Tuesday, August 31, 2010

when does the rain get here?

I've spent the past hour watching an in-depth documentary on the History Channel about the Dust Bowl of the 30's. I knew it was bad, but... I had no idea. It was tragic and terrifying to a level of supernatural, Biblical proportions. I have actually almost cried several times this evening as I've tried to grasp the magnitude of the situation. It was mind-blowing. Drought, the relentless, hurricane-level storms, the plagues of rabbits, poisonous spiders and bugs, the blindness, the disease, the death.

I mean, WTF, God? Really?

At one point they discussed Dahart, Texas, home of this newspaper man who kept optimism alive (one of the few-- he formed a club called Last Man Standing to keep the plain state folks going) as well as quite a few other interesting players of importance in the "dirty thirties." They then featured a tiny clip of a bespectacled, balding and poorly dressed little farmer, squinting in the face of the blowing dust, saying "Times are tough, but we're American, and we shine through."

Probably the most beautiful thing I've heard in a long time.

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

so very many snippets

I haven't been very good about finishing things this week. I'm still hacking away at my second draft of good old Jerome, and for some reason the short stories have been disappointing me. I think my favorite one as of late is this one called "Lights." I think it enabled me to express what I seem to do best (atmosphere) while allowing me to practice the come in late leave early thing that apparently all good writers (especially screenwriters) are supposed to be good at. I really must start improving soon. My confidence as a writer is not triumphing as of late.

Many, many new snippets over at my snippety blog: Flickerings, if you are interested.

Back to the old drawing board.


...that I have been to:
Paul McCartney
Third Eye Blind
James Taylor and Carole King
Blitzen Trapper
Bob Dylan
Shiny Toy Guns
Cold War Kids
Blind Guardian
Fleet Foxes
Hush Sound
Owl City
All-American Rejects
The Decemberists
Jaci Valesquez (my first... yeah...)

On my MUST list:
Tom Waits
Aimee Mann
Sufjan Stevens
Coconut Records
The Weepies
The White Stripes/Jack White
The Spice Girls or Simon and Garfunkel, if they ever tour again, but that is doubtful.

On my that-would-be-nice list:
Ringo Starr
Ben Folds
The National
The Eels
Leonard Cohen
Elton John
Death Cab for Cutie
Damien Rice
Neil Young
Everclear... for old time's sake.
Hughey Lewis and The News

Yeah. Had to get that off my mind.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the one that got away.

I was so sad to accidentally find out this evening that Patricia Neal, one of my most favorite actresses, died this week. She was old and had had a very full life, but also a very sad one.

There's really nothing I can say about her that hasn't already been said, but I will reiterate that what I love about her is her sense of intelligence in performance. She has a touch of cynicism in her smoker's voice but her eyes were always betraying a little bit of hope here and there. I love the characters that she played-- they were tough, all of them, just like another favorite, Barbara Stanwyck. I'm sure the two of them were drafted into Hollywood due to their beauty, but were able to prove their skill not just in playacting and portrayal, but in what seems to me the ability to channel and understand what it means to be a woman and a human being at the same time.

Incidentally, Neal's performance as Alma in Hud may be my favorite performance ever.
tonight i thought that somehow, magically, if i set my mind to it i could learn how to play a song on my guitar.

thought wrong.


and what's worse is i tried about 50 songs from the "Easiest Tabs Ever" list.

It's like being told I'm retarded. Musically challenged. I hate music! I HATE IT!!!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

coffee shop talk

So many birthdays in August, it's madness. As my friend Dominic likes to remind me, December is a very cold month. Hahaha. Ew. Anyway.

My friend Marianna, temporarily back from Spain, had her birthday last week. She turned 25. I found that very striking-- 25 is a striking age. I always thought I would be at my best at 25. I believe women are supposed to be at their physical prime at that age, too. It would suck to make it there and be ugly. Marianna is really the perfect 25-year-old, however. She's absolutely strikingly beautiful, she lives in Spain, she's trying to figure out what she wants to do, she dances and she travels and she dates Brits and Spaniards with fancy shoes. Boo. I'm about two years away from the quarter century mark, and I'm so far from being what I thought I'd be-- which is all that and more, of course-- that I shudder to think.

Buuut anyway.

Her birthday celebration was at her family's house, which for awhile was also basically my house, and to be back in there with everyone just possessed of love for their girl gave me the warmest feeling. I love birthdays. I love cards that everyone writes in and birthday signs and presents that are just so well suited for the recipient that the moment they see it in its little bag or box their eyes turn into lights. Anyway, there was nothing especially unusual about her birthday dinner except for that lovely settling in my heart as we all crouched around the table. It's so funny to be a part in the celebrations of other units, families. There is always a certain way in which things are done, for good or bad, and even the participants don't seem to notice how seeped they are in their tradition and reaction-- they just simply are.

I think I've become too self aware to simply "be" like that. So it's nice to see.

The night before her birthday we (Marianna, Maureen, and another friend of hers) tottered down to The Good Bar (which has just become THE bar for me and the people I know. It's small and convenient I suppose) and had a few. The band performing happened to be alright for a change, and the girls got to dance which always makes them happy. There was a lovely movie-moment on our way out. As the band wrapped up with "Closing Time" Maureen asked if she might be able to sing a song over the microphone for her sister (Maureen has a beautiful voice and loves to sing though she doesn't do it very often). The bartender, amused, allowed her that, and she stepped up to the mic and began singing "You Really Got a Hold on Me." Eventually the band's drummer hopped on task, giving her a beat and everyone in the bar sang along with the chorus and clapped for her, Marianna most of all, glowing even brighter than the star in the room. Everyone was super impressed by the time the song ended, and Maureen gained quite a few fans.

It just made me think about Marianna, though, and about how capable some people are of achieving great joy. Maureen's song was almost like fuel to her sister, making her happy. How lovely that the quality of another can make someone else so joyful, how nice that someone's appreciation of another can make them glow.

Sometimes, just sometimes... I love people.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

i deeply hate revisions.


i hate revising. deeply.

things that depress me, volume 550

screenwriters suck.

the worst thing is, there are so damn many of us.

observe: yeah, you guys are all hopeless and out $50.

i feel like i'm in a where's waldo scenario and I AM NOT WALDO.

women never faint, and villains always blink their eyes.

You may think that because I refuse to use the abbreviation-cum-word "lol" in constant conversation (or in general, at all, ever) that I am a snob. This is partially true. I just like words. Inserting LOL into every comment made with a keyboard is death. First of all, it's a lie. More often than not that person is not, indeed, laughing out loud as they claim. Secondly, it only steps in to advance the curse word curse-- that is, apparently, the vanishing of real or appropriate words from the average person's vocabulary with the addition of excess cursing to fill in the gaps. Filler. You know what I mean. LOL also serves this purpose. I don't know lol. hi lol. Lol a family of four died today lol (the dreaded bookend lols). Thirdly, the LOL serves the super annoying purpose of tone control attempt. That is, when saying something that may be considered harsh, or when joking or using sarcasm the LOLer will insert LOL at the end of said joke or comment. Your hair looks really bad today lol. No, I was talking to the plant behind you lol. I don't want to date you lol (the smiley face can also be used to achieve the same effect, which is a tool i'll admit to using myself).

So. What do I type to express amusement? "Hahahaha," usually. However, before you correlate that to aforementioned LOL #1 (or the other two uses for that matter), know that my hahahas are never pretentious. Never doubt that. My typed laughter is only a genuine transcription of whatever real-life LOL I am experiencing. And that's the truth.

...yeah, i'm really procrastinating right now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

jason segel

so, maybe i've been watching waaaaaaaay too much How I Met Your Mother (which is fantastic, by the by) but I'm starting to feel a real affinity for (with?) this guy. I feel like if I were a man I would be something like him. Also, I think we look strangely alike.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

that would be something, to meet you in the pouring rain, mama.

So. Last week I sort of made the commitment to try really hard to stay positive, push for change, and search for direction. I haven't been consistent, but that's part of the struggle. Gettin' back on that horse, and having the presence of mind to get back on the horse quickly, rather than sleeping and crying for 3 more months. Anyway, I'm trying. I really need to make major changes. Mainly on the employment front, but also just internally, as previously discussed. I am so defeatist, and so ready to feel inferior. I go through phases of pretty intense insecurity. I suppose everyone does, but mine can really overtake me. I'm pleased to know that I don't overwhelm people with it anymore. That used to be a problem. I guess now I can just call a spade a spade.

Self-deprecation is good in some ways, and I don't think I'll ever be able to get past the habit, however it is ultimately not the best attribute to lug around with me. True self-deprecation, anyway. I think there is a kind of deprecation that can serve to improve self-esteem in a sense, so long as it's not pointed or harsh. The Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Robert Downey sort. It's more to do with knowing who you are and being honest about it rather than being afraid that someone is going to identify a flaw of yours and therefore wanting to beat everyone to the punch. Or just hating yourself in general. I am guilty of all of the aforementioned uses.

Anyway. I'm challenging myself to see if I can stick to running, writing a short story, and reading a chapter of the Bible each day. Oh, and drinking water. That would be good. Also, wrapping up projects, applying EVERYWHERE and editing and submitting my stories and scripts to various things.

I finally cleaned my room today, so that's something.

In other life sort of happening news, alot of friends have had their birthdays recently. The most fun I've had in a while was my friend Kate's birthday. The youngun' turned 20, and her parents and half of her siblings were scattered about, so I spent the night before at her house and we dined on store-bought pizza and white wine (not the best combination, but it was all there was, truly) by candlelight (yes, this is what single girls do). 10 minutes till her birthday, we played Birthday by The Beatles and danced around like madmen for the duration, then went outside to enjoy the remainder of our wine and the evening air before midnight struck. Then the old lady fell asleep while watching Yellow Submarine (gasp. i may never trust her again). The next day I snuck downstairs to put up the birthday sign that another friend and I had worked on (Kate's family has a hand-made birthday sign tradition. like giant birthday cards). Afterwards, we tromped to muffins and coffee and downtown thrift store shopping (I procured a coat and outrageously odd shoes that... oddly match. I am Doris Day!). After that, we sauntered to The Old Vienna, a German resturant that we used to go to long ago when our group of friends all happened to attend German classes at VC. And after that, what ho. There was ice cream and old friends and shenanigans, but finally we all ended up back at Kate's house with creative drinks. We all sat around chit-chatting and generally feeling happy until Jon fetched his guitar and started playing Bowie songs (the theme of the day)-- we all lept into action and marched to bring out the cake-- a glorious cake with a picture of Bowie in his sequined jumper on it (dreamt up by myself). That really was a fine moment, all of us singing "STARMAN" instead of the birthday song and she blowing out the candles with glee. It was one of my happier moments, anyway. The whole night was generally fantastic-- we just ended up with cake, drinks, toasts, and lots of songs. We essentially sang all night long, silly voices that we all had (exception of Megan). Magic. Marvelous. I will think of it fondly for some time.

Jon also recently had his birthday, which only Megan was able to celebrate with him as he was working in LA that day. However I did bequeath to him a nice little photo album intended for his collection of disorganized photos. On the first few pages I included some to get him started-- some nice pictures from old times. Those were nice to sift through. I have many on my computer, and looking at Old Me just reminded me that I was actually quite nice-looking, and not fat as I repeatedly told myself I was. Of course, now I truly AM fat again... curses. Anyway. These are encouraging for me-- all I really need do is get back to THAT. I don't have to be skinny. Just normal-sized. That would be nice. I need to get some sort of weight loss plan going... I am open to suggestions, other than the obvious. I was large as a teen up until 16, then I lost a TON as soon as we moved here. By graduation I looked GOOD. And then I got all depressed in 2007 and I haven't made it back since. I don't know how to find that old, motivated mindset anymore, I just kind of feel dead in that way, about alot of things. Sigh. Look at how cute I was:

dang it all. i'll get there. that's what i mean-- that's what i have to keep saying. no more of this "fuck it all." you'll just get there.

My writing, too. I've been much better this past week at taking advantage of the fact that I'm unemployed. All writers are unemployed for forever anyway, aren't they? Yeah. They are. Still, sometimes I just can't handle this moneyless existence. I can't handle asking people to help me financially. I can't handle being even vaguely thought of as someone who's a bit of a loser. I keep thinking my non-immediate family must think that of me, mainly because they know I'm poor and unattached. All of my cousins except for the youngest (boy) are married now. Four of them have children now. Not that that is the end-all be-all of success, however I do believe that
1) Family and companionship, if desired, is definitely some measure of success.
2) Those who have it will usually deem those that have not as unlovable in some way. They either understand or they understand too well. Both are frightening.
3) If you are going to be "unlovable" as defined by other people, then you must at least be successful somehow. In my case, I should be a wunderkind. Sadly, I am just a semicreative person. No fireworks here.

Going it completely alone is a rough business. I like to think that being an artist basically instills you with a constant feeling of loneliness, which is why you have to produce constantly. I suppose I'm alright with that. Nevertheless, as I have said recently, going it alone during tough times is... tough. Especially very lately. I feel like I really need someone who can relate but who is also a bit stronger than I am.

Patricia Clarkson, the actress, when she spoke to us at LMU said something that I thought rang really true- that we as artists trying to "make it" should surround ourselves with people who GET IT, who will support us emotionally and appreciate us, who will encourage us, who will beat us up when we're being defeatist or ridiculous. Not to say that the relationship should revolve around the artist, obviously, but it's good to make friends with other artists or with those who have an appreciation. I feel tremendously on my own. And I feel tremendously selfish. I want someone to listen to ME talk about my ideas without my [insecure] feeling that that someone has a stopwatch behind their back.

OKAY that turned into a rant, what I started with originally was the fact that I need to be more positive. I'll get there. Something'll happen. I need to be that way about my writing as well as my personal development and every other bloody thing. As for being lonely, I don't suppose lonely, insecure people attractthose that might appreciate them (and i'm not even talking about just soulmates here).

Right now I'm looking into finding a venue and getting the a-ok from the publishing company to adapt and put on Franny and Zooey as a play. It would be a great outlet for me, and if it turns out as I would like, a tribute to my most favorite book and its author. I'm currently brainstorming about a creative way to tackle it.

Back to the old drawing board. And I say that in the most positive way.

"all crowds have to howl."

"All crowds have to howl."

"I can't draw, I can't do anything. I'm poor as a church mouse." He laughed, bitterly and rather too loud. "I've become a damn beggar, a leech on my friends. I'm a failure. I'm poor as hell."

Her distaste was growing. She barely nodded this time, waiting for her first possible cue to rise.

Suddenly Gordon's eyes filled with tears.

"Edith," he said, turning to her with what was evidently a strong effort at self-control, "I can't tell you what it means to me to know there's one person left who's interested in me."

He reached out and patted her hand, and involuntarily she drew it away.

Mr. In and Mr. Out were meanwhile exchanging pleasantries concerning their future plans.

"We want liquor; we want breakfast. Neither without the other. One and indivisible."

"We want both 'em!"

"Both 'em!"

"You'll have to sit down," said the waiter to Peter after they had gone.

"What's 'at? Sit down?"

"Yes --or get out."

Peter turned to Dean.

"Come on," he suggested. "Let's beat up this waiter."

"All right."

They advanced toward him, their faces grown stern. The waiter retreated.

--Love is fragile --she was thinking --but perhaps the pieces are saved, the things that hovered on lips, that might have been said. The new love words, the tendernesses learned, are treasured up for the next lover.

Then they were in an elevator bound skyward.

"What floor, please?" said the elevator man.

"Any floor," said Mr. In.

"Top floor," said Mr. Out.

"This is the top floor," said the elevator man.

"Have another floor put on," said Mr. Out.

"Higher," said Mr. In.

"Heaven," said Mr. Out.


Fitzy, I love you so much. I highly recommend this novella (too short for a novel, too long for a short story) to everyone. I finished it in about two hours. It's rough going and tragic at moments, but so good. So solid. Such a reminder that Fitzgerald was one of the finest writers to ever walk the earth, even if he did so with much inebriation.

Friday, August 13, 2010

i still really like this part of my script.


Jerome’s shirt hangs on the clothesline. It is a grey morning and ash hangs in the air. The chickens are pecking around.

Jerome hikes around the chickens, kicking one, to get to his shirt. Edie follows him. He shakes the shirt and the ash floats from it in small flakes.

What is that?

Ash. From the fire.

No, that.

She points to the spots on Jerome’s shirt.

Who knows.

He folds it up under his arm.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

why is love so sad?

"I'd say life is wasted on... people."

such an amazing movie.

Pretty much tied with Kick Ass and TS3 for the best of the year thus far.

But then again I haven't seen very much in the theatres this year. Boohoo.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

lovely lovely. i have written some today. that far outshines everything else.

I have also had the striking idea to adapt Franny and Zooey, my most favorite book, into a play. And I want to put on this play. I'm not sure how I plan on doing that.

I am also going to finish the latest draft of my thesis tonight, which is going to make it acceptable to for me to allow other people to read it. I will then try to decide what I want to do with it.

Then I shall work on two short films that I need to get going, as well as the novella that I've been poking at for awhile, and get back to writing Rusty, my True Story, and maybe outlining/brainstorming for Pluto.

this is good.

otherwise, i have been constantly recommitting to change and positivity in these past few days. so far so good. it's really hard for me, but i have faith and optimism now, which is quite unusual for me. Thank GOD.

I keep thinking of this story I heard on a Beatles documentary (Surprise, surprise). Paul was talking about when they used to tour in England and would have to drive all night in a shoddy bus. One day, in the freezing snow, it went all the way off the road and crashed in a ditch. They were all OK and got out, wondering what on earth was going to happen, but John Lennon said "It's alright. Something'll happen." And it did. And that became their reliable saying for some time. Something will happen.

That's what I've been telling myself. And hey, if John Lennon said so then I'm inclined to believe him.

Monday, August 9, 2010

this evening i think i made the start of something new. i'm really tired of being in this funk, i've been in it for years. i'm consumed with self-hatred to the point that i don't know who i am except that-- besides the moments of generous clarity-- i hate everything. i've gotten to this place where i don't even want to be SEEN by the world. i feel constantly burdened, emotional, rejected, incapable, and deeply, deeply depressed, which is basically what this whole stupid blog has been about from beginning to end (and i've had this blog for two years nearly). tonight i actually got on my knees and started praying for help. i need to get straightened out. i'm just so weary of being this person, so EXHAUSTED, SO EXHAUSTED by all of this self hatred. i don't understand the beginning of it and can't decipher where the knotty end of it might be. but i can't stand for it anymore. i don't have a gameplan, except to try. i'm going to try so hard.