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.


Midlife Virgin said...

"It feels like God is stripping everything away for some reason, but I don’t know what it is." Very profound. Not to diminish your feelings, but a bunch of people are struggling along with you right now, feeling the same thing, wanting the same thing, if that's any comfort. That being said, you now have to do the impossible - trust/have faith. God sometimes strips things away so that you HAVE TO start over, re-examine, reconfigure. It's not that you don't have talent but maybe you need to find a different way to express your talent or find a different vehicle. Maybe writing these blogs will lead to something you never imagined. Maybe losing your job will bring about finding another incredible source of inspiration and income that will astound you. I've been to that edge and I still teeter on it daily. I don't have answers, I cry myself to sleep over absent arms more than I care to admit, I throw my hands up at God and scream, "Okay, now what?" hourly some days. But after you scream, you have to move on and trust. Listen very hard. Try something different. Do something you've always wanted to do. Maybe He's stripped things away so you can see what's underneath instead of what's on the surface. Sorry, didn't mean to lecture. I think about you every day and hope that God will give you a glimpse of his wisdom just when you need it the most. Hey, how 'bout coffee/lunch when you're unemployed? We can search for God at Coffee Bean.

Carse said...

I would so go see A Muppet Midsummer. That sounds awesome. The kids don't have to get Shakespeare to enjoy that play. Oh, stupid execs.

Yummyteece said...

If you love Pepe... you must see the Muppet's Wizard of Oz. there are many flaws in te movie, but PEPE makes all the best moments his own.


RTatum said...

I wish I had a buck (and by that I mean a dollar US) for every major writer, actor, producer and cretive person else who got rejected in just the same way you did. They did not dump their craft. They did not start writing greeting cards (or the vast majority didn't). They understood that *everything* in the arts--esp. in H'wood--has seasons. What people don't get and don't want now they'll need Need NEED!!! next year. You got turned down by some academics? Great--it means you avoided becoming a paint-by-numbers script zombie under their tutaledge. Maybe the only thing God wants to you is to not assume it's easy. VERY few successful people in the arts got where they are easily. Even moderately. I have been told more times than I wish to remember how many "experts" told me to give it up. Did it hurt? Yup. Did I mentally tell them to F off and plunge ahead? Double-yup. Did it work? Triple-yup.

You got a good slammin' recently and had I been keeping up on the blog I would have given you a bigger hug the other day. But you've also had some breaks. One thing I've learned is THERE ARE ALWAYS MORE. And God does help them who help themselves. And never forget you have some awesome friends.

You are simply one of the most talented and beautiful women I know. It will happen. Cry all you want because you certainly deserve a good cry. But when you're done I know things will pick up and you WILL kick ass, and some smart, hot, kind guy with good arms will be there to make you breakfast to celebrate.