Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Runaway Bunny

In unpacking my bookcase in my new place (I think the Shabby Shack is the winner unless I change my mind) I ran across a copy of The Runaway Bunny

My childhood was a little off in terms of classics. For instance, Where The Wild Things Are? Missed that one completely. I mean, maybe I read it, but it didn’t stick with me.

Same thing with Legos. I never played with Legos as a kid, and then somewhere in the middle of college, I was ALL about LEGOS! LEGOS! I WANNA BUILD A TREEHOUSE LIKE THE PICTURE ON THE BOX!

So even though The Runaway Bunny is in my bookcase, it wasn’t something I read as a kid. In fact, I distinctly remember My Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much buying me this copy a few years ago when the bookstore in the mall was going out of business. I bought the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and the Lloyd Alexander Black Cauldron series (still an excellent and underappreciated series.) My mother bought The Runaway Bunny, and then gave it to me.

Now, everyone knows the basic story of the Runaway Bunny, right? He’s not Pat The Bunny, he’s the Runaway Bunny. He runs away. Repeatedly. Because he’s trying to get away from his Stalker Mother.

Fine, yes, I KNOW it’s a religious metaphor. Runaway Bunny is Amy as Runaway Bunny’s Mom is God. And that there’s nowhere that Runaway Amy can run to that God can’t find her, and the depths He will go to get back to her. And it’s touching, and beautiful, and a lovely game of Find The Hidden Runaway Bunny In The Picture, and la la la.

But seriously, people. Have you read the story lately?

Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.

So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”

“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.

For you are my little bunny.”

ALERT! ALERT! STALKER MOMMY IN EFFECT! Because I’m sure the Runaway Bunny has a good reason for running away. A reason that nobody is listening to, just merely brushing off the silly reasons of a Runaway Bunny.


“If you are a gardener and find me,” said the little bunny,

“I will be a bird and fly away from you.”

“If you become a bird and fly away from me,” said his mother,

“I will be a tree that you come home to.”

This picture scares the crap out of me. Stalker Mommy Bunny has turned herself into the only place that Runaway Bird Bunny can land, regardless of where he wants to go. Again, Runaway Bunny isn’t being heard. I’M LISTENING, RUNAWAY BUNNY! I AM!

“If you become a tree,” said the little bunny,

“I will become a little sailboat, and I will sail away from you.”

“If you become a sailboat and sail away from me,” said his mother,

“I will become the wind and blow you where I want you to go.”

Smothering Stalker Mommy Bunny! It’s not about what where you want your kid to go! Let the kid goes where he wants to go! He’s got plans! He’s got ideas! Let him breathe!


“Shucks,” said the bunny,

“I might just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.”

That’s right! Beat your kid down so he just gives in to what you want!

And so he did.

“Have a carrot,” said the mother bunny.

That’s my My Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much’s favorite part. “Have a carrot” she likes to say.

Seriously, am I the only person who ever saw the story that way? Maybe that’s my next project. A retelling of Runaway Bunny, from the kid’s point of view. A thriller, in which he desperately tries to avoid his shapeshifter mom, and nobody will believe him when he tries to tell the authorities she’s a killer. Hmmmmmm.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It’s Always Time To Pop The Champagne

It is once again hot in the evenings, which means a return of my allergies and red nosed-ness. Nobody is looking more forward to October and the whispered rumors of cool weather more than me. It is God’ chronic joke that an avowed albino such as myself has to be in sunny Los Angeles to pursue her dreams, but whatever.

Polka Dotted Platypus is closed. Finally. We ran for nine long weeks, plus six weeks of rehearsal before that. It’s not that we don’t love each other, because this cast RAWKED, but we were all ready for it to be over, for sure. At the cast party, they gave me a bottle of my favorite tequila Don Julio, so all my copious hint dropping worked! Hurray! Copious Hint Dropping Is Awesome When It Gets You What You Want! Heh.

And when I got home, I put the tequila on the shelf, like I usually do. It’s special, I said to myself, It’s my favorite tequila. I shall save it for a special occasion.

And then I stopped. That top shelf that I put Don Julio on has several thousands bottles of wine already on there, as Albert and Abbot usually give me a bottle everytime I come over to housesit Basil and Ginger Puppy (perhaps it’s considered liquid strength to deal with them? Who knows.) Also on the shelf is some leftover Sauza tequila. Even a never opened bottle of cognac. Basically, there shouldn’t be a party in the next two years that I have to buy alcohol for, just grab one off the shelf and I’m good to go.

And then I looked around my tiny tiny nest. (We need to come up with a name for it. Amy The Writer’s Hidey Hole? The whole place is perched on a bluff. Could we call it Amy The Writer’s Beauteous Bluff? Bountiful Bluff? That could conjure up inappropriate images if you were, say, twelve. Hmmmm.)

The one benefit about living in a small place is that it forces you to be neat, because clutter makes the place look ten times smaller. No, that stack of un-filed bills cannot stay on the table, the jewelry has to go STRAIGHT into the jewelry box, the dishes have to be put away as soon as they’re dry (takes about ten seconds in this heat.)

I’m still slowly unpacking stuff, but finally tackled the bathroom the other day. And was stunned at the amount of body lotion, shampoo and conditioner that I had pilfered from this, that, or the other hotel (or cruise), really nice stuff that I had kept for YEARS, for a “special occasion.”

Now what, I ask you, what kind of special occasion has to happen in order for me to bust into my stash of “special” shampoo? It’s dumb. Just just dumb. My mentality is something like I have to wait to use it, I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to grab it again. But now I have a whole plastic crate of special shampoo, I think I’ll be fine for awhile (the conditioner on the other hand, hmmm. It weighs down my hair.)

I am reminded of a long ago boss, (and now I’m starting to worry I’ve already shared this anecdote before. Please remind me if I have.) This Bossman was batshit crazy in a number of ways, but ultimately was a kind person, and someone who’s turned out to be an unexpected champion of my writing, and taught me everything I know about organization, which is definitely helpful here in Amy The Writer’s Tiny Teepee of Torrential Tale Telling (Yes? No?)

Bossman arranged the offices in such a way that I was staring at his back all day long, and was able to hear his end of several thousands phone conversations. And one day he was talking to a writer about how the next step of her writing deal had kinda closed, but the studio still needed her to do a lot of work. And she must’ve said something to the effect of “Is it time to pop the champagne?” Because Bossman replied, “It’s always time to pop the champagne.” And went on to explain that you have to celebrate every step of the journey, because you don’t know if it might be your last step, but the fact that you’ve taken ANY Forward Step on this rocky road of screenwriting is cause for celebration.

Which was such an optimistic thing for Bossman to say, it always stuck with me.

There was indeed champagne at the cast party for Polka Dotted Platypus, and we drank copiously. And I was telling Xaiver, Nick and Nora about how this year has twisted and buckled in such a strange fashion for me. “At the beginning of the year, I had a job.” I started, then we all busted out laughing.

Yeah, I had a job, I had a house I was sharing with two slobs, Pink Piggy, my first produced written feature, made its debut at Film Festival C (and I pilfered all the shampoo from that hotel), and plans were in place for Polka Dotted Platypus to debut in July. I took two cruises, (stole the shampoo from there, too) and those was the first vacations since New Orleans in 1999. I looked liked I was the shit. I looked like I was on my way.

Twisty, twisty, buckle buckle, toil and trouble and now we’re here: Scrambling to thread temp jobs together, Pink Piggy seems to be dying on the film festival vine, Polka Dotted Platypus came and went to okay but not rapturous reviews, and now I live in Amy The Writer’s Shabby Shack of Storyspinning (Yes? No?)

But I am here. I am perhaps not on my way (or I am, and simply can’t see the bigger picture), but enjoyed a ride that may be lurching to an end.

I am wanting too much. Okay reviews are better than bad reviews. Temp jobs are better than no jobs. There’s nothing to say that Pink Piggy couldn’t be revived when the right person sees it. And a Shabby Shack is better than the muck of the Slobborium that I left (and those roses BETTER appreciate me!)

Whether a Solid Standing, Refusing To Bow Down Or Turn Around Stance carries as much weight as a Forward Step is yet to be seen.

But I’m popping the Don Julio anyway. And busting into the Special Occasion Shampoo. Unapologetically. Because, if nothing else, it creates more room. HA!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The World's Most Sappy Metaphor

This is my new screensaver on my computer. You like? It’s Clementine the hat, on Serenity Bay, on Disney’s private island, which is one of the stops we made on the 3 Day Cruise over this past weekend.

Yes, it was a Disney cruise. You Cruise Purists who sniff your nose at a Disney cruise can suck it. We were in a stateroom with a balcony on a three-day cruise for $99, and you CAN’T do better than that anywhere in the world.

I was a total dork and took pictures of everything, the big puffy Orlando clouds, the few times it rained (which I totally loved), even the food, which perplexed sister Agatha. I can’t help it. I don’t know when I’ll be on a cruise next, and I have figured out that I LOVE cruising. Actually, I think I dig the experience of not having to pay for anything in the restaurants. If I could find an all-inclusive resort on a Mexico beach somewhere, I’m sure that would work too.

And even though I was in much less stressful circumstances than the first cruise earlier this year., I still didn’t have any breakthrough realizations about my life. Certainly, there was plenty of space to. That big expanse of water that Clementine the hat is staring at? I went out in there, almost out to that pink buoy thing you see. And I didn’t think a single thought other than this is nice. And a couple of thank You God, thank You.

I think there’s something about gazing at natural beauty that just makes my mind go blank. And there’s something very useful about it, because God knows at every other point in my life, there’s a chorus o’ crazies shouting in triplicate inside my brain. So to not think about anything for awhile was very nice, if unexpected.

But then I got home. See, after I picked up my car, my next stop was back to my old house, to rescue the Super Roses. They were already brown and withered because my old roommates were not about to water them because they hate nature. KIDDING. I was the only one who watered anything at the house, and though I can’t do anything about the roses in the ground in the backyard, I can save the Super Roses, because they’re in pots. And My Mother The Phone Harpy, wants me to. She’s already mentioned it several thousand times in the few phone conversations we’ve had, “Are you going to bring the roses to the new place with you? Are you going to bring the roses? What about the roses? WHAT ABOUT THE ROSES, AMY!? SAVE THE ROSES! YOU’RE THEIR ONLY HOPE AMY-WAN!”

I knew I was going to have to cut the roses way back to get them into my car, and since they were brown and withered anyway, there wasn’t going to be any loss there.

But the funny thing about the Super Roses. They didn’t wanna go. They’re Super Roses, which means they’re Super Thorny, and as I clipped and clipped and clipped, they attacked my arms and hands (through gloves) and even my neck. My NECK, people! I PULLED A THORN OUT OF MY NECK! MILIMETERS FROM MY JUGULAR! All these year, I didn’t know the Super Roses were vampiric, it doesn’t make sense, they LURVE their sunshine.

But they didn’t wanna go, and did their very very best to make sure that if they HAD to go, they were gonna scratch the ever’ lovin’ shit out of me, and tear holes in the fabric roof of Ethel the car, lowering her value to about two cents now (she’s not happy with them either.)

They were little bitches about going. And I cursed at them every step of the way, because yes, they are plants and therefore alive, “You have to go! They won’t water you! Do you wanna die here!? I’m trying to help you! Why are you hurting me when I’m trying to help you! YOU HAVE TO GO BECAUSE I CAN’T HANDLE THE GUILT FROM MY MOTHER THE PHONE HARPY IF SHE FIGURES OUT I DIDN’T SAVE YOU!”

And then it hit me. My realization about my life. The one I thought I was gonna get on the boat.

Me versus the Super Roses is God versus Me. Me wrestling the Super Roses, who are fighting me every step of the way, is God wrestling me to this new place in my life.

Me assuring the Super Roses that no, no, we’re not staying here, I know it sucks, and yes, it’s going to hurt, and I’m gonna clip the dead parts off you, and you’re not gonna like it, but you gotta trust me when I say that we’re going someplace better.

That’s the same conversation that God silently had with me, as He wrestled with my anxiety and bewilderment and What, We’re Moving and How Am I Gonna Move All This Stuff, and Where Are We Going, and Why Are We Going Here and How’s It Gonna Work When I Have No Couch as He moved me to this new place. I’m trying to help you. You gotta trust me when I say that we’re going someplace better.

I would like to state that I am better than the Super Roses, because I did not stick any metaphorical thorns in God’s neck. That I know of.

I wonder who God’s Phone Harpy is. The Virgin Mary? Heh.

At any rate, the Super Roses, in all their bare and spindly thorny glory are now outside my front door. Pepe and Pembleton kinda stared at them, and I know they’re thinking something along the lines of, “You’re sure they’re roses?”

But I drowned them in plant food, and they’re getting regularly watered, and if they don’t showing some progress in a few weeks, I have no compunction at all in dumping them, for all the grief they gave me.

Hopefully, God is more merciful.

Oh, and I got my couch yesterday. Isn’t it pretty? It’s got STORAGE!

Oh, and per Agatha’s request, here’s Mr. Agatha and Bug, in half of his Halloween costume. He’s going as Gene Simmons from Kiss. BWAH!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Almost There

I’m currently three hours ahead of most of you as I’m at my sister’s house in Orlando. There is no caffeine here. I am in pain.

I could snag the last Kahlua mudslide in the fridge, but I accidentally drank far too much yesterday night. I was back at the new place packing, and landlords Pembleton and Pepe announced it was cocktail hour, and made me tequila sunrises. I then finished packing drunk off my butt, and woke up this morning with strange puffy spots under my eyes.

Surprisingly, I think everything made it inside the suitcase, and the suitcase made it on the plane as a carry on, and I made it to Orlando in a caffeine-less house.

Tomorrow is the cruise. I cannot wait. I have EARNED this cruise. I didn’t necessarily earn the first one in January, that was more of a Hey We’re Doing This Thing As A Whole Family So Come Along With Us.

But I have earned this time off, oh hell yes I have. I had made a list of Things I Had To Get Through Before Going On The Cruise about three months ago, and it stacked up this way chronologically:

1. Get Through My Theatre Company’s Fundraiser
2. Open My Show
3. Host My Blood Drive
4. Survive My Parents Visit

But at the end of the day, the list turned out to be this instead:

1. Get Through My Theatre Company’s Fundraiser
2. Open My Show
3. Get Through The Co-Producing Theatre Company’s Fundraiser
4. Survive The Sewer Line Collapsing
5. Sneeze My Way Through House Painting
6. Housesit for Basil and Ginger Puppy
7. Host My Blood Drive
8. Housesit for Basil and Ginger Puppy Again
9. Survive My Parents Visit
11. Survive My Car Breaking Down and Stella and Wella Fixing It In One Day!
12. Housesit for Basil and Ginger Puppy Part 3!
13. Manage Ginger Puppy’s Ear Getting Nipped By Her Crazed Brother!
14. Pack Your Suitcase While Drunk!

Yes, I have earned this cruise. I have earned the right to be Blotto For Three Days On A Disney Boat. The Disney Boat will have caffeine too. I will be happy.

Every day I still say “Lead on, God, lead on. Whatever happens today, Lead on.” And almost instantly, the Bumps In The Road happen as a response. Seriously, number 13 happened less than two minutes after I said that sentence (Basil nipped Ginger Puppy’s ear because a nearby dog was unleashed, and they both went bonkers. Blood, hydrogen peroxide, and angry words at Unleashed Dog’s Owner followed.)

But with every bump that comes, I don’t panic. I just deal. Even on #11, when the gear shift was flapping uselessly like a dead fish, I managed to ride third gear into the parking lot of a McDonald’s. And there was no panic. Just a solid sense of this will be fine. And it was, as Wella called me back within five minutes of my text “HELP! CAR BROKE!” And following that, a solid sense of Wella will fix the car. This will be fine. I had no guarantee that Wella could fix it, could jerry rig a solution in under two hours (it actually took longer for the tow truck to pick me up and tow me to Wella’s house than it did for Wella to fix the car.)

Maybe that’s God. So often, I think that God’s presence is supposed to feel like some angelic light bathing me in pearls, or some supernatural strong tug pulling me off my feet and hey, I’m FLYING.

But instead, it’s more like a strong solid feeling in my gut. This will be fine.

And it is. Except that I currently have no caffeine in my system.

Here’s Bug, my niece, so happy about her Mac and Cheese and Broccoli. I double checked with my sister Agatha, and she is not throwing some gang symbol known only to seven year olds. That’s just her being goofy.

As I will be, starting tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Yeah. The original plan was that I would move yesterday, September 1st. Which makes sense, it being the new month and all. But then I got the call that the new landlords wanted me to move in the Saturday before instead, because they were going out of town Sunday through Wednesday. Um, yeah.

So the Pink Padded Mallet continues to whack away, and I continue to roll with it as best I can. It's not a heart seizing panic. It's not Grit Your Teeth From The Pain either. It's a resigned Squaring Of The Shoulders and trudging through.

Trudging through picking up a U-Haul on the busiest day of the month (thank God I have no problem being at the U-Haul place at 7am.) Also the day the Station Fires started, making the day beastly hot and hard to breathe, and that was after I already dove into a dusty, rat droppings filled garage to lug boxes of my stuff out.

Trudging through driving the truck back up to the new place, trudging through getting all the stuff unloaded. I have the best friends in the world, let me me tell you, and they don't take advantage of me enough, considering what they had to do in loading and unloading all my stuff with the truck (though I did have a relatively easy unloading, since the garage is mere steps from my door.)

Trudging my way through boxes in the tiny new space. Bolstering myself up by saying at least it's MY tiny new space. "A new place small and all to yourself," Nadine said as she handed me box after box of my stuff into the attic. (YES! I have an attic!)

It's probably bigger than I think. I have a huge problem with spatial measurements, which is why Stella and Wella came by yesterday to shepherd me through Ikea, and plot out my room's measurements. If I was doing this by myself, I would've taken two steps in, gotten overwhelmed, grabbed the nearest cheapest LACK Table, and high tailed it to the Swedish Meatballs. Stella made a very persuasive argument about how there's a reason that table's only $8, look at it: the thing's gonna break in a year, and you said from the beginning that you couldn't buy anything unless it had storage in it, so pony up for this decent table with oodles of storage, Missy. (I didn't get to the Swedish Meatballs, though. Next time!)

We came out of Ikea with a coffee table with storage, and a kitchen counter with storage. No sofa yet (I have one picked out!), but I have a blue beach chair to sit in, which is where I watched the season finale of Rescue Me last night, after burning my first batch of popcorn in the microwave that came with the place.

And yes, despite being three inches off the floor and surrounded by boxes (the age old dilemma of I can't move the boxes until there's somewhere to put them vs. I can't find places to put them until the boxes are out of the way!) , it was nice to watch something in my own place, without random roommates walking through and muttering their own unsolicited commentary.

I have carted more of my stuff to the Goodwill than would be seem humanly possible. I have thrown out more drafts of old projects around town, to where various recycle workers must think that Amy The Writer is the Worst Writer In The World, since so many scripts written by her are in the trash.

My Mother The Phone Harpy loves to save stuff. So did Roomie Jekyll. I had prided myself on not being like them at ALL, and then I had to move, and realized that I had saved my class notebooks from Film School. I'm sure there's a good reason....NOT.

No, I know what it is. It's me proving my existence to myself. How can I know where I've been unless I have evidence, in the form of cable bills from the first place I ever lived?

For every useless thing that I chucked in the trash (plastic silverware from college dorm days, Burger King Gulp Cups) I found something that WAS useful (a Christmas present from my boss's wife, two dish towels wrapped in flowery soap. I need dishtowels. I HAVE THEM NOW.)

Here are my new landlords. Should we call them Perdy and Pongo? Is that too obvious? Let's try Pembleton and Pepe, see how long that lasts.

That's Pepe in the window. They like to check in on me, they're just next door, dontcha know.

And though I still haven't felt a distinct presence of God, not even when I look at my view (and yes, I'm well aware it's spectacular, and will probably hit me later when I'm not exhausted and when the smoke from the fires clear. I just point the camera and take the picture. I will be overwhelmed later.) I know that this was without a doubt all His doing.

And how He's continuing to provide for me in crafty crafty ways, like swinging me a temp gig at the last minute for today, because we received word this afternoon that Unnamed Studio would be closed on Friday, which is when my next assignment was. I would've lost a day of work. But now I didn't.

That's pretty sneaky, God. Which is pretty awesome, too.

This place is small, but it is all to myself, and the boxes will gradually disappear, and things will find their places. Including me.