Hanging out with all sorts of family in the Valley, ages ranging from 74 to 1. Four days of four generations of wacky!
2. Does your family have any particular traditions?
Bottles are opened. Joy is spread. Meanwhile, the under-forty set spend a lot of time watching TV and making fun of each other. I imagine this is a tradition that will last until we're the over-forty set.
3. If you could invite one guest to dinner (someone alive), who would it be?
My mom's other sister and her family, marooned in Florida, will be missed.
4. What dish do you always bring? Or, what's your favorite dish at the table (if you don't cook)?
I LOVE PIE. I am a big fan of any holiday that involves pie. I should learn how to make pie - but that could lead to chaos and me no longer fitting into my pants. So instead, I'm there for the pie.
5. What *serious* thing are you giving thanks for this year?
I'm in a good place right now, and I have some strong friendships in my life, some sense of focus about what I'm doing after graduation. And my family is amazing - they do amazing things, and they're there for me, and I'm so lucky.
6. What *goofy* thing are you giving thanks for this year?
HAIL TO THE PIE. GOD BLESS PIE.
7. What's the strangest thing that has happened to you on Thanksgiving?
There's a tie.
We were visiting my grandparents in Ohio over Thanksgiving, and had two Thanksgiving dinners. We ate a lunch-type deal at the nursing home (which featured a truly disgusting cranberry loaf that Shall Not Be Described), but that night, got dinner at a buffet-style place called Randy's. This was where Dad saw a guy fill a plate with bacon bits and then cover 'em with melted cheese.
It was fairly surreal.
And then, tied for first:
Wednesday, 8 PM:
"What time's your flight to Sacramento, Liz?"
"9:30. You can still give me a ride, Jess?"
"Yeah. It'll only take us twenty minutes to get to LAX from USC. You packed?"
"Give me a minute."
Wednesday, 9:45 PM
"Um. Hi Dad. That noise? Well, I'm still at the airport..."
A 6:00 AM cab ride and 7:30 standby flight led to me showing up in time for breakfast.
20 minutes to LAX on Thanksgiving Eve. You can't make this stuff up.
So, it's been quiet here, and there are school related reasons and me related reasons. For my moods are almost embarrassingly cyclidical - I don't like to write during my low periods, mostly because I don't want to do ANYTHING during my low periods but watch TV and forget who I am. So I do, and you don't get the full picture. Not necessarily a bad thing, but still.
The bad days are usually triggered by something small - the way my thighs look when I sit down, perhaps, or rereading something I wrote and having no clue how to improve it. This time, it was, in part, an honest conversation with an old professor about a sample script I wrote last semester. In between his encouraging words, he was pretty clear about how it wasn't really good enough for submitting anywhere - and I knew this, deep down, knew that there was a lot more writing to be done. So I took the crit like a pro, said goodbye, and sat down. Turned the TV on and my brain off. Tried to regain the energy I needed to face the deadlines.
It was a wake-up call, I guess, about how difficult this process is going to be. I'm good, and I know that - but I need to keep working hard if I have any intention of doing well. I'm not the next Aaron Sorkin yet, and I haven't written that great script that will guarantee me representation, work, and a really nice wardrobe.
I have at least two original script ideas that I need to start developing. Not to mention a half-done screenplay that needs to be all done, and some classes I should avoid failing. There's so much to do.
Well, say one thing for the low periods - I always come out of them well-rested.
I wake up and my brother's fractured his wrist. Shit. At least it wasn't the mouse arm.
And a lovely little crew of my friends, people I love and care for, are... Well, I don't think a formal declaration of war has been drafted, but lines certainly have been drawn. Because sides suck, I am staying so far out of it. Here is it ----> IT.
And here is me -----> ME. Far, far away from IT, and hoping that these lovely people will remember how lovely they are and talk things through rationally. Without the line-drawing.
(Sure, spatially there's not too much a difference between ME and IT. But it's a metaphor of an extremely literal sort.)
And to think. My first instinct this morning was to just keep my computer disconnected and go to the coffee shop and do all the work I avoided this weekend.
I didn't listen to the instincts before. It's time to listen now.
Yesterday, I found myself in a Kinko's on Sunset Boulevard, making copies of my first big screenplay.
Wannabe screenwriter, table for infinity.
On Thursday, I finally got around to emailing the manager people (not without a little help from da Caz). I knew that they would reply quickly, which they did (because they're clearly more responsible about emailing than I am *g*), telling me to send them a copy of my screenplay.
But in order to do this, money had to be spent. ::sigh:: $20 to the WGA to register the bloody thing, 8 cents a page for copies, $10 on envelopes, $3.95 on postage...
I came home from the post office, having just sent my screenplay to be considered by industry professionals for the first time - and started yelling at my roommate for not being more supportive of me. There was very little basis in the realm of reality for this - but my head, under pressure, is not always a very sane place.
"I don't see why you're so worked up about this," she said after I apologized for going wacky. "You're good, and if you keep trying, something will happen. Even if they reject you, it's not the end of the world."
"I know it's not the end of the world," I snapped. "It's the beginning."
I hate moving, I hate change and I'm moving out of my safety bubble - preparing for the day when I'm not a glamorous film student anymore, when I'm just another aspiring screenwriter working a crappy job to make ends meet. When I'm a wannabe.
I don't want to be a wannabe. I just want to be. But I have no idea if that will even happen.
Recently, I've been forgetting why I'm in screenwriting, and it's been so easy to make my motives seem shallow and silly. I never got to sit with the cool kids at lunch, and so this is all just a misguided attempt to right the wrongs of high school. Hollywood is the biggest in-crowd of all, and if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.
Blah blah blah.
I wrote a scene for my TV spec this morning; an evil, horrible scene that I was sure would suck, proving once and for all that I have no clue what I'm doing writing Six Feet Under - writing, period. (It's also the first scene - there's no such thing as a coincidence in my world.) But I did it and it WORKED. It's simple and fairly concise and does the job it needs to do. It's not particularly fancy or well-written. But I like it, nonetheless.
That's what I love - the moment when a scene clicks, makes sense - when all the description and dialogue add up to that moment of change and realization. I love leaving characters alone, letting them bite their lips, crease their brows, think things through. I love the snappy retort, the bad joke, the harsh bit of honesty piercing the air.
I love this, sometimes. I do.
I now have one screenplay winging its way through town, though, ninety-nine big envelopes, and four extra copies of my one good screenplay, all registered and ready to be read. My goal is to get rid of them all by Christmas, via contests, other potential readers, whatever. I don't know if it's the best work I'll ever do, but it's good. It could be better. But there's no such thing as a final draft of anything. Including life.
It's the end of the world and the beginning. I don't expect anything to come of this particular manager. But there's always the next one. Or the one after that.
Because I am a screenwriter. A screenwriter who wants to be.
Shirley Jackson: The Melancholy of Anatomy
Margaret Atwood: Negotiating With The Dead
Bruce Rux: Hollywood vs. the Aliens
Various: The First Time I Got Paid For It
Virginia Woolf: Women and Writing, Mrs. Dalloway
James Joyce: Ulysses
Cameron Crowe: Conversations With Wilder
Adrienne Rich: Midnight Salvage
the rolling stones
Six Feet Under
thinking about: romantic comedies
aliens global warming