May 30, 2006

Likes Buses and Subway Cars

I'm feeling a little bit better today, mostly because I managed to write a full scene of Ladies & Gentlemen. I did a little at work, a lot at home. I don't know what the cause was, but I hope it had nothing to do with smoking several clove cigarettes on Sunday night. More likely, it has to do with confessing to myself, to the internet, and to my roommate, that things weren't going well with my writing career or private hopes, which I did at the same time I smoked and drank.

I guess sometimes, one needs to come to the edge, look over, and be reminded what it looks like over there. Or at least, remember that the brink is always there, and if you really want to, you've given yourself permission to visit it again, without branding yourself a permenant resident.

Whatever it may be, I hope I can sustain some energy for at least a few weeks. I hate the 24-hour flu version of productivity, and I seem to be prone to it of late. I need to stop letting days slip away, simply because another will be coming along soon.

May 28, 2006

I. Just. Can't. Engage. So. I. Complain.

I have a terribly virulent strain of writer's block, and it seems like I've had it for months. It seems that way because I have. Since at least December. I'd be willing to start smoking again to crack it open. It's reached its roots and shoots into every nook of my life.

For me, the block is never caused by a problem I can't solve. Writer's block is always an inability to find a problem I care to solve. It's always a question of care. A problem of passion. And this year, this year, this year so far, I can't seem to care about writing another screenplay, or another short, or another contest runner-up-ship, or another disappointment. I don't care to meet people, I don't care to date, I don't care to write. I only get excited about paying off my debt.

"When you get old, your heart dies."

I was fooling with my picture phone and took some photos of myself, quite similar to some I took in Harlem three years ago. I loaded them onto the computer, and there I saw them side-by-side with the pictures of three years ago. I look so much older now. Both fatter here and thinner there. More crooked. Graying.

I have these fictional lives in my hands, and that used to really excite me, but now, for such a long time, I couldn't care less what they do. These toys no longer amuse me. I'd rather just sleep. That's where Ralph and I are vikings.

I keep having dreams about everyone I used to know. It seems my subconscious enjoys making them take a few turns round the stage, even as it tires at making fictional folks dance. It's good to see them respond to calls for encore. They don't respond to calls on the phone.

And now I sound like a massive mope, with symptoms of depression.

But. It's better than writing nothing.

May 26, 2006


For we are many.

May 23, 2006

Better than Being Fired, Almost as Good as Quitting

Quite out of the blue today, my manager told me I'm under consideration for a promotion, hopefully a raise. And I hope, a substantial one, since I'm still at starter pay for a QC.

Of course, the catch is I'll have to learn to open work orders, and thereby, I'll know how to open jobs, assign jobs to transcriptionists in-house and out, (both of which I recruit, test, and interview), and then process, print, and delivery finished jobs. Meaning, I'll have a hand in every step of the process, excluding sales and billing, the bookends. However, if that could mean a dollar or two more an hour (hoping for too much, I know), it'd be worth extending my stay there.

I'm getting so close to paying off my credit-card debts, I feel it in my bones.

Barring a tragedy, November or December, my car will be paid off, this laptop and my desktop will be paid off, and my other credit debts will be memories. Sitting on the balcony on break, eyes shut to the sun, I sometimes obsess with thoughts of it, like a vacation or a sexual fantasy. If my car can make it through the year, I'm thinking of leasing or buying something lightly used. I've never had anything nearly new. Maybe a Mini Cooper convertible with stick shift. Something stick shift. Something fuel efficient and nimble. Something I can park in my own armpit.

I cannot imagine the money I could save, and the things I could do, if I weren't paying the same to my debts as I am to my rent, bills, and groceries! I am nauseated with the fear of failing to get there.

May 11, 2006

And Feel That Way Forever

I have to bite my tongue so that I don't accidentally quit work today. If this almost-week off doesn't reset the system, I'm not long for this position.

Meanwhile, I was reading about alcoholics last night, and determined that I'm not an alcoholic. I am, however, a sleep-a-holic. How could anyone sleep only the amount that they need? Who wouldn't want that feeling to just go on, and on, and on?

May 10, 2006

I Am an Adult, I'm Told

I have the mood swings and cravings of a pregnant woman. Today I want pretzels for dinner. Thin pretzels. And I'm an "adult," so I'm going to have some.

May 9, 2006

Weebles Wobble

"Weebles wobble and then, with a subtle sigh, resign themselves to gravity, and sadly, slowly, fall to the ground."

I had another vivid dream last night, but I can remember only small bits of it. Jason Schwartzman and I were trying to pitch a film to a producer. It was Schwartzman's idea, and he was bringing me in to back him up.

It had something to do with a guy whose dog used to scratch the hardwood floors with his nails. After the dog finally died, the man replaced the floor with ceramic tiles. And yet, the man kept hearing dog sounds. And then, one fateful day, the tiles were scratched. This was very high concept horror, I suppose. This is what Schwartzman wanted me to punch up.

The producer got furious with us. His investor, a doctor, had just lost his temper at him and thrown a tantrum in the middle of the hospital. The movie was a no-go. Homosexuality was involved, as were crayons, but I'm not clear on the details. Either way, he was blaming our poorly-presented concept, and particularly, my lack of experience in the field.

I tried to defend my industry cred, but I could only think of my time at Niad Management, which I blew way out of proportion. I couldn't remember the Steel Company, not that it would have helped. The Transcription Stuff didn't come up.

Afterward, Jason Schwartzman said he was going to leave New York and go back home to become an architect or something, and his mom was there to pick him up. I was going to have to find a new roommate for myself. I was very sad. I would no longer have a screenwriter friend, and I hugged him, and tried to convince him to stay. But he left, and I woke up in Los Angeles.

Jason Schwartzman is not a screenwriter. He is an actor and a boyfriend to Zooey Deschanel, my favorite actress. I want to cast her in something. Sometimes thinking about how badly I want to cast her in something, I actually get some writing done on somethings.

Anyway, I woke up feeling that I'd accomplished very little in the year+plus that I've been in Los Angeles, thinking that maybe I should go back to school and become a lawyer. I'd be a very good lawyer, and a better judge. I like to argue. Shouting is one of my favorite things. Perhaps, someday, I could be a supreme court justice. Or a professional shouter.

May 6, 2006

William Saroyan

"Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure."

May 4, 2006

Torture by Dream Report

I had a dream last night that I was getting married. The ceremony was in a big empty auditorium, something like a converted gymnasium, full of long tables and plastic chairs, like a school cafeteria. I'd been there before, but only in dreams, it seems.

Everything about the ceremony was half-assed and tossed together. The organist, on a casio keyboard mounted to a portable boom box, kept playing the opening notes of "Here Comes the Bride," over and over and over, but never got to the part where the bride comes. The march went down between tables and chairs. There was no bridal party, and no one gave anyone away.

I was marrying Melissa, my girlfriend from high school. She had a white dress. The priest was a young dark-haried woman, and she read her lines from a pamphlet mounted to the podeum for show, and she couldn't quite angle her head enough to read them right.

Afterward I sat at the table with Melissa's relatives, two sisters, aunts perhaps, and they mocked the wedding, and criticized everything I'd felt ashamed about. Suddenly, I raged against them and decided the wedding was fine, and I went out in search of my family. I found them at another table, and soon woke up.

And yet, I rather liked the dream. I've been having a lot of dreams that I rather prefer to waking up.

May 1, 2006

W. Somerset Maugham

"Life isn't long enough for love and art."