Blog started in Jan 2005: 1st entries for Write in Every Genre. Then the REAL ME begins
It Hurts When I Stop Talking
Sometime in Fall of 1998, when a visit from Dad was infrequent, and primarily at the mercy of his 88 Toyota making the 50 mile journey, I was being treated to lunch. The restaurant was my choice, I think. Sisley Italian Kitchen at the Town Center mall was somewhere my dad had not yet tried, so that was my pick. Either I was being treated to the luxury of lunch and adult conversation without my husband and 5 year old son in tow, or that's just how the moment has lodged in my memory. The more I think about it, they probably were there, but enjoying the Italian food too much to bother interrupting.
Daddy and his lady friend at the time, Anne, came up together and made a day of it with me and the family. We were eating together and talking about some of my scripts, stories, coverages, poems and other creative attempts that really were not seeing the light of day. I think I'd just finished a group reading of The Artist's Way and was in a terribly frenetic mood over my writing. I think I'd just given them an entire rundown on a speculative Star Trek script.
My Dad asked me point blank, “Why don’t you write it?? Anne agreed. It sure sounded like I wanted to write it. Why wasn't I writing seriously? It's what I'd set out to do when earning my college degree in Broadcasting many years earlier.
Heck, I should, I agreed non-verbally.
But, I didn’t.
Blogs can be wild, unpredictable storehouses of moments, tangents, creative dervishes, if you will. I'm getting a firmer handle on my creative cycle. My mental compost heap (which is a catch phrase from Natalie Goldman or Julia Cameron - I can't think which, right now) finally seems to be allowing a fairly regular seepage of by-products. That may be a gross analogy, but I give myself credit to categorize my work in raw terms. It proves that I'm not so much the procrastinating perfectionist that I once was.
Still, I always seem to need prompts and motivation. Being a self-starter is the next step. My attempt to keep up in the Write in Every Genre Contest at the beginning of the year seemed like a perfect point to launch the blog.
|I really appreciate having a few friends in Oregon -- the rain began there nearly two days ago -- their posts about wind gusts and storms give an excellent forecast of what to expect Monday.
Knowing has not changed my commute to anything pleasant nor timely, but at least I feel forewarned. The radio DJs falling back on picks like, "It's the end of the world as we know it" does not help.
|Launched a Patreon page just now. I am sure it does not describe enough about my eagerness to write for a fan-base. That desire had to evolve. I believe I am finally there. I know the kids and my spouse support anything I set my mind to. For a very long time I have mainly written when some idea sparks me to craft -- that's called a prompt. So, for now, I shall stay comfortable by stating I am a writer that relies on the prompts of others. But as I write more often, I shall see how the universe allows the purpose of the skill to blossom. I hope others will join me for that adventure.
|Had a story idea today -- and as usual for me, it is somewhat based in reality. What would happen if you showed love by taking on the persona of someone famous, but long dead, in order to let someone obsessed with that person to live their love fantasy?
More specifically. that relationship being a teacher with a strong love for a dead poet and the female student starts writing him letters in handwritten inked letters in the style of the poet. (I think it might play out much like Richard Matheson's What Dreams May Come, or in the obsessive details Christopher Reeve's character takes in Somewhere In Time
|And overheard the comment by "Steve" "Note:
Be Careful what you read... be careful what y..."
It is great to know that the beliefs I have been around my whole life are being talked about more widely. But it does make me realize, I have only allowed the information about how to "change your thinking, change your life" swirl around me. I need to become a much more dedicated user of my own science.
The prompt: Aside from anything writing or reading or WDC related, what is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Since before I deliberately set aside time to write, it has been watching television shows and movies which has been my biggest pastime. This is probably due to my parents freely taking me to movies, and allowing me to watch television at a young age. I watched Sesame Street and other children's programming on the UHF channels, like (28) KCET and (56) KDOC -- if you don't recognize that designation, "UHF," those are the higher frequency bandwith airwave channels before cable and still utilized by digital signals. And on Saturday mornings I could watch hours of programming on what used to be called the "Big Networks" (2) KCBS, (4) KNBC and (7) KABC. Here in Los Angeles, the local stations then were channels (9) KCAL, (11) KTTV, (5) KTLA and (13) KCOP. Much that would be on the air once I'd be home from school were reruns of shows like, I Love Lucy, The Three Stooges, The Little Rascals, The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island. I first watched anime-style shows like, Simba, The White Lion and Speed Racer. Prime Time (8 pm - 11 pm) miniseries and game shows were normal. The most subversive things I could watch on television would be on later than "prime time," the most avant-garde: the show Soap. I admit to watching The Benny Hill Show, or Monty Python's Flying Circus, also.
A few of the first movies I remember seeing with my parents are "Tommy" (The Who Rock Musical), The Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies, The Sting, Sleeper (a farcical sci-fi movie by Woody Allen), and Star Wars. On my own, by 1978, I remember going to the movies solo to see a Benji movie, and also the Ralph Bakshi animated, The Lord of the Rings. The early Eighties were the height of my obsession, and of course, that included the Star Wars sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi.
I religiously watched many shows -- sometimes along with my parents like, All In the Family, Chico and the Man, Upstairs Downstairs. I cataloged TV Guide episode descriptions for shows like, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. I drew pictures of the entire collection of characters for a network's season. NBC was powerfully popular at the time, with dozens of top shows. I was totally into Remington Steele on NBC.
Beauty and the Beast with Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman was probably the first show I ever felt I could write a script for. I did start college with the intention to write scripts, however, by 1990 I was graduating with a degree in Radio-TV-Film. I was more focused toward video producing/educational programming than I was interested in shopping movie or TV scripts around Hollywood.
With the explosion of cable channels and the unfolding of the computer age intersecting with media really changed the viewing landscape. My children have had a completely different immersion into programming than I experienced.
Prompt: Did you attend school dances or the prom? Why or why not? If so, what was the experience like? If not, what did you do instead?
The senior prom is one of the school dances that I attended. Partly because I like tradition, and partly I am a rules-follower would be my explanation for why I went to Prom. I'm fairly sure I pressured my date to go -- I knew going in that he absolutely did not like dancing, or dressing up. It is one of only two times that he ever dressed in a tuxedo -- Yes, the other time was for our wedding, two and a half years later.
I am curled up in the background, modestly cuddled by my date.
I remember the couple hours spent at the hometown Denny's coffee shop in our fancy clothes, after Prom, more than I remember any of the activity of Prom itself. The food took a long time to get to our table, and all the boys kept conversing about the best weapons and medieval torture devices. I'm not sure if this was in reaction to their bow ties strangling them all, or because it kept making the girls squirm.
Even though I don't have a picture, I also remember going to the Sadie Hawkins dance. I believe that one was Sophomore year. I was glad to have a sweet chum from Jr. High agree to be my date. He didn't give me any agonizing over deciding to be my date -- for that I am grateful, it helped make me socially confident. He actually enjoyed dancing, and was fun to watch -- a born entertainer!
(Originally entered 5-23-16)
|First of a series related to:
The prompt: Has anyone ever entered your life who has changed it drastically? Was it for the better or for the worst? Tell us about this person.
I found out on May 6th that a friend from high school passed away from cancer -- He was taken at age forty-nine. May is my birthday month, and I just "turned 49," which means I have completed forty-nine years of life. In the moments after being born, you are in your first year. That's the true accounting, which, I think, most people don't like facing -- we finagle the numbers. I am counting 2016, going forward, as my fiftieth year, no regrets.
As it relates to the prompt, I do regret that I loved someone deeply for forty-nine years, but never used my writing to its full potential to describe it. I still do not know if I can. I could write the single word, "love" to sign my name to a Christmas card. I could scheme to impress, or get close, but that was the extent of my social ability to breach the boundaries of cliques, expectations, awe. Especially when the feelings were strong and i had that person within reach, I lived in denial -- the more I ended up knowing about the person he was and became, I realized just how deeply I was in denial except for being in some idealized version of what our love could be.
I do know that I had a short poem written in high school, and it was straight from that dream land I let him and I love in. I think my best friend may have even published it in our senior yearbook (the year after he was already in the world, attending Georgetown university).
I am grateful that I transformed a sliver of that immature poem into the seed for a more dramatic scene in a book chapter; but decades later. And evenso, by that time, that story was my terribly frustrated passion mixing two factual, if idealized crushes into one fictional character --my desirable male protagonist. At the time, it would sit for a decade as nothing more than a static item.
The real reason this person's death has changed my perception drastically comes from seeing what all the circles of friends shared upon being shocked on facebook by the announcement of his passing. Suddenly, I realized I was not the only one who received loving attention from John. The life-long truth of his existence was being repeated by hundreds of gentle comments in that week. I always placed him in a category that he was unobtainable -- and yet, he was available, he made himself available, a good listener, a wry tease, good to look at, tasteful. All the things I saw, other people had seen. and i do not know why i was always keeping us separated by soap bubbles. that arms-length admiration, but just aware enough to be honest that I desired him, but there was something no one would deny -- he never belonged to any of us.
|Life fills the body and on some nights refuses to settle. So it is with words for a writer / reader. Today, I will listen to my friend, as he prompts us in his writer's workshop. He has promised Virginia Woolf and some of her understanding about the adventures we may or may not have with our friends, the words of the English language. I am prepared like a safari game hunter's guide to explore in the proper habitat to sack the prize word specimens.
|Who wakes up thinking about the U.S. prison system? A prison administrator or any guard after a bad week at work? A viewer of too many episodes of Criminal Minds...that could be this household. I say the U.S. prison system because I am sure that is the only one I have the slightest idea about its functioning, and even then, a Hollywood version. I'll further clarify by saying my thoughts were sympathetic and from a place of compassion about how the prison environment must affect a person. Again, not being a criminal prisoner myself, it is no better than informed fantasy. But i will have to go from there.
I had one moment at home this week which may have sparked the deep thinking. My spouse and I sleep on a futon -- while I've been off a few days from work, I have daily converted the futon back into a seating area instead of leaving it flat as a sleeping area. My spouse asked me, "Why?" I replied, on the spot: because I preferred to have a place to sit. What I did not say, and what did not come to mind in that moment, but is still true, was two-fold: It feels right to strip the futon so "bed" is no longer an option during the day for both man and dogs. Plus -- this was the deeper thought which came later: So the small apartment we live in is less prison-like.
I do not know if it is the depression that my spouse has, or if it comes with being male, or both... It is a blessing, and I'd like to think a human right, to have a place to lay down for sleep. It is nice to have places to sit. It is so nice to be free to walk barefoot on carpeted flooring. It is a privledge to have an animal or two for their affection born from the small bit of responsibility it takes to keep one -- knowing the good results their care can instill in any human.
My life has felt like prison, on occasion, for a mix of reasons. Few of those reasons stem from me, except maybe from my own innocence. And control is hardly available. Control actually feels very futile, from the related results
(excuse me, I realize that I have slipped into one of my "dancing around" the truth so as not to call any particular person out moods). This results in my writing losing any sense for the reader (even me, if I go back later to read it). This bout started at "a mix of reasons." Even if I don't start naming names, then the people i love (being depressed) will think I blame them, are the cause, should never have been born, are unworthy...You see my problem -- it's a minefield.
Yet I should have the thoughts to be able to examine them, yes? That is what is healthy. Not every thought is accurate when this mess we call human has one, now is it?
Much like I commented earlier, "informed fantasy." I think that is what every new thought really is -- and we have to have the thought first in order to examine it for what it is. So, will I be able to bring everything out into the light? Not in this blog post itself, assuredly. I am a bit too lazy and a bad typist for that.
So, maybe back to my social reform of prison thread for now....
I know I have a desire to do more in the world, and I have been questioning for about a month about working toward a Masters degree in Social Justice. This is another part of where the compassion for prisoners coelesced this morning. I am not the only one in my household against the death penalty. In that area of what "we" believe as a society, I feel we don't really talk. Now let's go to the other end of the spectrum -- the unjustly imprisoned, minor or repeat offenders that "we" subject to a prison system that is flawed and frightening. How can we even ignore it all as blissfully as we do? So many people, to me it seems, harden themselves to avoid the truth and justify the way we discard and do injustice to people we say on paper are being helped/reformed in prison.
I need to point out, I am not sure why this is coming out as important to me today. Other than I really started to think about/list what a prisoner gives up. On the lighthearted side, three meals a day and having laundry done regularly sounds inviting -- that has been out of my reach on many occasions given my family's shaky financial experiences for over more than a decade.
I already count walking free as number one
Think about it, and you will know that is the top one for any creature.
Comforts and acquiring comforts is number two -- Here is where the mental deterioration has to be affected the most readily. It would be for me. One of my strongest obsessions when I don't have cash is the desire to buy something -- a cold soda, a pair of shoes, socks. To be reliant on a family outside sending or bringing something to fill the comfort need may not really fill the underlying need to do it for ones-self.
Choosing who you associate with; this is where it branches off for most people. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe if I was a criminal I would appreciate the like-mindedness of those around me. I mean I already have to figure out quite a diversity of "thieves" at my workplace (ha ha). What if you prefer solitary time? What if you don't function without a group around you to bounce ideas off of? What if you are too young to know any of this about yourself yet? Starting to see the problem?
I think privacy works its way in at about this point. let's just be honest with ourselves, though -- privacy as we once knew it is already eroded for all of us; so, it is a new world in addressing whether that's something prisoners give up more of.
Compare it to my paying rent that has risen too much -- a privildge and a blessing, that. Even with my family members' health issues, they are with me. We gather together or sit apart as needed -- and we don't have to invite anyone over if we choose to keep our home for ourselves. My children have internet access at any time they want; where the world and what is in it can be acquired, at least to an extent -- and what do they watch: YouTube and Bob's Burgers. We have comedy and I wonder what restrictions are on the media watched in prison. This one, I don't know. Should we educate with the use of censored carefully-crafted media while someone is incarcerated? Graduate up from Sesame Street. This is one of those sidelines in thought which I haven't explored as a student of media. It does bother me when criminal acts are used as story devices, and we don't think of the consequences -- who do we educate while we entertain?
In the military or in prison you are there to protect the freedom of all others.
Under the direction of someone else, you go or stay based on the decisions that leaders are making for you.
So is my perception of prison anything like the prison system -- that's the question I can continue to meditate on. One thing i know; mine is a prison of choice.
|The "Lost" note -- something I recall noting down on my phone while on the bus home yesterday, I had to do mental gymnastics to recall where it really was placed. Thing is, I thought it had been an entry into my blog. But it was not here -- so where? It was unusual for me to write on the bus as I usually get motion sick if I sit in a moving vehicle and read. In this case, I just wanted to get a quick note down so an idea was not forgotten.
I remember finding my open tab to my WDC portfolio on my phone, and the idea was related to Sunday School, so I entered it into an open chapter in an interactive book I have there of curriculum I've been developing. Love Around Us is its title, and because I spent the time jotting that note down, I know now it is time to get back to fully developing that.
As well as writing more regularly in my blog once again.