Monday, May 23, 2022

HATERS GOTTA GET OVER WHATEVER IT IS THAT MAKES THEM HATE

I am thinking of anger and resentment today. How it can warp our perspective, drive us mad, create monsters in the gardens. It is a strange, sad thing we all do, to various degrees. And worse, once we go down that primrose path, we try to reimagine the past, the events, reality, to create a different narrative, where we are totally in the right, and it was everyone else who was wrong. They are the monsters!

They!

Oh those nasty, horrible, wrong folks. 

I suppose, if blaming others and going over wrongs both real and imagined helped me, made me happier in life and a more productive human being who had more friends, happier times, and all that, I would spend as much time as possible figuring out how the rest of the world screwed me over. 

But I have never found that to be of use. I have had plenty of people in my life do unkind things. Usually this was due to something messed up in their lives, or maybe something I had no idea was going on. Sometimes, no doubt, they were just being shitty. 

What to do?

I mean after removing oneself from source of pain. If someone is punching me in the face, I either punch back, run away, or call the cops.  Then I vent. I try my  best to express my rage and sorrow, because that can be oh so toxic when left inside to simmer and steep.

But I mean after that. After the fight, what does one do with all the hurt and anger and hard feelings?

I had a few years in high school where I was what is generally called a born-again Christian. I was at a place where I was carrying a lot of anger, a lot of sorrow, and a huge need to fix that. And the idea of forgiveness and acceptance was something I needed. Now, I didn't and don't believe in Hell, or organized religion, so that didn't last. 

But the idea of letting things go; of moving forward, stuck. 

It's a little selfish, actually, to forgive. Because ultimately, it is for me that I do it. Forgiving lets  me move on. It's hard, and takes introspection, meditation, and honesty. And it's not like you forgive, and poof, all is well. The hurt still exists, and often whatever was done still has to be dealt with. And actions sometimes are required to ensure the same thing doesn't happen again and again.

I think a lot of people assume that forgiving someone means you are condoning whatever they do. 

And that is not the case.

Not with me.

There are people in my life who have done some truly awful things. Petty things. Stupid things.

Some of those things are easy to get over. Others are more difficult. 

Even worse, there have been times when how I perceive reality differs greatly with others, and so moving past things is basically impossible.

But I have to move on. 

And that's just in my own life, my little circle. 

On a national and global scale, there are all sorts of transgressions going on. Climate change comes to mind. I mean, there are people out there who know better, but due to greed and some defect in their soul, even though they know they are destroying our planet, continue defiling this delicate world. 

I wonder if they believe the lies they tell about it? I wouldn't be surprised. Maybe they sort of know they are in the wrong, but do their best to think they are fine, upstanding people. 

I have to forgive them as well. We need to stop them, and save the planet, and maybe throw them in jail. 

But we don't need to fill ourselves with anger and resentment while we do it. 

We can just save the planet, and live our lives as best we can. 

It's hard. There's some truly nasty shit out there. People I think are insane, selfish, stupid, and/or horrible.

Maybe I'm saying this poorly. Maybe I am full of shit myself.

All I know for sure is that when I focus on the positive; when I try to get over things that have happened to me that are not so nice; when I try to love more and hate less, life gets better.

Every time.

So that's my Monday sermon. 

Enjoy. 

Here's a groovy song. It's Foot Stompin' Music by Grand Funk Railroad. 


 



Friday, May 13, 2022

FRIDAY THE 13TH BBQ AT JASON'S

It's Friday the 13th. Jason Voorhees is having a party somewhere, a demented back yard grill. No. It would be in the woods, right? At that abandoned summer camp where the naughty go to meet their doom, their retribution for having fun and being young. I wonder, when he's not on one of his rampages, what Jason thinks about? What is his go to playlist? Is he more of a full breakfast kind of guy, or just a piece of toast and an apple as he heads out the door? As I ponder the lifestyle of the undead and demented, I also wonder what did they do during the shutdown? Must have been very hard. Probably caught up on a lot of his Netflix cue. Maybe did a trial of HBO Max or Disney+, reewatched the first season of The Mandalorian.


Where do we put Jason and Freddy Krueger in today's world? What monsters, myths, and legends can speak to us?

I think about these things because I write stories. All the time. And I tend to lean towards the supernatural, magical, and far-fetched. 

That's a good word.

Far-fetched.

Like, I fetched this idea from a faraway land, a world where all myths are real, anyone can learn to use The Force, and if you get bit by a radioactive spider, you will develop some awesome super powers.

So what crop of gods and monsters is ready for harvest? 

I do believe our ghost stories and legends are in a way documentaries of what is happening in alternate, mirror universes that are tied to this plain of existence by strings.

Thus the question on what will show up in the shadows.

We all seem to be questioning reality, one way or another. Some of us question authority. Others question the status quo. Some question the way things have gone, some the way they think we are going. 

And questions are great.

How we deal with what we perceive to be the answers is usually where we get into trouble.

The world has a lot of angst. Troubles. Anger. Sorrow. Rage.

It also has joy and love and art and music and even more love.


Are they all different reactions to how we take in the world, how we deal with the monstrous questions and mystical answers?

Well, the monsters keep coming. The ghosts and goblins and cannibals and cults and demons and super villain and Sith Lords. 

So do the heroes and chosen ones and magicians and Jedi. 

We are the stories we tell. Let's tell some good ones.

Happy Friday the 13th.

Here's a song. It's Days Like These by Low. Enjoy.



Friday, April 29, 2022

MAGIC, MOJO, AND THE LAND

I am a magic thinker. I see secret signs in birds, trees, if a song comes on the radio or in the store or wherever. I believe all things are connected by The Force, by Cosmic Strings. 

By the power of my mind.

This may or may not be a good thing.

But there it is and I really can't change it. 

I suppose some of my self-styled mysticism comes from my mother, who had many of the same traits. She found "The Land" to have magic. And when she said "The Land", there were always quotations marks around it. You could feel them in how she said the words. And I believe "The Land" to indeed have mojo. There is something in the Earth, in the soil, the trees and flowers and fields of corn. There is always a feeling I get when I look to the West, East, North or South. A connection to greater things, larger ideas that can possibly fit in my tiny little human sized brain. 


I am thinking on this because one of the ways I manifest the magic is in totems. Items. Action figures, show shirts, actual photographs, virtual ones too, coffee mugs. 

And hats.

I just got back from California. And I had just got a hat at Disney's California Adventure. A really good one, featuring the logo for Guardians of the Galaxy. Sometimes you find a hat that just feels right. Like it belongs on your head. This was one of those hats. I wore it every day for the past week.

Then I had rehearsal for Chamber of Secrets. It's a kids show I'm doing up at Reel Kids. And this one has 29 real kids, grades 2-5. 

Sometimes I think it should be called Chamber of Horrors. 

It's just a lot of kids to have in a show. Especially when it's just me and one assistant. Things can get a little hectic. 

And by hectic I mean totally insane.

So yesterday, as I'm trying to direct the final scene of the show, and with no assistant due to college finals, one of my little cast members pulled my hat off my head. I didn't have time to grab it back, as I was trying to keep things in a semblance of control.

And I forgot all about it.

Hours later, after that rehearsal and then another one for a production of Little Shop of Horrors, also at Reel Kids, as I was finally heading to my car for the hour drive home, I reached for my hat, and realized it was still with that kid.

I searched the entire theatre space twice over, hoping that the kid had set it down somewhere. 

No such luck.

So for the next couple of hours, I obsessed over my hat.

Because it has mojo. Magic. Power. The Force.

And around midnight I thought to myself, "I am a magical thinker, and I dig that, but this is too much." And I tried to let it go. 

A hat is just a hat. Nothing to lose sleep over. There are far more serious things in life.

That didn't work.

Then, I realized that the Hat was going on a journey, organized and orchestrated by the Mojo Gods of Headgear; that this was meant to be; that I had actually fulfilled my destiny. 

And sleep came.

Here's a song. It's Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf.





Monday, April 18, 2022

ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN DAY

Monday. Tax day. Day after Easter day. Today. Up early, and listening to the soundtrack to Summer of Soul, which I started watching last night. So good. So different. I watch and listen and feel like I am getting some music that is more about expressing true feeling than about selling me some corporate crap.

Art always flourishes, regardless of who's in charge. Which is cool. The good stuff is always off the beaten path. Usually made by those not quite in the inner circle, the rebels and lost souls and lunatics, who are of a mind compact.


And I think this is true for all types of art, of expression, of doing something that is an attempt to say "this is how I think it is today". Music. Theatre. Movies. Writing. 

Writing. 

That's my place. I act and direct, but writing is the place where I think I feel most like me. 

And I feel good. 

I think the world has a lot of good and bad in it. War, greed, miscommunication, abuse of power, degradation of our planet.  Love, harmony, community, taking care of one another and this miracle we live on. It's all there. 

And when I hear someone sing in a way that connects to that, I feel like there is hope, possibility, a reason to keep on. And I hear a lot of that in Summer of Soul. 

I want to do that kind of thing. To connect, express, and get the love flowing.

Okay. So. Time to dive into the waters again. See what happens. 

People getting possessed by ghosts of selfish souls. Children escaping into fantasy worlds when reality gets a little too hard to take. A kid taken on an adventure to save the world with the help of Sasquatch, Mothman, and the Loch Ness Monster. 

That's my reality. That's the stuff that gets me going. Today, I think I'm diving back into a couple of different projects, but that's just the plan. Once I open up the laptop and start clacking away on the keyboard, it's Anything Can Happen Day.

Yeah. Anything Can Happen, and usually does. In abundance. 

Here's a song. It's Precious Lord, with Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples. It's ridiculous.



Friday, April 15, 2022

THE DAILY RABBIT HOLE

Thinking about writing, my writing, my projects, what I need to do, what I want to do, what I have done, what I haven't done, what I should have done, what I could have done.

The Daily Rabbit Hole.


I started writing long ago. I suppose I started writing the day I learned the alphabet and was given a pen and/or pencil. The memory is a little foggy, as it was long ago, before kindergarten. I do remember by kindergarten being able to visualize a notebook in my brain that had information and words I needed. It was like an old fashioned book from Victorian times. Must have seen it in a cartoon or movie. I can still see it in my mind right now. I have, or had, somewhere, an old journal entry from fifth grade where I put down the words "I want to be a writer". 

I didn't always think that would be the case. I drifted through a lot of school, at one point wanted to be a minister, which I suppose speaks to me wanting to influence people and how they think, which I believe is part of being a writer. 

But I didn't really, truly, think I could say with any sort of conviction "I am a writer" until my first play was written and published. Even though I had been writing all my life, poems and stories and match book poems and part of a novel that still is waiting to be finished- a magic realism extravaganza that will one day make a great anime film when it's adapted.

But I digress.

I am trying to think of why I write. 

What do I want?

I think it varies from day to day, hour to hour, year to year, dream to dream. 

Mostly, I want to tell stories that make me laugh and cry in equal measure. 

Because it feels good. It feels right. 

Yes, I want to be paid for it. And have the right people think this is the shit and the new thing and world changing and brilliant.

But more than that, I want to think it is brilliant myself. I want to find a way capture the world as it appears to me in my dreams, to borrow a quote an old friend who no longer speaks to me used to say Chekov said.

I just looked up that quote. It's from The Seagull. "We should show life neither as it is, nor as it should be, but as we see it in our dreams."


I should have known that, seeing as I was in that play in NYC in the late nineties. 

And I was pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.

Of course, it was a modern interpretation, put together at Expanded Arts when things were still exciting, before excess and madness led to that troupe's demise.

Sounds dramatic, and it was. 

Anyhow, that quote about what to aspire to as one writes is pretty on the mark. I would only add "and it should be either incredibly funny or intense, and make everyone cry at least once."


I am working on two main projects at the moment. Well, maybe three. And when I say I am working on those, that doesn't mean there aren't several other things hovering in the background, waiting for their chance to speak. Those three are just on the front burner.

I'm rambling. I know. Sorry. When I open the door into my own brain, the waters pour out and go where they will and I try to clean up the mess, but what can I say, there's a lot of stuff in me, and the more I write, instead of the clutter going away, I find the palace of my mind expands, sort of like the Winchester Mystery House, getting bigger and weirder as time goes by. 

Each experience this life affords also adds to the fun.

So. Yeah. I am a writer. I have stories and jokes and tales of glory and woe. I will try to amuse you. I will try to amuse myself. 

I have no choice in the matter.

Here's a song. It's Lonesome Fiddle Blues, by The String Cheese Incident. I chose it because one of my projects was partially inspired by String Theory, by the idea we are connected to many different dimensions, by cosmic strings. 

Enjoy.



Monday, April 11, 2022

THE MIRRORVERSE IS OPEN

My new favorite show is Moon Knight. 

Moon Knight is the latest Marvel show streaming o Disney+. Moon Knight is a superhero with some issues. Like multiple personalities which result in gaps of time that can't be accounted for. 

I love it. 

Moon Knight talks to himself in a mirror. A lot. 

I find this exciting because I have a script I've been working on for a while that has people talking to people via mirrors. 

That shows working title: Lunatics and Assholes.

Lunatics and Assholes is about a young woman who discovers that some of her friends have been possessed by a couple of evil ghosts who seem hell bent on bringing out the worst in everyone they encounter. The idea for it sprang to life during the Trump administration, when people I knew and loved were saying and doing really ugly shit.

The idea hit, I started to work on it, and things slowly solidified. There were many drafts, early excursions into alternate versions of the story, but the basic idea of the ghosts, and the souls of those whose bodies had been taken over talking to their friend via mirrors was always there. At one point, some folks at one of the larger production companies in Hollywood took interest, and we kicked it around a bit, before moving on to other projects. 

Their response was pretty excellent, all things considered. It wasn't ready for production yet, and had lots of work to be done. I went on to other projects, and at the time, decided that since they hadn't gotten completely behind developing it right there and then that it was dead in the mirror, so to speak.

Often, I take encouragement the wrong way when it comes to my writing. I was going over some old rejection letters from various theatres I had received early in my career. At the time, all I saw in them was "thanks, but no thanks". But on second reads, I see things like "please keep writing"; "please let us know when you have a new draft, as we'd love to read it"; please keep us on your list of people to send new scripts to"; and so on.

I didn't realize that people who run theatres like Steppenwolf or film production companies like Anonymous Content don't say things like that to everyone. That if they don't like your work, they don't take the time to write personal letters going to great length to compliment your writing and asking to please let them read more.

I still find rejection letters hard to read.

But I am getting better at reading the nice parts more than once, and of keeping those people on my list.

So, today, I am working on latest draft of Lunatics and Assholes. I'm cleaning up structure, clarifying character, eliminating scenes.  Diving deep and finding that balance of mystery, action and comedy. 

And keeping it true to my vision. 

And when I think it's ready, I will send it off to various managers, agents, and production companies. 

And on Wednesday, I'll watch the latest episode of Moon Knight.

Here's a song. It's You're Somebody Else, by Flora Cash. I have it on one of my playlists for when I'm working on the script. I find music opens doors in my mind when I work. Weirdly, once the door opens, I don't even hear the music anymore. 



Friday, April 8, 2022

THE OLD SANTA CRUZ HIGHWAY OF LIFE

Haven't written in a bit. Such is life. Things come and go. We wax and wane like the moon, and a lot of rock bands. Sometimes, we are super geniuses and everything we do is perfect and awesome. Other times, it's a struggle to put together a coherent sentence. 

Today I feel groovy, alive, happy to have baseball in season, flowers budding, sun shining, shows opening, possibilities presenting themselves like friendly cats on a neighborhood walk. 

It's a good day.

So, when last I wrote, I was in San Jose, the world I grew up in, the place where most of who I am was set into motion. I was there to retrieve some artifacts of my life, which had been sitting in storage since the sale of my mother's house. Records, photos, old journals, books, furniture, paintings. Some mine, some my mother's, divided up between me and my siblings. 

That was all good. Loaded up a U-Haul with my brother and my nephew, who is somehow now a young man but at the same time still carries the little boy I would baby sit when he was in diapers. 

One of the best parts of that trip was a car ride with my oldest friend in this universe. A simple jaunt over the hill to Santa Cruz, via the aptly named Old Santa Cruz Highway. Let's call that friend Brian, because that's his name. Met him when I was five. There is something to be said for knowing someone most of your life. Shared history, jokes, stories. Legends, really. But more than that, there are certain friends in this world who you keep close, no matter how far away you live, no matter how long it has been between visits or phone calls. Friends who, when you see them, you say "So anyhow..." and pick up right where you left off, as if not a day has gone by.

And on a cosmic scale, I suppose not a day has.

Of course, life has happened in great quantities to both of us. Triumphs and tragedies, unexpected events, strange adventures like getting a few grey hairs and then a few more. But even so, we are who we are, who we were, and who we shall be, and recognized that in each other, as usual. And so we drove, and chatted, and laughed, and caught up, and had the best damned time. 

It is a rare wonder to have such friends, and I am the luckiest person I know.

My mother would often say a quote I believe is attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson. We all should be as happy as kings. We didn't have the best of times, or the worst. But we had times. And mom would say that quote, often when things were rough. I always assumed whatever royalty she was talking about were truly happy, not like Princess Diana towards the end, or Richard III for most of his existence. 

Anyhow, that's where my mind is on this early Spring day. Grateful for old friends, for a life to live, for days and nights and music and trees and blue skies and clouds. 

Here's one of my favorite songs. It's San Francisco by The Mowglis. Enjoy. And call up some old friend and revel in the fact that there is someone in your life who gets you.




HATERS GOTTA GET OVER WHATEVER IT IS THAT MAKES THEM HATE

I am thinking of anger and resentment today. How it can warp our perspective, drive us mad, create monsters in the gardens. It is a strange,...