I am back to my day job and that makes me feel more inhibited. There is so much wrong with my day job.
That Vera-esque eyeball is painted right on that pumpkin seed! It's by Salavat Fidai whose artistic career was borne out of losing his job. Could that work for me?
I have not been back here for awhile because my seed had been sprouting and I'd been so, so busy with great plans. But then they all "fell to shit" (as Norman might say), so here I am in my favorite place to whine. Sorry. I titled this something about self-destruction, and I don't even have the energy to write about it. And I'm too embarrassed to reveal what I have been planning and thinking about which fell apart. Of course it fell apart. "Some folks lives, roll easy as a breeze." (Paul Simon)
Is there no redeeming value in just giving up? Don't bother exercising, trying to make life better, trying to achieve? How would my life be different if I had no goals? It might be better. I could just rest more.
What if I just lived in a little town and spent my every spare moment drinking in a bar?
1. Academy Award
2. Tons of money
6. Genius (recognized and rewarded)
9. Success all around (family)
11. Good King Midas
22 days of meditation with Oprah and Deepak revealed in him a vicious, internal monster who wants him dead.
It's just waiting for a chance to take over. More evil than the grammar police. The intensity of its hatred is beyond logic. WTF? The second he lost focus, it lashed out and robbed him.
Part A: I am very grateful that I do not seem to be susceptible to biological depression (unless I'm so very disconnected with my body and mind that I am able to be in denial about it). Having said that, like any other human being who isn't a psychopath, I am vulnerable to reactive depression (meaning depression in response to a life event or events). This year's illness (which I think is over?), combined with job disappointment, combined with family disappointment proved to be the perfect trifecta of misery. I have been depressed. When I'm down, I write, so I have a clear record of my descension (that is a real word) along with my metaphorical disappearance.
I imagined that my "death" would result in a rising up like a phoenix. I thought I might have a great spiritual awakening and it would be all very dramatic and result in a completely new life for me -- money, career, fitness, relationships... furniture shopping. I had perused google images for beautiful renderings of phoenixes. (They almost all look gaudy, or tacky, or silly or something).
At present, I am coming out of this depression/purgatory. It's very much like a cloud that chases me, and hovers just above and behind where I can't see it. When I think it's entirely gone, it moves directly above me and then descends. I have learned that in moments in which the cloud lifts, it is still lurking, so I won't say I'm over it yet. At the moment, I feel free, and that is wonderful.
So. I've figured out that I'm not going to rise up like a phoenix. Instead, I am now appearing again, but as nothing more than a little seed. I need a whole lot of light and water to get going again. Hopefully meditation and exercise can help me with that.
PART B: (I thought about making Part B its own post, but it fits here, because it is part of what give me hope)! Here is the first critique I have received from my latest completed screenplay, Marina. It is from the Bluecat Screenplay Competition which I entered due to its reputation as one of the the ten best to enter (I'll never enter another cheap skate money-making scam competition again. Why just hand over my money for some digital laurels?). Anyway here is the critique! I'm very excited about this:
BLUE CAT CRITIQUE OF MARINA:
What did you like about this script?
One of the strongest aspects of Marina lies in the writer’s ability to create characters that feel nuanced, believable, and authentic. Marina and Charli, for example, are both incredibly interesting to follow throughout the story, and their relationship within the narrative allows for a number of really emotional scenes. They are so well-developed that I can’t help but wonder if the writer knows or has known people like them in real life. Their shared scenes together are especially revealing, and their dialogue seems to have a great sense of chemistry. These characters have different personalities and serve as foils to one another, which, in turn, allows for great conflict and chemistry to arise.
In most scenes, the writer has done a good job of making her vision clear to the reader, which is certainly a testament to the writer’s overall skill. Also, the tone is consistent, which allows for an easy and enjoyable read.
Furthermore, the writer should be commended for her ability to stick to three act structure. All of the appropriate story beats occur at just the right time, which is certainly a testament to the writer’s skill.
I found the scene in which Marina has a panic attack and clutches her chest to be really well-written, suspenseful, and harrowing. The writer has done a great job of bringing the stakes to a boiling point, and then allowing it all to simmer in the hospital scene that follows. This sequence reveals a great deal about Marina’s insecurities, character flaws, and what she values at her core. I got to know Marina so much better through this scene. Well done!
In the end, I found it truly heartening to see Marina admit to caring about Keith. This is a great moment to end on, and it serves as a culmination for Marina’s emotionally satisfying character arc. I had hoped that these characters would share the final scene with one another, and I’m happy to see the script end on the strong connection between them.
Overall, Marina is an interesting script with a lot of great attributes. I have just a few suggestions in mind to help move it in an even more positive direction.
What do you think needs work?
Though Marina, Keith, and Charli, for example, are interesting characters, their dialogue does not feel particularly unique to either one of them. Each character’s dialogue should contain speech patterns that differ from one another and it should be difficult to reassign one character’s dialogue to the next. I would suggest going through the entire script to ensure that each character has his or her own distinct voice. This will not only help the reader to easily tell the characters apart, but it will also help in sympathizing with the obstacles and challenges they face.
Also, Marina can benefit from more descriptive action and less dialogue in a number of scenes, specifically in the second and third acts. The great deal of dialogue has resulted in a script that is a bit too talky and at times feels void of the proper imagery. Each and every page in a script should contain a mix of dialogue and descriptive action. This will help to ensure that the story is told in both images and words, as opposed to just one of the two. Providing this mix of descriptive action and dialogue also helps to keep the reader’s attention, as too much descriptive action can be hard to follow.
Lastly, none of the supporting characters feel as well-developed as Marina and Charli. Though they are minor characters in comparison, it is still important that they are just as well fleshed-out as Marina and Charli. I’d like to know more about their backgrounds, so as to have their characters enhance the main storyline and Marina’s overall character arc.
Overall, Marina needs a few edits, but nothing of which the writer is not capable of fixing. In taking the suggested changes into consideration, I am sure that this script will be headed in an even more positive direction. I commend the writer on their effort so far and wish them all the best of luck in future drafts!
I'm back from a writers' retreat which was absolutely perfect with the exception of a ton of sluggish flies that haunted my room every day. I had a chance to hear other writers read their work which was amazing. I loved that. I read my own work too which was an adrenaline rush, because I chose a piece that was about as embarrassing as it could be. I figure if I've got one chance to read something it might as well be the most intense scene I've got. I imagine I blushed quite a bit. It was good for me, because my writing has all been critiqued via online class. I didn't quite realize how impersonal they would be. I never really connected with anyone except the professors.
I also realized how far I've come from a literary style of writing. My style has evolved (or one might say devolved) into very plain offerings. I'm mostly happy with it. It is what it needs to be for screenwriting. The only screenwriting rule that I absolutely insist upon breaking is subtext. I've got to write subtext, and hearing that Kerry Ehrin feels she must do the same is good enough for me.
I'm too old to follow any kind of rule or formula that doesn't serve my writing just because it is a trend or because the "authorities" say I should. It's the same way I felt about academic writing which is often dense just for the sake of being dense. I learned to write in that style when I took philosophy classes, but I don't much respect it as more than a writing exercise akin to doing scales on a piano.
I'm just certain that those flies were symbolic. I actually planned the trip to Vermont to help me heal some in this difficult year (that means the school year 2017 - 2018). It was healing, no doubt, but it wasn't heaven. I fought flies half of the time and a headache the other half. Maybe that's why I love the character of Norma so much. She tries so hard to have a happy, peaceful life and it just eludes her.
Today, I get a sense that the vacation is over and I'm back to the old grind, but it's a family grind rather than a work grind since I am still on a leave. I'm glad I'm on this leave, but I can't get myself out from under this heavy energy that insists upon descending every few days. That's why I can't quite yet rise up out of this purgatory even though physically I'm much better. I'm impatient. What if this takes years rather than weeks? I can't bear the thought of that.
Something has got to move, to change, to happen. And it needs to be something BIG. Does any of this make sense? When I was thirteen and fourteen I was stuck in misery. Now I'm substantially older, but I think I'm going through it again. I am asking for some divine intervention to get me permanently out of this muck. (And I thank the divine in advance). It's so like a recurring dream I had when I was young. I would dive off the dock, so deep into the lake that I'd hit the muck at the bottom and be sucked down into it. It was a terrifying dream. No wonder I'm claustrophobic.
First, a shout out to a fellow blogger and perhaps the funniest blog I've ever read: "What Meditation Really Looks Like (I Hate Oprah and Deepak)" by Laura McKowen. I completely understand how she feels; it was Natalie Goldberg's experience that she relates in Writing Down the Bones that solved the problem for me. Meditation does NOT have to be sitting still. It can be writing. I'm sure that for people like me, writing meditation is more effective. I'm still a bit like a cat chasing all the strings (see Laura's blog), but I can write the string down quickly if it doesn't want to float away and then I'm okay. I write the centering thought, then the mantra over and over (which I mostly like), then if a thought comes along I either let it float away for the time being or write it down. If I write it, I don't have to worry about forgetting it.
So, where am I right now in this whole metaphorical death thing?
I wouldn't say I'm alive, as such, but I'm a whole lot better. I'm in that purgatorial landscape, but I'm no longer depressed within it. I look back on the past weeks and I can't believe how lost I was -- truly a lost soul. I'm trying not to judge myself because it was what it was, but Lord! I don't feel that way anymore. Here are a few things that have helped me:
I am no longer begging for forms from my doctor's office (that was a helpless feeling). In general, doctors and doctors' offices make me feel helpless and not in control.
I am now off prednisone; the drug that makes me certifiably insane -- sleepless, manic and raging. (I miss the manic energy, though. I got so much done).
I have insisted on speaking honestly to family members about many things I have pushed aside in order to keep the peace. I can't believe how long I lived without expressing my true thoughts and feelings about so many things. Be brave, fellow Slytherins (not a natural Slytherin asset) and rock that boat!
I have relief from the symptom of coughing. I have no idea why I coughed and I know that barring some miracle it's not over, but it's over for now. I have no other symptoms to deal with right now.
I have asked my boss at work for what I want (a different job). I might get a "no" but just having asked makes me feel better. The work issue is a scary one for me, because I know I can't continue with the same job. These are reasons beyond coughing or physical illness; my job is spiritually unhealthy for me. Maybe some great Griffindors have the strength and fortitude to do it, but it will sink me both mentally and physically. Knowing that, and acknowledging that I can't go back to the same situation is not easy, but important. It's part of being honest with myself and taking care of myself. I need a different life, and I'm insisting on it rather than allowing myself to be beaten down to nothing. It's terrifying, because I don't know what will happen, but I can rest assured that I am going to take care of myself. I will not continue to suffer spiritually for less than $40,000 and health insurance.
I'm training for another 5K. This time, I'm pushing myself much harder (to increase my time substantially). This was borne out of being bored with the gym. Why go to the gym if one doesn't have a goal? I know that the goal of changing my body shape is just a trap. It comes from the idea that I am flawed or "less than" as I am, and any idea based upon that is a one way ticket to depression and an eating disorder. I need something that does not rely on this idea that my body is not okay as it is. A RACE is something that okay people do. I've got seven weeks to train.
*So, I'm doing Oprah and Deepak Chopra's 21 Day Meditation Experience. Why not? It certainly could only help me.
At times in my life, meditation has been too difficult, because it would bring up ugly stuff floating around in my mind that was too difficult to look at. I have been pretty good at processing events and such that I feel guilty about (guilt for me is the number one cringey issue that makes my brain want to run away) and moving those feelings through with the experience/release process that I learned in a book I can't even remember what that book was called*, but it was both boring and helpful at the same time.
*Update 3/23/2018 I looked up the book. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1963638.The_Untethered_Soul
After reading some of the book Writing Down the Bones I learned that some of us do better with writing meditations. So I wrote -- over and over - om laghu bhavram. I found this very helpful, and I worked on trying to think about the meaning of om (I'm) laghu (lightness) and bhavram (itself) without translating it in English through my brain each time. I'm not quite there yet, but I know that if I can connect the words with the images in my mind I won't have to take that extra step.
I did find this first experience heartening and far more enlightening than I imagined. I certainly feel down, slow, and heavy today in part because of the last few months and how difficult they have been, yesterday's burden, and the tapering of prednisone.
I've been too beat up by life lately to be particularly hopeful, but I will freely admit to enjoying the experience.
What I absolutely love is the first centering thought:
"My struggle has ended. I am in harmony with myself."
Sounds like kind of a death, right? That's not the death I've been experiencing.
The Triumph Of Death by Pieter the Elder Bruegel
I'm doing all I can to make money on TPT so that I don't feel quite as worthless. I wonder how I'll do. I still feel pretty worthless though. Things are still very rough and painful and wrong. This is not just about me. I can see that other members of my family are suffering about things that do not have much of anything to do with me. I'm not happy that they are having difficulties, and I'd like to help, but I'm relieved that at least some of the trouble isn't about me.
Going to see Lynn at the beginning of April hopefully will give me a direction. Thank God for her.
I want to rise up like a phoenix, but I'm getting worried. What if I just stay here? Dead?
Perhaps its having no answers to my questions about my health that leaves me lost on this landscape.
Maybe it's my son who is so... what? What is he right now? Fourteen? A teen? Angry? Is he? I am not in a place where I find the teenaged-boy brain comforting. It's unsettling, insensitive, ignorant. But that's not him. He has always been different -- he has been my companion, my friend, my thoughtful, knowing, and wise child. He's bouncing off of peers now and that's normal. I worry, though, because I see him becoming inflexible. I don't want to see him become that person with his significant-other-to-be. I see him putting rigidity and judgment over love and joy. I see him being unhappy, escaping into a virtual world. I hope I'm wrong. I just miss my wise child. I'm sure he'll come back again; he's still in there somewhere.
My daughter and I are close, but she is so emotional and right in the midst of what may be some of the toughest years of life for a girl (and many guys too).
I can depend upon other people to a point for support, but ultimately this is about me. I've got to become a friend to myself. Drop the self-pity. Drop the self-destruction.
And orchestrate my own rising.
I think I can do it, but I'm truly better off wandering the desolate landscape right now, dodging the ghouls.
My daughter has suffered the most with my illness. I'm on a drug that, well...
"Prednisone 'roid rage can turn some people from a mild mannered Dr. Jekyll into a raving Mr. Hyde. Irritability, aggressiveness, anxiety, mania, and depression. -- Health Central
I"ve got to get off of this stuff. In the meantime, this piece is in way of apology to my daughter.
Remember all those qualities I wrote about in what a true friend would be to me? Well, she is my daughter, but she is my true friend as well. She is by far the most loving and caring friend I have ever had.
She is brave. She would go on adventure with me. She's up for anything.
She is passionate about this experience of life and being.
She instinctively knows that enjoyment of life is more important than a green lawn or a vacuumed rug.
Here is what I want for her:
1. To see how beautiful she is. Why is it so hard to see that when you are thirteen? Maybe it's hard for any woman to see it. She is beautiful on the outside, but she sees flaws. I do know that it has been proven that when a teenager looks in the mirror she is usually unable to accurately see the image that is looking back at her. It has something to do with development at that time. I think she looks at herself and sees defects, when she is actually, objectively very beautiful. (I have had a problem with this my whole life -- I guess I'm stuck in a developmental stage).
2. To love her body.
3. To be brave. To dive right in and tackle anything she wants to do. To never let the jealous ones, or the arrogant ones, or the negative ones get her down.
4. To love and be loved. I hope she will always, always know how much she is loved. By me. By her father. By her brother, even (though he just can't show it 99% of the time). By her friends. And maybe someday by a significant other who shares her goals, dreams, and desires -- though I hope she doesn't think any one other is necessary for her happiness. She's got everything she needs inside of her. She's the coolest.
There's more. but I've got to go pick her up from school now.
Being metaphorically dead, (actually I'm not sure if that is how to describe it) or maybe spiritually in limbo or spiritually or psychologically dormant -- whatever state I'm in whether it be psychological, spiritual, and/or physical -- I'm not going to rise up like a Phoenix right away. That's okay, though. I can feel it. Though I am anticipating my reawakening, I understand that I need to be in the ashes for awhile.
My cough was better for several hours today. Maybe that prednisone is actually getting to it.
While I was in the disappearing stage of all of this I had so much to write about. I was in a spiritual crisis, struggling to communicate with my loved ones, and looking to move the balance of my "life worth living" scales. Now the balance of my scales is better. I see many reasons to live and much enjoyment ahead. I'm just not there yet. And my writing is just simple and matter-of-fact right now. I have no desire to wax poetic or be quite so self-indulgent.
I've been organizing, cleaning, moving bags and bags of stuff out of my house. I'm getting ready for change. I travelled a bit which took me out of myself quite well (skiing). I have not gotten back to writing in a meaningful way. I think I'm ready to begin soon. I'll be turning Liz's novella into a screenplay. I need to think about some secondary characters and subplot. She' s missing a subplot, but this is my first short so I'm not sure if there is much time for it. I've been watching Bates Motel with John again. John and I have been bonding through TV and reading Star Wars. It's a challenge -- bonding with a fourteen year old in the throes of puberty, but we were always really close. I think we both felt it slipping and we are coming back to each other again.
I wonder when I'll come back to life. And I wonder what it will be like? My significant other is trying to hold on to the way things were. Sometimes I can get through to him that everything is different now, but he's not a "flow" kind of person. He's more like a boomerang. He continually comes back to try to recapture something he believed existed in the past. I'm not sure he has the ability to authentically move forward with us, with him, or in his relationships, but really it's not my problem. It can't be. I've got my own rising to work on. I know that's harsh, but ultimately we have to follow our own paths in life. Sometimes they are side by side and other times they're not. My path has departed his for now. If he tries to get off of his own path to join me on mine, it will never make him happy. And my path will veer further away from his.
I'm going to see Lynn, a psychic medium in Metuchen. She is someone who I used to see (the last time I saw her was about three years ago). She is a legit psychic with a strong moral compass. I have to say I didn't get quite that vibe from the lady in Woodstock. I have never seen Lynn with the intention of communicating with my parents (maybe mostly because I'm always a little mad at them for leaving me -- I know how unfair that is after all these years). They always come to the session though, and this year I think I'll talk to them if I can. My question to them is why they can't ever seem to help me. I have asked them for help through the years, and from my narrow Earth perspective it doesn't feel like they answer or offer any help. The other person that always comes to the sessions with Lynn is my husband's deceased sister. It's interesting how my mother said at one of the sessions that "she doesn't stand with me," because she is not from my side of the family. I barely know her, but I like her. I like how she shows up. And I like how she tries to get through to my husband. We are kindred spirits in that way, I guess -- trying to get through to someone who is not spiritually open.
The reason I haven't seen Lynn is that she was going through something -- not sure what -- but she didn't see clients for awhile. She wasn't returning my texts to make an appointment and I gave up. Then, I was trying to sell some old biofeedback software and found her information again. Just yesterday, I found some notes I had made based upon a reading with her from about 2010. What she knew about my parents and my husband's sister was just impossible for any fake to fake. (ha ha) I had forgotten she was that good. Not that she couldn't mess up, but she even messed up in ways that proved she sensed stuff. For example, she saw my mom being furious at my dad for all of this stuff -- boxes of useless papers and books -- that he refused to get rid of. That was actually me mad at my significant other about his useless boxes of papers and stuff. I had just organized the entire basement in an effort to sell the house, and I set aside tons of old computer training books and papers and asked him to go through it and get rid of everything and to this day we still have all that crap. Sometimes the only solution is a sneaky one. If I'd done the "wrong" thing and just pitched it myself then I would not still be saddled with it and he'd be 100% ignorant of the "loss." Sometimes I think I should do the wrong thing more often.
Anyway, it's 5:00am and the prednisone still keeps me up and energetic. If you ever want to see a truly legitimate psychic medium in action find some reruns of The Haunting of... with Kim Russo. She's the real deal like Lynn. The difference is that she's probably made millions doing it. I think it's interesting that Lynn just stays in her little house in Metuchen doing readings for $85 an hour. It's not bad! I envy her, having a skill that can bring in that kind of money.
The picture below is from my favorite episode: The Haunting of Charles Shaughnessy. I love it the most because that man is a beautiful soul and his whole in-spirit extended family accompanied him on that journey.
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