Writing Wednesdays #4

Full disclosure: I’m writing this on Saturday. Yeah, been having a rough week. I’ve been writing down old, terrible memories all week, and that was kind of a draining process. I am trying to write without the expectation that anyone will ever read them, but of course, that’s nearly impossible. Still, I’ve managed to write more rawly about this stuff than I have previously.

I think that writing about stuff is supposed to be cathartic but I’m not honestly sure if it is. Going back to those moments may be a mistake. Right now, I’m trying to write about when I was accidentally mean to a cat for five years and it’s such a humiliating story and definitely doesn’t put me in a light that I generally like people to see me in.

Also, you know that feeling like a million tiny mice running around the inside of your skin with their pokey little claws? That’s how I’m feeling a lot. I wonder if this is how Oscar Wilde felt writing The Picture of Dorian Gray. That story is very honest, and I think, at least a little bit autobiographical. How much damage do we do to each other and the world at large, that is unintentional?

Anyway, I was barrelling along with the story about the prophecy girl and her best friend, the unicorn, and that stopped a couple of weeks ago. I was also writing about a mute detective and haven’t been able to bring myself back to that. I hung out with my friend Robin and we did writing exercises but that felt forced and I wasn’t really into it.

Being creative is basically opening yourself up to the universe and letting whatever wants to, flow through you. It’s the ultimate in vulnerability, and I am currently struggling with that. I think, when it gets dark, my instinct is to curl up, like a porcupine, and wait until the cloud over my head has stopped hailing down icy shards of bad memories and self-hatred. That’s an instinct that makes sense, right?

I know that sometimes the answer to that is to open up, let whatever happens, happen. But I also know that that has backfired. Maybe during these times, it’s okay to emotionally hibernate until I feel functional again. The problem is that during these times I think that I’ll never be an author because I’ll never get my shit together enough to have any kind of consistency. I can go for years without writing anything creative.

That behavior isn’t going to give me the career that I want, and I desperately want to leave my job, which only adds more pressure for me to be writing the thing that’s going to rescue me from a life of accidentally crushing the hopes and dreams of people who don’t know better than to hope and dream in a world like this.

Alright, that’s another dark one. Here’s a gif of three kitty amigos:

I don’t have all of the answers, okay? Sometimes I think I do, and then I wait 30 seconds until the crippling doubt seizes up all of my muscles again…(By the way, Dan Fogelberg explains this human condition perfectly in his song, Part of the Plan.)

Testy Tuesdays #4

I’ve spent all week feeling like everyone is mad at me, and like I don’t belong anywhere, so that’s been fun. I remember in third grade–nope, I have to go back.

When I was in foster care, my foster sister used to make me wear the same clothes to school every day, so I got picked on a lot. I didn’t know why at the time (dirty and smelly, hindsight, right?), I think mostly because it didn’t occur to me to make fun of anyone else.

I remember once, this girl in my class had me put my hands out palms down, and when I did, she slapped the backs of my hands. Then she asked me to put my hands out again, and when I resisted, she promised she wouldn’t slap them again. So I did, and she slapped them again. I’d like to say that that was the end of the “game”, but she promised again and I put them out again, and again, and again.

I think that’s how I walked through the world back then, and I was Charlie Brown and everyone else in the world was Lucy with the football. So, that was first and second grade, kind of blurred together because I was in foster care and seven-eight and didn’t actually understand how grades worked.

So, when I got to live with my mom again, and start third grade at a new-old school (I’d gone there for kindergarten), I decided to look around and figure out why some kids would get picked on and some wouldn’t. I quickly noticed a small flock of popular girls. They were like a super tame version of The Plastics from Mean Girls, only slightly more poised and better dressed than the rest of us schlubs.

I decided that if I was friends with these girls, that would protect me from being made fun of. So, all year, I tried to befriend them. I was a “wannabe” and didn’t know it because I didn’t have any friends to tell me to knock it off. Funnily enough, that year, since I wasn’t wearing the same clothes every day, I probably could have just operated under their radar or become friends with them naturally, but I actually got picked on MORE because I tried to be friends with them than if I’d let them alone. Nobody likes being used, and these girls weren’t dumb.

After reflecting on that for a full summer, I decided that when I went back to school, I wouldn’t try to have friends. I’d just keep my head down and if anyone bothered me, I’d deal with it as best I could, on my own. Fortunately, that was the year I skipped a grade, and I got to start over with all new people, even though it was the same school. (Don’t be impressed. I repeated kindergarten, so I was just in the correct grade from then on, not a year behind.)

What was the point of this? Ah, yes. So, sometimes at work, I am overwhelmed with real affection for my coworkers, and I feel like they like me too, and that’s awesome. But this week, I felt like I did in third grade, forcing friendliness that I didn’t feel because I was depressed. Oprah likes to say to “fake it until you make it” and it’s not terrible advice, except that I work with ALL ARTISTS and artists are more finely attuned to falsity than regular people, so I just felt like an imposter/intruder all week.

Anyway, the only way to combat this is to let go and let people have their reactions to me, which is super difficult when I know the worst reactions that people can have. I legit had someone ask me to kill myself, and mean it, when I was eight years old. This was someone who used to beat me up every day. To go from having some value, even if it was as a punching bag, to having zero value — to see that unfettered hatred in her eyes — that stayed with me, for some reason.

Wow, that got dark. To lighten things up, here’s a gif of one kitten saving another kitten’s life:

Minstrel Mondays #4

Haha, this is awesome. Pandora is playing Promises Made by Dan Fogelberg right now, as I’m getting ready to write this blog post. Confession: my job pays for a Pandora account for walk-on/off music during shows, and I can’t afford a paid account, so I have my own station. I call it 70s Hybrid because people kept deleting it when it was just called Dan Fogelberg. 70s Hybrid is more accurate, anyway. I do listen to music other than Dan Fogelberg, but we’re not going to get into that right now.

The point of the confession is to let you know that when I’m at work and shows are happening, I still need to listen to music, so I just go on YouTube and find a Dan Fogelberg playlists. It’s basically just background music, and I realize how long it’s been since I’ve listened to a particular song when I’ve forgotten most of the lyrics. There’s one song, though, that has such a great opening verse and it keeps catching my ear:

Dawn, like an angel.
Alights on the step.
Muting the morning she heralds.
Dew on the grass,
Like the tears the night wept,
Gone long before,
The day wears old.

The music is pretty simple, mostly guitar, I think plus a violin or two. The instruments are played so subtly that any time Dan pauses in his singing, for a moment, it seems as though the music has stopped too, although it hasn’t, it smoothly carries on without him. It’s sort of like the euphony of a peaceful mind resting in between thoughts.

This has never been one of my favorite songs, I always found it boring when I was a kid. Also, there’s a lot of nostalgia in this song, which is not an emotion that I’ve ever been super connected to because my childhood was nonexistent. Still, the imagery in the song, especially in the first verse is pretty great. I love the personification of dawn and the night, and the music is pretty if intentionally understated.

I want to post a link to the video but I have my YouTube on autoplay and The Reach came on after I re-listened to The Sand and the Foam so that I could write about it, so now I have to finish listening to The Reach. I think I already wrote about it. It’s my current favorite of his songs. If I haven’t, I will. Okay, it’s over. Here you go:

Stand-Up Sundays #4

I want to take a moment to talk about how to be at a comedy show. If you’re at a show, whether it’s a mic or a bar show or an audition or a club show, get there 30 minutes early, and plan to be there for 30 minutes after. Stay the whole time. Whenever possible, be in the room, supporting the other comics. Stay off of your phone. Laugh when you think something is funny. I could probably write for 10k words on WHY to do this, but I’m going to try to keep it brief.

First, your physical presence indicates your emotional one, as well. So if you’re late, it tells me that you’re already disconnected from the show. If you’re hanging out in the hallway or the green room, it tells me that you are not 100% invested in what is happening in that room. A show is more than you. A show is a collaboration between the booker, the venue, the promoters, the staff, the audience, and the other comedians on the show. We all affect each other. Comedians who are excited about the show create an amazing energy before the show has even started. This is one of the reasons I like to work with new comedians. That excitement is spontaneous, genuine and infectious.

Second, the longer it takes for you to check in, the less sure the staff is that you’re going to show up. Yes, we know that some people just show up, expecting to do a set and then leave, but that behavior is self-indulgent. Imagine if the entire lineup does that? I have been to shows in which that is the case, and they are chaotic. I have had to look around and see an emcee and two comedians and be like, “We have 30 minutes of show right now. Let’s get started and if we need to vamp, we can.” I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve needed to add a comedian to a lineup in order to hold for someone we’re waiting for. That said, if the booker/producer can’t find you before the show, low-key alarm bells start going off in our heads,  and we’re trying to figure out if we need to replace you. Is that the impression you want to be making before you’re even on stage?

Third, our friends are producing their own shows and mics, even getting their own sitcoms. They are looking to get us into their shows and shit. I have had people offer to try to figure out how to get me into shit, and I have no interest in being on TV and I don’t really do stand-up anymore, but it’s nice to be thought of. The point is, nobody wants to work with a flake, and with there being SO MANY funny and talented comedians, sometimes the thing that gives you that edge is being reliable. Personally, I would rather work with reliable and consistently funny over brilliant and flaky any time. There are headliners that I’ve stopped booking because they’ve flaked out on me so many times, and I’d rather give those opportunities to people who will appreciate them and take them seriously.

Do I blame these people for flaking on headlining a free show, over and over and over? Yes, to be honest. Do I see their point? Oh, absolutely. They are being completely undervalued and should never have agreed to do it in the first place. That said, they did say they’d do it, even often expressed some sort of excitement about it. And then I have to replace them last minute. If you’re ever too good for a gig, turn it town. Let yourself and the booker off of the hook. Let the booker find someone who is appropriate for an unpaid 20-minute set on a Thursday night in front of 20 people. The booker is not hurt, and in fact is surprised by the number of quality, experienced comedians who will say yes to that gig and who even seem grateful for it.

Fourth, In terms of being in the room during the show, there are several reasons for that, too. First, sometimes comedians have very similar jokes. But if you weren’t watching, you don’t know if your joke has already been told and then you wonder why you didn’t get the usual response to yours. Second, sometimes something weird happens, and you get to comment on it if you witness it. Also if something weird happens and you didn’t see it, you may have a joke that touches on the weird thing that happened, and again, don’t understand why you get an off response from the audience.

Finally, rushing off after your set doesn’t do you any good. You don’t get to thank the audience or the staff, two groups of people without whom you get no stage time. I often have people do their set at auditions or shows and then come and shake my hand, directly ensuring that I know that they’re leaving early. This always irritates me, but I am only the person who booked them.

I don’t pay for the electricity to their mics, I don’t pay for the food, I don’t hire the cooks or bartenders to prepare the food and drink, or the servers who deliver that food and drink. I don’t check in the audience or seat them (okay, sometimes I do, but mostly I don’t), I don’t make sure that the carpets are cleaned, replace broken or damaged equipment, buy the cameras, chairs or tables, and I catch as many shows as I can, but even with I do watch a show, I am not 10-200 people watching you.

Thank the audience as they leave. Let them know where to find you on social media. Exchange social media information with the other comedians so that if you want to hire them for a future project, or vice versa, you can find each other quickly and easily. It’s amazing to me the number of comedians who complain about not having a fan base, who also leave directly after their set.

The most important reason to be emotionally present for every show is that doing stand-up is all about being in the moment. If you’re checked out at any point during the show, it affects your performance. I know, why should you care if it’s just a mic or just a bar show or just 7 minutes or that you’re not getting paid or that you’re not getting paid enough? Here’s why: there is not a good enough gig to drag you out of that mentality. There is always a better show in your mind, the one that you’ll really give your all at.

Michael Rayner is Dave Reinitz’s favorite comedian, partly because Michael Rayner is BRILLIANT but also because he is a headliner who puts as much of himself into performing for an audience of one as he does for an audience of a thousand — and he has performed for both of those extremes. Why should it matter who Dave Reinitz’s favorite comedian is? Because when he opened up his own comedy club, he built the stage specifically so that Michael Rayner could perform on it. Be the comedian that people build comedy stages around.

On a personal note, I know that sometimes there is a small audience. We’re all figuring out how to market and promote shows in LA, and a small audience can feel like a betrayal of your expectations. Maybe it doesn’t feel worth it to stick around on shows like that. What’s in it for you? I get it. But, as someone who has sat through an entire show, and at the end of it the only people in the room were me, one other person in the audience, the emcee and the showrunner with the headliner on stage — please stay anyway.  Comedians left with the one or two people who came to see them. Other comedians who had no one to see them left before that. There could have been sixteen people in the room, supporting each comedian so that everyone had their best possible set for that situation. I’ve seen that happen, too.  But I still remember that show, like at least once a week. I remember that headliner too, who got up on stage for two people and rocked it out like a pro. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever open my own comedy club, but if I can EVER help that guy out in any way, I will.

Sadness Saturdays #4

I’m not actually sad right now. Give it an hour though, lol. Sigh.

Let’s see, since I’m not sad, let me talk about some things I do when I’m sad to help myself feel better and some things I do to allow myself to feel bad and some things I do to help myself feel worse.

To Feel Better

  • Do anything creative. Write, draw, crochet, make jewelry, etc.
  • YouTube, Netflix, Hulu. I mean, this is daily life, but when I’m sad I specifically look for documentary-style things like Abstract or House of Z or Amazing Hotels. Things that showcase people doing impractical but amazing things. It shows the triumph of the human spirit better than any “feel good” movie where half of the cast dies.
  • Text Cheri. I don’t do this one a lot because when I’m sad I don’t want to talk to anyone, but I know that when I’m sad, if anyone can make me laugh, it’s her. I don’t even always say that I’m sad. I just check in and she takes it from there.

 

To Allow Sadness

  • Be honest when people ask me how I’m doing.
  • Hybernate. Turn off phone, ignore FB.
  • Let it be quiet. No music, no YouTube, just thinking while I’m writing or drawing or something.

 

To Feel Worse

  • Ignore texts and FB messages AND feel guilty about it.
  • Replay all of the stupid, embarrassing, mean things I’ve said or done in the past week, month, year, decade and mentally flagellate myself for them.
  • Watch murder-y things on Netflix, YouTube, Hulu.

I also sleep a lot, but that can actually be applied to any of these categories depending on what my purpose is. If I need the rest, it’s a good thing. If I’m just avoiding being awake or procrastinating, it makes me feel like even more of a waste.

I had a weird dream before I woke up. It was a jumble of frustration, humiliation, and defiance. But I feel better now. I only got a full body massage once, and I’ll probably never do it again. The guy actually stood on me. I think it’s odd to ask someone why they’re tense when you’re intentionally hurting them. Anyway, I was super relaxed afterward, but he also, like, hurt me. I was sore for days. But like, relaxed. So the dream was kind of like that — tensing up all of my emotional muscles so that when I woke up, I felt fine.

Anyway, I don’t think that any of these are bad methods for dealing with sadness. I mean, the last one sounds the most negative, but it does have that deep tissue effect where when I’m really mean to myself, eventually I get tired of beating up on myself and then stop. And then I start to feel better. I would LIKE to go my entire life without hating myself but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards, so it’s not my favorite coping mechanism, but sometimes it’s all I have left. If the bad thoughts won’t go away, feed them until they get the itis and fall asleep.

Face-Blindness Fridays #3

I have to leave for work in a little bit, and am SUPER GLAD that the shows this weekend are actually a film festival. That means a) I can get some work done and b) I won’t be hugging strangers and then checking lineups to figure out who that person I just hugged was. Yaaaaay…!

The thing about having face blindness is that I make friends slowly. I have to first, be able to name you when I see you, which takes about 6-7 times of you introducing yourself. Then I have to know something unique about you to go along with the name and face. Then, we have to have some sort of uncomfortable moment. You can’t be real friends with someone until after your first fight. But, once I love you, I love you forever — or until you cross me, haha…

Generally, for me at least, having face blindness is a relatively minor inconvenience. It’s sort of like walking down the street about 20 steps behind the people you’re with (I’m also a slow walker). I will say, though, that one benefit is that I don’t generally judge people based on what they look like. I mean, I’m as superficial as anyone else. I would prefer to look at a pretty face than an ugly one.

But when you’re not around, and I can’t picture you, what I have to grasp on to, memory-wise, is what it felt like being around you. Was I comfortable? Did I feel safe? Did you make me laugh? Were you nice? Were you interesting? People with visual memories don’t have that advantage. I get to separate, in my mind, who people are from what they look like, whereas for most people, those two things are intrinsically linked.

That’s why, when I don’t recognize someone, even though we’ve met several times, it hurts their feelings. They feel like they’ve been erased completely. It’s really hard to explain to someone that they are a complete, multidimensional person to me — it’s just that the memory of them is triggered when I hear their name, not when I see their face.

Then again, maybe I had a super great conversation with someone and didn’t catch their name. So now, I had a great moment that I will carry around with me for the rest of my life, with someone I will never see again. Unless that person actually brings up that conversation again, I will have no idea that that moment was with that person.

It gets a little abstract, trying to describe it, because there aren’t any visual ways to describe someone’s soul. I mean, you can use colors and stuff, but for me, it’s a sense. Right after my mom died, I missed her. I tried to recall the feeling that she brought into the room with her, but I couldn’t. I wouldn’t only get to experience her presence again when I’d dream about her. I don’t know why my waking mind only allows me to partially remember what it was like to be around her, when I dream about her, I get to feel it fully.

And in my dreams, my mom doesn’t look any particular way. She’s a vague, mom-shaped blob, but the way that I feel about her is how I know it’s her. I’ve had dreams in which someone I knew looked like someone else. Like I’d be looking at Vin Diesel, but it would really be my best friend, Madlen. Then I’d wake up, and I’d be like, that was weird. I was dreaming about Madlen, but she looked like Vin Diesel. Alternately, this hasn’t happened, probably because it happens so much in real life, but I’ve never, in a dream, had someone say they were someone I knew, and they looked like that person, but I knew they weren’t.

My dreams are the only time I never have any trouble recognizing anyone. In real life, not only do I completely forget what people look like, but I’ll mis-remember their hair color or basic body shape. Half of the time when a comedian is on stage, I’m correcting my memory of what they looked like by observing what they actually looked like. How people can tell when I’ve lost two pounds, I don’t know. They never mention it when I gain those two pounds back, though, which is nice.

Or I’ll get two people confused. Like, there is a comedian named Brian D’Augustine, and his name does not match his face because when he filled out the independent producer form, I was like, “Oh, I know who that is,” and pictured Andrew Duvall. So when I run into Brian, I always picture Andrew Duvall, but I can never remember Andrew Duvall’s name when I’m talking to Brian because he has the name that I think that Andrew Duvall should have. And they don’t look at all alike.

Brains are weird. It’s amazing that I’m functional at all, really.

Drawing Thursdays #3

In another installment of Don’t-Ask-Me-to-Art-for-You-Because-I-Am-A-Garbage-Person, in 2006 (yeah, 12 years ago), I promised to make a set of 12 cartoon dolls for a friend of mine. So far, I’ve made 8. Here’s the latest one:

I’m honestly not sure WHY this is taking me for so long, or why I haven’t just admitted that I’m never going to finish them, but to be fair, the longer it takes me to do them, the cuter they get. This is the first one that I made in 2006:

Okay, they’re pretty much equally cute. I am almost done with the next one, I just have to get the hat right. Here’s what I have so far:

You’ve probably noticed some similarities. So, if you’re not familiar with cartoon dolling, basically, it’s like paper dolls except that it’s digital and you create the hairstyles and clothes yourself. You can also adjust the makeup, expressions, etc. The purpose of this was initially to use as avatars in a chat program called the Palace and also on message boards.

For a while, there were message boards dedicating to “dolling” where you could “sell” your dolls for message board currency, using the currency to purchase dolls from other artists. I think I started doing this around 2003? I’m still friends with some of my old dolling friends, including Jodi, who won these dolls as a prize from an anniversary celebration of my website.

For a while, I sold cartoon dolls for actual money through Paypal, but I was never super comfortable with doing commissions. I have a lot of anxiety about meeting expectations and deadlines (obviously). I also had a “members-only” section of my website, where people could pay for access to exclusive doll bases and other graphic things that I had already made. Selling pixel art was a great way to ruin something that had at one point been fun and relaxing.

So, if you know me, you know that I was agoraphobic from 1996 to 2006, and during that time, I learned how to draw, I watched a lot of Oprah, and I slept a lot. After about a decade of that, I decided that if 10 years wasn’t enough time for me to feel ready to go out in the world, I may have to go out into the world, unready. So I went out and got a job. It was full-time, so that cut my pixelling time down a lot, and my website went by the wayside. I kept it online, but I didn’t update it, for years…

I felt really guilty for not keeping up with the website, which further curbed my desire to do pixel art, and that feeling taints the experience of pixelling, still. But I do love doing it, so I don’t know. Maybe I can work through that guilt at some point. Most of the people who paid for memberships aren’t even around anymore, at least not in terms of making pixel art, so I don’t know how to make it up to them.

I’ve never really stopped pixelling, but there are large gaps of time in between spurts. Here’s something I made a few years ago:

She’s a version of the original Palace Diva. I modified the base — the original ones were very cute, but crudely drawn. This is what the original base looked like:

If you want another blast from the past (and why wouldn’t you?), here is one of my first dolls on my first ever base. A few years ago, I modified the base and made a new doll. I think there are some improvements, although I’m always learning. I think I’ve already modified her face again since then:

Her shirt wrinkles look weird and her bangs are super stiff and too short to go with that long and thick of a braid. And I was too lazy to draw shoes — but her feet are so cute! But at least she doesn’t have weird, glowy green eyes and the shading is more deliberate than the first doll.

The interesting thing about this base is that it was originally a template that I used for fashion designs. I have a ton of real-life paper and pencil sketches drawn on this template, but I never liked using this base. I think these are the only two dolls I’ve ever made on it.

Wow, that got off topic. Garbage person! Right! Even though Jodi has probably lost all desire to receive a set of dolls from me at this point, I’m still going to finish them! Someday!

Writing Wednesdays #3

I don’t want to jinx it but I wrote last night, for about an hour, probably. I knew I wanted to write, but I approached it like a baby deer; slowly, with good intentions. The main story I’m working on is a fantasy novel about a girl, a prophecy, and her best friend, a unicorn. I’m at the part where she finally faces down the villain, and it’s great. The last time I worked on it, four days ago, it was going well. But now that I’m nearing the end of that story, which marks the need for editing and revision, I’ve slowed down on the writing.

I started writing a story I started a long time ago about a detective who has to clear a man who didn’t kill his first two wives. I started working on this one probably about a week-and-a-half ago, partly because I felt the depression coming on, which reminded me of this mute character I had. Depression steals voices, so I knew that I could relate to Anne (the detective) better than Janie (the prophecy girl) because Janie is ready to fight and Anne has no voice.

Anyway, last night, I took a shower, meditating on Anne and the characters in that story, hoping I’d have that moment in which a scene is revealed and just needs to be written down. And it did! And it was fun to write. This is the story I mentioned a few days ago, in which I was high and re-read what I wrote and realized that it was kind of not good writing. I don’t care if it’s not good writing. I love the story and I love the characters and I love that it’s so different from the other story I’m writing.

I’m home early from work because we did a teambuilding thing today at work that started in the morning. I’m tired but I hope that I can trick myself into writing again. The teambuilding was pretty cool. I was late because I couldn’t remember if it started at 9:30 or 10 so I found the original invitation which said “10” so I got there at 10, and it had been changed to 9:30. So that was a bad way to start but then we did improv, which should have made it worse, but it was actually fun.

Then we went bowling. I would like to state for posterity that I got higher scores than both Barb and Dave (by like two points) so that I can look back at this in 10 years and wonder why it mattered. I don’t actually know, today, why, just that it seemed important at the time. It was interesting to watch how differently people reacted to doing well or not. Some people were able to shrug it off, some stopped having fun, but most didn’t really care about the scores that much. I bowled a lot of gutters and hit one spare. So when I say I scored better than Barb and Dave, I’m not saying I did well. But I had fun.

The best ad-lib of the day, and there were a few, was when Barb and Dave were up at the same time and somebody said something like, “You’re going to come together.” Barb turned around and said, “That hasn’t happened in years,” which was met with typical junior high “oohs”. Then she punctuated her statement by bowling a spare, to loud cheering. Dave didn’t say anything, he just bowled his only strike of the day to thunderous applause. Honestly, I never want to know anything about my boss’ sex lives, but that was pretty great timing.

I probably learned a lot about myself that will help with writing (that is the only reason I do anything), but I haven’t had a chance to process it all yet. But my favorite of the improv exercises was the one in which we each had to tell a story. I assigned Nick a unicorn that found out that he wasn’t the last unicorn and went on a journey to find the only other unicorn in the world. Nick assigned me a bearded lady with the circus who was actually a millionaire.

Nick’s story was set in modern times. He was in Spain and he heard there was another unicorn somewhere in Canada. He turned his noses up at regular horses and described himself as “colorful”. And then, because of his loneliness, he ended up addicted to heroin. That was the last part, and I was cracking up as Gillian called time.

For my turn, I had some pretty good details in my story, but my favorite part was when my entire family died and left me rich, but I was under contract with the ringmaster, and I said, “And you can’t just buy out a contract, right?” which made Nick laugh. So that was fun. I actually might just try that one with Robin, or just by myself. See how many ridiculous details I can get out in one minute. I came up with one writing doodle, so that’s another one I can do.

I think the biggest thing that I got out of today was during one of the first games, which was a story round — everyone says one word in the story. Dave was trying to work in the word, “lawnmower” and got frustrated when he got “the” twice in a row. (At some point, we ended up entering a banker.) Anyway, Gillian said playing the game with an agenda; trying to get to a specific word or trying to steer a story, even knowing you only get one in ten words to participate, is about control.

My inclination was the exact opposite. I only wanted “the” or “it” or “had” or “a”. I didn’t want to steer the story in any direction, which is odd because I’m all about stories. But that game is more about how we show up in the world. I wanted to be the least noticeable part of the story. I remember that inclination from the last time I played that game during the comedy intensive three years ago. I was thinking about that before I even got to work, how little responsibility I’ve ever actually signed up for.

Anyway, I’m constantly evolving. I’ve been trying to find a way out of this promotion ever since they gave it to me, but I’ve learned and grown a lot over the past year, so who knows? I hate the accountability that comes from doing things, but if I’m honest, I want to do things, so I think I have to get accustomed to that discomfort.

Oh, and Auditions were particularly good today. Like, the best I can remember seeing.

Testy Tuesdays #3

I haven’t written in 3 days. I just got caught up on my past two blogs, don’t let the dates fool you. Today is actually Tuesday, though, and I haven’t written anything creative in 3 days. I’m not going to today, either.

I hate depression, I hate it. I hate it!

I have no words. I hate that it takes my words.

Oh, right, I forgot, I was going to change Tuesdays to crafting or something. I also remembered that I’m basically a Christopher Pike expert, too, although not so much a fan since I read one of his latest books, and it was set against the backdrop of the holocaust, as though frivolous teen horror novelists shouldn’t show more goddamn respect for one of humanity’s greatest atrocities. I guess that could fall under the topic of Writing Wednesdays, though…

See you tomorrow.

Minstrel Mondays #3

My showrunner intern is from Illinois and I was eating my dinner the other night as she sat the room, and overheard her talking to a comedian about Illinois. The comedian mentioned that Richard Pryor is from Peoria. I almost shouted out, “So is Dan Fogelberg!” but I showed some self-control.

Haha, just kidding. I just remembered that I was in the corner and nobody was paying attention to me and that shouting out a random Dan Fogelberg fact would drag me into a conversation. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone, I just wanted to share a Dan fact. If I know, you should know. That’s why we do Minstrel Mondays.

I think that Peoria puts on a memorial every year for him, too, although I’m not sure, and I’m not going to Google it.

Have a good night.

(Yes, the depression is still strangling me, thanks for asking. And please don’t ask me anything else. And please stop messaging me on Facebook about work-related things…!)