Hi. Hi again.
So this is aaaalllll an experiment, right? Which means I’m still learning shit.
Like today! Here are two things I just learned:
1) People don’t like email excerpts.
2) People like their stories intact.
So. If you were waiting for the next and final installments of that smoking story, I posted them all at once. Just click that link and scroll down to where you left off.
And if you get these via email, I’m gonna start sending entire posts instead of just excerpts. You don’t have to click anywhere. No more of me doling out the goods. You get ’em all! The posts will be longer, some of them, but there will be fewer. One a week. Maybe less.
‘Cause like, I’m not trying to “drive traffic” to my website or whatever. I don’t need “hits.” This isn’t a marketing tool. I broke up my stories as way to post consistently without getting overwhelmed, but the larger experiment of this website is for me to try to stay sane and writing regularly while I don’t have a job.
I’m paused, as they say. This is a caesura.
I’ve never really had a pause before. When I’m on hiatus for TV I’m generally trying to catch up on theatre stuff. But no matter how well I appear to be balancing everything, I write many more TV scripts than plays. Which wouldn’t be a problem if I’d figured out how to do it without destroying myself.
I don’t know if it ever comes across on the screen, but I give a lot to my TV scripts. More than I’ve ever been asked to give. More than I keep for myself. I give as much as I’ve ever given to my playwriting. And it isn’t healthy for me. Not from a psychological standpoint. Not for the amount of TV scripts I need to crank out. Not if I wanna keep my actual feet on the actual earth.
‘Cause like, there have been times I’d turn in a first draft after pulling an all-nighter, and when the other writers told me it was good I’d burst into sobs. Like a big goddamn baby. In front of my boss, the PA, everyone.
This was recent, friends. Like not even a year ago. On a show I’d been on for SIX SEASONS.
I know it’s exhaustion and anxiety and hormones and low blood sugar and extreme neurosis and whatever… which also is bad for my health and scares my family… and on more than one occasion my kid has woken up at 5am, seen the light on in the living room, marched over to the couch where I write, and demanded I close my computer and go to bed.
But also, I put so much of myself into a script that when my colleagues tell me it’s good, they’re validating a fuck-ton more than just my writing.
You see how that can be problematic.
I suppose at its most injurious, the act of giving that much to something that isn’t (and never will be) mine is a form of self-annihilation. I recognize the feeling. I have it often. Of wanting to pack up parts of my psyche into little parcels and mail them off into the world one by one until there’s nothing left of me. I feel a haunting peacefulness at the thought of being emptied like that. I no longer have to judge my good impulses from my bad ones, or the helpful thoughts from the damaging. All of it is for other people to sort through now, all wrapped in smooth butcher paper and tied with jute twine ’cause I’m a crafty bitch.
Though the scariest thing for me, kinda, is the fact that I feel most connected to my writing when I am least connected to my body. Like I’ll start working at say 7pm, and the next time I look at the clock it’s 6am, and my low back is on fire and I’m shaking from hunger and my jaw hurts from clenching my teeth. But somewhere in that pocket of time, if I’m lucky, I’ve grasped at a kind of vibrating vulnerability and truthfulness that begins to sound like the moan of humanity… like, the thing that hums beneath it all…
But I can’t always hear it. And I don’t know how to listen for it in a “normal” way. Which blows.
So while this isn’t an actual honest-to-gosh writing break because here I am writing to you, it’s an experiment to see if I am capable of…
All of the above?
Ok then. Wish me luck.