose leagues had been hosted at his tables  for a decade, dropping in to give handshakes and hugs. 

…One longtime customer, (who’d been to the register and purchased several stacks of goods, several times across the evening), watched as even the walls were stripped of their posters, artwork and memorabilia. He got back in line again for the fourth time, and bought his favorite framed piece…one linking back to the original shop location…and after paying for it, gave it back to my bud saying, “Keep this one safe,” before giving a final hug and walking to the door.

… Forty-nine thousand, five-hundred and sixteen.

Forty-nine thousand, five-hundred and sixteen sales, stories, games, posters, movies, autographs, art and comic books.  In ten years.

…And though, I know, that closing the doors today was like many of the other deaths me and my friend have seen each other through across these dozen years…he should know that doing so in no way means he is a failure.

A life is lived to the extent that it is supposed to.  When it has achieved all it was meant to, it ends. The end of a lifetime isn’t failure…can you look at anything or anyone you have ever loved that is no longer here today and say it is?  They may be gone in body…but not in spirit.  Not in memory.  Not in the good that it has brought into life and shared with others.  Not in the friends it has made, the stories it has shared.  Not in the handshakes, hugs and tears of the people left behind when “it” is here, no more.

Forty-nine thousand, five-hundred and sixteen separate stories, in the life of one store.  And this one, is it’s last. 

…It was also one of it’s firsts.

I thought I should write it down for “posterity.”

Dear Bud,

…Remember that day you said, “I’m quitting Corporate and I’m gonna open a Comic Book Shop.”

…And I said, “Oh.  How come?”

…And you said, “Because. I don’t like what I’m doing, you only have one life to live…and since I was a kid, I always thought owning a Comic Book Shop would be awesome.”

…And I said (not knowing anything at all about Comic books, or shops), “Why?”

…And you said, “Because they make me happy. They are some of my favorite memories from when I was a kid. And cuz through the years, they’ve tended to get a little seedy with a bad rep.  I don’t like that.  I want to make a place that’s  bright and inviting and friendly…where whole families can come, no matter the ages, where people can spend time with their friends, and meet new ones. It’s like theatre, you know: where everyone is welcome, no matter what they are into or how ‘different’ they sometimes feel.”

Mission accomplished.

Rest In Peace, Comic Book Ink.

…We will remember you.

~D

%d bloggers like this: