Archive | September, 2011

deja vu all over again

22 Sep

a few weeks ago, it hit me. that feeling, quick as a bird, that i have lived this before. it was intensely sensory as these things always are – this time touched off by the vivid blue of a dress a roommate had left to dry on the showercurtain rod. in that second i could take in all those things that are normally compressed from moment to moment: the claustrophobic feeling of the narrow shower compartment, the steamy heat of the water, the thick velvety feel of suds in my hands, and the colors – transparent black of the showercurtain, bars of blue and white tile and the dull chrome of the fixtures.

the thing that finally snapped me out of it was the recognition of it. is that how it is for you? for me, once i recognize the feeling as deja vu i am thrust back in to the present and filled with regret that the moment can be lost so easily. (imagine if you could keep running with it. if it were a story I was writing – and it might well be – the protag would only have to find a thread of previously lived experience and then just stay in that groove. yep, i’m gonna have to write that one. stay tuned.)

so the question: what is it? the truth is that no one knows. the scientific line is that it is an ‘anomaly of memory.’ perhaps your brain is storing information as a memory instantaneously alongside your experience of it. perhaps it is what happens when another, similar memory is suggested but cannot itself be recalled. another variant, from the matrix (1999), has a repeating black cat as a sign of a glitch in the system.

for a phenomena characterized by the uncanny experience of the expansiveness of time, by the way time seems to be multiple threads twining around us, it’s interesting that these explanations all put deja vu down as something confined to the present moment – your mind confuses memories as you are recalling them in the here and now; the system hicups and in that instant reveals itself to be a system.

well, what if deja vu means something closer to the feeling it brings about? because it does feel more important than the conventional explanations allow. so many interpretive avenues open up if you take deja vu as evidence of experience. depending on your perspective, it could be an encouragement to continue on the right path or a horrible warning to stop before you repeat previous mistakes.

how about you, readers? anybody have a novel take on deja vu? for my part, i decided to take my experience as a positive sign post (’cause really, what else are you gonna do way too early on a monday morning?), one that i’m hoping will give me some mileage as a short story…

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She talks to Angels

20 Sep

I’ve been on a path of self-discovery, a path that I’ve followed like Alice in Wonderland down the rabbit hole.  It started last spring or maybe earlier.  It spawned from feeling of being trapped in daily life and out of the need to find peace, happiness, and abundance.  That said, I gave credence to this open-ended search by also following different story ideas for my next screenplay.  At first it was background for “Death: the study of Dying”, a feature fiction screenplay about a quirky, trust-fund baby who has it all but lives in fear.  Fear of dying.  So she sets out and joins every spiritual, yoga, mediation class she can.  In the end the character, after a near death experience, finds her answer.  Another screenplay idea I’m working on is “Fight the Bear” about a girl, Jenny, who has done the right thing all her life, yet still hasn’t reaped any karmic rewards for being good.  So she decides to make her own destiny and fight her way to success.  Then there is my baby, “Repent”.  This one is also a story of exploration.  It begins with the main character pleading with God to give her another chance, a chance to get her life right.  God concedes and Bethea is sent rushing down to earth. She is reborn. We catch up with her on the eve of her 40th birthday.  She’s made wrong choices, picked the wrong guys and still hasn’t fulfilled her promise of spiritual commitment to God.  Plagued by increasing incidents with Deja Vu, night visions, intuitive coincidences, Bethea goes to a psychic for answers.  The psychic tells her that she’s had a guardian angel by her side the entire time. This starts her on her journey toward uncovering her fragile beginning and to remembering that this is her last shot at getting life right or else.

Art, creation, time, life, these are themes looping through my mind. Depending on the day, I am in triumph, full of hope.  Only to waken to the reality of my daily existence.  One without awe.  Without inspiration.  But I must will it.  I must believe it.  I must tear my way forward.  To give and to receive.  Last week I was up.  I wrote, “All things needed to move forward are converging like tiny streams to a river. Rushing and pushing me toward the glorious pool that is my destiny”.  My buddy gave me a hard time with a comment on whether it was my idea of being in the “right dimension” or is this something different.  To which I retorted, “All things are pointing to go. Whether it’s described as living in the ultimate dimension, fulfillment of ‘pre-destined’ mission in life, realizing full potential, strength-based leadership, balancing your chakras, mindful living, meditation, visualization… it’s the same message and I am listening”.  And thus, this is where I am today.  Listening, keeping an eye open for a sign, yet moving forward toward my goal.  Writing.  Thinking. Writing about writing. Living. Loving…

fit to be writing/game on

16 Sep

So, here it goes folks.  The latest and greatest idea.  To write.  In the here.  In the now.  This is me writing.

Firstly, I am determined to create a television series, worthy of Dexter and Breaking Bad. The characters already live, Rian Pedde and Penny Jones.  Better yet, the feature film already lives, Suckerpunch.  No, not the slickly produced but crappily written 2010 film.  BTW- I came up with that name before they did.  But not before the folks who also penned “Sucker Punch” screenplays in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009.  Okay, it’s a popular name. INSTEAD, this screenplay is a character driven, vigilante, drama about a new mother and a party girl who take their coworker relationship to new heights when they experiment with the edges of danger (to semi-quote the coverage we received from Slamdance Screenplay Competition 2011.  oh, yeah, we didn’t win).  That’s right, danger.  These girls are mad as hell and they’re not gonna take it anymore.  Plus they look like the average Jane so they can get away with murder… or can they.  This Suckerpunch, was written by myself and one, Haley Hemen, 2010.  And it’s gotten some good coverage, won a table read, and made it to the semi-finals in the Script/Pitch Competition for Nextventertainment.  And undoubtedly needs to be condensed, reworked, and just may fit nicely into the episodic rockin’ television series category… to be shopped to AMC, Showtime, HBO.  So it’s out there.  In the universe.  Now let’s go to it.

This post is actually a long time coming.  It was a response to an earlier post that Haley wrote… and then was saved and almost forgotten.  But not so, dear friends.   Here it is.  Fit to be writing.  And the real meat of what’s been plaguing my self-help, seeking person is to come.  It’s a long strange trip to peaceful and happy, nomatter what self-centered a-hole you run into.  See you in a few. wink.

we’re not dead yet…

15 Sep

been a slow couple of weeks on the blog, so i just wanted to do a quick round up of notable awesomeness…

  • i saw don’t be afraid of the dark with two of my favorite people and can confirm the title to be a horrible fucking lie. nights in a row with the lights on since viewing: four and counting. horror movies, i love you so much. why do you do this to me?
  • brilliant idea # 37665: in which leigh and i become successful children’s baked-goods purveyors. step one: r&d (more to come on this in subsequent posts…)

so that’s a little catch up. regular posting will now continue – at least that is the plan!

fiction project: characters: the warrior

2 Sep

there are uncountable ways that a character makes itself known. for this story, music has been a favorite.

this is evie’s song: ‘warrior’ by the yeah yeah yeahs. evie’s probably the closest match to me personally in that she is about my age, she is not very excited by her day job, she has insomnia, and is only slightly more aimless about her future than i am. her approach to managing her insomnia is much more fun than mine, though. here’s an evie sketch. let me know what you think…

_____

Evie’s glorious drunk when she starts driving east. On the dashboard is the letter, beerbottle ring stained on the thick paper, that’s sent her out this way. It says that her mother Clare is dead and Evie’s been made the executor of her will.

It’s nothing she wanted to hear but she’s grateful to be on the road. Growing up, she’d always imagined making just this kind of escape under night skies with flat, blank miles unspooling ahead. If this is finally the reason that gets her out, so be it.

Even so. Clare had left when Evie was five, never a sign then or since that Clare’d regretted the decision. To hear from her now—well, about her—it feels like manipulation, a way to force a relationship once the risk of having one has passed. If she thinks about it, the whole situation carries an overwhelming sense of destiny, like their reunion’s always been fated to happen this way. So she doesn’t think about it. Evie tells herself she’s not stopping for the funeral; she’s going to drive until she hits the other coast. She sings with the radio, turning it up to mask when her pitch falters over the high notes and if she doesn’t know the words she makes them up. When the radio station breaks for commercials she hums the song she hopes they’ll play next.

There’s a gentle, banked-up curve in the road ahead. She barely dips under seventy taking it, then pushes up to eighty-five when she levels out on the straightaway. That’s the beauty of the plains: inertia at breakneck speeds.

On the radio static cuts in then resolves into another song, “How to Disappear Completely”. There are lights ahead and she decides she must be picking up a college radio station. “I’m not here….this isn’t happening…I’m not heee-eee-eeere…” she moans along with Tom Yorke, His clear, thin voice creeps into her brain and makes her feel weepy and small. She looks for the next exit, annoyed to find herself so emotional when really it’s just exhaustion that would have her teary-eyed, wrecked in a ditch if she doesn’t pull over to rest.

The off-ramp feeds her into a modest collection of buildings, a town only four blocks wide clinging to life by a well-used rail yard. She pulls in to the depot and tries laying across the front seat to nap, but it’s deafeningly silent without the radio and the road noise. She feels more awake now than before. Finally she sits up.

Outside the snow’s piling deep at the sides of roads and drifted like dunes across the bare acres. Depending on the music playing on the radio, this could be the heart-warmingest, whitest Christmas scene or the last town on planet earth just before the undead come staggering through the snow. She heaves herself over the front seat, it digs into her middle like it would cut her in half, and she reaches for one of the two bags she’s packed., the one that rattles with cans of spray paint. She drags it by the shoulder strap across the seat and out into the cold with her.

She does this when she can’t sleep at home, too—tags boxcars. There’s one sitting just outside of the circle of light falling from the yard lamp and with the little town behind her dark as wilderness, she walks boldly across the crusty ground.

She hangs the bag off the boxcar’s front coupling and inspects her canvass. It’s broad and rusted out, but pristine in that there’s only the crisp, stenciled markings its manufacturers put on the metal. No one else’s work to paint over.

Evie pulls a dark indigo out of the bag and pops the cap. She makes long sweeping streaks. She digs in the bag for another color, then another, another. The dark streaks comprise the strata of the night sky. She stands on her toes, she bends to her knees, gets them wet in the snow. She covers the whole boxcar until the colors accumulate like clouds. Until the side of the boxcar looks like a clear window open to the night sky. Like she’s erasing the boxcar, blending it into the scenery.

When she’s done she gathers the caps and stows the paints. They clink in the bag at her side. She’s exhausted herself and this time when she curls up across the cramped front seat it’s easy to sleep.

_____

It’s a fishbowl sound that wakes her. Someone tapping on the glass. Evie looks up to find a wiry man uniformed in khaki, poised to knock again. His skin looks craggy and chapped and she wonders how long he’s been trying to wake her.

She sits up with difficulty, stiff from the cold and the weird way she folded her body to keep all of it under her coat. Now she pulls it on and clutches at it like a robe when she creaks her door open. “Morning,” the man says.

The haul and creak of metal draw her eyes to the track where her boxcar is coupled and rolling out. She matches the dark streaks of her painted sky to the glowing fingers of red, pink and orange reaching out from the dawning sun. As it moves, her boxcar flashes in front of the sunrise like an eclipse.

“Morning,” Evie says.

“You okay, miss?” It sounds more like accusation than concern.

“Yeah. I’m fine. Just pulled off the interstate to get a little rest.” The man grunts gently and nods his head. In daylight, the town reveals itself to be a short stretch of low, flat buildings in the shadow of a grain elevator at one end of the street, a church steeple rising at the other, its thin, black shadow slashed over tidy little homes. “Where am I?”

“This is Tomahawk,” he says. “Where were you looking to be?”

“I just need to get a little further east.”

“That’s quite a ways away.”

fit to be tied

1 Sep

ah, embroidery floss. so many possibilities. in this case, i wanted to dress up some jewelry wire i’ve been playing with. this started life as a fairly bland hoop for an earring and another bit of wire i was determined to force into some kind of shape, finally becoming a bow. bent into an elongated oval and wrapped with two tones of floss, the hoop became the foundation for an easy bracelet.

it isn’t exactly finished – the band is tied off, friendship bracelet-style, so that i’ll have to cut it off if it’s coming off – but i’ve got some ideas for the next time around.