Thursday, August 28, 2008

It Could Be Worse, It Could Be A Bandana.

Okay, okay, I’m trying not to let the work situation bother me so much. I’m kinda dwelling in Kicked Puppy territory, since every day when I show up at work, there’s a 50 / 50 chance I’m gonna get yelled at for something that wasn’t my fault.

I know in the grand scheme of things, this won’t matter in like, a year from now. Possibly six months from now. Next week, maybe. Job situations, no matter how crazy they can get, usually look better in retrospect. One of the few things that do, come to think of it.

Back in the day, I worked for a certain corporation, hmm, I can’t remember if I signed a non-disclosure form, so how to phrase, how to phrase, how to say things that a google search wouldn’t get me in trouble for, hmmmmmmmm.

Okay! Back in the day, I worked for a certain corporation, and maybe it had a couple of theme parks. Or two. Or three. Or….a bunch.

I totally fell for the whole “Working at a theme park’s gonna be FUN!” theory. I like theme parks. I have fun at theme parks. Why wouldn’t WORKING there be fun too?

Well, because, simply put, you’re not the one on vacation. Plus, it helps if you like people, since you have to be happy and cheerful and smiling all the time.

And we all know how I feel about that. Heh.

Which is why I eventually succeeded in getting myself into the character department. My reasoning wasn’t that I could make a bunch of kids happy. My reasoning was, honest to God, if I’m wearing a character head, I don’t have to smile. I don’t have to talk to people. I don’t have to be cheerful. It’ll be great. My ultimate goal was to get into one of the stage shows, where I REALLY wouldn’t have to interact much with the crowds, but I didn’t get that far.

You have to attend about a week of character training, capped off by a final exam, where they throw you in a costume, throw you in an area of the park, and make sure you can do what you were supposed to do.

They threw me in a Rabbit costume (a particular rabbit, one in a classic children’s story who’s obsessed with time.) The fun part was that this costume was out of my size range, it was the next category up, you could wear it if you were 5’6 and above. I’m 5’3 ½, but every character in my category was checked out, so into the Rabbit I went.

Ker-flop, Ker-flop, Ker-flop, Ker-flop, Ker-flop. That is the sound of my Rabbit Feet going down the hall. They’re making us go to the part of the theme park that, um, looks a lot like a jungle? Jungleland! It’s pretty far away, and my Rabbit Feet are something like three feet long, I’m picking my legs up extra high to make it work, but the Rabbit Legs are low to the ground. But I’m thinking this is all part of the exam, so I’m gonna suck it up and Ker-flop my way to Jungleland.

Okay! Now I’m in Jungleland. Which is a perfectly appropriate place to find a Rabbit from classic children’s literature. Not. But the tourists don’t care, it’s a CHARACTER! GET THE AUTOGRAPH BOOK! GET THE CAMERA! GRAB THE KIDS! IT’S THE RABBIT!

I pose for the pictures. I sign the autograph books. I hippity hop as best I can in my Monster Rabbit Feet. And very slowly, inside my Rabbit Head, the bandana holding my hair back is starting to slip, slip, slip. Forward.

Uh-oh. Oh, this really isn’t going to happen to me is it? IS IT!? See, the Rabbit has a failsafe whenever he has to leave, all he has to do is point to his watch that’s the size of a frying pan on his belt and scoot along to the nearest backstage exit, and the parents will explain to the kids that the Rabbit’s gotta go, that’s his part of the story, you see.

But I am surrounded by a crowd, no, an OCEAN of people, something like four lines deep, because a Rabbit in Jungleland isn’t something you see every day. My teacher comes over, “Rabbit! Rabbit! You’re late!” Ah, my exit line!

And the ocean of people doesn’t move. This Bunny is going nowhere. They won’t let me. Teacher runs off, waiting to see how I’m gonna get out of this by myself.

Now the bandana’s on my forehead. It’s tied tightly enough to where it’s gonna be snug, instead of dropping to my chest, but loose enough to where it’s gonna be over my eyes in about a minute and a half. Aw hell.

How in the world am I gonna stop this? I can’t take my Rabbit head off, we’ve all heard the stories about how four year olds peeped backstage where they shouldn’t have, saw characters without their heads, and their parents sued for emotional damage and distress. The best I can do is ker-flop my Monster Bunny Feet over, moving the ocean of people four lines deep with me, and plant myself by a wall, to keep the crowd on three sides.

Half my vision is now blocked by the bandana. It’s red. I stole it from my sister Agatha. This is obviously divine retribution. I turn my head from side to side, trying to dislodge the bandana. The crowd sees the Rabbit shaking his head. “No, what?” a little girl says.

Where is my teacher? Hello? Anybody? Rabbit in distress! RABBIT IN DISTRESS! SOMEBODY HELP ME!

And then the bandana goes over my eyes. I’m officially blind. I turn this way, that way. Nope, nothing doing.

F THIS SHIT! If I’m gonna flunk, I’m gonna flunk.

I quickly turn around, facing the wall, my back to the crowd, I sneak a Rabbit paw inside my Rabbit head, and yank the bandana down, get the Rabbit paw out of the Rabbit head, and turn back around.

“Are you lost?’ the little girl says.


I sign a few more autographs, and somehow ker-flopped the hell out of Jungleland. I do remember that it was by myself. Everyone was waiting for me backstage, wondering what on earth had happened. Maybe they thought I just LOOOOOOOVVVVVVED people.

I did pass, by the way. I went on to play a whole menagerie of critters and assorted small people. I did a few parades, almost passed out on a float in 100+ degree weather why are you people watching a parade when it’s 100+ degrees outside!? What’s WRONG with you?

I worked out of character costume as a character escort/bodyguard. I escorted/bodyguarded a Rabbit, a Bear, and a Fox from a classic Southern story to their river flume ride when the park opened, and we all stood at a spot with a few kids where we knew we’d get wet from the ride. Watching kids, a Rabbit, a Bear, and a Fox dance while getting sprayed with river flume ride water is hilarious.

I escorted/bodyguarded a Bear, a Tiger, and a Mopey Donkey during a character lunch. When we ran out of kids to take pictures and sign autographs with, we sat down in the restaurant foyer and played Duck Duck Goose. Watching a Mopey Donkey trying to run around a Duck Duck Goose circle is hilarious.

So I must remember, in the grand scheme of things, that the stressful times at work are not going to be the only times I have. That there will be, if not necessarily fun times, (because I’m not currently working at a theme park), better times. Or at least surreal times.

And I will never have to deal with a slipping bandana inside a Rabbit head ever again.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Amy has found a new word

Hello blog and God,

This week has been a nightmare mountain of stress, in ways that I can’t publicly express, because it would rip the Fiction Mask off The Miniature Golf Network and suddenly everyone in the industry would know exactly where I work. Which is sad because there is a lot to tell, and maybe I’ll be able to tell it six to eight months from now, because it is kinda funny and ironic in a God Sure Is One Funny Mothertrucker kind of way, but not now.

Perhaps I can draw a comparison. On Tuesday, I went to see a local band play a set at Key Club. I’ve seen them before, they’re interesting, if a bit whiny voiced, and I was looking forward to hanging out in the back in the dark and people watch, perhaps coming up with new script ideas, or bits of dialogue, or who knows what.

Because the day was so awful, I end up arriving halfway through the set. I got my drink, staked out a spot, making sure I didn’t block anyone’s view, and stood by a column which was pretty perfect to see the band. I did get to hear my favorite song so that was all good.

And then a pack of people, two guys, two girls, cross in front of me, see more people they know, and stop directly in front to talk to them, now blocking my view.

They’re seriously, like, two inches away from me, they elbow my boob as they go to hug each other, so they know they’re in my way. There’s a perfectly good empty spot if they just keep moving to the right, but no, they start blabbing away two inches in front of me.

“Uh, excuse me?” I say, gently pressing on the guy to move him away from me. They look at me, “You’re kinda in my way.” I say as politely as possible.

“Hey, it’s a club” the douchiest guy says. They take a half step away, ignore the perfectly good empty space to the right, and keep on being douches.

I want to tell this douchepack that they are douches. (Hey! A new word! Douchepack!) I want to tell the guy in his douche hat, who’s doing the whole I know every lyric to every song because I’m that big of a fan and I’m gonna dance douchily and point at the singer like we’re best buddies during the songs! that he’s a douche. I want to tell him that the two girls are not going home with him, because he’s a douche, and I can tell this after observing them for all of two seconds.

But I don’t do any of that. Because I’m not that big of a bitch. Not on the outside, anyway. But I am on the inside, and thus am convicted by my thoughts, I’m a sinner, a bitchy bitchy sinner, blah blah blah.

Instead, I’m the one that moves, and fifteen minutes later, the set’s over anyway. A lousy day made lousier, mitigated slightly by the fact I got to hear my favorite song live.

You know that douchepack wouldn’t have stopped in front of me if I had been a guy, or if I had a guy with me. But no, I’m alone.

And after the wreck of the day I’ve had, as I’m driving home alone, the aching Touchy Feely Amy need sweeps over me again. God, I’m a loser.

See, in stressful times like these, when I can’t dive into a pool of Patron because I have to be sober in the days ahead, the only thing I want is to be held in the arms of a Big Strong Guy. I don’t need the Big Strong Guy to solve my problems, because I already know he can’t, and the problems are going to work themselves out anyway. I don’t even need the big strong guy to murmur sweet nothings in my ear like, “It’s gonna be okay, you’re gonna be fine.” I know it will, I know I will.

I just need him to fucking hold me. Like, seriously, all I need is maybe 5 to 10 minutes. And no, I’m not saying I need to be held because then I need to be kissed, and then I need to do some other stuff. No, I’m way too stressed for all of that. Just me, Big Strong Guy, held, done.

God can’t hold me the way I want to be held. Sure, He can arrange my circumstances, and I personally think He’s laughing at me right now, but He can’t send a pair of disembodied arms down from heaven to wrap themselves around me. And I’m so freaked out these days that I would still take the Disembodied Arms Option, creepy as it would be.

If I’m not getting what I so desperately want, the obvious answer seems to be that God doesn’t want me to have it, or doesn’t think I need it, or thinks I don’t deserve it because I judged the Douchepack to be Douchy or is trying to teach me that Being Held By Big Strong Guy doesn’t compare to what God has for me.

Which is, um, what? Better Circumstance? Future Blessings? How does that help me now, in the car, as I’m driving home, and feeling another layer of numbness and despair forming around my heart (and my back, for some odd reason.)

I talk to God. He doesn’t answer. And on life goes. God help me. God help me all over.

Monday, August 18, 2008


The tornadoes of life have consumed me. I'll try to post something this week,.

ugh ugh ugh

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cutting Out The Parentheses

(I'm a brattykins for the following entry, because I've spent the past two weeks at the housesitting house, in which I enjoyed sunrises and sunsets, so please dismiss the following as the whinings of one very ungrateful bitch. I know, I know, I know.)

Two things happened in recent days that were the perfect opposite of each other so my first thought was WHOOO HOOOO! I FINALLY HAVE SOMETHING TO BLOG ABOUT!

The annual Act One Alumni Barbeque was this past Friday and in addition to catching up with old friends, I was introduced to a small group of newbies still going through the writing program (they’re doing the Saturday program. They’ve given up their Saturdays for something like 7 to 8 months if not more. That truly boggles my mind.) I rambled and danced in my habitual You Can DO It pep talk that provokes stares that could be either awe or um, get away from me, you crazy person.

I know to these newbies and others, it looks like I’m super groovy cool these days. I sold a script (for little to no money.) That script got made into a movie (which may or may not go anywhere.) But I’m not really anybody. Nobody should truly listen to me. I don’t blame these newbies if they write me off as crazy. Who am I to tell anyone how to do it, when the majority of my body of work hasn’t sold. Yet.

If you’re gonna listen to anyone, listen to my buddy Donald. Donald is a heavy hitter, he’s sold scripts for gobs and gobs of money. What Donald said is that I’m not supposed to say the above paragraph with the parentheses parts (for little to no money.) (which may or may not go anywhere.) Donald says I should enjoy the good parts without adding the parentheses part, because there will ALWAYS be a parentheses part, do you wanna see the glass as half full or half empty, you have to be in control of your own spin, so make it positive, la l alaaaaa. Donald does the exact same thing as me with the parentheses parts, by the way, but he deals with it by telling me not to do it, ha ha.

Regardless, Donald was not there to talk to the newbies (he actually was at the barbeque, but had his hands full with his adorable daughter who kept singing a pirate song) so I was explaining to the newbies that if you want to be a writer, you have to be in it for the long haul. You have to keep writing, even if nobody wants to buy your stuff. You have to keep writing, you have to be a little bit crazy, obsessive, stirring a cauldron of arrogance, mania, yet humility not just to keep going, but to keep revising your own stuff. No, my stuff is good. No, my scripts WILL sell. They just haven’t yet. They’re good, they’re great, but I still have to keep working and working and rewriting until they sell. I’m not stopping, not until I become a professional screenwriter who’s sold enough stuff to buy a house of my own, a hybrid car, and a comfy chair. Even then, I’m not stopping, because I’m a writer, and this is what I do. I write. And then I rewrite. I write. I rewrite.

Then I got an email that a college buddy of mine, who I had gone through film school with, who I had worked on more than a few projects with, who had been out there in L.A. longer than I have, is moving back home. I don’t know the reasons why, maybe I’ll learn them later. And I get bummed out. He was trying to achieve something, (though I’m not sure what, let’s say a happy life in Los Angeles), and it didn’t happen for him. Not as though he didn’t give it his all. Not as though he didn’t work his ass off for it. It just didn’t happen for him.

The Olympics are on. I love the Summer Olympics. I was a gymnast and then a hurdler growing up, so I like watching those events. But I wasn’t top notch on either of them. I never won anything, the best I’d ever do would be to place fourth or fifth, and that sometimes would be enough to get a point or two that the team needed to win an overall competition. I trained my butt off, I was 90 pounds when I was a sophomore in high school because of it (and oh my GOD, the screeches, wails, and utter confusion that ensued when puberty along with its 15 pounds showed up.) But I never got any better. I worked and worked and worked and never got any better than an 8.15 on the vault, and fifth in the state championship of 100 meter hurdles. Some might say that’s good. But no athlete ever trains to win anything less than first place. Just like no writer ever writes to win anything less than a solid big money sale. A good story well told is good. A good story well told that earns its fair market value is even better.

So when I hear of someone else making a huge decision and moving home, I get a little skittish, a little melancholy, a little worried. It didn’t happen for them. And maybe, despite all my hard work, it might not happen for me. Maybe I won’t get better. Maybe what I think is merely downtime before the upswing of success is self delusion, and there is no upswing of success.

I wrote an exchange of dialogue recently, “You really have a lot of growing up to do.” “That’s too bad, because this is as big as I get.” Okay, it was a dog saying it, but still.

I read somewhere that worrying is just a way of praying for what you don’t want to happen. But with that in mind, it’s awful hard to be able to think of ANYTHING without sliding into Worryland and its parentheses parts. There’s a film that’s got “written by Amy The Writer” on it! (it won’t do anything, a mere blip of false hope), I’m writing a new play! (it won’t be as good as the last one.) I’m working on a kick ass high concept idea (that you had to go back to the drawing board on to do a new outline on, someone will write that kick ass idea and sell it before you.) and that’s not even counting the two boards I’m on for various groups and how annoying they are, the new Blood Drive I’m setting up for September, and the continuing fog that is my personal life.

I set my mind to be positive about these things, to cut away the parentheses parts. Am I being wonderfully determined in a way that will pay off spectacularly later? Or am I wonderfully lying to myself again?

Okay, I should send up a prayer here, be publicly accountable and crap. Everyone buckle up.

Dear God. HI! (insert spastic hand waving, in case He can’t see me.) Thank You that I get another day! A day in which, so far, nothing’s gone wrong, and I don’t think I’ve sinned majorly! Woot!

So God, I know very well the parts in the Bible where You command us not to worry, and Jesus’ talk that the flowers in the field don’t worry, and the birdies in the air don’t worry, and that’s all well and good except flowers don’t have brains, and human brains are bigger than birds and we’ve got more to do, and all the bird does is surf the wind currents anyway, but WHATEVER.

You don’t want me to worry. So MAKE IT STOP ALREADY! Oh, see, when I say, make it stop, I mean, give me the supernatural strength to turn my thoughts away from dwelling in paranoid fantasies about how people are plotting to either ignore me, or bamboozle me into doing all the work for them (it depends on the person.) Distract me with other things to do so I won’t remember to worry. Give me discipline to focus on writing, and to work on a good story well told, as opposed to worrying that other more well connected people are telling that good story faster than me.

And please be with my friends who have financial issues, health issues, job issues, heart issues, my friend who’s moving back home, my friends in Kenya on their mission trip, and the family who lost the recently born two-faced kitten.

Please change the people who annoy the shit out of me. No, wait, sorry, I’m supposed to pray for the strength to deal with those people, to see them as You see them, that they’re all uniquely children of You. Give me that strength. Give me that grace. Give me that peace. No wait, peace isn’t a gift, it’s a spiritual fruit that comes from a life that’s um, well, much more sane than mine.

I think if You give me strength, everything else will follow. And help me to feel that the strength is coming from You, as opposed to what I can do on my own. Because I know that I can’t do anything on my own, it all comes from You, but it still feels like I’m doing it on my own, because you didn’t give me these abs, I do 300 situps a day to get them, except I didn’t do them Saturday or Sunday, so that obviously means they’re flabby abs now.

Sigh. I need help, God. Honestly. Please send me some. Love, Amy The Writer.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Amy's Busy Writing

Ginger Puppy is busy guarding her feet.

The funniest line I heard all weekend was Stella, who came over with Wella, Norman, and Frances to cook out yesterday. I was telling Stella how I had been praying for her situation, then realized how instantly sappy that sounded, so I added, "Not that it matters, I don't think God's listening to me these days." Stella said something along the lines of, "God listens to you if for no other reason than you're one of the most entertaining Christians I know." Which made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

I keep getting the image of God going, "Yeah? Yeah? Uh-huh? Wow! Okay, so you want what? And what? And what? Great! Thanks for telling me. I'm glad we had this talk!" And off He walks away without doing anything about it.

Yes, I know it's not true, I do. But that's what it feels like these days. Heh.