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.
|Not quite mid-December here in Los Angeles, and Christmas is both happening everywhere, and not being celebrated in usual form. Evidence of this comes in the extended line at the 1st Street Starbucks and in the startling appearance of Santa on PA from an airborne LAPD helicopter circling the civic center in the mid-morning. In my putting great effort into assembling and decorating the tree for our pod of cubicles, but at home not finding the spirit to decorate in the apartment. I like to think that Christmas is still being celebrated in most hearts.
Is Christmas about intent or successful follow-through? Hear me out. People make intent into a mostly negative thing when one, "only has good intentions..." implying failure. But to me intention involves imagination and hope. And that to me fits with the Christmas story, about the hope and newness of a season. A covenant of love starting with the presentation of the Christ child in Bethlehem. In gathering to exchange gifts, of course your sister hopes you have the follow-through to have made a trip to the toy store for their kids. However, to me, that follow-through phase is in alignment with the Easter Season. That won't stop me from being a practical aunt and having toys in hand 2 weeks from now instead of baskets four months down the road.
My grandmother, and my mother, could always put just the perfect amount of bear-as-human inflection into the voice of Winnie the Pooh. Maybe moreso than the voice actor that Disney used. I have noticed that the blog has been abandoned for three months. A whole quarter of the year. It was a busy period at my day job, and complicated by the death of my home computer, this I know. Yet now that I am finding a few minutes to pause here, I face the strong avoidance to write even when I think of something and tell myself that it is important to note down.
For some reason, on Sunday, I was thinking about what a dedication in my memoir might allude to. Who would be the honored there? I think that I must have been reading the front pages of some book for the thought of who should be included in a dedication. The people I thought of were not family, instead good friends -- people who were in the right place at the right time. (In truth I am sure I can think of my parents as also fitting that criteria, not that anyone tends to think of the Universe working that way.)
So, I thought of my seventh-grade Geography teacher, Larry Moore, not because he taught me exceptional details about the world, but because he was a delightful man that drew me into the scope of when and where the history of mankind took place. As a fourth or fifth grader, I was taken on the requisite field trip to view the treasures of King Tut, and that was wonderful. Yet it wasn't until I was in Mr. Moore's classroom at the beginning of Junior High. He pronounced the glory of the treasures of King Tut as if he were present with Dr. Carter in the 1920's and distinctly bellowed out "Tu-tonk-a-moon!" He also held a space open in my heart for a father figure, as my parents were separated for about a year. Mr. Moore was like a reflection of past male gallantry, the code of the round table, and yet even in representing the past, one who naturally advocated for a girl to both be a girl, and yet join the boys officail if the occasion called for it.
I had a co-worker and we worked in adjoining departments at the Los Angeles Times. I'd already been with the company a decade, and his role only stayed funded for about two. The first year I knew him was only by phone, and usually at the bare bones end of my day as my work passed into his hands in Production. The problem with this, was the distance the phone created and the grouchiness I let myself slip into as I often took his calls as a derailment of the perfect escape at the end of the work day. Usually his call brought my work into question; in some way I was breaking the rules of how the material should be submitted or I neglected to explain clearly. Things changed in the next year, my department and his department were moved onto the same floor, and as it happened, our cubicles were adjacent. I was worried we wouldn't get along. Alfredo Bustamante was first off a talented photographer, at least a generation younger than me and perhaps should not have subjected himself to the Los Angeles Times at this point in history. But to me he was a solid representation of the present. Young, ambitious, but not connected or concerned about trappings like Social Media. Only an Instagram account really helped to identify his place in my understanding of things. There was a sad slow death of innocence when his department told all the artists how their work was going to be sent overseas, and it was a matter of months before one or more were asked to leave the company for further cost-saving. He first endeared himself to me by presenting a highlighted graphic that showed a wide spread of movie genres -- he had highlighted any he had watched and wanted to know what I had. (the least developed friendship, and yet I feel I could write the most about it. It is similar to how I think we cherish movies much more when we see them the one time rather than revisiting as reruns and rentals, etc.
The last I pull into this triumvirate is Robert McDowell. He had my attention at poetry and voice. A skill I only dabbled in, and preferred to listen to or deconstruct, rather than add to myself. His older professorial experience of the wider world, and his love of Emily Dickinson connected us. The sharing of him with other strong women in my life -- that I do not know how to explain. I came to know of him through this amazing chain. And he made himself the most interesting by revering the Feminine. Not in college, work, or most of my interactions in the world had I met a man that so supports and admires the accomplishments of all Feminine energy. He does not lessen himself in this devotion.
Only my own spouse is as well-rounded and careful to honor, as a matter of Truth, does not wish to pigeonhole souls into genders.
|When I languish from writing down anything -- I find that I have to push to get going. Write anything! Maybe it goes in the memoir and maybe it does not. But you need Something to get it started again. What does that type of motivation feel like? Toe-stubbing pain that stabs at you the same as urging a spark from a flint in one hard strike.
I should write about something startling. Do I have a memory that expresses a time when I was startled?
Or when I say that I should write something startling, should it be some unexpected facet of me that affects a reader, so that they are startled? Is there anything shocking in my life? Alright I can think of a few things that have occurred, which others would not expect. I think one of my strongest moments of pain and confusion remains the day in college when I was told by a grad student that they wouldn't partner with me on a project because the integration of disabled people into Theater departments was never going to be accepted, first of all by them.
This moment played out in a 1960's era college theater department hallway, near the RTVF offices of our Advisor, Ants Leps. Nothing punctuated the monotony of the walls except wooden doors with metal door knobs and an occasional bulletin board. Forget that a group of students on campus were already creating theater and other artistic work outside of my peer's bubble. I have two friends as part of that group, one majoring and the other minoring in Theater, both with significant ambulatory disabilities.
I wonder if the waiting and seeing me shift got to them -- I usually do not enjoy standing still -- probably I was wandering the hall as we waited for Professor Leps. It was this student's arrogance that struck me -- the logic was: professors wouldn't utilize a training in making Theater more accessible, because they would never consider that viable -- wheelchair users, blind, deaf, any of the un-able on stage or backstage. I do not think I argued long, their mind was made up. I'm still not clear if somehow it was a threat to their grad student standing to possibly be on a losing team. I didn't see much imagination being utilized in their defense. It was a power play and I, characteristically said, "I could do it on my own."
If they had an idea of their own, I do not remember it. I actually am not sure that student completed the semester? I did meet the requirements of my training video; I utilized slide photography and remember being active in the production of Agatha Chjristie's Mousetrap presented in CSUN's Little Theater while I was storyboarding the end result. I can play out some of what I scripted and recorded as narration for that project, yet it seems amateurish in hindsight. It was still the time of the Plea.
By "Plea" I mean this: movies win Oscars and television shows their own accolades when a story involving someone with a disability is portrayed. And except for that moment in 1987 when Marlee Matlin was given an Oscar statue for her performance of Sarah in the movie version "Children of a Lesser God," the performers were able-bodied stars doing a hard thing, an unthinkable thing -- portraying being disabled. At at the same time people with disabilities were trying to work and have families as if the disability didn't matter. When it came to finding work as a performer, it was this constant kind of "plea" that went on. Will you have a storyline with me?
In 2017, I still see inaccurate captions and headlines describing performers in wheelchairs as "wheelchair-bound" and when performers gather at conferences to enlighten the Industry, the news reporters still say performers with disabilities are "pleading" for work.
|My spouse reads an obscene amount of Science Fiction, classic Sword & Sorcery epics, and in recent years, Urban Fantasy. I have always had a quiet interest in space travel, likely fed by my being born in the midst of the Space Race, but the voracious reader of fiction on the speculative topics related to space-faring? Not so much. I am battling my inhibition to write in the Sci-Fi genre since my spouse would logically be my fact-checker. For once, I feel like building a majority of the story's outline before creating character interplay. I think my interest in starting from characters is part of my reading issue too. I do not crave a book for its plotline, so much as the moments, or often a particularly strong scene. When I get into that type of scene, it is the place I bookmark and find myself going back to -- to re-read.
So, I will note down my future-based space program novella idea here, for now. I dedicate it to the Irish poet Christy Brown, and I wonder if the Brown's family and friends ever took Christy to a lake and supported his entry into the water to spend time floating weightless. In 2025, the best applicants for the space program are the people that are betrayed by Earth's gravity. Some no older than 27, the oldest, 49.
|It's an idea morning, again. Placing this one, in raw form, here for safe-keeping.
The tastes of so many are being trained toward "short form" (articles that are photo gallery content; Twitter tweets, etc.) that it is no wonder we can't make friends. Deepening relationship requires longer conversation.
|A thought comes to me this morning: As an author, I have moments, not missions. My writng is more like the wound one carries with them after an unexpected fall. That surprise playback in the mind as one pitches forward or back, trying to determine what caused this trip, among the many others. The impact, or likely multiple points of contact, and then the wound itself -- varying degrees of pain, gushes of blood, peeling away of skin parchment and exposition of filaments of nerve. the bruising and the watching over of the scabbiness of it all is part of it.
And I am glad for it, the entire experience, because I know that wound is the very natural and most authentic sharing of myself.
|Olympic athletes get their world stage every four years and the nations that host them get to celebrate. There are other athletic venues and efforts that are performed live, but get much less exposure. I am thinking of the Paralympics and Special Olympics specifically. Due to a new school program for my youngest, in which 10 hours of physical activity / exercise has to be logged, I have aided in this up-ramp of physical activity by taking Quinn to they gym. So far, three days of gym machine workout has given both of us sore muscles, but I am already feeling better for doing it. This morning, after thinking over my week, I came to a conclusion about working to change what all people get exposed to when it comes to physical ability and "success."
When you think about it, fictional representations of people with disabilities far outnumber the reality we get exposed to. If the world's entire diet of models in paintings, glossy magazines, sculpture, or newscasters and reporters in other media, always are aimed toward ideal physical attractiveness, we have trained ourselves to only look to one end of a spectrum. And when I say that, I mean, teaching people to accept the spectrum of physical movement too.
I want to research the expansion of live performance that shows a true cross-section, including people with disabilities.
|Halloween for a middle-aged adult can still be fun if friends and/or co-workers play along. I cannot imagine working in an industry or profession where the spontaneity of arriving in costume is banned. One of my struggles is overthinking or perfecting the original costume idea. As an example, months ago, I decided that with the popularity of the Netflix drama, Orange is the New Black, that I could easily obtain or modify thrift store separates into orange prison garb. If I was lucky enough to shop the right accessory aisles at the Halloween stores that pop-up, then just an unlocked handcuff would complete the look. Two days before Halloween, however, I suddenly started transfiguring the idea into something "clever."
I spied a tiara in the glass display case at Goodwill, and thought. "I should be a jewel thief." I could wear the tiara and some large jeweled earrings, and maybe a pendant, and just act in complete denial of "the jewels" declaring my innocence! I took it a little further, thinking, "Maybe, I could rub red food coloring on my palms, and be caught "red-handed." (I crack me up.) So, you tell me, at what point did I diverge from easily identifiable, to this fruit salad idea of a costume? The deep psychological question is -- why do I always need to layer on the cleverness? Because even to me, I notice pretty early when the ideas start to muddy the concept, but sometimes it is hard to deny the ego its play date.
I suppose I should bask in the real enjoyment of Halloween, which comes when I get to use my creativity -- usually not to solve the question of what my costume will ultimately be -- but problem-solving for other's costume quandaries. Supplying the last touch of makeup, the needed safety pin, or the way to make kitten paws work on human hands. That's when the most people acknowledge my cleverness and quick processing of others' needs.
|Ah, now that I have your attention...(actually, yes, I do intend to compare writing in a blog to the unpleasantness of vomiting). Although this applies to any action one takes when spewing forth words. It would not strictly apply to writing your words down.
Vomiting has a seriously disruptive feeling attached to it -- I assume you agree -- as it is an involuntary reaction to eliminate from the orifice that we generally enjoy using for assimilating nutrition. (I will continue to sound like Commander Data giving a lecture on frail humanity facing Borg captors, yes...). Sometimes trying to "be an author" has that Lost Weekend feeling to it. This is very true when you challenge yourself to be present more consistently on your blog, but when checking the calendar, you find that a week and a half has passed. Commitments in that "other reality" (uh, Reality: also known as daily grind) sap away at that thing called Time, and some months we are blissfully unaware of the affect. The next two months, however, most are hyper-aware and frankly, anxious, that holiday prep fever will sap every bit of authorly life-force.
So, this is a warning, knowing this in advance does not make the struggle any less unpleasant. Because now, being aware that one's attention will be drawn away in ten different directions for the next sixty days or so, an author has to be willing to forcibly write. Pick any damned thing to write about just to "fill" the airy space of the blog which could be otherwise neglected for fifty-six days rather than the Octoberly eleven.
It is also easy to converse in this mindless manner, and I am making the suggestion right now to any one reading -- the holidays are not the best time to be speaking your unfiltered mind. This is how and why I can compare writing/speaking to vomiting during this time. It is said, famously in the "Aging" chapter in John O'Donhue's Anam Cara, that Winter is not so much a time of death as it is contemplation. Nature should reflect inward on itself for a season so that all its new life after that season is truly new and fresh.
So, take care in all the interactions and pastimes you take into yourself and digest in the next two months. I promise I will. That way, what I write here, it will have thoughtful meaning behind it.
|Californians are being asked to vote on the Death Penalty. I know my own stand on that issue, and I am personally glad it is being placed on the ballot this November. Tonight, that is not what I want to explore.
How do you feel about registration to allow one to decline to state a binary gender of female or male.
I researched the Privacy Statement on this site where my blog is hosted, and the demographics assist in the valuable info provided for ad aggregators, however, I believe that for the comfort of those that wish to mask their gender identity, an option to opt out of selecting male or female is a good thing. This is an important issue, and growing in importance for our best getting along in communities and the world.
Specifically my youngest child hopes this will change so that they will feel comfortable and remain empowered by expressing as agender. I have often suggested this writing site to them, and tonight is the closest that they have come to filling out the registration. Upon discovering this issue, they state they will hold off creating an account here until that option is available.
I found some writers on Writing.com by searching "agender" who appear to have the perspective of the younger generations like my child.
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