Archive for May, 2013

The Last Two Pages

I always claim that I work better under pressure, but the fact is, since I procrastinate like I’m getting paid for it, I’m pretty much always under pressure to get things done.

This screen play is no different. In some ways I’m glad I didn’t hurry through it. Some ideas improve upon contemplation. But it’s getting down to the wire, and I still have two pages left. I know how I want it to end now. The story is actually ending sooner than I had intended, but the cliff hanger is properly dramatic. Even if it never evolves beyond the script, I might still do a couple more episodes, just to feel like I satisfactorily filled out the plot. It’s just that final push, that final scene that buttons everything up right before the big gasp and “cut to black” that is waiting expectantly to become tangible.

I know once I write it, I’ll be happy. Yet, here I am on my blog, writing about finishing it, instead of actually…you know, finishing it.

Sigh…Maybe when I get home tonight. The dialog just isn’t quite there…. The scenes running through the voice over are necessary, but are they jiving with the dialogue?

“Just write the damn thing already! Don’t you have a book to get back to or something?”

Oh, right. The book….

Plant Vultures

You would think in a climate that only really gets three decent months of growing season, gardens wouldn’t really be a big deal. I think it’s a bigger deal because the days of living things and color are so short. Gardens become precious up here.

Gardens become children, sometimes making real children into labor to help nurture the green children. Neurotic gardeners like me are constant nurturers. We cheer at the first signs of life in the garden. We weep when fickle plants decide to kick the bucket. When long awaited flowers bloom or fruits appear on our carefully tended flora, we squeal with delight like parents who watch their children take their first steps.

Additionally, as sufferers of LCS, we are always on the lookout to adopt orphans. We scrounge every charity plant sale, eyeball ditches and abandoned lots, and keep our eyes and ears open when we visit friends and neighbors who have decided that maybe their green children are becoming too much of a nuisance to take care of. How convenient that we keep a miniature plant shed worth of equipment in the trunk of our cars, lest we be unprepared to start excavating someone’s neglected perennial bed at a moment’s notice.

Oh, we’ll patronize the greenhouses. Annuals and vegetables are sometimes just easier to buy already grown and usually worth the money. However with the perennials, unless it’s a coveted specimen, or we have a gift certificate, we’ll wait. We’ll hover like ruthless plant vultures, watching the sun bake all the aesthetics away. Then we’ll swoop in during the final clearance sales and scoop up the leggy, root-bound mutants that barely resemble the beauty queens they were introduced as just a month earlier.

Because we know. They may look like crap now, but we’ll fix that. We’ll give them a permanent home. We’ll make them neat and trim, and we will nurture and love them. Then next year, after the long monotony of winter has made us lonely and pining for sun and color, our green children will awaken reborn, hungry for attention, and ready to delight us with their existence.

Fear of Relevance

The truly great thing about writing in a journal is you get to vent about any melodramatic drivel that comes to mind with no editing. It’s exclusively yours, which makes it liberating.

The trouble starts when you begin to believe that you’re actually channeling ingenious thoughts about life and pathos. What a shame you’re the only one who gets to witness such extraordinary pros concerning observations of the human condition.

A writer is born. Out of this self-deluded belief that somehow God appointed you to be the voice in the wilderness, you imagine yourself capable of communication with other people in a competent manner.

Never mind you’ve never truly tested this theory in reality. Never mind so many others have gone before you and failed miserably in the face of the world’s cruel judgement. Never mind the few who do accrue some modicum of success eventually fall prey to their own jaded opinions of an art that used to bring them joy.

When you write for yourself, nothing matters. It’s a completely internal process that need only provide you with a release. Its’ a safe place. It’s therapy. It’s a hobby.

Making a work of literature that is meant to have an audience that doesn’t exist exclusively in your head is just that – work. You have to pay attention to silly things like grammar and spelling. You have to edit for consistency and cohesion. You have to eventually make a point. Now, everything matters. Oh crap.

It’s this transition that kills writers. Somewhere between the blathering of self indulgence and the hypersensitivity to judgement lies a sweet spot of good literature.

Finding it can be an elusive and daunting process. You have to locate it amidst the din of self doubt chanting, “who the hell do you think you are?” Even if you do find it, that sweet spot can slip out of your reach unless you vigilantly maintain your position no matter what life puts in your way.

The truth is the world needs writers. The Information Age has created a maelstrom of shorthanded random thoughts and regurgitated quotes that rotate the globe with alarming speed and short lived impacts. Lasting impressions of thought and reason are becoming an endangered species.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. Just have something to say.