Sunday, August 27, 2006

I'm not a Jesus Freak, but I am a moron.

Maybe you haven’t figured it by now, but I am not one of those wonderful freaks of nature that’s public about my faith. In person, that is. Ergo, the blog. There were a few Act One classmates of mine that were, and I admired how easily the phrase “How can we pray for you” tripped off their tongue as easy as “Do we have any beer left in the fridge” trips off mine. It never felt fake or false coming from them, it was so naturally ingrained into their character, because they’re such genuine people with beautiful souls, you believe that they WANT to pray for you, honestly, because they care.

None of that is in me, but I realize it’s SUPPOSED to be. I think. Sure, I care, but I’m not rushing to be all verbal about it. If I could find a way to do it where it can be uniquely me, bearing all the characteristics of my Grump personality. Can it be half me, half God? Would that make me a TerminAmy or something? Half chick. Half God. All disaster. Ha ha ha.

I gave blood last Monday, my unique way of helping others and being mean to myself in one fell swoop. Since I have no more job at the Movie Studio where I would give blood at their conveniently scheduled three month blood drives, I picked the closest spot to me, which was the Renaissance Hotel at the Hollywood & Highland complex.

I brought my Bible, since my new kick is to read the thing, as opposed to just the verses that my devotionals touch on. I’ve started in the New Testament, and now I’m somewhere in the beginning of Luke. And as I wait for my name to be called in the Community Room with the carpet that looks like they’ve slaughtered every animal in the African watering hole and stomped it into the fibers, I recognize that reading a Bible in public automatically classifies me as a Jesus freak. Great. Well, who cares really. Means I don’t have to make conversation with strangers, nobody will willingly talk to the chick who’s reading a Bible. Hey, that actually kinda rocks, since I don’t like talking to people much anyway (except you, Gentle Reader, always always except you.)

For a half second it looks like I’m gonna be bounced because my little drop of blood floats to the top of the testing container as opposed to sinking to the bottom like good iron-enriched blood drops do, but after they run it through “the machine.” (Go TerminAmy, Go! Go, TerminAmy, Go!) I get the all clear that yes indeedy, my O positive blood is acceptable, so let’s go see the Red Cross vampires! Yay!

My vampire today is a woman named Olive. I warn her that I don’t like needles. “Nobody does, but everyone gives anyway. Kinda funny.” She says as she tilts my chair back. My head instantly twists to the wall.
I’m holding my Quest Bible in a death grip, the kind of grip that Pentecostal preachers’ll use when they’re smacking the thing into someone’s forehead so they’ll literally be “struck” with the Spirit.

Olive assures me that everything will be fine, and interestingly enough, it’s the least painful needle insertion I’ve experienced since hopping on this Red Cross Fueled Masochistic Kick earlier this year. I try to breathe and turn the Bible Turned Stuffed Animal For Comfort to Luke’s chapter, and that’s when Olive says the most beautiful thing I’ve heard in weeks.

“Do you want me to get you a towel so you don’t have to look your arm?”

Oh, this is an angel. This is an angel sent from God Himself, she is. Thank you GOD, for Olive the Red Cross vampire angel wonderful person that she is.

It’s the least painful needle insertion ever, it’s the quickest blood draw ever, and the quickest needle extraction ever. “No bruises, see?” Olive shows me after it’s over. I can’t believe it. You have to understand, last time I gave blood, I got a lecture from the vampires because it was MY fault that my breathing got too shallow and too rapid and constricted the veins so that the needle hurt going in. MY fault. It’s THEIR needle, in THEIR hands, but it was MY fault.

But today is a glorious day. “It must be God.” I joke. “No, it’s ME.” She shoots back, grinning. “Of course, of course, it’s you, but I’m required to praise Him first.” I say. She smiles, and off I go to the cookie and juice table to get the blood sugar going.

And as I sit there with the Famous Amos cookies and Vienna Fingers, I get a thought in my head that I can’t shake.

You should go ask her how you can pray for her.

Wha-huh? I don’t do that. What’re you, nuts?

You have to. You have to do something for her, because she’s the reason your blood draw was the least painful yet.

Can’t I wash her car or something? Go get her lunch? Some other errand that doesn’t involve talking to her and risk me looking like a Jesus Freak Sunshiny Moron?

She already thinks you’re a Jesus freak, thanks to your Bible clutching and God praising. So go ask her, you twit. Do it now, loser.

This voice isn’t going away. If I walk out of the African Watering Hole Slaughter Room without doing it, the voice will only get louder, and the day will be ruined as I try to drown it out using pillows, music, and tequila. And I have to write.

So I wait until she’s between victims, and go up to her. “Olive, I kinda have to ask this, but I wanted to do something for you since you were so painless about the whole blood thing, but is there anything I can pray about for you?”

Olive’s confused, at first she’s thinking I’m upset about something, and need her to pray WITH me. Then I clarify, and she’s a little taken aback. As anybody would, in the face of a statement like that. She’s just trying to do her job sucking blood, there’s not a church in sight, what’s the Jesus Freak accosting her for?

If she could see the train o' thoughts running through my head. Look, trust me, I'm not thrilled about this either. I don't wanna be thought of as a Jesus Freak. And it's not that I don't like Jesus, because I do, He rocks, He's done everything for me, so when I say the phrase Jesus Freak, I'm not trying to slam Him, just the Freaks that accost people in public and make them feel uncomfortable like I'm really scared I'm doing to you right now.

No, Olive, I don't wanna do this, but I have to, because there's this voice in my head see. The voice is gonna get ugly if I don't, and I've got a rewrite to do today. The voice isn't supposed to be there in the first place, I'm supposed to love Jesus enough to WANT to do this kind of thing willingly with a smile on my face, and if I ever do get to that point, it'll mean I've swallowed the Kool-Aid, and turned into a Sunshiny Moron, but that's not your problem right now, I'm just trying to explain that, that, that, I'm NOT one of THEM, but I HAVE to do this ANYWAY. I'm not a Freak. You have to believe me.

But what Olive is doing is trying to remember what saint you’re supposed to pray to “to take care of things” (is there a saint for that kind of generic request?) She can't remember it, so she asks for prayer “just that I would be happy, and for happiness in my marriage.” Which is easy enough to do, and I tell her I’ll do it.

She gives me a hug, and I exit the African Watering Hole Slaughter Room and pray for her while going down the escalator. Maybe I was supposed to pray WITH her. But I can’t see how that’s a good idea. I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable, this is their workplace, basically. Hell, I’m feeling skeevy myself just taking the first step.

It’s like a Drive By Praying. “Quick! Tell-me-how-I-can-pray-for-you-thanks!-see-ya-later!” Yeah, that sounds exactly my style.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Enforced Secret Joy #12 – Pink Puppy Paw Pads

We can officially say that my life has gone to the dogs. This adorable furry face and mitt belongs to Lewis, who is Roomie Jeykll’s boyfriend’s dog. As soon as Simon left, Lewis came in, he’s staying here for the weekend. He looks adorable, there’s no doubt, but he can be quite snooty, oh, I’m sorry, I mean particular.

And somtimes, if you catch him in the right mood, he will deign to display his Pink Puppy Paw Pads, which kill me every time. Simon also sported Pink Puppy Paw Pads of his own, but I didn’t get around to taking a picture of them.

Pink Puppy Paw Pads are the funniest thing in the world. You see them all the time on cats, but I rarely see them on dogs. The cocker spaniels I grew up with had Black Rough Paw Pads, they looked like backroads Georgia asphalt. Ginger Puppy and Basil The Dog also sport Black Rough Paw Pads. They’re obviously functional, but aesthetically, they’re missing something. Not that the dogs care. Just me.

Dear God, thank you for Pink Puppy Paw Pads. Thank you for the smile they bring to my face. Thank you for their whimsical color, their strange softness, their particular sectioning that look like Southern biscuits. Thank you for Lewis and Simon. Thank you for Basil the Dog and Ginger Puppy. Thank you for paw pads, no matter what color, because they give a strong foundation to a dog’s foot, and above all else, dogs need to walk like the rest of us.

Thank you for Your amazing attention to detail. There’s no reason in the world that you HAD to create Pink Puppy Paw Pads. They could’ve been black on any dog anywhere at anytime. But You, in Your infinite wisdom, decided to make them…pink. Not brown, not yellow, not purple. Pink. I think it’s awesome. You’ve got a great sense of humor, not to mention wicked ideas when it comes to canine creation. Thank you for the laughs. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Do You Need Help?

The thing about being recently unemployed, as I told people this week, is that you acutely feel every MINUTE of every HOUR of every DAY because you don’t have the numbing effect of Day Job Busy Work cocooning you. Everywhere I turn, there’s another clock showing me exactly 12 seconds have passed since the last time I looked at a clock. I'm getting all upset if people aren't returning calls or emails, and then I realize um, you called/emailed them yesterday. Give them some room.

So maybe I was trying to get the clock to go faster, but this week was spent helping out a slew of other people. I took out the trash at 11:00 church. I helped nosleeptricia address thank you cards and clean off her patio. I supported the Ark Theatre Company’s fundraiser, and did a box office shift for them the following evening. I killed a cockroach for Roomie Jekyll while she hyperventilated in the corner, and the next day took care of her through a bout of food poisoning (which wasn’t related to the cockroach, I don’t think. Unless she ate the cockroach.) I helped a former co-worker move up from Long Beach. And now I am currently dogsitting nosleeptricia’s dog, Simon. Tomorrow I give blood to the Red Cross.

Do any of you people need anything? Because I’m here. I’ve got time. Just sayin’.

My motivation was pretty selfish. I wanted to get out of the house, to get my mind off stuff, and to procrastinate on writing (directly contrary to the Time Moving Slowly thing, I know.) I’m also a huge dog person, so whenever I can borrow someone else’s dog to get my unconditional love, I’m there. Just look at this guy. He’s the most mellow dog. He endured three minutes of picture taking until I could get just the right shot. (don’t ask about the Phantom of The Opera towel. That’s a long story.)

In the middle of the week, it occurred to me that I could be perceived as a living breathing example of God’s love displayed through my actions in helping other people. But since the beginning motivation was pure selfishness, I don’t know if it counts.

Quick sidebar. When I first started tithing, I didn’t do it because we’re called to do so, I did it because I was f’ing tired of sitting through one more sermon that made me feel guilty for NOT doing it. So I started, and I don’t even think twice about it anymore. I don’t miss a penny that I give away. There’s never been a doubt in my mind that it’s not the right thing to do. But I kinda grew into that right frame of mind.

I wonder about motivation. People this week were helped because of what I did for them. And I got stuff out of it too, as a few people listened to me bitch and moan about my life and offered a fresh perspective that consisted of a very loving “You’re an idiot.” But in God’s eyes, what did I do? Do I get points for inadvertently being an example of His love? Or do I not get points because I got something out of it too? If I decided, “Today I’m going to be a WONDERFUL example of His love, He’s gonna be so f’ing PROUD O’ ME!” Wouldn’t I just be an insufferable bee-yotch?

I know, I know, it’s not about getting points.

God uses broken, miserable, and grumpy people all the time for His purposes. I imagine that He’s muffling his laughter as he’s watching me weigh down the car with a gazillion boxes of someone else’s stuff in Long Beach, look at how she’s trying so hard not to write! It’s fabulous! But do you think that He’s also hoping one day, maybe, that my first impulse when I wake up each day is How Can I Serve Someone Else? ‘Cause it’s not that right now (it’s usually Why Didn’t I Have A Happy Dream As Opposed To An Anxiety Dream?)

I wonder how many people wake up and have that as their first thought in the first place. And whether or not they’re insufferable bee-yotches. Sunshiny morons.

I guess I’m wondering if I can still be Amy The Grump and Help People When I Can, and not have to be a Sunshiny Moron about it. I can’t tell you how petrified I am that God’s ultimate plan for me is not to be a paid screenwriter, but that He’s gonna turn me into a Sunshiny Moron, and I’ll think it’s okay. The thought haunts me all the time if only you gave up your Grump ways, life would get better! God’s just waiting for you to shove off your Eeyore coil so He can reward you with blessings untold!

I don’t think God works like that. But in current eras like this one, it’s pretty hard not to let it creep into your thoughts. You’d have such a better life if you were a Sunshiny Moron. I don’t see myself turning into one of those. The motivation, the inducement, it’s not there. Which makes me wonder if I’m the biggest impediment to myself, if that makes sense. Because if that’s true, then how do I change? How do I get away from myself? I’m always there. I don’t go away.

Time to go help some more people, I think. Grumpily, of course. Ha ha ha.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Enforced Secret Joy #11 - Winifred Inspired Haikus.

My best friend from home, Winifred, called me yesterday to check in and make sure there were no sharp objects near my wrists. Which is silly. I have fashioned all the kitchen knives into quite the fetching mobile over my bed, and I’m not dismantling it for ANYTHING. All it’ll take is one good tremor over 3.0 and I’m good to go, ha ha ha.

Winifred is pregnant with her first child, due in October, a fact that I haven’t necessarily wrapped my head around. Small children are things your siblings produce, not people you went through 12 years of primary schooling with.

Winifred said her escape from life is a booze fueled marathon of old Ab Fab episodes (and I’m assuming she hasn’t done that since the little nugget of joy attached itself to her uterus) and she suggested that I do the same with Muppet Show episodes.

But when I think about it, one of the gazillion things that consistently cracked me up about life with Winifred was her penchant for haikus. Winifred can take any situation and roll out a haiku about it. There was the one about the high school courtyard statue. It was supposed to be a panther, but years of weather and plain bad craftsmanship turned it into a rusty blob, which inspired this Winifred ditty:

The courtyard statue
Is a panther they tell me
But I think it looks like a cow

That the last line flagrantly flaunted the Haiku Syllable Rule made it that much more hysterical to us.

Then there was the one she dreamed up while dieting for her wedding. The only line I can remember was the middle one:

The broccoli, she is raw

(Yes, broccoli would be three syllables in that example.)

So today’s Enforced Secret Joy post is in honor of Winifred and her impending bouncing baby bundle. Because nothing in life is so awful that you can’t make a hopefully witty haiku about it.

I don’t need a job.
God’s my way cool Co-Writer
Rent’s due; sell that script!

Dear Child Of Winnie
I got the goods on your mom
Pay me cash, it’s yours.

Oh dear McDreamy
Meredith is a duck face
I’m a great kisser

Who needs discernment
I dig abject confusion
Makes me feel secure

Does God talk to you?
How do you know that it’s Him?
Time to crack a beer.

Dear God, thank you for Winifred. Thank you for haikus. Thank you for the particular amusement that Winifred Haikus have brought me in the past, even if it’s one of those You Had To Be Seventeen And Be There kind of things. Thank you for laughter, thank you for memory. Thank you for leading me to the haiku exercise, as you can’t help but laugh in trying to do it. And please let Winifred’s bouncing bundle of joy grow up to be an illiterate football player, as I think that will cause her great angst and brilliant future haikus. KIDDING. Thank you for being All Knowing, including when I’m kidding in my prayers to You. Please clear all murderous thoughts from Winifred’s head, and have her deliver a precious baby that will amaze and astound her. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen.

I encourage everyone to post their own haikus in the comments section. You feel better, you really do. But you gotta be funny.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Overthinking Prayer

Yes, my post is late. Sorry, faithful readers o’ the blog. Sunday I spent mostly in prayer, and when it’s that kind of concentration, you’re not really good for much but falling into bed and hoping for interesting dreams. (Which they did, featuring Hugh Laurie from House in a type of carnival that was put on by my Act One classmates. Needless to say, hilarity definitely ensued.) Yesterday was spent out and about and I didn’t get home until late late. I know most of you don’t care if I stick to my blogging schedule or not, but I hold myself to impossible standards to everything in life and therefore must offer apologies for missing my own deadlines as a matter of accountability. Blah blah blah.

Sunday was a strange day. Between my morning devotionals, 9:00 church, 11:00am church, and a prayer meeting I attended with a new group in the evening, I spent more time trying to communicate with God than I did anything else that day. I wonder if maybe this is the kind of effort you’re supposed to put in towards living your life all the time, and then I think that no, maybe God wants you to spend your time engaging in life, not sequestering yourself to connect to Him, so you can be a shining example of his love and stuff. I think the only thing I am a shining example of lately is how much of a dumbass I am, which is why I prefer to hide out in my house and watch Battlestar Galactica episodes. But you can’t live like that forever. There’s only so many episodes, and I’m rapidly going through them like Pringles. (It’s an awesome show, by the way. I highly recommend it. The bad guys believe in one God, and the good guys are praying to idols. Really whacked out stuff.)

Prayer is such a funky thing for me. I subscribe to the theory that prayer isn’t so much about changing things as it is about changing YOU, so YOU change things. It’s about altering your perception, and seeing with the eyes of God, so that when you go about your day and see the people you prayed for, you react differently to them, rather than God smacking them with the God Wand because you prayed for them to stop annoying you.

I don’t have a lot of enemies, (at least, that I know of.) I guess I don’t know enough people, or I don’t talk as much to piss people off to make them my enemies. All those Psalms where they’re crying out to God to rescue them from their oppressors, nope, nope, nobody’s oppressing me. Sure, my life is hell right now, but that’s not PEOPLE doing it. The last real enemy I had was a boss who fired me because I wasn’t a competent enough mind reader for her. It was the only time in my professional career that I’ve been fired, and it wasn’t fun. Mainly because I knew it wasn’t my fault, I was doing everything in my power to do what my boss wanted, but she was a spazzed out freak who was beyond help (she left the industry a year and a half later.)

I dig praying for people like that, for people I don’t like, just so I can see the change. I can feel the softening of my heart when I put myself in the mindset of God, and look at Annoying Person/Spazzed Out Former Boss the way God would see them. And if I’m lucky, that softening sticks with me when I see them. During the final days of working for the Spazzed Out Former Boss, I felt myself moving away from the mindset of She Is Ruining My Life Because She’s Crazy, towards a mindset of God Please Help Her Because She Is A Genuinely Unhappy Person, And Nothing I Do Helps. I still got let go, but at least I recognized the Broken Woman behind the Spazzed Out Crazy Person.
Sometimes, the softening of my heart doesn’t stick with me, and I’m just as cranky and wanting to get away from Annoying People as fast as possible. It takes concentrated intention. It’s something that you have to work at. But I think everyone should do it. At least try.

But other people subscribe to the theory that Praying CAN change events. Sure, you’re changed in prayer. But, according to these people, you can also change events. And I wonder about that. At the prayer meeting on Sunday, the concept of Retroactive Grace was thrown around. That God is above time, so if you pray to change the outcome of things that have already happened, if it’s something God wants to do, He’ll do it.

So if, say, a certain writing fellowship has already decided to boot me out of the running, and I don’t know it yet, because I’m not gonna get word until December, I can pray to God to please fix that, and, according to the concept of Retroactive Grace, if He wants to, He will, and my previously bounced script is back in the running. Of course, since I don’t know until December, it’s completely possible that it was never bounced in the first place. I’ll never know.

I’m not sure I believe in Retroactive Grace. It’s a nice idea, and makes for interesting movie ideas ( Superman zooming around the earth to turn back time to stop Lois’s car from crashing.) But it butts up against the idea of pre-destination, that everything that happens is unfolding according to God’s plan anyway, so there’s no need to go back with the God Eraser and fix what was previously messed up. Unless God’s plan INCLUDES you becoming acclimated to the idea of Retroactive Grace, and making the choice to believe in it so He CAN go back with the God Eraser.

Now my head hurts.

It seems silly to limit God’s abilities. But it also seems silly to believe in the concept of a God Eraser. It seems silly to pray for certain EVENTS to occur (even if you’re quantifying them with “Only if it’s in Your will, God. Only if You want it to happen.”) Because then it seems like you’re viewing God as the genie in the lamp, rubbing the lamp and making wishes. Or you’re Peter Pan, asking the kiddies at home to clap your hands and if you believe enough, and smack your tiny hands together fast enough, Tinker Bell comes back from the dead. (What did Tinker Bell learn in her brief sojourn to Fairy Death Land? That’s an idea for something someday.)

But you can’t stop that annoying small voice in your head that says it’s not happening because you didn’t go to God to ask Him for help. But, but, but, He’s GOD! He KNOWS already! He wants you to ask Him because He wants you to depend on Him. Unless you ask, you’ll never get it. So fine, I pray for it to happen, it doesn’t happen, and then it falls into the catch all net of It Wasn’t In His Will For You. Sorry. Thanks For Playing.

This is why I prefer to think that prayer is about changing you, rather than events.

The prayer meeting on Sunday was all about changing events. We gave requests out about things we were anxious about, we gave requests about specific people we were concerned for, and then we prayed for the whole kit and caboodle. Maybe it was about connecting to God. Maybe it was about believing that If He Wants To, He Will. Maybe it was about believing in Retroactive Grace. Maybe it’s that these people believed more than me, so it’s my lucky day that I was in the same room praying with them, because God’ll listen to THEM, as opposed to listening to me praying singularly.

I don’t think it’s supposed to be this overthought. Maybe I should’ve prayed to stop me overthinking things.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Enforced Secret Joy #10 – Because I Have To

Trust me people, it’s hard to think of things that I think are joyful right now, but that’s why it’s an ENFORCED Secret Joy post, right?

But here ya go, two separate things that have helped:

Behold, Ginger Puppy, and Basil The Dog. I returned a DVD that I had borrowed from their owners, and then I just HAD to flop down on the floor and roll around with them. Puppy licks on the forehead rock. You can’t tell from the picture, but Basil The Dog’s tail is wagging, he’s not really that mopey looking. Can you believe that these dogs can actually see, and they don’t bump into walls or anything? It’s craziness.

And Pandora spit out a South song over the weekend. I didn’t even know they had a new album out, but they do. My contrary music tastes dictate that I lean towards the less popular songs, but you can listen to it on their music player (it’s number 7) here.

The chorus is especially apt.

Give in to love it’�s the one thing we have
Hold out your life, see the beauty within
I know the way that you won�’t make a fuss
Don’�t mean there’�s no pain

So they say
There must be more to life than this
No mistaking happiness (Never seems like enough)
There is more to life than this (Never seems like enough)
Through the days and nights we drift

Dear God, thank you for dogs. Thank you for music. Thank you for Basil The Dog and Ginger Puppy, for their unconditional love and puppy licks. Thank you for South the band. Thank you for Pandora waking me up in the middle of my sleep with this song floating out of my speakers. Thank you for guitars and drums, for this melody and the chorus. And please help me figure out what exactly there is to life, since, as the song says, there must be more than this. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Izzat All You Got?

Today’s post will be illustrated by the Josh Charles Vs. Miss Piggy Fight Sequence from Muppets In Space. The movie itself is not that great, and I say that as one of the most devoted Muppet Fans out there. But the Muppets haven’t been the same since Jim Henson passed on. You can still find little gems of things here and there in recent movies, and Pepe The King Prawn is one of my favorite Muppets ever. But it’s pretty bleak for the most part.

(This is the part of the blog where I let my guard down a bit about scripts I’ve written. Normally, I don’t talk about them because I’m paranoid I’ll jinx the chances. But I’m already at rock bottom, so blast the torpedoes. I once wrote a Muppet version of Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was the most fun I ever had writing a script, and I did it in about three weeks of housesitting back in 2003 while Basil The Dog watched from afar.

Through the grace of God and a friend of a friend, the script made its way to Henson Productions. They loved the script, and I took a few meetings with them, got to pitch some Muppet ideas. But they said that kids wouldn’t get Shakespeare, the pitches never went anywhere, and the woman I took the meetings with soon left the company for another major animation studio (no, not that one. The other one,) and so now I plug Muppet Midsummer Night’s Dream here. It’s damn funny, people. Trust me.)

Anyhow, Muppets In Space had a few funny moments, chief among them this fight between Josh Charles, playing a Men In Black type operative who has just kidnapped Gonzo, and Miss Piggy (and allow me to point out that Piggy’s salmon ensemble is a little low cut, and would probably get her firebombed at 11:00 church from certain people.) Josh Charles, very funny and remarkably committed to his character, punches Miss Piggy repeatedly, and she keeps circling back up, slurring ‘Izzat all ya got? (PUNCH) Izzat all ya got? (PUNCH) IZZAT ALL YA GOT?”

So right now, God is Josh Charles, and I am Piggy.

I cried most all weekend long. If you saw me during that time, I probably was crying right before I saw you, or right after. I am an Oscar caliber actress, people. Nobody has any clue. This part of my life is one of the most darkest periods in recent memory. Rejection fast and furious from all sides.

It’s true, my job is gone. I found out today. I am getting severance, thank GOD for that one. But my last day is Wednesday. Ooof. Act One had rejection in different parts (from TV track, from my pitches not getting selected), and has spit me back out into the real world very uncertain of my talent, or what I’m supposed to do with it next.

Izzat all you got? Izzat all you got?

Also got the news that two writing fellowships have rejected me as well, so that points again to the Talent? What Talent? Theory.

Izzat all you got? Izzat all you got?

The whisper of a personal life that I was wistfully hoping would help me face this dark time appears to have imploded as well. It's my fault. These things usually are. I think it's unfixable. Sucks.

It’s a dark day in Amyville. It feels like God is stripping everything away for some reason, but I don’t know what it is. I think it’s something along the lines of Him wanting me to depend solely and utterly on Him, not on the guy, not on my talent. The guy was was real, though. He had real arms to hold me, as opposed to the metaphorical embrace I'm supposed to feel (and have never felt) from God. I liked the way the guy held me. It felt safe. Why couldn’t I have that much? When God doesn’t provide that, and I can’t feel his Holy presence in the first place? Why take away the physical from me when He doesn’t replace it with a sense of calm, peace, Yes Amy Everything Will Be Fine feeling? Oh, whatever, Amy. God didn't take the guy away from you. You botched that one up all by yourself. Knock it off.

What does it mean to be Dependent On God? When I was a kid, I depended on Mom and Dad for a house to grow up in, for food, clothes, and the hope that my sister Agatha wouldn’t smother me in my sleep. These weren’t active thoughts (well, Agatha killing me was), but the dependency was there.

In this current era, God has provided the basics – house, clothes, working car, roommates that don’t put their dishes in the dishwasher. Again, not active desires, but dependency is still there. I’ve never credited myself for getting this far in life. I never thought of myself as One Resourceful Lucky Ass Bitch. It’s always been by the grace of God.

I don’t even consider my writing talent to be mine, just something else He’s given me. I abuse it, sure, and wrongly think I’m better than other people because of it. But He’s the one who gave it to me. I didn’t discover it myself. I know it comes from Him, and repeatedly have given Him credit.

So what, oh what, Josh Charles/God are you trying to tell me? What oh what did you think I was dependent on that You felt You had to take it away? The day job that pays for everything? The hope of a writing future? The embrace of, gasp, an actual MAN?

When I was in high school and a party meant you squashed twenty people in a room with a TV and no alcohol, I was goofing around with a guy, Harold, and as he walked past me on the floor, I stuck my foot out, sure that he saw it and would do something goofy. Instead, he took the hardest fall I’ve ever seen a person take. The type of fall that silences a room in a heartbeat, because you’re sure that bones have been broken. Harold ended up not breaking anything, just looked at me and said something along the lines of “What the F?” “I was trying to get your attention,” I blurted out. “Well, you got it. Now what?” was the simple awful reply.

I am Harold. God is me. What are you trying to tell me God? You’ve got my attention.

Do you guys have any idea how hard it is to stand in church and sing lyrics like “What a wonderful Maker. What a wonderful Savior. How majestic Your whispers. And how humble Your love. With a strength like no other. And the heart of a Father. How majestic Your whispers. What a wonderful God” or “Beautiful one I love you. Beautiful one I adore. Beautiful one my soul must sing.” When you’re screaming YOU’RE NOT BEAUTIFUL! YOU’RE NOT A WONDERFUL SAVIOR! YOU’RE BEATING THE SNOT OUT OF ME! STOP IT! on the inside? You can’t do it. Not without crying. Which I did yesterday.

See, I could understand if I had said those things first and THEN the torrent of shit came down. I don’t understand this way at all.

What does it mean to Depend On God in these circumstances? Practically speaking? I can say that Trusting God means you physically stop yourself from worrying by focusing on other things, whether that’s writing or cleaning the kitchen. What are the practical steps I do now to embody Depending On God, the Almighty Sadist Who Uses Me As A Punching Bag For Reasons Unknown?

Um, let’s see. I can thank Him for beating me up. Did that with the last entry below.

I can thank Him for taking all these things away from me. It feels like Opposites Day, doesn’t it? Six year olds LOVE Opposites Day. Yes means No, No means Yes. Thank you for taking everything I needed away.

I can tell Him how I feel. He knows. He’s the number one reader of this blog.

I can ask Him for help. Dear God, please help me recover from Your blows. Since we know that He doesn’t respond instantly, I guess I have to wait.

And that probably means I have to trust that He will. He will answer me. He will help me. Someday.

And then we’re back to Trusting God, which means I have to go do something else to get my mind off this shit.

Hey, here’s something funny. From my journal, almost exactly a year ago. August 1, 2005, where I was upset that I got rejected from the same writing fellowship:

Rejection is still rejection, regardless, and it made me feel lousy. The thing that was bugging me about it is that I was hoping for another tiny sign of validation that I am in fact an okay writer, and not a sucky one. Because signs of sucky writing are all I’ve been getting lately.

I try to tell myself that God has a better plan for me than this. God has wonderful things in store, and they’ve gotta be better than this. So don’t worry. He’s gonna take care of you. He’s gonna provide. And when you see what He has in store, you’re gonna look back on this and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Yes, I know I’m supposed to be thinking all these things, but the part that blows is that I keep saying WHEN!? WHEN is this brilliant plan gonna show up? WHAT is the plan, honestly? Because right now, it seems pretty dim and hazy. I don’t even know if this the path/plan I’m supposed to be ON! I’m not getting good signs that it is. Am I supposed to give everything up? What else am I supposed to be doing then? WHAT IS THE PLAN AND WHEN’S IT GONNA HAPPEN?

I’m not asking for everything to be dropped in my lap. I’m just asking for a spotlight on the door. I can get the wherewithal to get to the door, the wherewithal to open the door and go through, regardless of the trepidation I feel, but WHERE’S THE DOOR!?

And if I am supposed to be staying on this path, why don’t I feel more like I am supposed to be here?

That was a year ago. Hey God, it’s a year later. I’m not laughing.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Enforced Secret Joy #9 – Audrey Zombie

Audrey Zombie has been my constant companion for most of Act One this month. She’s the screen saver on my classmate’s Emery’s laptop. She looks fine in her Breakfast At Tiffany’s attire if you look at her straight on, but this is the angle I saw her much of the time, so Audrey Zombie she is.

Yes, I sat in the front row for much of the month. Not because I’m a brown noser, but simply to keep at bay the distractions that watching other classmates might have posed. But Audrey, fair Audrey. Fair dead eyed constrasty toned Audrey. Look at the smirk on her. Is it because she knows my pain? Or is it because she’s LAUGHING at my pain? Um, she’s a screensaver. She doesn’t give a shit. Right.
Dear Act One Classmates who I have just spent the majority of a month with:

I write this as an apology and a plea for forgiveness. I have misjudged you all horribly. Initially, your bright eyed Newbieness made me feel very grouchy and grumpy, since I am a L.A. cynic at the tender age of seven. But it quickly became endearing to hear your tales of how L.A. traffic scares you, how some of you don’t understand the concept of sushi, how some of you went to Universal Studios and it was COOL, (previous personal experience makes me blanch at the word “Citywalk.”)

You all have lives, a lot of you have spouses, families, or serious significant others. I never would’ve guessed that so many of you have had Running From The Cops stories in your past. It’s pretty awesome.

You all are wonderful people, much more Holy and in connection with the Holy Spirit than I am. I even unintentionally insulted one of you by insisting that “Nothing in the Old Testament counts once Jesus showed up!” when in fact, you had just completed a Masters of Arts in Old Testament from a theological seminary. Oopsie. Sorry about that.

But I ask your collective forgiveness. The “I’m just here to learn and connect my spirituality with my craft!” routine was a front and God knew it. God knew that I secretly quietly, internally and loftily considered myself above all of you writing skill wise. Though I tried mightily not to lord that knowledge over you, God knew it was there, and proceeded to kick the snot out of me because of it.

Because you all CAN write. Better than me. I can say that without a hint of jealousy (okay, maybe a drop. Maybe two.) Your pitches were chosen over mine, your homework was exalted over mine, your loglines were better than mine. I thought I was great, I realize that I’m not.

Now we’re leaving the program. I came in secretly lofty, I’m leaving crawling and humbled. I’m not better than than you. I’m in the exact same position – I don’t have a job, I question whether my writing skills are good enough, I question what the next step is, I wonder what the hell God’s plan for me is anyway. Nothing is clear. Except that I’m not alone, because I’ve spent a month with all of you. It’s been fun. Except for God kicking the snot of me part. I could’ve done without that.

Thank you God, for my Act One classmates. Thank you for their talent, for their generosity, for their gracious spirits. Thank you for their Bright Eyed Newbieness, which is a much better place to be than my Crusty Corrodedness. Please shower blessings and gifts and opportunities untold upon them in the form of jobs, places to live, and scripts that will sell for bucketfuls of money. Please show them how awesome spicy tuna sushi is. Show them what the next step is after Act One, and please let them see what Your plan is for them. Let us all keep in touch. And…okay, fine, thank you for kicking the snot out of me. Please keep it up, I love it, I can’t get enough.

And thank you for Audrey Zombie. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen.


Faithful Readers O’ the Blog, I am dead to the world for the weekend. Sunday’s post will be late on Monday. Thanks for checking in.