Back

It’s a bit of acting advice so often repeated that it’s almost trope territory. Like the girl in the film who shows the guy there’s more to life than work, or the mother who finally accepts her daughters choices. 

Yeah. Tropes. That’s where I got those examples. Plot lines. From movies. Sure. 

Anyway, the eager actor asks a mentor what she can do to become a better artist. She wants tricks, exercises, sense memory and mindful tantric core stretching. Gimme vocal gimmicks and motor shortcuts. 

The unsatisfying answer? Anything but acting. 

Makes paper sense. Learning to play the sitar or speak Arabic is great for resumes. But it’s bigger than that. If you want to be good at pretending things, you need to know things. You need to know how being terribly cold and helplessly lost really feels. You need to have experienced sunset in a new city with a lover’s arms wrapped around you. And then know what it’s like to see that sun rise in another city, completely alone. 

That’s what I need. So, I’m going back. 

I just retuned from a blink-fast NYC trip. It was brilliant. Always, always hurts at least a little to come home. So, back. And this time, I’m bringing my boy. My short-but-growing-taller-daily kid. His inagural trip to the city. I get to be the one there. The unexplicably lucky one who sees his eyes light up brighter than the Rockefeller Center tree when he sees it all for the first time. I get to smile when he wonders up at the Empire State Building. 

  
And yes, I’ll be the one apologizing and buying ice cream when I get us tangled up and wandering off the wrong subway train. It’s gonna happen. 

But, we need both of those memories and all the feelings that come with them. 

I hope he loves it. I hope it’s magic. I hope the rats are few and the catastrophes the sort that are fixed for under 500 bucks. And I hope he remembers us there together. Because I will. So much. 
Honest time? I’m dragging a bit some (okay, many) days here because it’s a slow work spell for me. A bit of flailing and falling. 

(And some grade A bitch exploding. Just really top notch. Why don’t I have footage like that on my reel? A crime. But, in earnest, the tall young man in my life still deserves a better apology than I offered. I’ll be making amends for a while after that one, I assure you.  I’m sure he has suggestions. Many suggestions.)

This go round, I’m determined to not be an absolutely atrocious nightmare person during the lull. Take time and see things. Watch. Listen. Feel. Cry. Love. Let the juice run down. All of it. 

So back, in truly just a few more days.  Then forward. Then back again. 

Still Fencing

Yep. As suspected. It did start to suck again today.  Too soon. 

Today’s issue: I’m a polyamorous writer. 

At least that’s how I describe my particular writing kink. (And yes, I’m surely acknowledging that poly does not necessarily or even usually equal kink. It can just be a thing.) 

But I’m open with my writing. I can be wanton and downright slutty. (Again, yes, I know we’re more cautious throwing the “s” word around these days.) I’m trying to paint a picture here. 

I am totally unfaithful with my words. This weekend alone, I bounced between my horror short story and an outline for a new screenplay. My thriller screenplay side-eyed me, sully and unfinished where I left it. And we won’t speak about what the first  draft of my novel thinks about me, from the depths of my external hard drive where I dumped it. All open, sometimes all at the same time. 

I’m glad inanimate works of fiction can’t talk. 

Even this post is a dalliance that is taking me away from real writing work. (No progressives, I’m not saying that blog writing is not “real” writing. Not by any stretch. All  I’m saying is that if you’re smacking around, doing commentary about fiction writing, it behooves you to at least write a few lines of dislogue every now and then.)

I don’t always know why I fence. This side, then that side of a work, then dropping a piece all all together in favor of another one.

Not to make it a rom-com trope, but I think sometimes I’m just looking for love.

I know. Ew. 

My personal life and space is in an uncomfortable place these days. When you try to be a mom, who works to keep things fiscally afloat and you need to keep your art in your life, you will eventually piss off the people in your life. 

By eventually, I mean every day. And by people, I mean all of them. 

Today was the pits. At one point this afternoon, I had the four people closest to me simultaneously sad and angry and resentful. All because of me. They each needed me to be someplace. There were four different places. I couldn’t make it work. For any of them. 

Everyone of them made it a point to tell me, point blank, what a lousy job I was doing at being a human. Their approaches are varied. The girls go more passive-aggressive, the boys stuck with aggressive-aggressive. I feel awful, of course. So, I’d try to do better with the next person. Same damn thing. It hurt. And not a little. 

“Mommy, you just keep making mistakes.”

 

Courtesy of the kid.


As far as the drawing, I do run. A decent number of weekly miles. And while doing that I fall. A lot. And sometimes, because of that,  I bleed. A lot. Another frequent mistake.  
Mistakes. He said it again. And again. And again. Must have been twelve times in two sentences. So I’m sure I am. 

If you ask four people what it’s doing outside, and they come back with wet hair and say that it’s raining, you are the fool if you dress for sunny skies. I am the mistake here. 

  • Yes. That is one of the more needy, helpless, pathetic things I’ve ever written to describe myself. Not proud. And yes, also incredibly glad that there is no possible dimension in which Gloria Steinem just read that. 

So, I think this is what I’m running from and why I’m running to my writing. Not being or doing enough for everyone. But writing? Something kind and understanding that doesn’t need anything from me. I think I jump between projects to get what I need. (Yes. I know writing is usually far from those things and rarely gives you what you need. But sometimes, you don’t drink what you want, you just order what’s cheap, no?) As the author, I get to be the pickiest suitor in the place. 

 Tough dinner/exposition scene I don’t want to write? 

Next. 

Ugly break up scene with yelling and name-calling and unloading of hurts swallowed and never hashed out? Okay, I  like what I’m hearing from you, short film script, so you can stick around a while. 

Tens of thousands of words of thick, awful novel first draft? Oh hell no. Seriously. Get out of my damn face. 

You stick close to one piece of writing and eventually it will get sassy and start acting like a selfish little slug. Lying there, making you do all the work. Of course you want to leave. But,  that’s when I need to get better about staying. 

But, knowing my history and how my convoluted brain works, I won’t do that. I know the better side of the fence is to strap into a chair and dig in for a thousand words. I’ll be closer to a solution and conclusion on whatever piece I pick. But I probably won’t. I’ll probably wander the house also, picking up handfuls of garbage food with every pass I make. 

But the gods of writing and wizardry took pity today.  My little guy did, late this afternoon, saw my slack, desperate face and said,  “I love you. You know that, right?”

He does. And I do. And I’m sticking on his side of the fence. 

Maybe later I’ll see if any writing wants to come over too. 

But, probably not. My words  don’t seem to like fences.