For the first time in my adult working life, I just voted to strike. Sometimes I forget that I’m in a guild, as I don’t feel like a laborer. Writers’ work happens mostly in our minds, but we still need a guild to protect us from tomfoolery, like, say, the fact that tv and film producers’ income has DOUBLED in the last eight years, while writer’s income has decreased by 30 percent. Our pension is suffering, we’re working for less money, and we’re expected to do it with gratitude that we are working at all. The problem with this is that writers are dreamers by nature, which is super easy to take advantage of. I’m still sort of shocked that I get paid at all to write, but I have to put that aside and stand up for fair pay — especially given the INSANE amount of money that is being made off of what we write. And so, STRIKE! I’m choosing to hope that this is just a bargaining tool for the negotiators, but either way — see you on the picket lines, or back in the writer’s room with what we deserve (SNACKS) (AND HEALTHCARE)
1.) Research place.
2.) Purchase tickets.
3.) RESEARCH EVERY POSSIBLE THING THAT COULD GO WRONG IN SAID PLACE, OR JUST IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY IN GENERAL, AND THOROUGHLY CONVINCE YOURSELF THAT EACH OF THESE THINGS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU AS IF YOUR LIFE IS ACTUALLY A MOVIE WRITTEN BY AN GRADUATE SCREENWRITING STUDENT WHO BELIEVES THAT SOMETHING TERRIBLE MUST HAPPEN ON EVERY PAGE BUT WHO ALSO HAS A KEEN SENSE OF IRONY AND SO THE CHARACTER GOES INTO THE SITUATION BELIEVING THAT EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE BUT THEN BAM THEY ARE PUNISHED FOR THEIR IGNORANCE VIA LOST PASSPORTS AND FLOODS!
4. Hey, take a breath. Remember you are lucky to go at all, and that this is what life is for. Experiencing another culture broadens your understanding of humans and
5. REMIND YOURSELF NOT TO RE-APPROPRIATE OTHER PEOPLES’ CULTURES FOR YOUR OWN GROWTH
6. Buy an absurd amount of gum as if gum does not exist in other countries.
7. GO ON YOUR TRIP, PSYCHO.
Check out dear niece Livy, workin that first International Women’s Day / A Day without Women. This little woman is not going to work, not spending money anywhere, just chillin inside with her folks, smiling into her bright future.
Surely these are dark times, but we must focus on the GOOD things that have happened in politics during this country’s short life: Lincoln abolished slavery! Roosevelt saved the country from a depression whilst in a wheelchair! Obama was our first black President! And then of course that time someone on the internet photoshopped an accordion between Donald Trump’s hands and then made a video out of it!
FULL VIDEO HERE. YOU OWE IT TO HISTORY TO WATCH.
There’s a thing going around instagram, Best 9, in which people post a grid of their best nine pictures from 2016, summing up a year in their lives. Whenever everyone is doing something it kind of makes me not want to do it, as I am no sheep, by which I mean BAAAAAAAA I’LL JUST DO IT HERE INSTEAD but with 24 pictures because I LIVE MY OWN LIFE (IN GRIDS.) And so with no further ado, it has been a magnificent year! I:
Ate that chicken pot pie in a blizzard, wrote for American Gods, had a beautiful production of my Heaven play at South Coast Rep, found the perfect overalls and wore them approximately 170 times, washed them about 3 times, took a surfing lesson with Elizabeth, had a Dewey’s pink lemonade cake to call my own at my Easter pot luck thanks to my Mom, ran a 5K with a little girl Monet who ate gummy savers the whole way thanks to Blaine, celebrated 2 years with Mo at Red Lobster, patroned Ru Paul’s drag con, got after that no speaking above a whisper resort life in Joshua Tree, spent some time writing at Space on Ryder farm in upstate New York, went to Carrie’s Beyonce themed beybe shower (then later welcomed and met her dear little Sebastian who I am now calling Bash / 2017 let’s see if we can get that going), and then also:
Had the most perfect of bridal showers complete with hats and tiny sandwiches, spun for 3 hours in YAS-a-thon for cancer research, made Ina Garten’s flag cake, welcomed little nephew Mojo, worked on The Cake at the Alliance, Echo and Ojai, did Vegas so hard bachelorette style, tried on a bunch of white dresses / picked one had a bunch dress fittings / obsessed over its details and its accessories namely did I ever mentioned that Ferris Bueller cropped leather coat? / GOT MARRIED / cast my vote for a woman president for the first time, attended Blaine and Jason’s non baby shower baby shower, read Vivian Howard’s incredible cookbook, and started writing for This is Us. And so, a great many things.
Last week I started to have dreams that I was left out of something creative, being mocked for output or performance. Personal favorite: I dreamt I had to play a drunk dog onstage and the reviews were terrible (this dream brought to you by the first night in Hong Kong, surrounded by every stimulus possible.) I think the dreams stem from a feeling that I haven’t accomplished enough creatively this year, like I haven’t dug enough into my own heart / brain. I’ve been working, yes, but I feel, in general, sort of uninspired, like the questioning part of my brain has been numbed. It’s most likely because the majority of all extra time and emotional brainspace I had went to wedding planning. And so, I will forgive myself, hope that 2017 brings characters / moments / stories / questions, big new ideas, but ALSO, more cakes / adult onesies / trips / love, FOR BALANCE.
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To those who are joyous today, I understand that you are frustrated, disenfranchised, desperate for work, for a change that feels real, trying to feed your families, clinging to what you’ve been taught is right, if not a little ignorant as to how to actually change your circumstances. I am, too. I understand the way the government works just about as much as a I get how cars run or electricity happens. I do not have a brain for understanding complex systems. I have a creative, empathic brain that loves humans, good ones and bad ones too, that is constantly questioning why they do what they do. I have built a whole life, and livelihood, around these questions. This sort of brain that God gave me is exactly why I hope that you 1.) get the life that you want for you and your family, and the means with which to give them that life and 2.) that you do so WITHOUT condoning sexual assault of women, without apathy and anger towards those who don’t love exactly like you do, who aren’t from exactly where you’re from. Obama said it this morning. We’re Americans before we’re Republicans or Democrats. But even before that, we are people.
OH HI IT’S ME AGAIN, with wedding details that only matter to myself and family and perhaps a stalker here or there. Today: the ceremony, which was held outside under a pecan tree because Pie.
We decided to get married by a lovely Reverend who came recommended to us by the venue. We started out way back in January, when the Reverend sent us a whole bunch of sample ceremonies. Being that we are both mildly allergic to cliche, we ended up making a lot of it our own, writing out our own version of formal parts. It should go on record, though, that we didn’t realize until a few days before that we FORGOT TO PUT THE PART WHERE WE SAY I DO.
My favorite section was definitely the welcome:
Good evening! How serendipitous that you all happen to be here, right here, right now, because it just so happens that all of the sudden, in a completely unplanned fashion, Bekah and James have decided to get married. Right here. Right now. We are gathered here today to bear witness as they join their lives together. They are honored and delighted that you are randomly here today.
Thankfully the Reverend was totally game and in fact riffed off our jokes like a subtle and reverent Rodney Dangerfield. My second favorite part was this:
Reverend: Bekah, repeat after me, with this ring, I thee wed…
I just stand there, staring off into space.
Reverend:….Bekah? Repeat after me?
Me: OH! Sorry. I forgot what was happening for a second.
What had really happened was, we had accidentally skipped the part in which we say our vows, which we had both worked quite hard on, and I was trying to figure out how to elegantly bring that up. I then elegantly segued with ‘WE WANT TO SAY THE VOWS WE WROTE, NOW.’ And so, we did. I would put them here but I think some things belong between two hearts and hard drives, but I will say that we both, independent of each other, vowed a lot of food related things.
Blaine and Carrie then read some excerpts from Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. Why, here we are, staring at them as they do:
My favorite part:
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
I love this quote. Within a marriage, life can stay active, still searching, still wondering, just with a new layer of warmth beneath the asking. Marriage is not just answers, marriage is questions. And according to our ceremony, marriage is also JOKES AND FOOD. COUNT US IN, MAN!
Sometimes we are smart and good with planning, so we gave ourselves a day in the mountains after the wedding / after everyone left, before we re-integrated into real life, because our brains are currently a mush of YOU: SPOUSE and LOVE: GOOD. We awoke to the kind of sunrise that makes you feel at once tiny and important:
And spent the morning frolicking through and staring at my absolute favorite weather.
I know I’m deluded, but I’ve decided that every married day is like this if you allow it the space to be, though sometimes you are ignoring each other, sometimes you or they are the most annoying person in the world, sometimes one of you are covered in dirt or stress or puke. But then you close your eyes, after rubbing the puke off them so it doesn’t get in your contact lens, and you remember how very simple and good it can be.
I LOVE THIS STORY. Cliff notes: those marvelous lady friends above were out dining in Santa Monica, when one of them spotted a dude really actually take out a little black vial and slip drugs into his date’s wine glass while she was in the bathroom. For one: Dude, where you think you AT? LITTLE BLACK VIAL? FOR REALLY? AND THEN ALSO, JUST BLATANTLY IN PUBLIC? WHAT IS THIS, AN EARLY 90s EPISODE OF LAW AND ORDER SVU IF THAT SHOW WAS A THING THEN? Thankfully one of the friends went into the bathroom, alerted the woman, while the other gals alerted the manager, who then called the cops. Dude: arrested. Woman: unharmed. As for the three friends, their charlie’s angels picture went viral. May they revel in their day in the internet sun!
Here’s a thing about being a writer that I am constantly forgetting and remembering and forgetting all over again: with no input, there is no output. If you’ve recently done a massive purge of feelings and ideas, which is to say, finished a big project of any kind, or begun a new one, and given most of yourself to it – YOU ARE EMPTY. If you try and generate content during that time, you will LITERALLY MAKE YOURSELF SICK, physically and emotionally. If you keep revving the engine in this empty place, you will damage your pipes. You must wait until you refill. But it’s not even as simple as reading something or just reflecting. The actual intake of content does not instantly turn into ideas. You must engage so hard in your own life and the world around you, you must go so far from the actual act of writing that you’ve nearly convinced yourself that you’ll never do it again, or at least do it well — you must meet that terrifying thought head on, wrap yourself around it — and then suddenly, in that desperate and lonely but necessary place, words and people are standing quietly in front of you, waiting to be seen.