Friday, October 09, 2009

Things That Keep Me Away from My Blog

1) Other writing. Or is it guilt about other writing? Largely, I feel that if I am at my computer, I should be working on one of the several scripts with December deadlines.

Yesterday, I signed my first official writing contract, and it was SCARY. It's for a woman who's in the producing program at our school, and their thesis is comprised of developing or procuring a feature length script and packaging it for shopping around. I don't know how much I've mentioned before, but she has optioned a novel by a Vietnamese author, which is being adapted by myself and and another woman, T. Right now, the bulk of the burden falls on T to produce pages from our outline (since they can both read the novel, which has not been translated, and I can't.) But sometime in mid-November, the first draft will arrive on my desk, and I'll have just under a month to do revising and rewriting. The first falls in the category of not that bad, but, as I am finding out right now in my "rewrite" class, a solid rewrite can be almost as involved as the first write.

So, anyway, often I WANT to blog, but feel I NEED to write.

2)Subject matter. I have certain things that been weighing on my mind, but I haven't wanted to infringe on the privacy of others...always an issue with a blog, and one that makes me occasionally consider the "private blog"--one of the blogs I read with regularity has recently gone private--or the "live-journal" where you also basically have a subscriber only readership. But as I have said before, if this blog is my own little "witness to the world," and I assume that my own issues are ones that others can relate to...what am I trying to say here?...that, although often I am just venting or talking about my own life, I am also an example of someone trying to grapple with underlying dilemmas...For instance, my reports about my writing work also touch on "bigger" issues of living with insecurity and vulnerability and the challenges of trying to live a creative life and a balanced life and a good life and how to commit to the path one has chosen and live with the fact that one isn't devoting equal time to family or friends or saving starving or abused children or protesting for political freedoms and equality, or simply that having committed, one might still just suck...And of course it's about me striving to be successful and feel worthwhile in my life...but I think that's got some universality too, right?

So, on the one hand, if I'm really talking about these things, I shouldn't need to have a privacy shield in order to name the names of people who piss me off on that journey...on the other hand...there is a lot to be said for specificity in writing. A specific situation involving specific people is always more interesting and affecting that abstract discussions about abstract notions. And there is also the journal component to this blog. When I'm old and break my hip for the first time, I may want to lie in bed and re-read these posts...and I imagine I'll be frustrated if I look at some vague, disguised post, and wonder "What the fuck was I talking about?"

But, for the moment, and if I don't have time to blog, I certainly don't have time to shop for and develop a whole new publishing scheme. So here's less than perfectly framed example of what's been on my mind.

I've recently had to make a decision in a friendship to tell a friend something awkward, in the family of things about people that drive everyone crazy, but no one wants to tell them. Like when someone apologizes constantly, has a vocal tic (like saying "you know" so much you want to stab them in the eye) or wears far too much perfume. These kind of situations are really difficult for me, because the habit has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of person underneath, and yet it creates a circumstance where the person is treated differently and they don't even realize that some people are avoiding them, or keeping a distance socially for this reason.

But you (I) don't want to say anything for fear that a) the person might be mortally offended, and/or you will feel like a rude asshole, and/or they might not have the ability or desire to fix the situation, and then you've just made them feel bad for no good result.

And you (I) wonder if anyone has ever said anything to the person before, because obviously people do complain when the person isn't there. In general I have come the conclusion that they haven't. And won't. We really, really, avoid these kinds of conflicts as much as possible. Maybe not everyone. But I , and the people I know, do. Is it because I know so many writers and academics? Is it because I know so many white-like, middle-class people?

I want more "rude" people in my life. More people who, if I am doing something annoying, will say, "When you say the word actually, it drives me bonkers. It drives everyone bonkers, and if you want, as a friend, every time you do it, I could just slap you upside the head until you get over it."

I'm digressing--but it pertains, so I'll say that that last example is from my own life. I had a work situation several years ago, where, for a couple of months I shared a one room office with three other women. Much of my job, as a coordinator, was arranging things over the phone. Apparently, I'd acquired the habit of saying "actually" a lot. I didn't realize it until one of the women was traveling and asked me to download something from her inbox, and I happened to see an email to another co-worker in the office, discussing that fact in a kind of mean-spirited way. I've no doubt that there were other issues as well, but this particular one could have been resolved quicker if people had chosen to be rude but kind, instead of "polite" but mean. And perhaps from that we might have had an entirely different dynamic in the office for the months we were together, which frankly, were somewhat miserable ones for me in terms of work. Fortunately, the reaction I received there did not extend to my outside life, or other jobs that I had before or after...Of course, after, I purged "actually" from my speech patterns with a vengeance, which I think was an improvement, and so, despite the way I found out, I have always been weirdly grateful to the women who wrote the email for that.

So, to wrap up the anonymous story that began this whole chain of thought, after some deliberation and feet-dragging, I composed an email to my friend with unspecified habit (this could be point 3 of why I haven't taken time to blog, because such emails are slow and tortuous to compose), then gritted my teeth and sent it.

The result is that the person was very graceful and dignified in their response, and thankful and seemed intent on remedying the habit. I have not seen them in person since the exchange, but we have plans very soon, so I am waiting to see if improvements have been made, and if so, I have very high hopes that it might change this person's relationships with the lots of people. I'm really hoping the friendship grows stronger from this point.

And if I had to make the same choice would be just as difficult! It's difficult in every instance with every person.

3) I had more items for this list, but fear I have come to the end of my blog time, and the outside limits of what a blog length should I will say goodbye for today, to my loyal readers, and to the random passerby who will someday find this post by googling "too much perfume."

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