While I’m off work, I’ve been teaching writing to some girls in Juvie up in Santa Clarita of all places (where we wrote and filmed Switched at Birth) through Writegirl (nonprofit that pairs professional writers with, you know. Girls.) I am using the word ‘teaching’ lightly because 1.) teaching might actually be to antonym of my actual nature and 2.) first we must get them to even care, like, at all. I wouldn’t even call them apathetic. It’s just that there are so many grander things for them to care about than a poem that might or might not be in the shape of a hat. Just a few miles from malls and 900 starbucks and big box stores, and for some of them their old neighborhoods, the girls are kept in a weird time loop that sort of looks like school meets a summer camp meets the ROTC. They are kept on a tight schedule of classes and seem to care only about when they will get out and bobby pins and what shoes I’m wearing and what they could do with my bangs, given the chance. They’re all working towards high school class credits, but there’s also this paralysis because when they do get out, they’re re-entering the exact same world that got them into the place to begin with. Most seem to not have a moral support from parents, many of whom are also in jail, and so they’re left to their own devices. They could change, be better versions of themselves, resist temptation, but also they are seventeen year old CHILDREN and how strong was our resolve then, really? How strong is it even NOW? I want to help them connect words to their helplessness so that they can sort through their thoughts. I want to not say stupid things to them like YOUR WORDS WILL SET YOU FREE! But also I want them to know their words will set them free in their minds, which counts. But first I have to get them to even care, which, I now realize, is the first part of teaching, or even THE part. It is the whole part.
Julien and I have always wanted to hike Machu Picchu in Peru, and so we are DOING IT IN APRIL, while I have a minute off work, while we both can. It may be unconventional for a married lady to travel without her husband, But as Morrison and I discussed Last year, adventures should continue after marriage both together and apart, so much so that in our vows, he promised me that I could ‘always go kayaking,’ and I love him for that. But being that I am my parents’ kid and a good 50% conventional housewife, I WILL feel a deep guilt up until the point that I am standing on the top of the citadel, looking out, at which point I will release it, and return perhaps a stronger person, and perhaps even, a better wife.
Greetings, my own mother, my husband’s mother, and various mothers of high school students who are trying to obtain rights to perform monologues from my short plays! Maybe before you were watching Switched at Birth because I was writing for it for 3 seasons — but hear this: YOU STILL NEED TO WATCH IT. NOW. It’s fifth and final season is airing now on Freeform, and it’s blowing me away. Lizzy Weiss (show runner) never stops pushing herself, her writing staff, and then subsequently the network itself, to tell challenging stories that aren’t ever safe. On a network that’s designed to appeal to both teenagers and their parents, it’s hard to delve into difficult social issues, like say, race, and it’s even harder to put your dearly loved main character (Daphne) in the thick of a really difficult moral and ethical conundrum. But Lizzy does it, in a way that’s both nuanced and surprising. As someone randomly wrote on my Facebook page today,’ Switched at Birth should be mandatory for high schoolers.’ TRUTH. But also, you should watch it too.
I have made similarly grand statements about babies before, but this time I REALLY ACTUALLY MEAN IT. My niece Livy is REALLY ACTUALLY the cutest, most beautiful baby in all of the world.
She will hold the seat for all of time, or perhaps until I have a kid of my own, at which point she will be denoted to second place, unless of course, Livy remains cuter than my actual kid, which, given the picture above, IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE.
Tucked somewhere south east of LA that I still don’t fully understand but I am Here so hats off to that — We find Temecula, another beautiful wine country, as if California did not have enough already. Here, a girl can escape to write and actually sleep ON a vineyard and allow her panic to meet relaxation and sample their wines until the Malbec flicks her off to sleep, safely tucked inside of one of her own ideas which will change completely by the time she wakes up.
Please meet the newest Brunstetter, and the first Grandkid: this beautiful and perfect little cabbage patch friend:
Her parents are tired and over the moon and filled with feeling and joy and purpose and gratitude and love and light. OH WAIT. That’s her grandparents, as they plot her kidnapping. Her actual parents, Pete and Mary, they are, you know, tired and hungry and overwhelmed, but also happy. CONGRATS TO ALL! OLIVIA I CAN’T WAIT TO START YOU AN INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT AND GET YOU AN INTERNSHIP AND ACCIDENTALLY SAY BAD WORDS AROUND YOU THEN HAVE TO EXPLAIN THEM AND JUST EXPAND YOUR WORLD, IN GENERAL!
Remember that time I wrote for American Gods, the epic Starz show based on the Neil Gaiman novel? The premiere date has finally been set, and lovable nerds and mythology buffs and religious scholars all across the globe lept simultaneously into the air. Given that each episode has the scope of a movie, it took longer than anticipated to make, but its finally HERRRREEEE! Starz / April 30th. I can’t wait to watch. BELIEVE (In Gods, in that ominous White Buffalo, in me when I say, this show is going to be the best kind of weird, and in my episode, Kristen Chenoweth plays the Easter Goddess, so just….wait for THAT.)
I can remove myself from my involvement with This is Us and say with confidence that this week’s episode, Memphis, is the one of the top saddest, most beautiful episodes I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen at least ten to fifteen episodes of television. Morrison and I cried so much that Cracker literally came over just to see if we were okay. You have to watch it to get the significance of these Ducks, which are heartbreaking and breathtaking when they appear at the end, in a way that regular old ducks never quite have been. Clearly it has gone to these ducks’ heads, as they now have a TWITTER PAGE.
Once a year, there’s an awards show that’s actually not for the famous people, but for the people who write the words for the famous people to say — The Writer’s Guild Awards, which honors excellence in TV, Film, Video game writing and New Media. (This is Us was nommed for Best new show / we lost to Atlanta / truly an honor to lose to them.) Both writers and famous people gather at the illustrious Beverly Hills hotel. The writers, unaccustomed to wearing things other than the jeans they never wash, dust off their finery and get their hairs did, and are fetched by fancy car services sent by their various TV studios:
The writers, who are actually responsible for 92% of the world’s consumption of Trader Joe’s Olive Oil popcorn, and basically all of the different types of popcorns, are greeted immediately with a banquet.
The famous people are also in attendance, mostly to remind the writers why they are writers and not the face of Loreal, but also to give out awards. There is, in fact, a red carpet, for the writers to walk, where photographers scream their name because a nice man next to them has written their name on a piece of paper so that the photographers know which name to scream. The writer feels, just for the tiniest of moments, like a glamorous person, and can be heard saying things like I’m going to come at the camera from an angle, am I doing it? AM I COMING AT THE CAMERA FROM AN ANGLE? and also WHAT’S AN ANGLE?
This is Us had its Season 1 wrap party last night. It was a beautiful celebration for the best cast and crew there EVER WAS. A wrap party is basically a chance for everyone to come together and celebrate months of crazy hours and hard work, and to, nine times out of ten, eat dessert with the show’s names written all over it, and / or inside food jokes thematically related to episodes. My head is currently full of vodka soda and frosting and fondness and tears, so I will just leave all of these here.