As this is a record of sorts, of my creative progress, it bears mentioning that I have been flailing lately in my creative life, and well, just my life. I haven't posted much about it, not because it's an emotional topic (though it is) so much as it is one that is difficult to capture in writing, because, by its nature, flailing goes off in many directions, and while that might be good for a twenty-page essay, or a semi-autobiographical novel, a blog post, if it is not to be tedious, best accommodates one direction, two if you're crafty. If I were up to writing a twenty-page essay or a novel...well then I would probably be flailing less than I am.
Instead of trying to capture everything, I
will just mention one aspect of the flailing, and that will probably
give some idea of how even one thing can split into multiple directions.
much of April and May I really tormented myself about whether to take
this summer TV Writing Class that was offered. I had seen the instructor
on a panel and been really impressed by her and so was super excited
when the class announced, and even when I signed up for it.
last semester started to come to an end and the class loomed closer,
something changed. I started to ask "what is this all for?" What
sparked this feeling? Maybe it was attending an informational session
for one of the TV Fellowships and having it dawn on me that it just
never going to happen. I'm not the droid they are looking for. A
diversity program is never going to think that my voice is diverse.
That's nobody's fault, but nothing can change that. I'm getting too
old to climb the ladder from the bottom, to be a PA, then a writer's PA,
then a writer's assistant, then a writer. I'm sure someone could cite a
case where a woman my age made that work and became one of the 14% of
TV staff writers out there who are female, but it's not the
low-hanging fruit. Even rung one is not the easiest gig to get. (I was
offered it once, right when I graduated, but it didn't have any health
insurance, and my job had to support myself and Paul, since he was
shooting his movie, so, I didn't take it, and, I guess, since I had one
of my cancer "episodes" the next year, I made the right decision, since
with no health insurance we would have been completely screwed. But
still I have to wonder if it was a mistake. I get that I'm rambling
here, but rambling is kind of like flailing, so we'll just go with it.)
and second, even all the full writers I know, who have been on several
TV series, seem to live with constant uncertainty and workplace
I also am getting really scared that if I keep taking
different classes, I won't ever finish the screenplay and the book that
I already have drafted, I'll keep putting them to the side, and I'll
die--or just get old with a drawer full of half-finished dreams that
never get to come out into the light. And one of those half-finished
things would be the new TV script, because you never come out of a class
with a polished draft of anything.
So after two months of
deliberating in this way I dropped the class before it started. I'm
still not sure it was the right decision.
And now I'm really worried that even if I don't take
a class I won't ever finish the screenplay and the book that I already
have drafted, because, I really don't fucking feel like writing right
now . A bad poem now and then, a blog post, sure. But something that
will take concerted and continuous effort an extended period of time.
Sitting down at my desk and opening the document feels like a trip to
the gallows. All I feels is this "don't want to," and I don't know when
that will change.
And this brings up a bigger question...if i don't even like
to write anymore--why in the hell am I existing in this financial
situation? Why are we selling our car for a thousand bucks because we
can't afford to spend two thousand to fix it? Why do I only buy clothes
about twice a year, and then at the Ross or Goodwill? Why do I live in a
house that makes me homicidal because everyone who lives here likes to
act artistic and not clean anything but no one has money to pay a maid?
And why do I seem poised to live like this for the rest of my life?
It's one thing to have a dead-end job because I'm driven write some
opus, and another just to have a dead-end job for no reason at all,
because the act of opening a Final Draft document feels like walking to
the gallows. My job is not bad. It's benign, but it's the definition
of a dead end. The maximum raise I will ever get will be something like
38 cents a year. My salary will never pay my school loans. Not even
close. And until Paul gets a job, it can't really pay our current
So then I've starting to look at "real" jobs.
With two and half Masters degrees, and quite a bit of work experience,
it seems like I could have something to offer in a more lucrative
field. But that begs the question, why do I need to live in one of the
most expensive, traffic ridden cities in the world to do a job that has
nothing to do with the industry that the city is known for?
And then again, so much is so close. It's possibly the exact time not to be looking at other jobs, but the time to bear down. It might be tragic to pack up and go now.
decide I should wait, just push myself through this one script that
I've promised to someone. But of course, because of the
not-wanting-to-write, it would be helpful to have a push. I ask about
taking an independent study with an instructor I like in the my program.
The department doesn't do independent studies with adjuncts. I reach
out to an old-mentor. His summer is full. My writer's group is on
Flailing is what you do when you're in deep water and
you feel like you're going under. You just grasp and any random-ass
object that passes. "Hey, piece of disintegrating driftwood, can you
support me? Please save me."
Rotten driftwood can't save you.
And there's no one else here. You have to start swimming. But swimming
only helps if you can figure out what direction to swim.
Therapy, you say? Yeah, I'm going for the first time this week. Will let you know how that goes.