•June 21, 2018 • Leave a Comment

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•June 20, 2018 • Leave a Comment
Opnamedatum: 2012-12-06E foto

Jan Ekels The Younger gets me.

I ain’t dead.

I haven’t posted in a few days, but I’m not gone- just focusing my writerly energies on my novel lately. I shared the completed chapters with my sister, Bean- the one with the Master’s degree in Professional Writing (yup, it’s a thing) to get her take on how the story is coming along. Admittedly, this was done with my heart in my throat since she was likely to have the highest standards for ‘good’ writing and the lowest tolerance for ‘bad’ writing.

“You should stop writing screenplays.” Was her bottom-line reaction. “You should work on this instead.”

I took this as a compliment.

“I mean,” she amended- perhaps afraid she’d insulted me by suggesting that all my film training hadn’t really turned me into the prodigy-genius to rival the Spielbergs and Kubricks of the world. “I mean, your screen plays are ‘good’ but this is good.”

So I’ve moved from quotes to italics. From upspeak to declarative full stop.

I mean, aside from being a complete, ninety degree change in career trajectory, this was a compliment and I wasn’t going to quibble about semantics.

So I left the meeting feeling motivated. Suddenly it became very important to make Progress, both because Bean’s evident enjoyment of the story was very inspiring and because she said she Wasn’t Going To Read Any More Until There Were At Least Five More Chapters Done.

Challenge accepted.

 

•June 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment

It was cool and overcast when I went running today. I couldn’t believe how good my body felt: there are all these jokes about the constant achiness of age that starts to creep in during your thirties and steadily worsens for the rest of your life, but DANGIT if I didn’t feel amazing today. I felt better during this one run than I felt for most of my twenties.

Gotta enjoy it when you can.

Hating Evan

•June 15, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’ve decided that I no longer hate Evan Rachel Wood.

You know, as if it’s just that simple to change your mind about hating someone. It sounds kind the kind of statement that a five year old would make about a kindergarten classmate who bogarts the crayons, but then afterwards drew them a nice picture.

I think it shows some real growth.

Evan Rachel Wood is not somebody I know personally. We’ve never met. She’s never done anything to me that really merited me hating her in the first place. She was famous and she was pretty and that was enough. I hated her for it: probably in the same way that flat-footed, red-haired Skipper hates pointy-toed, blonde haired Barbie. And much like Barbie, I sometimes fantasized about the satisfaction that might be gained from popping off her head.

What did she have that I didn’t have? Whatever it was, it somehow got her closer to the things that I loved than I’d ever be able to get myself. If I obsessed about Marilyn Manson, there she was dating him. If I fell headlong into Julie Taymore’s “Across The Universe”, there she was starring as the ingenue. If I developed a celebrity crush on Katherine Moennig, then there she would be in the tabloid headlines in a new romance. Wherever I looked, there she was: critically acclaimed in “The Wrestler”, appearing for an arc on “True Blood”, smiling at me from theposters hung in the hallways of USC.

She haunted me.

She was everywhere.

I began to resign myself to the fact that our paths would inevitably cross.

Somehow our fates were tangled up together. Somehow we had the same tastes. Somehow we were cut from the same cloth. Someday we would meet and discover we’re actually the same person, violating the laws of physics and causing reality to collapse.

But, I mean, there are worse ways to go, amiright?

In truth, I was painfully jealous of her.

I still am.

She’s still younger and prettier and more famous than I am and she always will be, but I have to admit (through the tatters of my pride) that I respect her now, which I didn’t before. I recognize her struggle now, which I didn’t before. I recognize myself in her now which I didn’t before. To hate her now would just be small and weak of me: it would be hating myself.

But fuck does it sting to have to admit that I was wrong. Necessary, but painful. And of course I had to actually admit it. Out loud. To another person. These feelings had been a part of me for years. I’d been adamant and vocal about them then; I couldn’t just change my mind and pretend like it had never been a thing.

It had been a thing.

I was going to have to eat some goddamn crow.

The thing I realized is: the hardest part of changing your mind is admitting that you were wrong. I mean, here I was deciding that I no longer hated a woman who’d never done a single bad thing to me and who didn’t even know I existed. And I was feeling sorry for myself because I had to tell one single person: my husband, that I’d been wrong about her.

“I’ve decided that I don’t hate Evan Rachel Wood anymore.” I told him.

Ok.” He said.

That’s about the smallest, daintiest portion of crow in the whole wide world and it still took me a couple days to choke it down. Can you imagine if I’d been wrong about something big? Like a race? Or a political candidate? Or a religion? Can you imagine if it had been somebody who had actually hated me back and I’d had to loudly proclaim to all the world that they were right? Can you image how hard it would be if there had been gloating?

No wonder we’ve become so entrenched and polarized. Being humble about being wrong is tough.

But also freeing.

I never realized how much my own resentment weighed until the weight was lifted. It feels… good. It feels like a part of me has been made new and I am somehow better and stronger than I used to be.

Who knows: maybe someday our paths will finally cross and I’ll be able to tell her “thank you”.

Right after I say ‘I’m sorry’.

And right before reality collapses.

Thur’rupy Part 2: Intake

•June 14, 2018 • 5 Comments

It’s only been a day but I’m already having second thoughts about this therapy business.

I should preface this by saying that so far my experience with the actual people has been very good. Warm, friendly, approachable, non-judgmental, and down to earth: all qualities I value highly and respond well to. I spoke to two separate very nice ladies over the phone as part of the process they described as Intake. What was I looking for? How had I heard of them? What were my previous experiences with therapy? With depression? With anxiety? The questions weren’t difficult. The interviews were not unpleasant.

The problem is the cost.

I’m beginning to see why therapy is thought to be a pastime for the rich and self interested: even on a sliding scale, for non-crisis therapy with an intern level professional it was going to cost me five hours of my time for fifty minutes of theirs. Yes, it had to be weekly, no, I couldn’t do it every other week. I said I’d have to talk it over with the Curmudgeonly Lion. They said they wouldn’t be able to schedule me until July anyway.

I began to question my choices.

Throughout the phone calls themselves, I was fine. Afterwards, though, I found my body close to tears: some part of me responsible for keeping the genie bottled up had loosened its grip and I kept finding a lump in my throat and ‘something-in-my-eye’. So there’s clearly something there that needs to be dealt with.

But did I really think therapy was the answer? If I was honest with myself, then: no. I didn’t. I could imagine myself getting sucked into some kind of endless dependency system where I would go and talk and cry and ‘make good progress’ without actually changing anything and then go back a week later to go and talk and cry about the same things all over again.

This is my fear.

What kind of support system do you have in place?” Was one of the questions. I described the family that I had nearby but then struggled to describe the people I considered friends. I’m not a joiner: I’m not part of clubs or a church. I don’t have a confessor or a patron or a mentor or a confidant. Maybe that was the problem: I spend a lot of time breaking of pieces of my problems to distribute around amongst a network of friends and acquaintances as a way of sharing the burden. Maybe that was what I was really looking for: one single person that I could tell everything to.

If it’s going to cost me six hours per week (one hour to do the crying, five hours to earn enough to pay for it) of the best years of my life, I was going to have to really want this. Did I? Would the payoff really be worth it? What was the payoff exactly? A new and better self? A better understanding of the old self? Freedom from conformity? Acceptance and inclusion?

I realized I didn’t know.

I realized that I’d probably better figure it out before deciding whether or not to take the next step.

I have two weeks to decide.

Thur’rpy

•June 13, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Welp, I’ve officially gone native: I’m looking into finding a therapist.

It’s not for anything in particular: I’m not currently In Crisis, in spite of the angst which has fueled a number of my recent posts. For all my existential dread, I’m sleeping fine and eating well and generally functional in my day to day activities. So I don’t believe that I need-with-a-capital-N Need help, which is partly why I’m looking: to start laying groundwork on a support system for when the Need does arise. Because it will. It’s just a fact of life.

My track record with counselors and therapy has not been great. In the past, my personal heuristics have followed the logic that if it’s something I can handle on my own then it’s irresponsible to tie up resources that someone else might need, and how will I know that I can’t handle it unless I try first? So inevitably by the time I actually Need help, it is because I’m in so far over over my head I’m beyond the reach of daylight.

And that’s not a good timeto get stuck with a counselor who’s used to talking coeds through homesickness or psych interns on their last week of a therapy rotation or a mentor who’s so overbooked that you don’t get a return call until a full week later.

I mean, not that any of these things have happened to me.

It’s also not a good time for someone to suggest deep breathing and exercise. By the time I ask for help, I guarantee I’ve already taken a lap around the block and counted backwards from one hundred by sevens and breathed deeply enough through my core to strike oil.

So I’m not good at asking for help and the times when I have asked, help has not been forthcoming.

So now: I’m looking for a therapist I don’t actually Need.

It turns out that there’s an organization that offers low cost therapy on a rolling pay-scale. And it happens to be in my building. In fact, it’s likely that I walked right past their door when I went to the blood drive last month. So it couldn’t be more convenient if it tried. And I’d been receiving the message to look into therapy from enough different sources (books, Twitter, my podcast, etc) for a long enough time that it was beginning to feel like a hint that I shouldn’t ignore. So today I sent in my contact info. Now I wait for them to call.

This will be the first test.

Kill Your Darlings (Sort Of)

•June 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I wrote myself into a time-loop, by accident.

This is the problem with writing a story in the order that the ideas come to you instead of in chronological order: the potential for dis-continuity in the narrative. I’ve been making an effort to go chapter-by-chapter with my writing to force myself to produce the missing ‘connective tissue’ to string my chapters and scenes into a proper narrative, but even with this in mind it is easy to get distracted and to try to jump around as ideas occur to me. To prevent this, I’ve started creating new files that contain only a single chapter at a time. I’m not allowed to drop the chapter back into the main document until the whole chapter is written, start to finish.

It works, most of the time. It prevents me from getting sucked into reading material I’ve already written (because it’s way easier to just read than to actually write). And it helps me keep track of how long each chapter is. But it does mean that sometimes I can spend days futzing with a single chapter without making much apparent progress.

AND

With the chapter out of context from the rest of the story it is easy to get sucked into a time-loop. I had the first half of a chapter written, but I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with it. So I moved it around in my timeline. This seemed like a good idea and sparked a very successful few pages of new material. The gist of it goes something like this:

  • Main Character comes home to discover Friend working on computers.
  • Main Character tells Friend about an upcoming Show that they’ve booked.
  • Friend prepares to publicize Show to adoring public.

It sounds simple enough, except that the ‘Friend’ was supposed to be conspicuously absent from the Main Character’s life until after the Show. It was a major plot hinge for a later chapter to have the Main Character discover the Friend crashing at his place just after the Show.

Damnit.

One way or another, half the chapter was going to have to get re-written. So I had to unpick all my stitches like Penelope trying to undo her weaving. I trimmed off the new pages and put them aside for later and moved the whole chapter back to it’s original place in the continuity. It’s not quite a ‘Kill Your Darlings’ kind of moment, but it was definitely a ‘Disassemble Your Darlings Into Component Parts’ moment.

Back to the drawing board.

 
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