It’s crazy how quickly we forget that we share this world, that there are animals and trees and we just happen to be stronger (sometimes), or at least more intelligent, and have shoved both aside to make room for our buildings. Case in point: walking to the store this AM, I heard a strange sound and I immediately reached for my phone, like what is this strange sound my phone is making? It was not my phone, y’all. IT WAS A BIRD. AN ACTUAL ALIVE BIRD JUST MAKING ITS BIRD SOUNDS, and my mind did not even think to go there. Okay so: stronger, more intelligent, and narcissistic to the point of comedy.
Since I’m a writer, I want my brain to full of questions and wonder, problems and solutions, but if I’m being real, especially when I’m busy, it’s usually equal parts where my next food is coming from and what that food is, what clothes I will put on myself for the next thing, and that scene from Newsies when Christian Bale sings Santa Fe. Occasionally there is a large philosophical question and that scene from Sound of Music when Captain Von Trapp tilts Maria’s chin up to him in the gazebo, but that’s basically the extent of my imagination.
This special on the local Winston-Salem news last night CLAIMS to be an interview with a This is Us writer.
But it is ACTUALLY just an interview with a giant gnarled scrunched up Big Toe in a wig with facial features painted on with makeup. LIES. LIES!!!!!!!!!! GIVE US THE TRUTH.
It’s gearing up to be hiatus time, which means I’m off work for a few months, and no longer have structured time or an inarguable hierarchy of goals, which usually means that I TRY AND DO EVERYTHING AND COMPLETELY LOSE MY MIND. My calendar is always an indicator of this. Week with normal work schedule contains order, ease, and clear cut tasks:
Week with no work contains ALL CAPS TASKS AND ARBITRARY CIRCLING OF THINGS AND THE CROSSING OUT AND REWRITING OF THINGS AND THE SHOVING OF THINGS INTO DAY LIKE A CLOSET THAT’S ALREADY FULL OF OLD TOWELS:
I currently have eight, EIGHT different worlds and groups of characters in my head for eight different projects, all of which I love and want to hang out with. When will I ever learn to do less? WILL I EVER LEARN?
I’ve been playing this drama play writing game for some time now, and have, at this point, received a fair number of reviews. I’ve never been much of a critical darling, so I figured that I’d share some advice on how to read and process reviews of ones own work.
1.) A review is one person’s attempt to interpret and assign meaning to a piece of art, which is basically impossible. It’s a moving target. There is no one answer. So it’s all an attempt. Your work is an attempt, as is theirs.
2.) Even if the review is unfavorable, you cannot let it detract from how YOU feel about your work. You have to approach your work with at least SOME confidence, some solid command of what you are intending to say. It can’t be fragile, or a review will easily knock it down. If this happens — revisit what you meant to do in the first place, and think about how to make it stronger.
3.) A reviewer is a human being engaged in their own life, stepping into your life, just for a minute. You must take whatever they have to say in the context of their own life, which again, is not yours.
4.) A review should not affect how you perceive your own work.
5.) JUST KIDDING THEY ARE EVERYTHING EVERYTHING THEY SAY ABOUT YOU IS RIGHT AND SHOULD BE INTERNALIZED AND THOUGHT ABOUT OVER AND OVER UNTIL YOU FIGURE OUT EXACTLY HOW TO FIX THE FLAWS IN YOUR OWN WORK TO THE LIKING OF AFOREMENTIONED CRITIC AND IF YOU CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT WELL YOU SHOULD PROBABLY JUST QUIT AND WORK AT A YOGURT STORE
6.) I would actually really enjoy working at a yogurt store
THIS MORNING I REALIZED I HAVE NOT ONE NOT TWO BUT FIVE BLUE AND WHITE STRIPED SHIRTS. OBVIOUSLY I LAID THEM ALL OUT ON MY BED TO TAKE A PICTURE OF THEM TO MAKE FUN OF MYSELF LATER.
AS I TOOK THE PICTURE, I RECEIVED THIS PROMOTIONAL EMAIL FROM WILLIAMS AND SONOMA:
WHAT DOES IT MEAN
AM I BEING WATCHED
WHAT AM I BEING TOLD TO DO
PROBABLY JUST BUY MORE BLUE AND WHITE SHIRTS
OKAY FINE RUSSIA WILL DO, BYE
Today, on the inside of my head is a Party City during a blowout Sale: I worry about basically everything all of the time, but there is usually one thing at the forefront of my worry that is taking up the most space. It’s usually something fairly irrational based off of imagined scenarios. Usually, at some point, this thing turns out to be completely unfounded, and I no longer have to worry about it, and so I move onto the next thing in line. I do not even pause to celebrate the fact that the thing I’ve been worrying about is actually totally okay. Why spend so much time worrying about something if I’m not even going to take a moment of PHEW! THAT THING IS FINE! I hereby vow NOT to stop worrying, because that would actually require me having part of my brain removed, but instead — when a worry gets resolved, I will have a little worry party in my head, in which I close my eyes and enjoy the tiniest moment of peace. THEN OF COURSE MOVE ON TO TSUNAMI’s.
Dreamt I was writing in a beautiful green meadow, with a pencil in a clean white college ruled notebook. I was JOURNALING, even, writing towards figuring out exactly what it is that’s blocking me from becoming the best person and writer I possibly can be. After a page of writing, I arrived at it. The very thing that I needed to confront. The one thing that needed fixing. I stared at it there on the page, circled and underlined it, felt sort of free, and ready to fix. So what is it? What is the thing? NOPE. NO CAN DO. DON’T REMEMBER EVEN AT ALL.
We are still on the jet lag struggle bus and keep waking up at 4 AM, like COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY AWAKE but also deeply tired but also desperately in need of toast. You lie there, convincing yourself you’re tired enough to sleep as opposed to just theoretically tired. You think of plays about pillows. You tell stories and make up songs. Here’s a selection from this morning, 5:45 AM, after we’d been just laying there in a hellish in-between for 2 hours:
Me: HOW’S IT GOING?
Me: You awake?
Morrison: I am now. But I’m trying to sleep.
Me: Me too.
A few moments of pretend rest.
Me: (SO LOUD): THE SUN’LL COME OUT / RIGHT NOWWWW / BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR THAT RIGHT NOW / THERE’S THE SUN
Me: RIGHT NOW! RIGHT NOWWWW! THERE’S ALWAYS RIGHT NOW / THERE’S ALWAYS RIGHT NOW, RIGHT NOWWWWWW
Morrison: are you done?
Me: (HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER)
Slept til 11 and spending the day on the couch surrounded by leftover Christmas candy, because this year, I resolve to give myself a break, and allow myself to just Be (on couch / surrounded by candy), and also because tequila and jet lag had an angry baby that now lives in my head.