Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Anniversary

15 years ago I married my wife, Julie. It has been a wonderful ride so far and I look forward to the next 15.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December remains a difficult month to get into a groove and write. Not only do the holidays consume our waking moments and restless nights, but there is also the 10th of December that hovers over us. This year that day kind of came and went without Julie or I acknowledging it. Funny thing is, I had terrible stomach pains that morning and was in a general bad mood all day. Can your body and spirit really remember bad days? If amputees have phantom pains, can parents who've received sad news experience the same thing?

Try as I may to complete this new script, I have been lacking in motivation to get it done. I'm close, but there is this invisible barrier that stops keeps me away. I even tried growing the writing beard. It went on for over two weeks. Thing is, I was actually starting to like having the beard, so using the hair on my face as a motivational tool didn't work this time. Thing is, I keep thinking about January and starting my new project. For the first time in a while, I am excited to really write and see where it leads me. I know I have to complete the script, if only out of obligation to the characters I've created. They deserve to have he ending I have in store for them. Still, if I'm not done by January, that script may get placed on the backburner.

I can't let that happen. I'm so close.

I have spent the past month enjoying writing reviews of DVD's for Popdose. And I've begun reading the essays of David Foster Wallace and David Samuels. So far, I am having an easier time with Samuels. Although I really like the late Foster Wallace's writing, it takes quite an effort to get through just two or three pages. The guy loved footnotes.

We saw "Wicked" last night and it was, for lack of a better word, wonderful. I have known the music for over a year, but now I know the context of the songs and can picture the play in my head. Even if it did not have the spectacular effects, the story of friendship, acceptance and empowerment is so good, the play would succeed anyway. For the first act, I sat next to Jacob. He was wide eyed and enthralled for the duration. It really was special to be experiencing the play with him for the first time. It's hard to describe how thrilling it is when two singers sing harmony perfectly and every musical is in sync. At those moments I get chills and tears. That is what music does to me. "West Side Story," "Sweeney Todd," "Les Miz," and now "Wicked" have all had the profound effect on me. And I swear I saw Jacob overcome with the same feelings during the show. For the second act, I switched seats and sat next to Sophie. This experience for her was like a Springsteen concert for me, and that made the evening all that more meaningful. I am so glad the kids are loving music. It's in their blood, yes, but I can see the way music swells in their souls, too, and I get choked up thinking about it.

We leave on Wednesday and I'm looking to the time away from California. We may freeze our asses off, but at least we'll have a brief respite from the stresses of our daily lives.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Another overcast, Radiohead day in Southern California. The skies are dingy like an old sweatshirt and desperately want to open up and rain on us. I doubt that will happen, though. You'd think that after a childhood spent enduring Ohio winters I would get used to this type of weather and possible enjoy the fact that there isn't snow on the ground. Instead, gray clouds just make me feel gloomy same as they always have.

The beard is growing back as I make a concerted effort to finish this script I've been working on for several months. I though that with the completion of the marathon I would be able to dive right back into this dark script with no trouble. The decompression from not feeling pressure to run every day has taken a little longer to get over than I anticipated. I forget that the constant running and fund raising gave me a purpose.

Steve begs me not to continue running, something about not being able to walk when I'm in my 60's. Still, I'm already thinking about the possibility of doing another half marathon next year. He's going to kill me, God bless him.

The other reason it's been so difficult getting back into this new script is that my heart isn't always in it. I've given myself a deadline of the end of the year to complete it, which really means before the 24th (because we'll be travelling back east for the holidays). I am dedicated to starting my book in the new year. I even started a short story just to see if I could complete some kind of prose that didn't involve basements or movie reviews. Not only did I complete a first draft, but I've kind of become obsessed with the rewrite. This is a first for me. Any story I've ever written was always a first draft and left in a folder or a drawer somewhere. That I'm actually excited to revise the first draft (and willing to change the context of the story) is a good sign. The year of writing Basement Song entries has paid off.

If I had just been writing the Basement Songs for thunderbolt, I never would have gone back and edited them. Instead they would have been the kind of stream of consciousness ramblings my daily entries (daily, ha!) have become famous for (famous, ha!). Looks like the fear of being labeled a hack by thousands of Popdose readers has brought me full circle to the lessons I was taught by Denman and some of my other English teachers. The trick now is to bring the voice I've developed in the basement and apply it to whatever I write. It may take some rejections, but I'm willing to give it a go.