Homeless Bill and his dog Fido

I went on my lunch break today. I work in downtown Portland. I passed by two homeless men, eventually walking through a shouting match of two homeless groups. One of the two groups wanted the other to "shut up, bitch". The other side complained that they were on a different block and that "you have Mcdonalds, bitch!" This is in reference to the fact that the local MickyDee's was just down the block (I assume that is a prime spot).

A step back...

I remember when I lived in Fort Collins, Colorado. I would tell friends that I wanted to move to a big city. I need to see "homeless" people, I would say. Well, I got my wish. I am constantly bombarded with homeless people in downtown Portland. In addition to those people that stand at the corner, twirling their binders in their palms, waiting for you to cross the street so they can make you sign something that, always, has to do with the environment, you can't walk down a block without being bothered in one way or the other. My dad told me not to use the word hate unless you mean it. Dad, I mean it - I hate them sons of a bitches.

Back to my thought... Fido.

Most of these homeless people have dogs. I have yet to see a breed of dog below those that would cost a person, like me, hundreds of dollars to buy (Labradors, Pit Bulls, etc...). Where are these people getting them? I think there is some dude breeding dogs, just for homeless people. My problem with this, is that I want a dog. The #1 reason why I don't have a dog is because I can't afford one. How in the hell are these homeless people able to take care of animals like that? Are these dogs getting their shots? Are they healthy? Should dogs be allowed to be captive by those that rely on my change in my pocket (that I work hard for) to feed them and their dogs?

Am I not a better parent to their dog?

Since I go out to eat, therefore walking downtown everyday, I run into the same guy with his dog. He always asks me "to buy him some food". I will never give that guy any money, or buy him food, until that dog is not walking alongside him. I have donated several bucks to people holding signs asking for money. My favorite person is the one that says "good morning" to me (with a smile) when I walk into the local Starbucks for my overpriced cup of coffee. I give him money at least once a week. If he had a dog, fuck him.

I guess I'm jealous of homeless people with dogs.


I remember when I adopted my last pet, Bob The Cat. That little girl, with pet hair all over her uniform, asked me if I would declaw the cat. I said that I thought about doing it in the future. After a lecture on how inhumane and cruel it was to cats, I was not able to adopt my new pet until, not only did I promise not to do it, making me lie, but not until I signed a piece of paper acknowledging this. I would assume it is harder to adopt a dog.

Why the hell do homeless people have dogs when I can't walk out of "homeless shelter" for cats until I prove to, some little piece of crap, that I can lie to her well enough that I "promise" not to declaw my cat.

Is this whole thing wrong? Am I missing something?



Tonight I found out, on that darn internet thingy, the average salary for my current job. I’m a Housekeeping Manager at a hotel in Portland. Before getting this job, I had over eight years experience in hotels, including 3 ½ years in a similar position, the other time in Front Office operations - all management. The average, across the country, is just over 34k. In Portland, it's about 35k. Without telling you what I tore down last year, let’s just say, I was average (Don’t feel sorry for me, I chose this profession).

This got me thinking… my goal in life is to become a paid writer. This means, outside of the 40-50 hours I spend on my “job”, I put an average of about 20-25 hours a week in writing. This doesn’t count the equal amount of time I spend thinking of writing, my characters, or my stories.

To the writing -- Yes, I do it out of love.

To the job -- No, I don’t do it out of love. Picking up hairs(from all regions of the body) and wiping up stuff, is not fun. Take my word on that.

Back to writing…

I love stories. The characters I invent and the characters I read, or watch on screen, are special to me. Whether I write them or see them on the screen, they will always be special. That’s why I write, to share my stories and characters. STOP! Not the point.

My point is this, what if I was able to sell a piece of my writing tomorrow? Could I quit my day job? What kind of money could I make? Upon my research, I pulled some quotes out of an ongoing discussion about making money in writing, comparing screenwriting to novel writing.

I don't know who said this, but I found it interesting.

-- If the movie is never released (either theatrically or at a festival or on the internet or on DVD or on --say-- the Sci-Fi Channel of Lifetime Network, etc) it is incapable of making money. If the director or prodcuer leaves it sitting in his harddrive, there will never be one single nickel made by that film. And sadly LOTS of films never see the light of day.

But of course, this is all assuming that the movie actually gets finished in the first place.

--Hundreds of thousands of scripts get written every year.
--Only a minority of those get read by interested parties --such as production companies-- capable of financing them (the rest languish in wannabe-land)
--Only a minority of that minority that get read actually get optioned (the rest get trash-canned--something like 90% of all scripts lucky enough to get read are jettisoned as garbage)
--Only a minority of the optioned scripts actually enter into "development hell" while the rest sit "in the vault" and never see the light of day again (development is lengthy process capable of lasting months or even a year or longer when a room full of executives sit around and tell the writer how to rewrite the script to their liking -- this is where a lot of writers lose their integrities, lose their souls, lose their in minds, etc. -- a writer should feel very very lucky to enter into the soul-robbing and mind-breaking priviledge of development hell, where they must resign themselves to the advice: "abandon hope, all ye who enter here")
--Only SOME development efforts result in a committee-rewritten script that FINALLY gets a greenlight to shoot, the rest fizzle out into oblivion; but of those that DO result in an "acceptable" script, it usually required the production company to bring in another writer to replace the original writer (again--writers should feel lucky if a greenlight finally happens, even if it meant they had to get fired and another writer brought in to take their place)
--Only SOME movie productions actually even happen (once a greenlight is given, then pre-production process involves raising money, getting the cast, securing a crew, scaring up locations and equipment -- sometimes it never comes together and just gets abandoned)
--Only SOME produced movies find distribution of any sort (be it a festival or a sraight-to-DVD release -- the Holy Grail is theatrical release, but THAT is one tough trick to make happen!)
--Only SOME released films actually turn a profit (the general rule-of-thumb is you need to make back DOUBLE your production costs, so a $5 million dollar budget --mere penies by Hollywood standards-- means you need to make $10 million before you're in the black)

From the standpoint of a lit agent, movies might very well be a far better deal. But from the standpoint of a writer, movies are a very deeply anguished proposition. But we do it anyhow. We love the art form. We are deeply jazzed at the idea of seeing our vision up on that screen one day. I wish I could remember the name of the guy (writer?director?producer?) who said it, but I read it in an interview about five years ago. He said: "The film industry SUCKS, but the art form is just amazing."

For the average non-professional, sitting in a room somewhere, turning out unsold novels or screenplays, the monetary returns stacks up about the same -- double zero, double zero.

For a feature writer, one can write "spec" sceenplays -- that is you simply write an original screenplay and try to sell it. Having done that, it may be optioned -- that is, you get a small fee up front and you don't get the full fee unless the project is set up -- that is, they get the financing for actually making the movie. Or they may buy the movie up front, if the demand for the project is high enough.

What a screenwriter writes, even a spec script, he does not license, but sells. The producer buys all rights, and thus has the right to do with the underlying material whatever he wishes, including demanding whatever changes he wants, bringing in new writers, completely altering the direction of the script -- whatever he wants. Then the director may be hired and change it all again (and the director may have his "favorite writer, who he brings along to rewrite whatever script he happens to be directing). Then the star, if he's big enough, may come in, and do it all again (and the star may have his "favorite writer" that he'll bring in to do the rewrites that he wants done to make the script over the way he wants it done).

(me talking here; I wrote this) - This is what happened to the movie Little Miss Sunshine. The writer spent over 5 years writing (one of his first scripts), getting it to people who, ultimately, hired other writers to finish the project. He was kicked off the set, seeing little coin coming his way. Luckily for him, he was re-attached back to the project... the rest is history. If you consider, around 10 years from pen to paper, to actually getting the film made...

-- It is an industry that is remarkably conservative -- which means that it is very risk averse.

-- from an artistic viewpoint, novels have it all over screenplays. even then you're likely to be asked by the publisher for revisions.

from a monetary standpoint, i think you *may* see some better actual living wages writing screen- and/or teleplays. that's part of why the WGA exists now, isn't it, to provide writers with the ability to make a real living writing? i think there's a trade-off, though: true, you sell a script to a prodco signatory for $34 grand and, hey, that's not too bad considering you probably didn't have to work forty hours a week, fifty-two weeks a years to do it. $34G divided by 2080 hours (52 x 40) comes out to be $16.35 an hour, and if you can't live on that your lifestyle is more expensive than mine. (naturally, your actual wage would be a LOT less than this after taxes, membership dues, insurance, etc., but once you get rolling it also probably won't take you an entire year to do an average script. i hope not, because that script might not sell).

then again, nobody may buy it.

OUCH! (me again). Don't worry. I could still squeeze in an hour or two writing... but then again, I have a very busy day tomorrow. It will be over 100 degrees (the AC is broken at the hotel. Great for me.) and I have dozens of rooms to inspect.

Boo Hoo!


I'm Sorry

I've been reading a couple short stories of mine lately (some longer than others). I have always been focused on screenwriting. At the same time, I've been writing a lot of stories in long hand - It's what I do. I haven't focused enough attention on grammar and sentence structure as I should.

My goal is to become a screenwriter, not a novelist and/or a short story writer. The problem with screenwriting, where you have to be so focused in each and every word, is that I have so many stories and characters in my mind that I cant stop writing. Screenplays exercise a specific part of your brain. Writing in long hand exercises another part of your brain. If you don't, totally, focus on one certain aspect of writing, things fall through the cracks.

Things have, certainly, fell through the cracks.

If I choose a different writing path, not screenwriting, I will be the first in line at the local college, registering for English, spending whatever time necessary.

This I promise.

Until then, read my stories as if those errors will be fixed in the long run, if necessary. My characters are really cool and interesting - At least I think so.

(Commas, colons: semicolons; - dashes. They haunt me in my sleep).

Rewriting Screenplays

I as I start to rewrite of one of my screenplays, I start gathering notes...

(I must make it very clear. DON'T LOOK AT THE GRAMMATICAL ERRORS IN THIS POSTING. These are notes.)

1. Every character has an arc, presented with obstacles along the way.

This is what story is all about.

2. Every character must have a distinct voice so you can tell each character by the way you read their dialogue.

3. All unnecessary scenes cut.

I see this a lot when reading about screenplays - your favorite scene should be the first one cut.

4. A distinguishable structure.

This is the Act I, Act II, Act III part. There are those that say that certain things should happen at certain points during the screenplay. The inciting incident (around page 12), the end of the first Act (page 25), the Midpoint (where the story changes completely around, page 55), the end of Act II (page 90), followed by Act III. There are different theories on this. I use to spend way too much time thinking about this which has, probably, been a detriment to my writing.

5. Bring each scene to life.

There should be NO unnecessary scenes (these are notes; don't mind the grammar), so each scene that ends up in the screenplay must move the story further and we should learn more about each character in each scene that we didn't know before.

6. Dialogue

I have always been the first to acknowledge that this is the hardest part of my writing. Since then, upon reading McKee's book entitled "Story", I have a new understanding.

As you rewrite your screenplay, you should know your characters throughout. Some writers will write character back story's, thus gaining so much information, that you know how your characters will react in certain situations (obstacles to their overall need). I take this in regards to dialogue. Part of Mr. McKee's chapter in his book, that I took from it, tells writers that you should put yourself in the characters shoes, actually in the scene** like you are living it, personally. He uses that vital scene in the movie, "Chinatown", where we learn everything we need to know about how each and every character Mr. Nicholson's character comes into contact with him during his investigation. The reaction of these character's, by dialogue, is not a surprise. If you put yourself in the shoes of each character, during that scene, every word of dialogue means something. (Try doing this as you watch movies. We, as viewers, if we are into the story, will try to predict what a character will say at certain situations [scenes], thus putting you in their shoes. It's really fun, exciting really.)

I have read, from a couple screenwriters that they won't include ANY dialogue as they write their first draft. (This goes against #4 [a distinguishable structure]. If certain story points should happen at specific pages, then why do these writers not write dialogue. If certain events have to take place at certain minutes/pages in the screenplay/movie, than wouldn't these writers write some dialogue?)

*** One of the first suggestions I read as I made my decision to dedicate my life to writing screenplays (darn those short stories and novels) was that you should take acting classes. I now know what they are talking about - dialogue. You can't understand characters unless you are right there in that scene.

7. Get perspective (see things in totality).

This is the planning part of rewriting. This, if you choose not to write an outline before you start (or after) is the sort of stuff you see, or think of writers putting up a bunch of 3 x 5 cards on a wall, often color coded - which I avoided at the beginning. The biggest change the latest version version of Final Draft 8 (screenwriting software) is the color coding over haul. Without going into detail, this is a big part of writing, seeing things big picture. Often screenwriters get so into one scene(s), or a sequence of scenes, that they lose perspective of what just this scene means, maybe, eventually understanding that the scene shouldn't exist in the first place (see point #3).

By looking at your screenplays in totality (3 x 5 cards on a wall), you begin to see certain things. Hold up...

In any story, you have a central character trying to achieve a certain goal (emotional and/or physical). This is the A story. You also have other characters that are either there to help or mentor the central character. You have, of course, the anti-hero (a physical being or something else standing in his way) who is the one trying to stop him from achieving his goal. There has to be a B story that either mirrors, or is in contrary to the protagonist's ultimate goal (seriously... look at the characters in your favorite movie. Those characters that take your attention from the main character are going through the same type of problem. It's understated, not really acknowledged until you say, "Oh Yeah".

Since every character in your story must have a goal, a screenwriter must see that, maybe that important character hasn't been heard of for several minutes. This is how looking at the 3 x 5 cards can indicate a problem - it's been too long since we last saw this character (this happens frequently. All of a sudden a character will pop up, that you saw earlier, making the audience not care about them as much.)

Without going into more detail, screenwriters must see things in totality to make sure things aren't too static. Audiences get bored quick. It's a fact.

8. Scenes "rise", keeping the audience interested.

The main character has a goal. They are continuously presented with obstacles. They solve one but are presented with another. This happens in every single movie you watch (even the bad ones). Once they think they have gained an upper hand, something else happens. After solving that, another one comes their way. Screenwriters must keep these things coming. If we don't, the audience becomes bored. A bored audience means it's a bad audience. It also means that readers of your screenplay will just stop caring, throwing your screenplay you have worked on for several years.

9. Transitions

Transitions are absolutely necessary. I use to think that this happens in the preparation part of making the movie.

(Okay. Don't get me started. There are certain "rules" us spec screenwriters should never do, unless you plan to film it yourself, or if you "know" someone. One of those rules are camera angles/direction - You can't do this. If you think this is easy... please.

You can't write, "We pull back seeing Bob looking at..." or "Cut to: Bob getting in his car".

So... we have to stick to a certain number of pages (see #10) and you can't have any camera direction or certain words like "Pull back", "We see", or "Cut to:" but we must have good transitions. Welcome to my world.

Transitions are those brief moments you see in movies where some dramatic event event takes place and the camera "cuts" to an introduction to the next scene.

10. The 116 page rule.

Another "rule" spec screenwriters must adhere to (unless you're one of those ass holes making a living writing scrips [my heroes]) that you shouldn't submit any work over 116 pages. If you do, you must be writing some "Benjamin Button" epic bullshit. If that's the case, no one, who has any connection to someone, that knows someone who gets coffee for somebody who knows someone, will ever pick up your script - unless you have a "credit" to your name (give me that WGA card, now. I will suck anybody's... Oops.)

I was watching an interview with a screenwriter in Hollywood, where he told the interviewer of how he got "into the business". Besides the fact that he wrote some 15, or more screenplays before getting his first script sold, he said that the hardest part was getting "under the 116".

I wrote the second, or third draft (I'm on the fifth), of the screenplay I'm preparing to rewrite, in 98 pages. One of the critiques I got was that they needed more to the story (this includes my mother whom said the same thing). As my final rewrite goes on, I am up to 130 pages. See #3, #5, #6, and #8.


Could I be European?

I don't know if it's because I've watched a lot of foreign movies lately or if it's because I have over ten years experience of working in hotels were I see people from all over the world, but I can't shake this feeling that I should be living in a foreign country, probably Europe.

I've never been in any European country, so they could all suck. I have this nightmarish daydream (nightmarish daydream? I know this isn't grammatically correct, but it sounds cool) were I end up moving to a European country and my whole life has changed for the better - than I get robbed of all my money, ending up living a homeless life with a bunch of Parisians, and other people from outside of whatever country I'm in.

Then again, I think that, with all the different cultures and backgrounds, I could be completely happy. In the movies it seems like I could get on a train and end up in another country if something is not working out anyways.

I have always had this plan to, at some point, live in a Spanish speaking country, because I know with the background I have with Spanish, that I could, with less than a year, be totally immersed in the culture. After some serious thought about doing this when I decided to leave Colorado, selling all of my belongings and moving to Mexico, I ended not going through with it. I have kind of put that thought of doing this in the "could of - should of - but didn't" folder of my life. Now I have been altered in a way that I can't stop thinking about living in a place like England, Russia, or any place where my white, blue eyed and blond ass would fit right in.

Here's where the writing and my work background comes into this. I wonder if it would be a good career move to go to another country as an American writer, doing whatever writing that could sell, even if it is not fictional. Is there a market for such a thing in Europe or would it be even harder to do than in your native country and language? It's already a one in a million long shot of becoming a paid writer, and a two in a million chance of becoming a paid screenwriter. Maybe it's worse, as an American, outside North America.

Hold up! What a minute, dude (or should I say boob) You have a career in hotel management. The problem is that I am a writer, not a hotelier. My focus in life is writing. Any career move I would make would be solely based on becoming a paid writer. They have hotels in Europe, don't they? That would be my way in, of course. I just don't want to do anything that would stray me away from my writing path.

Don't get all worried family. I would never, in a million years, pick up my belongings and move anywhere in this world without having a job waiting for me. I have been stupid once in that regards. I won't be stupid again. I'm just wondering if I should do whatever I could to make something like this happen.


When I first started this blog I thought everything I would write would be about screenwriting and my struggles of becoming a paid screenwriter. During that time I wrote a couple short stories and one that became more like a novel.

I posted two, maybe three of these on this blog. One of them was entitled, "Lying and Recycling". After writing that, I started thinking of the other characters that found their way into that story.

I ended up writing two more short, character driven stories of characters that appeared in the original piece. I think I'll write one more about the owner of the store, but I might not.

Anyways, here we go.

COMPACT disc (a selection)
inspired by the writings of Arthur Nersesian and Joe Meno

(read the short story "Recycling and Lying". The three stories work off of that, original story.)

The Rock Section

I could be a victim of identity theft but I wouldn’t care. I have, let me think… less, counting what I owe on my credit cards, about three hundred to my name. I don’t know what those guys do when they are away from there computers, stealing other people’s identities, but I’m sure their lives are better than mine. I think about this as I sit at a public computer at the local library. The guy across from me, who probably noticed me since I look hot today, keeps looking in my direction. Maybe he’s a hacker. Hacker or not, that guy is cute. Now. Okay. This is the time to focus…

Shoes should fit your body style. A stiletto is probably the right choice. I go back and forth, thinking that I may need a thicker heel, maybe a “Cuban” heel. I'm told it’s not the best choice for most girls. Maybe a pump. I'm also told woman with skinny legs look good in pumps. Since I have skinny legs, I should go with a pump. What brand is good? No, wait. A bootie. A ankle booty, maybe.

The flashing light on the bottom right hand corner of the computer screen means I only have ten minutes left on my hour, internet time. This could be just enough time to look up some Nine Inch Nails videos. I watch Trent as much as I can. He doesn’t like to be photographed or YouTube’d, but he his. He is so beautiful, my Trent. He usually wears black, but most lead singers in bands wear black; especially in rock bands. Some people call it industrial rock but I won’t stand for that. It’s rock.

I guess it’s about time to get ready for the day. Today is a big day. After spending over a hundred dollars on the pair of pumps, I am down to about two fifty. I really need the job. I need to look good for my interview today. That's what's important when going to an interview, you have to play the part. The part I will pay will be the cute blonde.
I’m beautiful and I‘m not shy to share it. I have big boobs, a small waist, and freckles just below my blue eyes. Some say I’m Farrah Faucet-ish. Not in her fifty, bed ridden days, but when she was a Charlie’s angel - in the nineteen seventies. I was born in the last year of the seventies. I don’t think Charlie’s Angels was still on then. I don’t know though.

I shouldn’t be worried, Right? I’ve started new jobs a couple times, even last year. This year shouldn’t be any different. I heard Blockbuster was a great company to work for. My best friend in high school told me she worked there a few years back. She doesn’t work there anymore. It had something to do with finding something better, maybe a job at the mall. Or, let me think… that’s right. She went to college. She, Dorlene, I mean, had to go to college in another state. It must be crappy to be pushed by your parents to leave your home town to go to school. I feel sorry for Dorlene. Maybe this summer I will get to see her. Wouldn’t that be a kick? I’m broke, so… you know.

I don’t have any other CD’s in my car other than Nine Inch Nails. This is a choice. I am Nine Inch Nails. I know every word to every song Trent and the boys have ever written. I even learned his live performances when I would accentuate a particular word or something that really made him sing differently, like most singers do in concerts. He would really belt out certain lines in his live shows. Sometimes when I’m listening to one of their songs I would sing it like he would do it in concert. I visualized each word as I do this, eventually not missing any other words in the recorded song. My favorite CD is Pretty Hate Machine, their first. My most favorite song is “Terrible Lie”. Here it is now. I’ll sing, but bear with me.

hey god, why are you doing this to me?
am I not living up to what I'm supposed to be?
why am I seething with this animosity?
hey god, I think you owe me a great big apology
terrible lie...terrible lie...terrible lie...terrible lie

hey god, I really don't know what you mean
seems like salvation comes only in my dreams
I feel my hatred grow all the more extreme
hey god, can this world really be as sad as it seems?
terrible lie...terrible lie...terrible lie...terrible lie

Great song. I love it. I would sing it as loud as I could right now, but I'm a little nervous. It makes me feel so good when I listen to his music so I listened to it on my way.

Ten thirty eight. I have an eleven o’clock appointment with some girl named Becky. Becky was my second best friend in high school. Not this Becky - Becky from school.. She would have been my first except she slept with my boyfriend to be, if he wasn’t already. I miss high school. I was popular in high school. I can’t believe it’s been three years since I graduated. I remember senior picture. I looked really good then. I said goodbye to a lot of friends after senior picture.

I had expected to see a big metal case where people could drive up and drop off their DVD’s. This Blockbuster didn’t have one. I’m sure to tell Becky we should have one after she hires me. If only that stupid cunt dude would leave already. He got in his car, like over two minutes ago. How long does it take to drop the DVD on the passenger seat, back away, and give me my space? I didn’t want to be late to my appointment with Becky. My brother, Sammy, was late to an interview once. He didn’t get the job. Sammy said it was because the manager was a “hommo” and because he couldn’t handle someone like him. It will be different for me, I know it.

“Hello," Becky says as she walks over to me as I stand between the drop off hole, cut in the counter, and the front door. "You must be Jennifer."

“Jen, it's Jen. Nice to meet you,” I respond with a giant grin, hoping she remembers that it's Jen and not Jennifer.

Bewildered and taken aback a bit, Becky motions for Jen, not Jennifer, to follow here to the back room. I stay no more than five feet behind her. That is one of the suggestions I read in a magazine about what to do at interviews. You, as the interviewee, want to be close, but not too close to the interviewer. I hope I didn’t use too much perfume today.

“We take the DVD rental and the game rental stuff really serious here. They want what they want, the customers. And we give it too them.”

“I’m good at the customers,” I say, waiting for Becky to look me in my eyes (that was another interview tip). “I told one guy once, working at the Bean ‘n’ Go, that he should get some gas," I pause, really making sure she's listening; This is my big selling point. "See, I saw the red light of the little gas pump sign on the dashboard of his car indicating he needed to get gas soon. I thought I would help him. I heard that's what being proactive means.”

“That’s exactly what we’re looking for. Initiative.”

With that I am now a member of the Blockbuster team. I only know two in the area, but I assume there are more. With a long hand shake and a word of encouragement, I was out the front door on my way to my car holding a couple blue shirts, one pair of khaki pants (I’m supposed to get the second pair on my own. Becky suggested Old Navy) and a name tag with a scratched over name, probably the person I replaced.

My first day consisted of me watching a bunch of videos the company wanted all new employees to watch. Becky checked in on me a couple times, usually to change cassettes. She told me that they were going to switch to DVD one of these days. Since VHS cassettes were replaced a few years ago and since this was a place that only rented DVD‘s, I was a little bit surprised. One cassette I watched had a kid younger than me in a taped interaction with a customer, probably an actor. A little message in small words, on top of the screen, said that the customer acknowledged they were being video taped. Legal stuff I think. I thought I could do better. It wasn’t because the kid wasn’t nice, but because she could have offered the customer a different movie. She was probably horrified that she was being taped.

“Time to join the big time,” Becky says with a smile and her hands on her hips. With that, I was off to the floor.

The new release movies were placed on the big wall in the back. Since it was my fifth day on the job, I knew where I should place the new DVD’s that came in. They had already been removed from there original packaging and placed in their Blockbuster case, sticker included. Transformers came out this week. There was a big poster on the window to the right of the front door encouraging our customers to rent it as they entered. I was to stack the movies that day. Lucky for me I didn’t have to place them on the shelves in a alphabetical manner.

“Transformers, wow! Get that.”

I was easily distracted from my duties. Several kids, maybe a gang, were quickly approaching. “Do you know where I can find Debby Does Dallas?,” the leader of the group, I assume by his stupid question, asks.

“Fuck that man. Don’t be so crude, stupid ass cruncher,” the skinny guy, probably sixteen, says to the leader who is dressed in black pants, gloves, and a necklace that wore tightly around his neck.

“Sorry miss. I meant Debby Does Dallas… four.” Yet, more laughs.

I wanted to tell him to screw himself, but that was against store policy. Can I suggest a movie that might fit your liking,” I say as Becky walks past me, watching my every move.

“I would like a blow job. You know how to do that, don’t you?” a younger member, probably the necklace wearing kid’s younger brother says, to be cool.

It was getting late. The new Transformers DVD’s weren’t going to be set on the shelves by themselves. I’m not bothered by kids, especially boys, acting like kids. My younger brother did it to me on a daily basis.

Before I knew it, the young kid with the necklace had motioned for the others to go away so he could get my full attention. He was a different person now. This time, it was business. With a look around the store, making sure the manager, Becky, wasn’t around, this kid bellies up to me. I was on my third to last shelve, trying hard to ignore him. “You look old.”

“Excuse me?,” I said.

Even more serious now, not to disturb anyone else that may walk by looking for their DVD of choice, the young kid says, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, but my friends can be pretty crude. I have be like them, you know?”

I was once popular in grade school and high school so I understood him. In a way, I felt sorry for the young kid. Maybe he won’t make the choices I made.

“I was… kind of thinking… maybe you could help my friends and me out?” With a short pause, I pondered his question. There weren't any details yet, but it probably wasn't a question like, where's the bathroom.

“I’m sorry… sir. Maybe it’s in the drama section.” I say, as I take a DVD out of my full arms, handing it to the kid.

“There’s a party. I’m kind of…” I could feel his intensity increasing. It seemed as though he was up against some sort of time limit. It wasn’t like me hoping the eight would become a nine, closing time, he was more desperate than that like his whole social status hinged on this conversation and my willingness to help him.

“If I don’t get some booze, I lose my rep. My rep is important to me. More than important to me then what happens tomorrow. I could be someone else. I don‘t want that.”

“I don’t want that either.” I say, abruptly, and even louder than I thought I heard in my mind.

“Then you’ll help us then.” The necklace wearing kid says, almost speaking right into my neck. Quietly, I say, “Meet me in back. Twenty minutes, but make me look good, rent something. I get kudos for signing people up for Blockbuster Rewards.”

Backing away, showing a quick smirk which I assume was a smile, the necklace kid, motions for his boys, in the action section, for him to join him up front. Luckily for me, the kid grabs the cheapest DVD in the sale section, stands in line, trying not to look at me. Proud, smiling.

The store was set in a lot tucked in the back, away from the street. There were also a couple parking spots in the back where the street lights couldn't reach. Unless you knew better or stumbled upon them, you would never know. With three kids, hiding their heads in the back seat of my car, I exit the Blockbuster parking lot as I see Becky locking the front door. With a quick smile and an even quicker wave, my new buddy’s and I were off to commit a crime.

“Okay. I think we’re fine.”

“Shit lady. You are off the hook.” An over excited kid, probably third in the coolness line in this particular friend set, says, as he readjusts in his seat.

With a couple looks outside the car’s windows, on each side, the others chime in. I was the coolest person on the face of the earth to these kids. If only Bobby, my crush from eleventh grade, with the frosty yellow highlighted hair, could see me now.

“Shut up!” I yell.

“What up, lady?”

“Listen.” I say. The song, Down In It was coming up next. The short pause after the last song, indicated this fact. I owned the car and the kids new it. They were my prisoners. The leader could not get the alcohol needed without me. I heard “Shhh” as I started singing the song.

kinda like a cloud I was up way up in the sky and I was feeling some feelings you wouldn't believe. sometimes I don't believe them myself and I decided I was never coming down. just then a tiny little dot caught my eye it was just about too small to see
but I watched it way too long and that dot was pulling me down.

With about a minute of silence, I kid yells out, “Fuck it up old lady. This shit is raw. Boom, boom. Pat, pat. This is some techno shit.”

“It’s industrial. Industrial rock” I say, almost yelling in the car.

“Dudes? Just shut the f’ing up. Alright?”

The words weren’t important, but the attitude was a plenty. Regardless of the many of times Stevie said dude, like the word would be lost if he didn't use it every chance he got, his monologue worked. It got quiet. Everyone could hear Trent Reznor’s words. For a couple red lights, the car was almost silent.

I got the necessary alcohol from a Seven Eleven, just off seventieth and Elizabeth. The extra cautionary clerk from Asian American dissent, checked every inch of my ID. He twirled it like a CIA agent looking for the smallest detail not worthy of a twenty one year old buying nothing but a large amount of beer and a hot dog for the youngest in the backseat, next to his older, but only, slightly, older brother. Leaving the convenience store, just south of a big park I know where the local families often came to play and enjoy themselves, I was off to deliver a bunch of delinquents to a party.

“You should come with us,” Johnny, the younger brother of Greg, blurts out.

“Fuck that. She’s just the messenger,” Greg says, in defiance.

“Nobody’s gonna do a God Damn Thing,” Stevie, the boy with the magical necklace, says. “We’re gonna sit here and listen," Stevie says, looking at me with a gentle smile. "We're going to listen to my darlings music for as long as she wants us too."

What he said made me blush. This warranted the next CD.

Nine Inch Nails are a pretty amazing phenomenon when one considers what they--um, he--have done with just a few studio recordings. The Downward Spiral, NIN's second full-length album, is just as packed with vitriol as Pretty Hate Machine and the EP Broken--and has just as solid a base of pop hooks that go a long way toward explaining NIN's popularity. Most recognizable is the down-tempo single "Closer," which remains a staple of dance clubs everywhere. But for the most part, the album is all heavy beats and aggressive guitars--industrial music with a pop angle. That winning combination is what makes Trent Reznor a law unto himself, becoming insanely popular while the main body of industrial music retains its subculture status. -- Genevieve Williams

The speakers in my car started to crack a bit, last month. My friend, I used to flirt with, was kind enough to look at it. The only advice he gave me was to get another stereo system. With that being said, I continue to blare my Nine Inch Nails, ignoring his advice.

It was time for another fill up. The high school kids gave me about three times the amount of money to buy the beer. The deal we made didn’t include gas. If I knew how low I was, I would have included it in our negotiations.

“Twenty in my hand or I drop you off right here,” I say, leaning around my seat and toward the back so everyone could hear.

“Turn the music down.”

“Oh, shit,” I say. He was right. It was a little loud. “Sorry.”

Stevie made the rest of the kids cough up the gas money. After that, I let the boys get out of the car since it was, probably, two to three hours since the kids last loaded up on junk food.

As the youngsters searched the, one size too small, AM PM, I sat, listening to my music. If Trent Reznor was singing, I was listening. The tank had filled up a few minutes before I had noticed. With a quick nod to Stevie, who was picking up a bag of Cheetoes, as a strawberry Charlestoon Chew stuck out of his grinning mouth, I nod to him that we were ready to continue our journey to a destination and a future for the kids I didn’t want to think about.

It was the last song on The Downward Spiral CD that I wanted the kids to listen to:

This world rejects me
This world threw me away
This world never gave me a chance
This world gonna have to pay

I let them off at the second house to the left, past the deadwood tree which leans out onto the street where that old woman lives with the old Chevy. The youngest of the group was in charge of carrying the beer down the street and into a house surrounded by twelve to eighteen years olds watching for anything that resembled cops, including ER personnel. They didn’t know what ER personnel meant, but one of them saw it on TV one late night while their parents were asleep. Apparently these people have a special relationship with the police, often carrying people, bleeding, yelling, wanting help. They wore the same blue and white uniforms.

I sat in my car for a few songs, watching the kids have fun with the beer that I bought them. In a way, I felt responsible for bringing joy into their lives. Whatever happens next, I did one thing; I introduced them to the best rock band ever assembled. Anyways, it was a long drive home. Although I have a paycheck waiting for me at work, knowing I have twenty something more dollars in my pocket, going to the “buy me some new shoes” fund, I was a happy little girl. Not only that, but I had a long drive home where I could listen to some more Nine Inch Nails. I love his music, it makes me so happy. After putting in the third CD, I knew I could drive home, go to bed, knowing I have a good future ahead of me.

The next day…

COMPACT disc opened at nine AM. Nestled in the quiet part of downtown, just north of the major business district where a bunch of twenty and thirty something’s went to work, wearing shirt and ties entering a bunch of high rise buildings of commerce, COMPACT disc was the spot to buy the best used CD’s. Somehow, between waking up with bigger headaches caused by alcohol bought by a sleeping girl with an automobile big enough to seat three to six youths, the kids found their way into the store; To the rock section they went. They, being headed by Stevie, was quick to go to the ‘N’ section where the whole Nine Inch Nails could be bought for those looking for them.

The cashier stand was being tended by a lady old enough to be the manager. The kids didn’t know what a retired topless dancer looked like, but they stood in front of her, throwing down every Nine Inch Nail CD they could get their hands on. Across the store, a young man stands, head down, organizing the jazz section. He seems only bothered by a large man in Khaki pants and a yellow tie.

Bobby Sumter (Jazz Section)

This is Big Bobby Sumpter. Except for his grandmother, Bobby is ignored by most people, almost like he’s going through each day unrecognizable. Bobby Sumpter is big. He was big enough at an early age to be called fatso. He was called worse but he doesn’t remember the exact names. Ten or more years later, Bob F. Sumpter never lost the weight.

His grandmother once told him a story when she, as a student, was taken in a dark room, just south of the girls locker room where an older lady made her take off her shirt to “measure” her. At the mid section, grandma was poked, pinched, and prodded. She was told that, to be healthy and liked by the other students, she had to lose weight. A true story or not, it didn’t persuade Bob to lose any of those extra pounds. He carried his weight and everything that went into being fat, past grade school, high school, and through his college years.

The University library is a big and spacious place. Friday nights at the library were often scarce. This is where Bob found he could best memorize just enough to pass his college exams and enter the real world. The real world meant he was still fat but nobody said “fatso” out loud. In the real world, people said those things by their body movements, their looks away, or leaning one way or the other to let the likes of Bob get past them.

Bob tried once week to eat a salad for lunch and dinner, skipping breakfast. He would go for more than a week, meeting his plan, but losing the battle to a double burger with extra bacon. Who could blame him? Diets, usually seen on TV where most overweight people spend most of their time, would almost always include a “sensible” meal every day. Sensible to some is not sensible to others.

Bob was careful in his numbers. He became an accountant. He knew how to cut corners, finding the hidden dollars. The hotel where he worked had a back door where he could sneak into his office. Set up to succeed is what was taught in business school. He was forced to attend every summer during high school. To this day, Bob takes this with him. He is the organizer champion, but unless you went into his office, you would never know.

Bob waited every lunch, for over two years, to make a joke to Bobbi that they shared the same name, but he didn’t - he wouldn’t dare. Bobbi was a girl defined by perfection. She had the perfect office space, the perfect greeting to whomever entered her office or called her extension, and the perfect friends and husband. Jackson Dewitt came every other Tuesday and Thursday. What Tuesday and Thursday they made an arrangement for, nobody in the office knew. They were alternate. I guess that counts.

“You are so silly,” Bobbi says in the office just past the shared wall between the two rooms.

With his left ear to the wall, his belly and small waist protruding toward his work space, hands digging into his pockets, Bob listens for every possible intimate moment that could happen next door. Besides a quick snort by Bobbi and a grunt by Jackson, that could be sexual, Bob heard nothing but “I love you’s” and I can’t wait to see you on the treadmill. Bob is careful not to be seen by anybody that could see him doing what he was doing, that would be weird.

The summer scene was his favorite. This had Bobbi waiting for him on the beach, dressed in a bikini, her legs gently resting, kind of rubbing against each other. Her left big toe pointed off into the sunset. Rodolfo, the waiter, who looked awfully similar to Jackson, would often come to his and her aid, wanting to refill their drinks; her a margarita, his a wine spritzer. Rodolfo was often sent away from the scene so Bob and his love could cuddle, her legs uncrossing and, slowly straddling a smiling Bob until…

“Bob? Bob? Wake up.”

Daydreams were something Bob didn’t have any control of. Sure he could shut the door for a masturbatory session, that was a planned event. Daydreams just happen.

“Sir. I’m sorry, sir,” Bob says as he removes his hands from his khaki pants.
“You got that detailed information on where we are with the Sullivan account, don’t you?”
“Yes, sir. Got it.”
Before looking up, feeling ashamed, Bob tries to hide his erection. Lucky, and I guess, unlucky for him, this was easy.

Two and a half bus stops later, Bob was close to getting home - grandma’s house. It was the only family he had left. Both his parents, now deceased, were dead in memory as well. This led to grandma being his only caretaker. After Grandma Jane’s retirement checks, which didn’t come to much, Bob was the main provider for the household. That was fine with him except for the one time when he could bring a girl back home…

“That would never happen,” Grandma Jane says from the dining room table, waiting for the cold pasta primavera, Bob’s favorite.
“I’m not saying it would, I’m just saying it would be nice if you weren’t home if it did happen,” Bob says from the kitchen.

“Nonsense, Bobby boy. I’d have better luck for a hot meal around here.”
“I cook you spaghetti every week. Now stop that,” Bob says as he strolls in with two plates of pasta in one hand and two cokes, extra ice, in the other.

“When you gonna get those porno tapes out of here?” Grandma asks.
“When I’m done with them, I guess.”
“Is that gonna happen anytime soon?”
“The morning after you stop talking about them, I guess,” Bob says as he twirls his pasta around his plate.

The bathroom upstairs was the last room down the hall. Just to the left of that was the place where Bob’s parents held him in their arms, once, a long time ago. Bob believed it never happened. Bob’s room, from the beginning of third grade, after they moved from Boston, was the door before his parents. When he was a kid, Bob would often come into his mom and dad’s room. This lasted for about a year before young Bob was kicked out for being too “movey”. (His arms moved uncontrollably when he slept. What could he do?)

“Bobby?” Grandma Jane yells from downstairs. “You wouldn’t dare be late to his funeral, would you?”

“I was late once, I don’t think he remembers,” Bob says, on his way down the stairs to his Granny who wears a pink dress and a grey hat.

“His friends are coming this time.”

“He had friends?” Bobby asks, on his way down the stairs to his elephant colored Grandma.

“With, or without friends, you’re still important. This time, his friends remembered him.”
“You mean, YOU made them remember.”
“One funeral, shame on you. Two funerals, shame on us. Three funerals, you’re coming.”
“So you invented his friends?”
“We all have friends. You just have to believe that they like you.”
“I like you,” Bob says.
“That could change.”

A bartender’s earnings and a mother that didn’t like to work, meant that the bartender's burial site was less than impressive. The regulars at the bar his father worked at, for over thirty years, would often place half full bottles on his gravestone, in memory, but that led to the even less desperate to steal off his grave. Anyways, Bob’s dad, who kicked his boy out of his bed more than a dozen times, was not one to make friends outside of work. Like father, like son.

The area sectioned off for the funeral took about twenty to twenty five yards of cemetery space. Bob figured out the math the second he saw the setup for Grandma’s funeral for her only son. This was not a big setup. If filled, we’re looking at a dozen or so people, at best. Even with three days, and three separate invitations that would fall into Bobbie’s mail slot, Bob didn’t expect for her to show. Even if she did, heaven forbid, Jackson would probably be with her.

With his hands dug deep into his pocket, going in and out, Bob thinks about Bobbi.

“Careful there, sailor.”

Bob looks up to see a man. It’s a man calling him sailor even though he’s never seen him before in his life. With careful deliberation and a scent of “covering up your tracks”, Bob is quick to ask how he’s doing.

“I’m fine. Thanks for asking.”

“And how did you know my father?”

“Shits and jiggles, mostly.”

“You mean, shits and giggles,” Bob replies.

“No, Champ. I mean jiggles. Jiggles is the lady that found him… in the shitter.”

Bob, kind of laughs as he throws his hands in his pocket, out of discomfort.

“So. When does this thing happen? I’ve been waiting for this since nineteen sixty six.” The man asks.

The horn sounded. You don’t hear horns at a funeral, but this funeral was different. These people were guests of his grandma. She didn’t know who would show, but I think she knew it wouldn’t be the “usual” bunch of funeral participants. After the horn sounded, the participants, sectioned off, in relation to the size and scope of the cemetery, like sheep in a small room, found there way surrounding the gravesite of Bob’s father.

Shifter, known as Stanley Shiff in college, was quick to speak. He had been invited to the first two funerals, but didn’t show, for whatever reason. We know now. Shifter slept with the bartender’s wife but no one knew. After twelve long, one hour sessions of Karate and meditation, Shifter was ready to say goodbye. Besides his extra long beard and skinny frame, Shifter seemed normal, almost business like.

We didn't know he was here for a speech. It seemed like Shifter saved this moment to throw out every word he ever knew, like he was auditioning for the New York Yankees after finding out he had a fastball no one could catch up to. Words flowed, almost mesmerizing some. Some just waited patiently, taking drags of their cigarettes, and/or sneaking swigs of their hidden flasks, and others just walked away.

“Holy Shit. Holy shit,” Bob says, trying to hide the second “Holly Shit” but not being successful. Everyone heard him.

Bobby, as a young kid, on more than one occasion, would back himself in a corner, often hiding, watching the cool kids from afar. This time, he was the popular one. Bobbi, the pale, but warm young gal from the office next to him, came to the funeral of his father. Bob instantly put his hands into his pocket, digging… digging, wanting something more; Hoping for someone to take him away.

“You look so good in your yellow tie,” Bobbi says, looking at Bob’s face, eventually landing on his shoes. “And your shoes. Where did you get them?”

“Honey.” Jackson says, pointing across the open space to the funeral crowd.

“We’ll talk later, alright… honey?” Bobbi says, reaching for Bob’s tie, but never reaching it. Bob just nodded in acceptance, wanting her hand to land on the bulge in his pants.

Shifter was coming to a head. Bob wished he would go on in prologue so he could thank him for bringing Bobbi here close to him, but Shifter chose to end the speech thanking everyone for listening and thanking God for not resorecting his friend so he could kill him for sleeping with his wife. Most found it amusing, others thought that they would rather honor the man with a drink, maybe two.

Bob wanted to yell across the cemetery that his love was standing next to him, but that wasn’t possible, not practical. No one would listen to him anyways. He wanted every drip of sensuality to fall off of Bobbi’s body and land onto his. Bob envisioned her head on his crotch, taking it in as deep, pushing her head into his being like some Beattles, 1960, wild acid trip. He saw her legs extend past her knee length black dress and dig deep into God’s great earth. Bob thought how much he loved this woman. It wasn‘t all sexual. Only if she would see past his belly fat and inability to make friends, possibly leading to sex. He wanted it, thinking about it dearly. Daily.

“And I thank the lord for him being in my life.”

The crowd, less than a dozen or so, claps. They even hail the grave like, without Bob’s father, they couldn’t have lived. In a way, a bartender is like that. People needed his juice to feel human, a person.

“I want to thank you, Bob Sumpter. With this bit of memory, we have become closer,” Bobbi says.

Bob wanted to say something to her. He also wanted to belt some laser beam into Jackson so he’d disappear. All he could do was thank them for coming and wish them good luck on their way home, masturbate, fall asleep, and hope for a good dream.

Mesmerized by Bobbi’s ass and the way she looked in that mid length black dress,walking up a hill to a future without Bob, Jackson turns and asks for his attention. Trying to think that Jackson doesn’t exist, Bob doesn’t notice this being talking to him.

After assuring this treacherous being that he would be fine at the third attempt at a funeral for his father, Jackson heads up the hill to a waiting Bobbi.

“Do you know the way to a woman’s heart?” Jackson says, as his pant legs and ear length hair, flows in the oncoming wind.

“What’s that?” Bob yells, up wind.

“Jazz. My baby loves Jazz.”

Shit. Jazz. Her calendar. Her fucking calendar. She has it starred. The twenty second. The fucking twenty second of this month. It’s the twenty first. Shit. It’s the twenty first.

Bob searches his mind further. Everything has changed now; He found the way to his baby’s heart. Jazz. It’s the music, her music. Maybe talking to the love of his life in a deep way, for the very first time.

“Whose the best jazz artist out there,” Bob asks some freckled boy with a vest and a name tag at the closest Barnes and Noble. “Chris Barbur, I guess.”

“Where's his section?”

“We’re out, dude,” the pimpled vest wearing kid says. “Try Tower Records, or something like that. But ask for his greatest, Dude. Nobody Else but Me.”

Running away, Bob remembers the name and the album. Shoot, Tower Records was only three streets west and six streets north. With help from God and the street lights, he will find an answer to his loneliness - jazz. If only those street lights would change. Bob dug his hands into his pockets, back out again. In. Out. In. If only these street lights would change.

It wasn’t until a failed attempt at Tower Records, did Bob remember that little box of a store downtown that had a big selection of used CD’s. It was his only chance. He knew he had her right where he wanted. She knew Bob was at a sad part in his life, and a new CD of her favorite artist, a kind gesture, could only bring her one step closer to find Bob worthy of her attention; at least that’s what Bob thought as he entered COMPACT disc. The jazz section was in the middle of the store. A young kid, who looks like he worked there, stood over a bin arranging the CD’s. Bob thought the quickest way to buy the CD and get it over to Bobbi, was to ask the employee.

After being told to check Barnes and Noble or Tower Records, Bob leaves COMPACT disc dejected. He had only one place to go. On his way out the store, Bob went back home to his Grandmother's where a bunch of strangers co-mingled.


Joaquin Phoenix

I just finished the movie, "Two Lovers". This is Joaquin Phoenix's "last film I'll ever make".

I will say one thing about the movie...

Watch the last three scenes. God bless Joaquin Phoenix. His eyes.

(I know movies aren't shot from the first scene to the last scene, but I think Mr. Phoenix knew those last three scenes would be his last. If eyes could tell a story...)

As a writer, therefore an artist, I am always striving to make things seem real but in a different way - a way you would never think it is as so. That's why so many people don't see the movies like the ones Mr. Phoenix would like you to see - You can't handle art. You can't handle moving "out of your life for a minute". You would be out of your comfort zone if you did.

Comfort in the United States is too easy. (That's why you don't see many foreign action movies.)

Take your boots, or your pissed off mood and throw them against the wall. Open yourself to art. Try diving into your fears and take a look at a foreign film for God's sake. Try to pass on last years action movies you "never got around to" like Hancock, and pick up something "you would never see in a million years". It might open your eyes, therefore your soul, and make you look at yourself in the mirror and say, "you look different today."


It might mean that you look at the person behind you, standing in line, and say to yourself, "what's his or her story?" Mr. Phoenix might be the one behind you. There are artists all around. You can tell because they are either dressed different than you, or they may not respond to your kind speak the way you would expect them to. They may back away, walk to their car, crank up their music, wait for a moment... and draw... or write what they saw, what they feel.

I ask you this...

Please don't treat them like they don't deserve to be what they are. Don't turn your back to them like they don't exist. Don't turn away over thirty six years of being their brother. Don't expect them to become something other than what they are, because it won't happen. Artists like Joaquin and I spend most of their times, not hiding or being ignorant of the importance of human contact, we just want to connect with others the best way we know how to. This is through art.

Look into Mr. Phoenix's eyes and tell me he doesn't exist. Mr. Phoenix is seen as a freak. He has been the butt of jokes since Letterman. He has been seen, or talked about, as a weirdo.

Let's look at the facts...

He didn't say he was going to kill himself or become, heaven's forbid, someone that wears a suit and a tie every day. Mr. Phoenix said he would concentrate his efforts on music. He chose to make this announcement in a way, many, or shall I say to the non-imaginative assholes, as weird and unworthy of a man. Oh so dreadful this man has become. I feel so sorry for him. It's music people!

The day we can tell others to do, or say what they should, the day of artistry is over.

I am an artist. Ignoring me won't change that fact. I won't wake up one day and become what you expect me to be. Don't lose sight of me and say that I am lost. I may be more awake than you.

This is not a phase. I'd rather stand in every line hoping Mr. Phoenix is standing behind me so I could share stories with him. I'll ask him if he's seen the latest independent movie or I'll talk about the music I've been listening too. I'll tell him about the characters I've created or the story I've placed them in so they could tell their story.

I only wish you, , would open your being and let me tell you what's important to me. I know Joaquin would.


I Do Love my Sleepy Time

One of the biggest road blocks for wann-a-be writers like me is to balance work with writing. To me, writing is my career. Right now I am far from getting any money for my writing. That being said, I have to work to live. The question for writers who have to work full time jobs is when do you get the time to write. I believe you have to spend just as much time, if not more, writing just as much as you work. The problem with putting in the time is that there are only so many opportunities for fun, and more importantly, sleep.

I love sleep. I love going to bed. I also like to stay up late and wake up at the last minute possible before I have to go to work. After work, I always need some 'me' time which means doing the extra curricular activities I mentioned in my last blog posting - relaxing time after work. I guess the good thing for me is that my full time job is, basically, stress free. I rarely "take my work home with me".

I hear, or have read that it people with full time jobs should get up early and write before going to work. I just can't do that. I have, at least a dozen times told myself that I need to get up early and write. I just haven't been able to do that. Those countless times I have stayed up writing five to twelve hours until the sun came up the next day before I either can't see straight or have to get up the next morning, I see as productive. Some of my best writing has come during those all night sessions. I have also looked at what I wrote the next day and thought to myself, "What the hell was I thinking?"

I will, at this moment in my life, committ to writing in the morning. Whether or not I do this... NO! stop thinking that way. I will do it.

I read a cool article/blog regarding this issue. Here is the link...

Thanks David


Soooo Much

Here I am with my writing….

(Before I start, I want to make it clear that I want to be a screenwriter)

I have two complete screenplays that I want to do rewrites on as well as another one I have started. Rewriting screenplays isn’t about correcting errors and rewriting action lines and dialogue. It is so much more than that (an upcoming blog on the rewriting process is coming). I have a novel I’m writing and I know how the story is going to go. It just means writing it. I have another story that I want to continue to work on as well, which I want to self publish. After writing a short story that I placed on this blog (“Recycling and Lying“), I ended up writing two other short stories that ties into the original (I also decided to write one more). I want to self publish these stories as well. In addition to all of this, I started a stage play that is based on a short story I wrote a couple years ago. Once again it just means doing it because the story is there. It just means I have to work on the dialogue since stage plays are almost all dialogue. (I think I’m missing one more project, I just can’t think of it right now.)

Additional factors that goes into my writing, or not writing (no particular order):

1. A full time job that puts food on my table and electricity powering this lap top. This takes up to 40 to 50 hours of my week.

2. An important part of being a screenwriter is research. Research, other than reading articles on screenwriting, is watching as many movies and reading as many screenplays that you can get your hands on. I have all the movie channels on satellite. There are always movies to watch, not to mention such high quality TV shows on the tube now-a-days. (Let me mention these quality shows. Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Nurse Jackie, Weeds, Californication, Brothers and Sisters, United States of Tera, Rescue Me, Entourage, Saving Grace, Raising the Bar) If you don’t like these shows, something’s wrong with you.

One final note… Damn those webisodes and YouTube.

3. One way to break into the writing business is to write spec scripts for TV shows. There are some TV shows like House, Breaking Bad, and Rescue Me, that I believe I know enough knowledge about the characters after watching almost all of the shows (more time spent watching TV) that makes me believe I can write an episode or two. In addition to that, I have an idea for a TV show spec that I started as well.

4. Extra curricular activities. I just got high speed internet in my place. I have used it for research for the stories I’m writing, but there is so much out there that I could spend hours upon hours searching the web (writing web sites, of course). This also means I can play games on line with my XBOX 360. (Talk about wasted hours).

I have about 3 months before the NBA season starts. I only missed three or four Blazer games on TV last year and I don’t see myself missing more than that this up coming year. (there are 82 games, not including the playoffs. That means about 10 hours a week watching basketball until, hopefully, June.)

5. Books. I have fell in love with books again. I’m reading about one book a week and I have two books I can’t wait to start. I can’t put away books written by Joe Meno and Arthur Nersesian - man are they good. They have influenced me so much. Also, since my novel is highly influenced by Elmore Leonard, I am also trying to re-read as many of his novels as possible.

The question is, what do I do? I think I know the answer because I want to be a screenwriter. But... do I? I can’t stop writing short and longer stories (a.k.a novels/novellas). I think I love writing in long hand just as much as I love writing screenplays.

I guess the good part of all of this is that I am writing. I don’t have a lack of ideas and I still enjoy doing it. Words keep landing on the page and there are so many characters out there.

Oh Yeah! A writer can never stop learning about the art of “story”. I could, and I guess should, spend as much time that I spend on doing 4 through 5 above on learning as much as I can on the subject. The one thing I am not, and probably never will be, is a story teller (this could be my ultimate demise). Writers will know what I mean by that.

I should probably stop writing this blog and go back to working on my writing.

Shit! The Mariners are playing the Yankees on TV right now. Did I mention I love watching Baseball? Gotta go.