Happy thoughts


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It’s interesting to see just how much we humans agonize over happiness.  Isn’t it?  We research it, we read about it, we make lists about it, we dream, goal-set, prioritize, flip-flop, argue about it, we buy colorful magazines that talk about it, we buy a lot of things for it actually, we blame, we start to loathe it sometimes, and then…sometimes, all of a sudden, it’s here!

Strange.  How a few days in the sunshine and a little break from the normal routine can re-spark that zest for life.  Puts it all in perspective…that life is short and every day is a step towards something better and greater.  I find that it helps me to make lists of things…

…so here’s my list of things that are currently filling me up:

*Cadbury chocolate Mini-Eggs…they come out for Easter time and they are  my favorite.

*A new clever book called One More Thing: Stories and other Stories by BJ Novak.  It’s a collection of short stories written with wit and humor…my favorite!  He was a writer for The Office and he wrote the children’s book, The Book with No Words.

*My good friend is having a baby at any moment!  Her due date is today!  I remember those last days of waiting were so strange and interesting and excruciating…but the wait is so worth it.  Good Luck to her!!

*Um…sunshine!  It’s 40 degrees here in the chilly Midwest.  That, my friends, is a heat wave.  I like to think I brought it back with me.  I’ll take credit where credit is due.

*Yellow tulips

*FlexJobs.com…which I haven’t officially signed up for because I have to pay a monthly fee, but basically you can find freelance/telecommuting jobs with legit companies.  Not scam companies.  I can tell you more as I find out, but why not write some blog posts for someone part-time and get paid?  Right?  Write?  Right?

*Coffee delivered to me by my husband while I type…yessssssssss

*Another book that I ordered that will arrive on Tuesday.  It’s called Do Cool Shit (Quit your day job, Start your own business, and Live happily ever after).  Pretty sweet eh?  By Miki Agrawal.  Not saying I’m ready to start my own business but I just really like books that break down overwhelming, larger than life events with witty, down to earth writing.  Yup.

*New work digs!  My job moved locations last week and we start in a new, fresh space tomorrow!  It’s so strange but also super great.  It’s great that we are growing and able to expand a little.  Yay!

*The sketch comedy class that I’m taking online through The Second City.  Let’s get weird, people.

What’s making you guys happy lately?

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Am I turning into my character?


Who out there in writing land has felt as though they turned into their characters or one of their characters?

I realize that a lot of what we write, we take from our own personal experiences.  I get it.

But my character has been creeping too much into my head lately…and too much into my life!  Yes, she was initially inspired by me…because that’s what I know.  After exaggerating her personality and thinking about her life and thought process and adding new idiosyncracies, I feel as though I am taking on her traits.  It is consuming me…which is either a great thing for writing or an awful thing for my brain.

Is this how method actors feel?  How do they become like someone else and then snap back into themselves when their movie/show/whatever is over?

I AM Abraham Lincoln, dammit.

Is method writing a thing?  It must be…everything is a thing, it seems.

The silver lining…is that I created this person.  I can make her into whatever I want.  So if I need to improve my disposition, I’ll just improve her disposition.  I’ll have her turn into the sweetest, funniest, friendliest mother fucker I can think of and change everything about the whole story.  Because I can.

Hell, maybe the prize patrol will show up at her door with a giant check and balloons!!!  Maybe then life will imitate art??  Right?

Though shalt not wallow


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You never know what you’ll find in the bargain priced book section of Barnes and Noble!  From mandala coloring books to paleo cookbooks to this little self help gem…

It made me think about how so much of what we read nowadays is found online (ahem…this blog, for instance) yet the most amazing books, magazines, and knick knacks we find are because we wander and browse.  There is no one behind a computer across the country figuring out my browsing preferences and suggesting things through advertising.

The charm of a bookstore.  It’s the only comforting place within the bowels of February.  And even though it’s a large bookstore, not a cute little mom and pop book shop, it’s still a favorite.  My soon-to-be ten year old says to me as we left the bookstore the other day: I just love the bookstore.  I love the way it smells and how quiet it is and all the books. I just love it!

So I’m not wallowing about that.

I’m trying not to wallow at all…and although it is difficult because I am a pale skinned, vitamin D deficient, polar vortex inhabitant, I’m slowly coming to the surface like a little ice cube bobbing to the surface of a fruity rum drink.  What I wouldn’t give for a crisp margarita in some 75 degree sunshine.  Yes, to all you people that don’t live in cold climates, yes, there are some of us that do sink into a little gray, seasonal depressive, funk-ball.  It stinks.  But we’re not wallowing!!

You wouldn’t believe the amount of things we can accomplish when it’s 55 degrees and sunny, truly…but now it is wintertime….and we’re trapped in darkness.  Alas, there’s books to read and books to write and angsty emotions to convey through an insignificant little blog.  We are not wallowing though, thanks to the bargain priced books!

(I’ll have you know, I thought long and hard about purchasing that book and while I found it endearing and reasonably priced, I couldn’t pull the trigger…because that would mean that I actually was giving in to my wallowing.  I’m very un-constructive about my wallowing.  I will not give in!  I will not let it happen!  Sorry, little book, but thank you for being written…love you!)

Things that make me think I can write better


When I’m trying to be a productive writer, and I use the term writer quite loosely, there are a few things that I like to use to trick my brain into being more focused….and hopefully more creative and clear.

*Eddie Vedder radio on Pandora (this is an obvious one…obviously!)

*I wear shoes.  Yes, I wear shoes.  It makes me think that I am going to work, and am therefore more productive.  Sometimes I’m snuggled up in a blanket at 1 a.m. with shoes on.  It’s a tough job, people.  The struggle is real.

*Hoods and scarves.  I cocoon my whole head up so that only my eyes can peek out.  I like to think that it keeps the creative juices warm and toasty and traps them so they can only escape through my chubby little fingers.

*Candy…love a good sugar buzz

*Caffeine…nothing helps out that sugar buzz like a little eyeball-popping caffeine.  Lately, I’ve just taken to drinking a double shot of espresso.  No latte, no cappuccino, no americano….just gimme the good stuff.  It helps my fingers type faster and with much less precision.

*Yellow legal pads, post it notes, and my favorite rollerball pens.  Sometimes, simply shopping for these items and never opening the packages is helpful in writing….it encourages that intention to write something important.

*Cooking something in the crock pot.  This one is huge.  As a mother and wife and general do-everything-in-the-household type of person…it really helps me focus when I know that dinner/lunch/whatever is cooking itself.  Multi-tasking at its finest!!

*sometimes I venture into Twisted Sister radio on Pandora too…for a little energy boost.

 

Writing is hard


Holy shit.  Writing is hard.

Blogging is easy.

Writing…like real, honest to goodness writing, is super fucking tough.  You know it, I know it, every non-writer and writer out there knows it.  We read and dissect and criticize, but we all know it is really fucking difficult to have an idea in your head and to flesh it out onto paper with words that make it come alive in another person’s head.

It’s like eating a spoonful of alphabet soup and not being able to make any of the random letters make any sense…because you realize you can’t even read!!

…you know, I can’t think of any more clever phrases that writing is like…because I’ve spent the last 7 hours thinking that I made some headway on my project.  When in reality, I have about 3 paragraphs.  3 pretty decent, descriptive paragraphs, but 3 paragraphs nonetheless.

What’s the last thing that you wrote that made you excited to write but the creative process kept slowing you down??

performance anxiety


So I’m all enrolled in my online Screenwriting class!  I received all my information and my first week’s assignments.  It feels pretty fricking great to have a legitimate project to work on again.  I think that I work  much better when I have a small amount of creative guidance, prompts, and deadlines.

Deadlines for sure.  Deadlines = discipline.  I work well with a small amount of pressure.  Too much and I pretty much just drink coffee to the point of migraines.  I also have ridiculously high standards for myself and typically will tear out all of my eyebrows mulling over the mundane details even before I begin.  The hairs fall neatly onto my yellow legal pad with one sentence written, scribbled out, and rewritten another way with a few bullet points below it.  Bullet points that turn into stars.  That’s the beginning of what some people call: the creative process.

Others call it procrastination.  Others might call it writer’s block.  Others, still, might like to call it ‘Don’t quit your day job because the scratches on this legal pad ain’t never making you any money.’

At any rate, I’m at a loss.  I have many ideas.  I have tons of inspiration for characters.  I also have many silly situations that I could use in a script.  Believe it or not, I also have things that I could write about that aren’t funny at all….things that are actually quite serious and deep.  Its true!  At this moment, I’m pulling my eyebrows out over genre!

Genre!  **silly side note, my brother and I always cracked up at the way Alex Trebek pronounced genre…it sounded like shawn but with a g-like and z-like hum to it.

I was set!  Here, I thought I was only interested in writing humor and comedy scripts…and now I’m trying to get all mushy?  What is happening?

If I start talking about writing action movies with Liam Neeson…please put me out of my misery (love you, Liam!).

For what it’s worth…


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Tomorrow marks 4 years of blogging…

4 years of putting my shit out there.

I’ve learned not to babble and to not write annoyingly long ass posts.  I’ve learned to keep it simple.  I’ve learned that people enjoy pictures.  People enjoy simple wit and irony and dogs. 

Good Lord, you people love dogs!  That’s ok, I do too. 

Take a gander through the archives if you desire…sometimes I still giggle at the things I’ve admitted in writing.  I still get little pretzel knots in my stomach thinking about how much of my brain I actually share. 

Also…I should totally have front row seats to Pearl Jam and a six figure book deal by now.  Where are the connections that I’ve dreamed up in my head??

Where, oh, all knowing internet, where????

Cocoon


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I have the whole day off today. No errands to run, no appointments to go to, nothing…until I fetch the lovelies from school, I am alone. I love it. I need it.

My plans are vague.  I like it that way.  I am going to bundle myself up and set myself up in a cafe with a hot cup of Joe.  Um…autocorrect wanted that to say hot cop instead of cup. That might be ok too…

I’m going to write today. Something I don’t tell people is my writing process.  Everyone has a process.  Mine is to wrap myself up in a scarf and put up my hood so that just my eyes show.  I take off my glasses.  I cross my legs and try to get as warm as possible.  I don’t hear anything.  I lean into the screen as I type and pay no attention to meaningless mistakes and punctuation. I just go.

Solitude…even amongst a cafe full of people. 

I write for a while that way until I’m sweaty or lose my groove.  Then I undo everything and stretch and take a sip of my hopefully still hot beverage with two hands.  Then as I get back into the groove, I slowly begin wrapping myself back up.  Back into the cocoon.  It’s interesting that the more I cocoon myself the more honest my writing is. 

But I lie sometimes.

Tortured


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I was reminded today, of this red notebook filled with my own poetry.  Poetry that I wrote between the ages of 15 and 18…probably on my bedroom floor, listening to Pearl Jam really quietly.  I was probably writing them by the glow of my maroon lava lamp or by candlelight.  It was probably between the hours of 11 pm and 2 am.

I knew it was tucked away in a storage bin in my basement with other samples of writing that I’ve saved over the years.  I had to get it out.  I had to read it.  I thought that I would find some diamonds in the rough.

I gotta tell ya, I found a lot of rough in the rough.  Seriously, talk about teen angst.  I had a lot of anger to express about something… I actually made a lot of it rhyme.  It was all pretty bad…and actually really depressing.

Here’s a gem for you:

Never…by the brain of kate circa 1997

Any love so bold and true, could never compare to the love I had for you…

Any hate as strong as steel, could never compare to the hate that I now feel.

Wow. Intense!  How about a funny one??

salsa…by the brain of kate circa 1999

My mom makes the best salsa-

-she can’t dance.