Sunday, December 31, 2006

It’s New Year’s Eve And?

Well, well, well, here we are. Almost officially a year of blogging. I swear I'm not making this up, but this post right here is officially the 100th post. WHOO HOO! THROW A PARTY! HEY, IT'S NEW YEAR'S EVE! THE WORLD IS THROWING A PARTY FOR ME AND MY BLOGGIE! YEE-HAWWWWWW!

I suppose I should do some wrap up ruminating What Has Amy Learned kind of entry. Except I already did that, here, six months ago. So it would seem a bit like overkill, especially since there haven’t been that many new lessons learned in the past six months.

If you had told me on New Year’s Eve in 2003 that 2004 would find me pitching Muppet ideas to the Jim Henson Company, I would’ve laughed with glee and delight.

If you had told me on New Year’s Eve in 2004 that 2005 would find me garnering the best accolades of my writing career for a play I wrote and produced, I would’ve laughed with glee and delight.

And if you had told me on New Year’s Even in 2005 that 2006 would find me gutting out houses in Katrina Country I would’ve…blinked a couple of times, thought about it, and then said, “Well, okay.”

I never say “I don’t believe it,” about anything anymore. Life is far too strange and wonderfully weird for stuff like that. And I’m always up for being thrown for a loop, even if it’s bad, like losing your job, because at least it makes life interesting. I’ve heard more than once in church that God has big big plans for you, bigger than you could ever imagine. So I’m happy to let Him do His thing, though most days, I wish He’d hurry up about it.

Awhile back (like, maybe a year and a half ago) I learned to stop worrying about the small stuff. Stuff like losing your keys, your earrings, worrying whether you’re gonna have enough time to do laundry, get through three Veronica Mars episodes, journal writing AND five pages on the script in one day. And when you stop worrying about that stuff, you find the keys on the kitchen table, the earrings were under your seat in the car, and yes, you have enough time to do all of that, provided you drink 2 vanilla Frappucinos from Starbucks. So I know not to worry about that small stuff.

So it should be no problem at all to apply that same reasoning to Stop Worrying About The Big Stuff. And when it comes to things like Where’s My Next Job Coming From, I can handle it, no problem. Everything else, like When Am I Gonna Sell Something Script Related, is still up for grabs. It’s because I’ve been doing this for so long, you see. That age old argument of “If It Hasn’t Happened Yet, Does That Mean God’s Trying To Tell Me To Move On?” When does No mean No, as opposed to Not Yet?

These are not new questions. And I know, I know, it’s all about faith, and nobody got anywhere by giving up and blah blah blah.

Perhaps my goal for 2007 is to take purposeful steps towards not worrying. Though I don’t know what that looks like. Maybe just concentrate on the writing, as opposed to the results. But time’s ticking! Time’s running out, unless you lift your head up from your computer and look around and see what’s happening around you! Meet people! Make connections! Network! Be methodical in drawing up a business plan! You can’t afford to waste anymore time! And around and around we goooooooooo.

God is the master of all time. I read that in one of Lloyd Ogilvie’s devotionals this year. Once at my small group this fall, someone threw out the whole “Remember how long it took for Abraham and Sara to have a child? Remember how long Moses and his people wandered around the desert?” To which I replied, “Yeah, but weren’t those the days when everyone lived to be like, 500 years old, so 40 years in the desert is pretty much a drop in the bucket.”

But God is the master of time, and these things happen in His time, according to His will. Bah humbug, but I’ll try. I’ll try.

Hey check it out. This is what Alabama calls a bon bon. It’s a square of chocolate cake, topped by a squirt of white frosting, and covered in chocolate icing. The French would be horrified at such crudeness. But DAMN, it was goooooooood.

Happy New Year. Thanks for reading. See ya in 2007.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Enforced Secret Joy #24 – Goodbye Oswald!

Hot damn, folks! I’m looking forward to saying goodbye to 2006 for a number of reasons, but none looms largest like finally being able to literally close the book on Oswald Chambers and his masochistic collection of devotionals My Utmost For His Highest.

Nobody can say I didn’t do my best to give Oswald a shot. I read the whole damn book, one devotional each day, like a good little Christian should. I had actually been given the book a few years ago, tried to get through it, and would usually discard it around April because life would overtake me, or I just got disgusted and/or disheartened by his continual flagellations.

But no, 2006 was going to be my Year Of Searching Spiritually, and that includes the bad as well as the good. I thought I’d be changed by something I read in there, something would click in my brain, and the creaky iron door would fling wide open, letting in a burst of pure white Godly light, and I’d UNDERSTAND! BY GOD I’D UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING! And Oswald would be my hero, not my nemesis, and everything would be peachy keen cool.

Nope. Nope, nope, double dog nope nope.

Y’know, I have to say that I’ve talked to other people about My Utmost For His Highest, and the ones who love it have been married, by an overwhelming margin. I think there may be something to that. That it doesn’t matter if you read a devotional that makes you feel like hell and death warmed over spit, because you can go to your sweetie and they would perk you right up.

But at last, at last, one more day and it’s OVER. No more reading malarkey like “When God speaks, never discuss it with anyone as if to decide what your response may be.” But what if I don’t KNOW if it’s God, Oswald? What if I don’t KNOW? It could be the Bitch In My Head, ‘cause she sounds just like YOU. Oswald never had these problems, not once he became a Christian. He ALWAYS knew it was God. How serene, how glorious, how wonderful to be him. Would that he could spread that assurance and beauty to the rest of us. Nope, he says, “The calling of a New Testament worker is to expose sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior.” Silly me, I thought it was to love the Lord your God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Okay, okay, to be fair, I have found some useful things, like “it’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight and no one paying even the remotest attention to us.” and “Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried.” But for every “The true test of a person’s spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments in life, but what during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening.” there’s been three “Notice the kind of people he brings around you, and you will be humiliated once you realize that this is actually His way of revealing to you the kind of person you have been to Him.” Yeah? My friends are cool, buddy! or “My questions arise whenever I cease to obey” All questions? Every single last one? So I’m not allowed to ask why it is that I can’t hear God? Just obey in the silence? Yes, says Oswald. No, says Amy The Writer. The silence bugs, man. It BUGS.

So it is with the UTMOST pleasure that I bid adieu to the man, the myth, the masochist, Mr. Oswald Chambers. He appears to have plenty of fans ‘round the world. One detractor will not make one whit o’ difference.

Dear God, thank you for Oswald Chambers (because we have to love the people we don’t like.) Thank you for My Utmost For His Highest, because a bunch of people like it, even if I don’t. Thank you for the devotionals that made me want to puke, thank you for the devotionals that made me think. Thank you for giving me the tenacity to finish the book this time, instead of tossing it aside as I did in previous years. And thank you that it’s finally finally over. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas Eve, Where Are You?

Christmas Eve! Here I am in Alabama, and no place to go. Already been to church, which is amusing in the way that only semi-small town church services can be (lots of Christmas themed knit sweaters on men and women, lots of antsy kids who can’t sit still during the service, a choir whose members aren’t necessarily all on key, and YES! The pastor dropped the communion plate! Lucky for him, it was only the bread part.) I’ve already helped The Phone Harpy Who I Love Very Very Much decorate the Christmas tree, and I’ve chortled merrily at the local TV preacher who’s bellowing Deep South style, “Don’tcha know it take FAITH to pay yo’ TITHE!?!?!?” He’s the type you worry is going to have an embolism on the spot, he’s so worked up.

A few weeks ago at my monthly prayer meeting, we were told to turn to the person next to us and tell them what our favorite Christmas tradition is. My buddy Donald next to me said baking his super special Cherry Chocolate Chip Christmas Cookies. I said going to IHOP with Roomies Heckle and Jekyll. I’m not a standard traditional gal. Even though we all live in the same house, Roomie Heckle and Jekyll and myself rarely eat meals together, and this particular tradition started about three years ago, and we move heaven and earth to make it happen. We had exactly one day this year where everyone’s schedules meshed, and Roomie Heckle turned down a paying PA gig so we could go. It’s great fun to listen to them talk about this, that and the other, even if this year’s topic of conversation was which celebrity I should try and get pregnant by (my protests of “I’m not having kids” and “I’m pretty sure my insides are high, dry, and fried” were summarily ignored.)

No, I am not a traditional Christmas gal. I feel a little bad about it, as all my Act One classmates have had a running commentary on our message board about what their favorite Christmas carol is. Everybody’s got a list, with lengthy explanations. Because they’re all more Christian than me. STOP!

But honestly, Christmas carols don’t do it for me (I guess the one I like to sing to the best is U2’s “It’s Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)”). The story of Jesus’ birth doesn’t make my heart sing. I don’t feel joy, rapture, whatever. My family doesn’t gather round the fire and pop popcorn, swap stories, or otherwise do the Norman Rockwell thing. My dad is currently sleeping at the kitchen table while “A Christmas Story” is playing on the TV. He does that every year. The Phone Harpy is reading Margaret Atwood in front of the Christmas tree. I’m in the family room with my new buddy the TV Preacher, “Don’tcha know the DEVIL’s gonna tell ya yo’ a LOSER!” Oh yes, I do. Yes, I do.

My Christmas reading is re-reading my favorite Stephen King story ever, The Stand. Which is absolutely a Christian allegory and no, I am not making that up. It’s not Christmasy, though. But I’ll take uniquely me over tradition every time.

I was having coffee with Miss Eunice today. Miss Eunice is a lovely woman who’s been a friend of the family and a mentor to me for years and years. I tell her things I don’t tell the Phone Harpy (The Phone Harpy doesn’t need to know about my sex life. Ooops. HI MOM! I LOVE YOU BUNCHES AND BUNCHES!), and Miss Eunice never judges me, just listens and offers advice. And I was talking about my Year Of Searching Spiritually, and how I can’t wrap my head around, or be a Cheerful Enacter of things like Compassion, God’s Grace, All That Fun Funky Stuff, Miss Eunice said something along the lines that those things aren’t stuff you learn (or earn), they’re things you ALLOW.

I’m reminded of my favorite Christian author Anne Lamott (okay, she’s probably the only Christian author I know. So what.) Anne Lamott described the moment she became a Christian as a series of days where a nagging feeling kept at her, like a lost but persistent cat mewing incessantly to be let inside, until finally, Anne gave up one day and said “Well come in already.” Basically, she ALLOWED Jesus in, albeit exasperated and fed up, but it all counts in the eyes of You Know Who.

I would like to allow Compassion in. I would like to allow God’s Grace in. I would like to allow Forgiving Myself in. But none of that stuff is mewling incessantly to be let in. It’s more stuff I see shining piously on a shelf, and I know I SHOULD have it in my house, my house would be a better house if it had that stuff in it, people would admire it and think I’m a lovely person for having it, but shouldn’t it be that I want the stuff because I WANT THE STUFF, rather than I THINK I SHOULD HAVE THE STUFF.

Here’s what I’m doing now. The response to the Gabriel monologue in the Christmas show was so overwhelmingly positive, that it occurred to me that I should keep going. I should do MORE monologues, I should do a whole COLLECTION of them. Yeah! That’s it. A collection of monologues about the Christmas story, told from the point of view of people other than Mary and Joseph, but people who still played a part. People like Gabriel. The Shepherds. The Magi. The Donkey who has to carry Mary to Bethlehem. The Innkeeper who directs them to the manger. Satan’s gonna get a monologue (don’t you think he’s got something to say on the night of Jesus’s birth? I do.), so does Luke, the gospel writer. Okay, I’m taking liberties here and there, like Joseph’s poker buddy, who Joseph confides in that his fiancĂ©e is pregnant. And I’m debating whether I can get away with a monologue from John the Baptist as a baby inside Elizabeth’s womb.

But I did a second draft last night of Elizabeth’s monologue, where she’s explaining to the town gossip exactly how she became pregnant at 60 plus years old, and why exactly Zechariah can’t talk, and I’m finding all sorts of nifty parallels between Zechariah and the town gossip needing to know why you should say “How will this happen” instead of “How can this happen.” It feels like something I’m supposed to be doing. Don’t know where it’s gonna go, I don’t even know if it’s gonna work. But I feel like I have to try.

So that’s how I’m celebrating Christmas. In my own way. In my own style. I don’t know if anyone would believe me if I said, “No, no, God wants me to be working on these monologues more than He wants me to work on being compassionate towards other people.” It does sound like a cheat, I know. I go where the pull is, I guess.

Ah, and wouldn’t you know it, I’m listening to Bob Mould’s “Days Of Rain” right now on the Itunes. It’s not a Christmas song, but the very end goes like this:

I only wanted things that would make you happy
I only wish for you that you find your way
I only hope you see that you make things happen
I only wish that you could be right someday.

God? Is that you God? It’s me, Amy The Writer. Ha ha ha.

Regardless, I think it serves as a fine Christmas wish to you all. Melancholy, I know, but hey, listen to the lyrics of the original “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and tell me THAT’s a song of sweetness and light.

I only wanted things that would make you happy
I only wish for you that you find your way
I only hope you see that you make things happen
I only wish that you could be right someday.

Merry Christmas, everybody. ☺

Friday, December 22, 2006

Enforced Secret Joy #23 – The Overgrown Poinsettia Bush In My Backyard

So my gardening knowledge is limited to Plant, Pour Miracle Grow, Water, Then Take Pictures, but Roomie Jekyll’s gardening knowledge is even worse, consisting of Stick It In The Backyard Where Amy’s A Watering Fiend Because I Really Don’t Have Time To Take Care Of This, The Most Craptastic Of Christmas Gifts.

So somewhere around two years ago, she stuck her standard potted Christmas Poinsettia Plant in the backyard, and I dutifully watered it, because it was on the way to watering the yellow roses, and the other pink flower bush that I don’t know the name of. I fully expected it to die, because don’t all Poinsettias die at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve? Isn’t that how it goes? And if we don’t like the fact that the neighborhood cats use our backyard as a flophouse for naughty kitty nocturnal activities, no worries, because they’ll eat the Poinsettia leaves and die because Poinsettias are poisonous, right? Right?


Here is Roomie Jekyll’s Poinsettia bush. I include the barbecue and lawn chair as reference points to prove that the bush is now over five feet tall. Man, the flowers around my house sure are tenacious buggers, aren’t they? They care. They care a lot.

Dear God, thank you for the overgrown Poinsettia bush. Thank you for its tenacity, its stubbornness, its deep red Christmasy blooms. Thank you for the fact that, contrary to popular belief they are not poisonous at all. Which is a good thing, because it would’ve been difficult to explain to the neighbors why there might have been up to five dead cats in our backyard resembling a feline Jonestown cult. Thank you for that not happening, because as hard as it is to explain that their cats ate the poinsettia bush, it would’ve been even squirmier to explain that their cats were there in the first place because they like having yowling kitty sex in our backyard. Hey, are cats allowed to have premarital sex in Your eyes? They can just skate on by with that one, huh? Doesn’t seem quite fair.

But thank you for no dead cats, for no poisonous Poinsettia bushes, and the peculiar ways of this particular Poinsettia bush, which of course lives in my backyard. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Guilt Factor

Okay, let’s see if I can work this out by typing it out. Bear in mind that I’m working on this halfway hung over, so I will either be quietly elegant, because there won’t be a lot of brain clutter, or I will make no sense at all. Wheeeeeeeeee!

Detractors of organized religion will always point to “the guilt factor” as why they don’t like it. Both Roomies Heckle and Jekyll grew up Catholic, went to Catholic schools, and both are lasped now, so I’ve heard “the guilt factor” mentioned a lot.

And I’ve been feeling a truckload of guilt lately. This week was another week from hell at the temp gig at the Unnamed Movie Studio, where I’m pulling 14 hour days and hating every single minute of it, but my Christian sensibilities and professional integrity prevents me from walking out on them.

So my two daily devotionals? Haven’t read them. Homeless Karaoke this past Wednesday? Didn’t go. Prayer time with God? Reduced to me talking to God on my morning drive time, and me saying the same things over and over again, “God, I’m so tired. I’m so stressed. I’m so tired of saying I’m tired and stressed.” Because I don’t have any other thoughts than that.

And God knows I’m tired and stressed. What kind of meaningful dialogue can you have when the other Deity already knows everything you’re gonna say? I’m talking to God because I know I’m supposed to, and I guess I’m hoping that there will be some sort of meaningful realization or breakthrough. This is where the lack of communication on His part really bugs. Because without His input, I’m just saying the same things over and over again, like a marathon hamster on the wheel. Does God really wanna hear that? He wants to hear about me, and what I’m doing, and I’m being honest. I really AM stressed, I really AM tired, I’m not lying about that. But I can’t help but feel that God must be tired of hearing it. Because I’m tired of saying it.

So yeah, I feel guilty. There’s this Guilt Monster inside of me that’s continually kicking my insides: You didn’t read your devotionals this morning! YOU’RE GOING TO HELL! You missed Homeless Karaoke! YOU’RE GOING TO HELL! You didn’t give thanks before wolfing down your lunch. YOU’RE GOING TO HELL! You’re thinking unChristian thoughts about how you’d like to drown your co-workers and boss in a vat of gasoline. YOU’RE GOING TO HELL!

And I don’t know where it comes from. It’s not how I was raised. I grew up going to church, but it was Presbyterian, so no thundering from the pulpit. My parents didn’t beat me if I missed Sunday school. Things were fairly laid back when it came to religion. Nobody forced anyone to do anything.

So where does this guilt come from? Why am I so hard on myself? There’s something bumping around there about grace and forgiveness, I think. I had a conversation with a guy a few months ago who recommended a book that boiled it down to a scale. One of the one end is Grace, on the other end is Truth. If you’re too far over on Grace’s side, you tend to engage in dishonest behavior, because you know you’re forgiven. If you’re too far over on Truth’s side, you don’t have a lot of compassion for yourself or other people.

And if I’m truly honest with myself, I have to say that I’m too much on Truth’s side, except it feels more like guilt than Truth. I’ve never been able to wrap my head around the concept of God’s grace. I’m not stellar at forgiving myself, and I crucify myself on a daily basis for the stupidest things. You didn’t ask how your co-worker’s weekend was. You didn’t smile at the security guard. You took a second cupcake from the Christmas basket. You mispronounced the word “banal.” I like to think that God forgives me, so I don’t have to. But dealing with this much internal bitch slapping is exhausting. And I wonder why it is that God doesn’t take some of this off me. Casting my metaphorical burdens at His feet? They’re still here. They don’t go away.

How do you teach someone to forgive themselves? You can’t. It’s some switch they have to flip on their own. And I suspect that someday, I’ll find it, though it’ll most likely be out of sheer exhaustion, where I won’t have the energy to kick myself around anymore.

But I always find that energy.

Man, what a depressing post. Okay, hang on, hang on, there’s gotta be something I can come up with. Oh, today at church, I sat in the back row with Native Chick and Giggly. T-Roller was sitting in front of us, so it was like a mini Katrina contingent. And I felt a bucketful of relief. I’m where I’m supposed to be, sitting with people I adore, in a place I want to be in. And one of the songs we were singing was “Your Grace Is Enough.”

Har de har har.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Me, God and Opus

So the Amy’s Blog Rule where everyone (except for a select precious few) goes by a pseudonym, coupled with the Common Sense Rule that says don’t namecheck your job where you’re temping at in case they find out and fire you for it because you namechecked it forces me to give everyone a special pseudonym for today’s entry. And because I’ve always been a huge Bloom County fan, everyone today is going by character names from that comic strip. So there.

It’s all fine now. My Mother The Phone Harpy Who I Love Very Very Much prefers me to start all my stories that way, as if the fact I’m not still on the phone talking to her would be evidence enough that I survived whatever horrific adventure I’m about to describe to her.

So yes, it’s all fine now. But for the past week and a half, it certainly was NOT. I always knew I didn’t want a job in Corporate PR, simply because I’ve seen Roomie Jekyll go through it, and I know what’s involved, how crazy the people are over the stupidest details, like what kind of car is picking up what kind of celebrity, and how so and so celebrity hasn’t RSVPed, which totally THROWS THE WORLD OFF ITS AXIS, PEOPLE! IT DOES AND YOU DON’T KNOW IT!

But the temp agency funneled me to this gig at the Unnamed Movie Studio, and I couldn’t really turn it down using “I think other things are more important than sending an invitation to a celeb’s PR flack rather than his agent, because when the day is done, said celeb isn’t going to this party anyway” as a viable excuse. I tried to bolster my holsters by reminding myself that I am an extremely organized person, and as long as every thing is in its place, there’s no possible way I would morph into a crazed drooling Stress Monster.

And had I not left for a week to spend Thanksgiving with the family, I would’ve been right. But the temp agency sent another temp to fill my position while I was gone, and while I think it would be unChristian to call her “worthless” since I didn’t meet the lass, the fact that she royally screwed up my meticulous Excel address databases, meaning the invitations to the Big Deal Party went to the wrong people, and made the Unnamed Movie Studio look very very stupid doesn’t make her seem very very smart.

So I came back to one unholy mess, which did indeed turn me into a crazed drooling Stress Monster, to the point where I didn’t even want to work the Big Deal Party up in the Hollywood Hills. I was convinced every guest was going to make a beeline for me and give me a good whatfor for screwing up everything from sending the invite to the wrong place (not my fault) to telling them the most inconvenient way to get to the Big Deal Party (Seriously, I was lectured for two minutes on the phone by the wife of a press columnist about how “I don’t LIKE” the directions I was giving her.)

A lot of people in Los Angeles think celebrities are a big deal. I don’t. I never have. Whether my department sensed that about me and deliberately put me at the gate with the guest list and a pen to check people in, or whether this was supposed to be a gift for straightening shit out, I haven’t a clue. But when people like Milo Bloom and Steve Dallas are walking through, I don’t care. I know who they are, I know they’re on my list, yes, please come through and watch your step. But I seriously don’t care.

My stomach is not doing flip flops because Opus , YES OPUS, PEOPLE, OPUS! ONE OF THE BIGGEST CELEBRITIES OF THIS MOMENT has pulled up in an SUV the size of a five bedroom house with his agent directly into the driveway, because he’s OPUS, and he doesn’t have to go through the gate like the rest of the peons. My stomach is tying itself into pretzel shapes because it looks like the valet people are going to have a wreck with the cars, because it’s very dangerous to do a three point turn in a cul de sac when there’s five cars in the way. My stomach is internally dropping three stories because every person coming up for me to check them in is complaining about how they were kept waiting for fifteen minutes because the valets aren’t hustling fast enough. There’s nothing I can do about it. But people EXPECT me to do something about it. And all I can do is smile and say yes, please come through and watch your step.

It is the longest three hours I’ve ever spent in one place and time. Honestly, King Kong went faster when I saw it in the theaters last year, and I fell asleep twice during that movie, woke up, and thought I was in hell because the movie WOULD. NOT. END.

And I keep muttering under my breath “God be with me, God be with me, God be with me” as I stamp my feet to keep warm. I don’t know why. God be with me WHY? God be with me and protect me from these angry people? Shouldn’t God be with Bill The Cat to make sure he doesn’t trip on the stairs, because I’m sure that’ll happen and it’ll be my fault? Shouldn’t God be with the valet people to make sure there aren’t any three point turn accidents, because check it, that big shot agent’s Supremely Bitchy girlfriend just bolted out of their car because she was tired of waiting and nearly got taken out by a Lexus? Shouldn’t God be with the Supremely Bitchy girlfriend? Shouldn't God be with Opus, because if ever anybody needed a slap upside the head with religion, it's Opus.

And the one answer that keeps coming back as I wrap and rewrap my coat around me is God’s not here. Why would God be here with you? This is not a place that God would be in. Why would he? This party doesn’t have a thing to do with God, so He’s not showing up. You’re on your own, because you had a choice to not work this party. You could’ve claimed a million different things, not outright lies, but even a simple, “I don’t feel comfortable working this party because I’m afraid somebody’s going to throttle me and I wanna go Christmas shopping for my family instead” would suffice. You had a choice, and you chose to work the party, and now you’re stressed about it, and hey, Amy, don’t forget that NONE OF THIS HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH GOD. So is it any wonder that He’s not here in this particular moment with you?

Yes, I know that above internal monologue is wrong. I know that God doesn’t work like that, doesn’t think like that, doesn’t put conditions on His presence in order to show up like that. And the work of His hands was evident, because there were no wrecks, no Supremely Bitchy Girlfriends got run over, nobody fell down the stairs (three people tripped, but nobody fell), the time eventually moved, sluggishly, but it did move. And I managed to sneak away to find a sympathetic bartender who made me a margarita with a humongous dose of Patron tequila

I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe a warm fuzzy feeling enveloping me, so that I could gaze upon the daredevil valets and the cranky guests, and flash a beatific infectious smile that would’ve reassured everyone in a hundred mile radius that yes, yes, cranky big moneypants one, everything is going to be just fine, because God is with us all.

But no warm fuzzy feeling. No beatific infectious smiles. As always, I still couldn’t feel Him. Theoretically, an atheist who does this kind of thing for a living would’ve been internally calmer than me. And that doesn’t seem right.

But then again, if the choice for God showing up was between something superficial like this party and something where I would REALLY need him, like me squashed in a car wreck (something I’ve long sensed will happen to me someday), I’d take the squashy car wreck. God must know that and maybe that’s why He didn’t show. No, no, He’s everywhere you are. Wherever you go, God is there. That’s what the church says, right? Right? So I’m doing something wrong, right? Oh, sure, I am. I’m doing something wrong.

I just don’t know what it is.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

No Time To Write (Maybe)

I dunno…maybe I should suspend the Enforced Secret Joy Friday posts. I can’t seem to find the time to write about them anymore. It’s hard to find the time to write about ANYTHING these days. All my big plans, my three outlines for three new scripts that I did back in August and September, they’re all just a hazy memory now. Not that I didn’t write them, and not that I couldn’t start work on them. But finding the time to write them, it’s just not there. And that means I’m like 80 percent of other writers out here. A lot of writers don’t get anywhere out here because they #1: don’t write or #2: give up. Neither one of which gets you what you want. Writers WRITE, and they don’t let anything stop them, lack of time notwithstanding.

Last year, when I was doing Writers Boot Camp and temping at the same time, I would roll out of bed at 6am in the morning, have a cup of hot chocolate and a Red Bull chaser and get two hours of writing done before going to work. So it’s not like I haven’t done it before. True, I wasn’t running a blog last year. Maybe that’s the difference. Or maybe too many Red Bull chasers warped my insides. Because those days last year seem like the optimistic behavior of a college kid. Yeah! Gimme the Red Bull and watch me knock out ten pages before work! WHOOOOO HOOOO!

Regardless, things are still pretty hectic at this temp gig, and running the Christmas show at the same time, and that’s a HUGE reason why I haven’t had time to write. Things might possibly get better by Friday, and since I’ve just publicly pondered over suspending the Friday posts, that most likely means I’ll squeeze out the minutes for an Enforced Secret Joy post somewhere, and make me look silly for considering suspending it in the first place. All I’m saying is…we might be doing Sunday posts only for awhile.

When I was walking up to the theater last Wednesday night for opening night of the Christmas monologue show, there was a knot of actors standing outside for a dinner break. When they saw me coming, they all elbowed each other until everyone was looking at me, and they all plastered shit eating grins on their faces. This normally means one of two things – there’s about to be a colossal practical joke played on me involving something like a rubber chicken or some sort of nasty rumor has been spread involving me AND a rubber chicken. So I square my shoulders in a Wary Stance as I approach, “What’s going on, guys?”

And one of them throws out his arm, beckons me in, and gives me a great big hug, looks me dead in the eye and says, “Your monologue is SO GREAT.”

Wha-huh? My monologue?

The other actors chime in about how much they love it, how my actress playing Gabriel the angel is so great, the monologue is “funny, it’s poignant, it’s wonderful.”

Oh, that’s right. I wrote a monologue, didn’t I. I’ve only seen it rehearsed once in the director’s living room because they were rehearsing during the day when I was working. And I’ve pretty much forgotten what I’ve written, since I’ve written so little these days. And all my waking moments are consumed with getting this, that, and the other project done. So my goal tonight was to produce the show. The fact that I actually had a monologue IN the show was far far behind me. Until the actors said something. It’s kinda like being so busy buying Christmas presents for others that you forget you’re gonna get stuff too.

And seeing the thing up on its feet, and seeing what my fabulous actress and what my fabulous director brought to the thing, and hearing the audience laugh at the jokes, and realizing how I managed to pull off something that has a very overt Christian bent (at one point, Gabriel says, “Trust me. Nothing is impossible with God.”) without being too obnoxious about it (‘cause if it was obnoxious, boy howdy would those actors have let me know), is just, well, pretty f’ing cool. And a huge saving grace for me, since I’ve been kicking myself for weeks for not writing anything.

But if I don’t write something new in the next two weeks, I’m really a loser. Ha ha ha.