Squashed Brain Stuff

I’m sitting in a corner at Starbucks that’s on a corner.  I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’m doing very little other than people watching.  There is a girl on a laptop at the table directly in front of me who is typing things and giggling.

How sad that must be.

Things are really heating up in this place.  I think the amount of customers has doubled in the last hour.  I came over here to work on writing stuff and I made some ground but then I just got distracted, like usual.

I’ve never understood how a writer gets anything accomplished.  Life is filled with so many distractions.  Lately I’ve been planning my days around how I can find blank gaps in my schedule to write.  But then once I get going with something, even more distractions sneak in.  I’ll suddenly want to google random things like “hemroids”, “Miami International Airport” and the word “pastel”.

Don’t ask.  Please don’t ask.

I’m thinking that distractions are ultimately good things as long as they’re the good kinds of distractions.  

Please pretend like the previous statement makes sense.  Thanx.

I’m working on a story but I don’t want to say too much about it.  I will say that trying to write stories is totally different from trying to write songs.  Songs are short bursts of things.  They are concerned with rhyming and sounding good when sung.  Songs are a fast, compressed and concise art.  I keep typing things and feeling like I’ve said everything that needs to be said but then I look down and I have a huge blank white space staring right back up at me and in my imagination it’s saying, “Hey man!  Fill me up!!!”  (Strange? yes)

How the heck is a writer supposed to fill up blank white space?  Why am I so afraid of this?  I really do have trouble sleeping some nights because of this.  My fear is that everybody is just gonna be bored and honestly, most readers do get bored.  It makes me so sad but it’s true.  I really need to find better things to be afraid of.

Dang, this place is getting crowded.  There are families here.  I never think of coffee shops as places for families.  Aren’t lonely hipster nerds supposed to be the only people in coffee shops?  Guess not.  

How social are these places supposed to be?  People usually go to coffee shops to chill out or get away from other things.  Some people think that coffee shops are just hookup spots.  They get dressed in their sexiest clothes (or whatever they think are their sexiest clothes) and come get a double white mocha.  Then they look around.  That’s what coffee shops are always filled with.  People sneaking quick looks at everybody else.  Coffee shops are great places to be shy (as well as creep people out).

Baristas are always getting creeped out by people.  I should know, I used to be a barista.  Well, until I got fired for creeping out another barista.  Whoops…

I will say this though.  I never got creeped out by anybody personally when I was a barista.  But I personally kind of like creeps so maybe that had something to do with it.  Being a weirdo gives you a certain acceptance of other weirdos.  So who am I to judge, really?

Anywho…

—————–

About 2 in the morning last night (or morning I guess) I hit a stride with my story that I wasn’t expecting.  The whole day Sunday I was battling a gross headache and feeling pretty low and nasty.  You know what it’s like when you’ve been in the same house for a few days and you feel like you need to be someplace far away for a while?  That’s what most of Sunday was like for me.  I would lay on my bed and shut my eyes and try to imagine myself somewhere more exciting and just different.  Anyplace different sounded wonderful to me.

Well, I made a coffee pretty late and then something really strange happened.  Now, if anybody has tried to write anything before you know that a lot of writing really is a lot of sitting around and not getting anything done and being frustrated and hitting your head against walls.  That’s how it’s been for me lately.  It is not very fun.  And I’ll find that my mind seems to go to so many places that are nowhere close to where it should be.  So a lot of writing for me is being patient and going easy on myself when I’m not being (and here’s a near holy word for a writer) PRODUCTIVE.

I got a DVD in the mail the other day of a guy named Syd Field.  He is a screenwriting guru guy in Hollywood (or so I’ve read on the internet).  Several other screenwriting books reference him so I have been collecting his books over the last couple of months when I go to Half Price Books.  I think his big contribution is breaking down movies into a basic structure.  I’ve really learned a lot from his books so far.

Anyway, I ordered the DVD from this store in Hollywood called The Writer’s Store (cool name, huh?).  After I found it on my porch a few days later I took it to a coffee shop and watched the whole thing on my laptop.  I’m passing this on because I got a lot out of the DVD.  In fact, I think I have figured out how I can actually finish this screenplay finally.  And this is a good thing because it has been squashing me for a while now.  I’ve been wanting to finish it but it’s been a long series of stops and starts.  I have been battling with myself about whether I am overextending myself.  It really has been a hard process.  I feel like an annoying broken record when I try to talk about it.  I have wanted to try to write a movie for a long time and for some reason I always thought it would be easy but it is TOUGH.  That’s been the biggest lesson I think.  I really did underestimate this challenge.

The DVD has helped to demystify the whole process.  It doesn’t sound like an impossible, dreamy thing anymore.  In fact, that almost makes it more frightening.  I know that I actually could finish this screenplay.  And not that it will be good but it is a realistically doable thing.  So now the only thing standing in my way is just sitting down and writing it.  That’s it.  

I am having to recommit myself now. And it’s funny to me because I’m realizing that finishing it is going to require me making a lot of compromises because what I’m really capable of is not quite what I’d idealistically like to be capable of.  Or, I have to accept that I’m going to fall short of a lot of what I was hoping for but I might get a real thing in the end.  Or, the reality is going to be different from the dreamed up version but it will be reality.  

And it will be better.

(I don’t know if any of that made sense)

I’m gonna stop there.

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