Monday, October 13, 2008

Tummy Rubs For Everyone

My monthly prayer group meeting was last night, and in between prayers for the nation (because some members think we’re heading towards the End Times, and you all would’ve been so proud of me, I didn’t say a THING. Not even that my Kundalini Yoga instructor thought we were in the End Times based on a stray swarm of locusts report, and that was back in 2002), and in between prayers for famous people to not be afraid of living like Christians (one of them actually prayed for Bono to be MORE obvious in living like a Christian, and he’s a fairly big faith-on-his-sleeve guy) we prayed for joy for me.

I didn’t ask for those prayers. I don’t generally ask for anything for me in my monthly or weekly prayer groups. I’m not a big believer in making a laundry list of Stuff for AMY, and it’s hard to say that in these situations when everyone else is asking for Stuff, or else you make them feel bad. I’m all about praying for other people, sure, why not, not necessarily stuff, but for those lovely intangibles like patience, peace, discernment, la la la.

But no, I’m not praying for Pink Piggy to get into Sundance, or Slamdance, or whatever festival it’s being submitted to. Pink Piggy is going to go where it goes, and it’s going to get there regardless of what prayers are or are not offered. It’s not that I don’t have faith in God. And it’s not that I don’t have faith in the film. But I refuse to believe that a film gets into a festival because enough people prayed for it to happen. Because that smells suspiciously like God Is Your Personal Genie In A Bottle, or If Enough People Clap Their Hands, Tinkerbell LIVES. Sorry, Pink Piggy Producers.

Other people in the group were praying for their film to do well in whatever festival it was going to, and that the right people in the form of managers and agents and buyers would be there to see their film and jump start their career. So they all prayed for that, and I prayed instead that the person would get miles and miles of patience no matter what the outcome.

Last month and last night, despite my No Stuff Rule, the group prays for Joy For Amy. It’s an intangible, I guess I’ll let it slide. It didn’t necessarily work (because they didn’t mean it, HA!) I’ve been in a funk for awhile now, and it’s exacerbated by literally being displaced by this housesitting gig. Fifi and Winston have to be walked twice a day, and they take FOREVER to complete one loop around the block, which gives me a lot of time to talk to God about why do I feel so bummed out so much of the time (one of the group members last night prayed that I would be mindful of any symptoms that might present themselves as low grade depression.)

I’m working on three things right now. Striped Tiger, Purple Monkey (three years and still going), and Polka Dotted Platypus. There is pressure the likes of which I’ve not experienced before, which must mean I’m on my way to being a professional writer, ho ho ho.

There’s enormous expectations for whatever I churn out next to be great. Great like my last script (which got produced) was, like my last play was (which was a commercial success and got nifty reviews.) It’s not just the pressure I put on myself, it’s the unconscious pressure from other people. There’s also a time crunch going on. Striped Tiger has to be ready by the time we anticipate Pink Piggy to make a splash at the film festivals. Polka Dotted Platypus has to be ready for its staged reading next month, and it’d better be great, because we’re gonna produce it next year. Purple Monkey was supposed to be ready a year and a half ago, and it’s only a matter of time before someone else thinks of its big hook, blah blah blah.

I’m not one of these writers who don’t like to write. I don’t understand those people, frankly. I don’t mind writing, the clickety clack of the keys is the sound of my brain waves buzzing, if I can make myself laugh with my jokes, it’s awesome.

But these days, my writing is tempered with this undercurrent of not good enough, not good enough, not good enough. You can do better, you can do better, you can do better. You’ve done better before, do better now, now, now, now.

My jokes aren’t funny enough. My plots aren’t logical enough. My characters aren’t consistent to their motivations (when they have motivations.)

Do you guys know what the very best line of dialogue is? It’s the first line of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The beginning of the Baby Herman cartoon, where Baby Herman’s mom says to Baby Herman:

Mommy's going to the beauty parlor, darling. But I'm leaving you with your favorite friend, Roger. He's going to take very, very good care of you... (voice turns ominous)...cause if he doesn't, he's going back to the science lab!

That’s brilliant on so many levels. It explains not only what the cartoon is gonna be about, but the stakes, why a babysitter is a rabbit, and why a rabbit can talk. And the whole damn thing is funny as hell.

That’s the standard I hold myself to. The standard I’m not hitting lately.

It’s the pressure, I know it. But I don’t know how to make it go away, because time is running out. I’m not blocked, I’m writing, just a steady stream of blegh.

How to make Blegh into Brilliant when I’m Bummed. Right.

At least the dogs are better. Fifi and I are best buddies now. She sleeps on the bed with me at night (Winston does his own thing 24/7.) Fifi is seriously adorable, she makes writing hard because she sits by my feet and looks up at me with adorable eyes.

She wants me to give her Tummy Rubs all the time (Blogger won't let me rotate the picture the right way.) She’ll be running, she’ll look back to see how close you are, and then when you’re almost on top of her, she’ll drop to Tummy Rub position, complete with Modesty Tail. Funniest damn thing I’ve seen in awhile. Funnier than anything I’m writing, ho ho ho.

Joy is a Tummy Rub. Maybe that’s what I need. A Tummy Rub. Would rather have a Shoulder Massage, all things considered.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I LOVE the Roger Rabbit quote ---I had forgotten about it utterly. Thanks for the grin.

Here's hoping your tummy or shoulders are rubbed - metaphorically or literally!