Grab a Hanky…

So, last April I attended the First Friday at The Grove, an open mic event for prose writers hosted by San Diego Writers Ink, and fellow San Diego writer James Spring was recording with the hopes of creating another story for This American Life (his first story aired in February, “Cat and Mouse”). So of course I said Yes you can record me. And James generously sent me this clip of me reading one of my essays, Me and Billy Crystal. Enjoy. Hopefully you’ll hear bits of the essay, and perhaps conversation with me and Holly Fleming and James on some future TAL show, but for now, I hope you enjoy this. And thanks to James for allowing me to use this, especially since I have since lost the draft of this essay that was edited down to three minutes. Did you catch that? It’s 3 minutes long, so get comfy.

We the Screenwriter

Don’t you just love it when you’re cruising the internet and start off looking for one thing, and then you click and click and find something really cool?

Well, I was looking at San Diego writerly links, and came across the San Diego Writers Conference, thinking maybe I’ll go this year, maybe I’ll try to get the first 30 pages of my manuscript polished enough to show to an agent, maybe I’ll go rub elbows with editors, maybe…. and then I clicked and I clicked, and I found this:

Michael Steven Gregory is the executive director of the writers conference, and produced another movie that I’ve seen called “We, The Writer” which was pretty cool. And the best part is, he created a new word, “doculogue.” Love that!

Musing about Creativity and Mental Health

I’m a firm believer that EVERYONE is creative. In some way or another. Some of us are writers, artists, photographers, others of us are mothers, scientists, and/or business owners. Whatever you do in life, being creative, being able to look at things from a different angle, makes life interesting, more fulfilling, and brings you closer to your bliss.

Why is it then, when we need it most, creativity escapes us? Like for me, right now. I really want to get lost in my own fiction, to make up someone else’s life in a short story and live there awhile. But the muse is just not here for me right now. bitch. Oh, it’s not her fault, I know I’m the one pushing her away, closing the door when she knocks, turning on the television to drown her out. But dammit, can’t she see I need her?

Maybe I need to wallow in my misery right now, I don’t know. I just know that I am struggling to get out of bed in the morning*, although I can’t sleep at night, busy brain my sister calls it, and I WANT to want to spend time on my own projects, not the ones that were forced upon me by my father’s death, but I can rarely muster the energy to do anything in the evenings except watch television, which of course makes me feel even more pathetic..

Gee, how did a post about creativity turn to that??

So I’m signed up for a class next Friday, a workshop on Overcoming Self Sabotage. Perhaps being depressed about my Dad is just an excuse to NOT do the things, to NOT put in the hard work toward achieving success in my creative endeavors, to NOT achieve success. Perhaps I am just sabotaging myself. I’m hoping that is the case, ’cause I’d much rather think that I am creatively brilliant, but emotionally stunted than to think that I am just a depressed hack.

The creativity hostess, Jill Badonsky, has put together this whole “Unleashing Creative Brilliance” weekend workshop and has teamed up with Dr. Robert Maurer. It looks like a great program, and Jill is a wonderful muse channeler, and she says Dr. Maurer is fantastic.

I also signed up for a workshop on the 30th of September, entitled “It’s my story and I’m sticking to it” taught by Debra Ginsberg, through the San Diego Writers Ink.

Yeah. Just keep moving forward. I’m acting “as if” as Dr. Phil would say. As if everything were fine, as if I were not depressed, as if I am a brilliant writer.

* * *

*I should point out that not wanting to get out of bed has nothing to do with my job. I’m actually quite happy with my job at the moment, we have lots of fun creative changes in the near future, and I just got a nice little raise, that really isn’t that little, but just makes me feel like I need to step up even more so we can continue to do more fun stuff.

PS: I just read this post and it reads like I’m manic or something. Yikes.

9/11 Can’t avoid it.

I’ve been trying to avoid it, I rarely watch tv news, but here it is. September 11. Of course I wish there had not been such a tragedy, but what I mostly wish is the love and compassion we had for each other in the days following September 11 would have stayed with us. With me.

I remember for a while it was OK to look into the eyes of strangers. It was like you knew that everyone you met could have lost someone, or knew someone who lost someone, and it was ok to express your sympathy, to ask, did you know anyone? Where were you when it happened?.

I remember people were nicer to each other, they drove their cars more respectfully. Not like this morning when I, driving well over the speed limit, was still passed by folks who thought I was going too slow. And so I cursed them. Crazy drivers.

I heard more pleases and thank yous, and fewer exasperated loud sighs that are some sort of I-can’t-talk-to-you-cause-you’re-a-stranger code for “Excuse me.”

I miss those days. I wish that feeling had permanently imprinted on the American Psyche, and that every time any one of us were to encounter that the gruff old man at the newsstand, that the girl down the street who never smiles, the lady in the beemer who just cut you off… maybe just maybe instead of getting pissed off, we could have a little compassion. Because maybe just maybe that person just lost a friend, a wife, a brother….

Skyline Drive

I’ve been missing my dad a lot today. It’s Sunday. I miss talking to my dad on Sundays. Not that we ever had much to say, which is funny because we had a lot in common. Too much. So much it scares me. So much that it inspires me to clean out my closet, and take things to the Goodwill, which I did yesterday. Still more to go, I might add.

Anyway, so here’s a couple of photos. Times were good then, even if I did have Farrah hair. And big glasses. yikes.

These were taken at Skyline Drive in Virginia, circa 1980…

It’s funny, I totally remember that day, the way the crispy Fall air tasted like apple cider, and caramel. I remember those overalls. I loved them. And that red sweater with a hood was soft.

And me and my Dad were ok. Not perfect, missed my mom, but we were ok.

Jean Berg took the picture. She was cool. I always wished my Dad had married her.

This just gives me chills

I met this gal at the Blogher conference (I know, I know, shut up about that conference already, would ya!) But seriously, Amanda rocks.
Here she is singing a capella, one of my favorite songs. AND she does it well.

I’m inspired! don’t worry, I won’t sing, but I am working on putting some AUDIO up, the result of playing with my new digital audio recorder that I love. Stay tuned. Maybe tomorrow. Darn these weekends are too short!

8 Days

Eight days, really nine into September and I am just now doing a blog entry. I’ve not been doing any writing lately– just can’t seem to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I tried to revive a story I started about two years ago. I never knew what to call it, though the working title is “Just Friends” I never knew if it was a short story? a novella? a (gasp, dare I say?) Novel? or perhaps a screenplay? I actually have written a lot of bits and pieces, and put it into screenplay format figuring that the art director, the set designer, the director, Oh yeah and the actors, would fill in all the details. So basically I have a very flat story.

I think the story is still a good one… my main character is Randall, who lives in a small town somewhere in the south. He has been in love with Thelma since the 2nd grade. Never told her. She went off to college, stayed out in LA, met someone… Beatrice. So, Beatrice and Thelma decide they’d had enough of LA living, and as Thelma’s mom passed away she inherited the family abode, so they come back to this town to live. Oh yeah, no one knows they’re gay, but Randall sees them kiss and is devastated. So that’s basically the situation. The story is where it gets more complicated. As in writing it.

My biggest problem is Point of View (POV). When I’m writing creative non-fiction / memoiresque personal essay, POV is quite straightforward. It’s me. It’s all about me and what I think and what I know and how I feel. With fiction, it’s not that simple. Am I writing from an omniscient third person POV as narrator who knows what all the characters are thinking? Or is it limited third person, perhaps only inside one person’s head? Or do I write as first person and really get into one character? Which character’s story is this? Who do I identify with?

Anyway, I tried to take it out of screenplay format which is heavy on dialogue and light on things like narrative descriptions– unless of course you have a soliloquey, which is not only hard to spell, but hard to get away with unless you are Shakespeare. So, I stripped out all the direction, and ended up with a lot of dialogue, in what now seems to me to be a gay themed Harlequin romance. bleckh. Not that there is anything wrong with that, the gay part that is, it’s the Harlequin thing. bleckh. And the fact that there is no clear POV. Who’s story is this anyway?

Maybe I’ll just work on something else….