What's strange about the not-updating is that I have absolutely no excuse. For technically, as of Friday, I've been unemployed.
I say technically because I'm in the middle of the gap between my life as an employed student of USC and my life as a staff member of USC. (Yesterday was the beginning of classes, and the end of my student status.) Soon, I'll have health benefits and employee discounts at the bookstore and pain from my new business casual apparel.
But right now, I. Am. Free.
Free, of course, is only theoretical. Free, of course, means that instead of spending this five to ten business days (the length of time it will take for USC to confirm that I'm not a felon and infinitely employable) in a horizontal position, I am busier than a busy girl doing busy things.
Don't believe me? Over the past forty eight hours, I have:
Joined Gold's Gym (30 Days Free pass! Whee for free!) and suffered through two separate workouts (including two hundred crunches)
Read about a year's worth of borrowed Ultimate Spider-man comics (we loves Bendis, oh yes)
Papered large parts of LA with flyers celebrating the 83rd anniversary of women's suffrage
Watched an episode of West Wing
Read and covered about eight screenplays (with five more to go before tomorrow!)
Caught up on all my email
Finished writing the screenplay's Sequence of Death and Despair (Too Much Exposition, Too Few Pages) and emailed it off to manager guy
Bought actual groceries, including fruit AND vegetables, and cooked some of these things, resulting in an actual meal!
Designed a new website for a women's group
Begun work on another website for a writer of porn erotica *g*
Not slept an awful lot
And this isn't everything I have to do. I have to clean out my car (been long overdue), get a haircut, finish the website, clear off my reading pile, watch my borrowed copy of LotR: Fellowship of the Ring (the extended version, long time coming), write another sequence of the screenplay, rediscover how to write comics, finish an essay I've been working on for a while, see some friends, return things to said friends, return things to the library, and oh yeah, buy an entire wardrobe of cheap business casual apparel.
Not to mention get some sleep.
And it's good. It's great, actually. I get up when I want to, get my work done, get my fun on. Tonight, I may be going to see Mars at the Griffith Observatory, and it doesn't matter when I get home. Just so long as I do the things I need to do later.
I love my day job, I really do, and I can't wait to start Day Job 2.0. But I have to admit that when my ambition as a writer flags, when I question whether the life is something that I really want...
I'm going to remember these days. These days when my energy is focused on myself and the things that I want to do and create. This freedom.
And perhaps the words will come a little easier. Letter by letter, line by line, taking me to the place where writing is what I do. Where a writer is who I am.
It has been a month, I know, but please do not presume to say that you are "introducing" Trent Ford, when everyone with half a brain knows that Trent Ford is/was Zoey's lame-o French boyfriend on West Wing.
And no, I'm not giving up precious hours of sleep after a very hectic weekend to catch up on the episodes of West Wing I never got to see. That would be lame-o.
In other life news, this week was slow and plodding. I'm superbehind on my coverage, and tomorrow's going to kick my ass in more ways than one, as I'm getting up too-damn-early to help a friend with a thing.
But last night, I had this truly fantastic conversation with my roommate, running the gamut from 9/11 to Shakespeare to original sin (#6 on the list of Things About Christianity I Just Don't Get).
And I did some writing on three different things, and another thing I wrote got accepted to Fray, which is cool beyond the telling of it.
Last weekend was this bland oasis of boring. This weekend is Action-Packed! and Fun-Filled!
Hopefully, it won't kill me in the process of the fun.
So, I was looking up information about Mel Gibson's The Passion, because I'm interested in getting some different perspectives on it. And if you click the above link, well, uh, you'll see I did.
AngryWhiteFemale.net is an awesome domain name, if you ask me -- but if it were mine, "white" would be meant in an ironic sort of way. Not, you know, racist.
But this isn't Make Fun of the White Supremacist Day (that's Thursday) -- it's just kind of strange that this was one of the first links I pulled up on Google. Granted, I included the word "jew" in my search because I was interested in some of the controversy regarding the portrayal of the Jewish people within the film (shorter words, no modifiers, make for better search terms, y'know?). And I found some.
So, fresh after skimming through the Angry White Female's take on the issue, I managed to find the kind of article I was really looking for -- Salon's coverage of Jewish reaction to the movie (you'll have to click thorugh the ad). And after reading this:
But is "The Passion" an innocent Hollywood entertainment or a medieval passion play of the sort that in the Middle Ages stirred up the passions of the Christian mob and led to the butchering of the local Jewry?
I realized something -- I have no idea what the term "passion play" means. Granted, it doesn't make the top ten of things I don't really get about Christianity (ah, my secular childhood, how much I appreciated that freedom), but it ties into my general confusion about where the power of Jesus's martyrdom comes from. For me, the most powerful parts of Jesus's story are the psalms, where he wanders around, giving advice and (for the most part) being nice to people. Preaching about kindness and generosity. Condoning hypocrisy. I'm all about that.
I get why Jesus's life was profound. I just don't understand his death.
Maybe there's a book out there that makes it make sense. And not the one you find in motel rooms. Recommendations?
Read a book? Too much effort. Write? Too much effort. Sweating, net-surfing, eating ice cream? Barely manageable. Barely possible.
I want to be bare. Of clothes, of responsibilities, of necessity. Of desire, of dreams. I want to rest. I want to come out of the oven. I am cooked through.
I slurp and squelch like a slug towards the horizontal -- beds, couches, my feet propped up on my desk and my shoulders slouched. I am water, I find my own level. I slide into the heat, into the end of day.
I write these words, scattered and few, and the weight of who I am presses a little less close.
"Samuel L. Jackson is gonna kick your ass! You're either SWAT or you're not!"
"How about SW?
It is still unclear if I am SWAT or not. It depends entirely on the traffic on the 405 southbound -- if my friends make it to the 8:30 show, then I'm kickin' it apartment-style. If they do not, then I'll see it at 9:30 with them.
Either way, I'll have a good time tonight. After reading two screenplays and doing some outlining, it is time for me to turn the TV on.
How sweet it will be.
This has been a silly, overly melodramatic experiment, the not-watching-TV thing. But it was also a successful one, and I may be repeating it next week. That's still to be determined, but in the meantime -- go me! And go you guys, for putting up with it!
Did not have time to watch TV tonight -- but I did NOTHING that was productive. It was a sad sad thing. I didn't even read a screenplay! And that's the easiest, low-maintenance thing to do.
Did see a friend I hadn't hung out with in a while. And that was cool. Had a root beer float, too. Yum.
Tomorrow night... Well, my new strategy is to only watch TV on the weekends. So I have to figure out if Fridays count as the start of the weekend. I also have to figure out if I'm going to go see SWAT. I can easily imagine being bored, but I can also imagine being entertained. Worth my money? Possibly. I'll see how the reviews do.
Got home, pretty goddamn tired, and just didn't want to do anything. Bored, exhausted, ready to put the brain in off position... My fingers itched for a remote.
Instead, hung out with the roommate some (she works mostly nights, so me seeing her twice this week is an amazing thing), read two screenplays for work, and ate a banana nut muffin. Eventually, turned to books -- The Beard's Basic History Of The United States, this great old school history book that's a bit dense, but quite interesting, and bits of Poppy Z. Brite's Drawing Blood (waves to Nicky). Rereads both, but it'd been a while.
Then, got up and futzed around on the computer, preparing a short story for submission to Asimov's, did some work on another essay. Tomorrow, I'll need to work on the screenplay some -- after I hit a milestone in a project, generally I need a day or two to decompress. But this, I need to get back to work on.
So, time for Daily Show now. Tomorrow looks like it'll be busy, and then Friday will come rolling around. Maybe I'll even leave the house Friday night. An exciting thought.
Today was definitely a rough day. But I didn't lose it, got through it, got some things done. I'm back on track. And ready for bed.
Well, after getting out of work late, making dinner, and catching up with a little email, turns out that I only had time to take care of a week's worth of coverage before 11. But at least I didn't have to rush through that. And at least TV wasn't distracting me from it.
Last night went well on a number of levels. For one, by about 11 I was jonesin' for some tubin', and so I got ready for bed, climbed under the covers with The Daily Show... and, therefore, was asleep before midnight! Which hasn't really happened in a long time, because I tend to get distracted around this time of night, avoiding the bedtime, and TV's just a big ol' enabler on that front.
About halfway through Daily Show, I got kinda bored, and because I had caught up with the live play after fast-forwarding past commercials, I ended up reading during the last half of the show. So I'd say I watched fifteen minutes of TV yesterday. Which ain't too bad.
Tonight, I'm exhausted, and if I get through ten minutes, it'll be a miracle. Tomorrow, though, will be interesting -- the good TV's starting to pile up on the TiVo, and while I've got plenty of projects going on, there aren't any deadlines, and nothing is more helpful to productivity than deadlines.
It's only three days until Saturday, I have to remind myself. Three days until all the TV I can watch.
Will check in tomorrow and report on progress. But so far, so good!
Yeah, it was okay. Sweet, well-acted, well-made. Horses are really neat, which I'd forgotten. I appreciated the reminder.
Every girl, I think, goes through her horse phase. I read an awesome poem about it once, comparing it to a fledgling sign of blossoming female sexuality. All I'm saying is, it's been a long time since I rode a horse.
William H. Macy's character was fictional, which meant that he felt the most jarring and out of place. Didn't need him, didn't want him, got sick of him. But if I hadn't known he was fictional, I'd probably have felt different about that.
There was a lot of good, but it didn't wow me the way that Pleasantville did. Which is a shame. I haven't ridden a horse in a really long time. But I really miss being wowed.
So, it may not come as news to some of you that I watch a lot of TV -- but what might strike you as odd is that I don't much like that fact about myself. It's not that I dislike TV -- heaven forfend! -- it just takes up an awful lot of my time, and I'm not sure how much I get out of it. Plus, now that I'm working a regular nine-to-five job (with an hour commute each way), my time seems a lot more precious. In all, I get about five hours for myself every day -- which is a lot, I know, but I don't want to squander it on episodes of Family Guy (brilliant though it might be).
In On Writing, Stephen King urges the writer to shut off "the idiot box." Like many people, I tend to think that Stephen King can be a bit full of shit, but occasionally he makes his point.
So I'm not giving up TV, but this week, I'm going to tuck myself in with The Daily Show (which really only works on a day-to-day basis) and save the rest of my TV watching for Sunday -- when I have more time than I know what to do with, anyways.
I've always said that the reason I wanted TiVo was so that I could have power over my addiction -- that I could say what shows I wanted to watch, and when I wanted to watch them. I've lived under the idiot box's spell -- but I now have the chance to make TV my bitch.
Because I'll have time in the evenings now, I'll try and update every day with a progress report. So far, Day One has gone pretty well. I uploaded some Tahoe pictures, talked to my roommate, read a little, and did some work on the screenplay. I have more confidence in it than I did yesterday, when I pulled myself kicking and screaming out of the first act. There's a small chance that it may not suck.
I'm going to put the screenplay to bed, in fact, and read some more McSweeney's before hitting the hay a bit early. Because I can do that now. With all my time.
Going to go see a matinee of Seabiscuit ($5! $5 for a movie!) -- going to come back and do some work on the screenplay, read some other screenplays.
My life is a whole lot of quiet. I've missed having days off. Of course, I don't know what to do with them -- so I fill them with work.
I need going-out-on-Saturday-night friends. Other people have these sorts of friends, and I think their lives are better for it. Mine are hang-around-on-random-holiday friends, and that sort of thing just isn't reliable enough.
The family reunion was good -- this week has been a combination of catching up with life and regaining my strength. Both of which are good things. I now have clean laundry, a stocked larder, and a few screenplays read. I'm all responsible and so forth.
Went to Amoeba last night, and after doing some trade-ins, spent $25 on Prodigy, Craig Armstrong, Postal Service, and a KCRW sampler. Not to mention my very own copy of Unbreakable, my favorite pseudo-Hitchcock superhero movie ever. I can't tell you how happy this makes me.
Post office, now, to pick up a graduation gift that arrived in the mail. And then, to the theater!