Tag Archives: re-writing

What’s wrong with this picture?

One of my friend’s signed up at oDesk and eLance recently because she needed to drum up more work. Now, I am the kind of writer who always needs to drum up more money; I never need to drum up more work!

But sometimes (okay — frequently) I forget this!

Yesterday, after I came home from a freelance editing job, and while I was organizing the homework assignments I had to write for this week, and after I had talked to the actress in NYC again about nailing down the flight I needed to take to get to NYC and begin working on the original off-Broadway musical, and while staring at the piles of notes I had for my screenplay re-writes with Kevin in Brooklyn, and from the producer in L.A. for the TV series we’re trying to develop, and while thinking about the new book I wanted to write (a fun murder mystery that I think will be a blast! I already have a producer interested in a holiday screen adaptation for women’s television), I thought to myself: You know, I ought to sign up at oDesk and eLance, too, and try to make some more money…

So sign up, I did!That’s right!

But then, as my head hit the pillow last night, I thought to myself: How bizarre! What the heck is the matter with you? When do you think you’re actually going to be able to do anyone else’s writing and still have time for your own???

So I un-signed up this morning.

Why is it that it is so hard for writers to consistently earn enough money to live on and still write creatively (as opposed to hired-and-sometimes-hack work that other people can’t or won’t do)? It has plagued me throughout my entire career, and I’ve been a professional writer now for 25 years. Sometimes the money is great. Sometimes it stays consistently good for a good chunk of time. Then it disappears entirely and you resort to prayer. Then, happily, it picks up again. Sometimes, it even snowballs into more money than you’ve ever seen, but I haven’t experienced that. Yet. (You’ll notice, though, that as a recently ordained minister, I have made resorting to prayer part of my full-time job! I am really, really good at resorting to prayer. However, that said, I have also gotten really good at standing back and letting prayers be answered, left, right, and center. It had a lot to do with this stuff –click link & scroll down– and it took years to master it. And some days, I don’t master it at all.)

I honestly think that you’ve got to be happy. It is imperative. Do only what makes you happy — and you might be surprised at what types of little jobs might make you happy. I know I’ve surprised myself over the years. (4 years ago, I said yes to a 2-hour cleaning job without knowing it meant I would be working for this company and that, as a writer, it would open all kinds of doors for me and turn my life around.) Make yourself happy and then the other stuff that comes to you makes you, surprisingly, even happier. But sometimes you have to really wait.  And that “waiting” part is when a whole lot of people just give up, turn around and go home. (i.e., “do stuff they hate.”)

I don’t think that writers are going to get paid what they’re worth in this lifetime. A small few will — but it’s fewer and fewer all the time. However, you can at least make enough to live a fulfilled and happy life.   And, really, I believe that’s what we’re here for. When we’re fulfilled and happy, we do astounding things that can’t help but have a beneficial trickle-down effect for everybody.

On that happy note, I gotta scoot!! Have a terrific Wednesday, wherever you are and whatever happy thing you’re doing!! Thanks for visiting, gang. See ya.

[One of my all-time favorite films. Who knew it would be part of my destiny, kind of??]

 

 

 

How about that weekend?

I don’t know about you guys, but I had the best weekend.  All my plans seemed to go awry at the last minute (i.e., I was supposed to see the opera the Marriage of Figaro, Skype with Kevin, go to church) and I wound up having the entire weekend to myself, with nowhere I needed to go, nothing pressing I needed to do. My homework was completed by mid-morning on Saturday. A local marathon kept me from going to church on Sunday. I wound up just taking a couple of really lovely walks; I baked a cake; I did laundry; I did yoga; and then spent most of the weekend watching old Harry Potter movies on TV!

I don’t know — what could be better? I so rarely have two days in a row where I don’t really have to do much of anything.  And the Harry Potter movies are such fun time-wasters.  I actually sat in my own living room, in my own easy chair, and I watched television for hours.  (There was a Harry Potter marathon on ABCFamily.) For some reason, I don’t spend much time hanging out in my own living room.  It has become a luxury. Something that symbolizes “free time.”

I had a great phone conference with one of the producers in L.A. yesterday. Last week, I actually let the other producer go.  (Or however you would say that  — it’s not like I fired him.) I came to the conclusion that even though he was a really nice guy and had great ideas, those ideas were taking my own idea in a really different direction that I couldn’t connect with — and because of that, the re-writing process had become tortuous for me.  As soon as he was out of the picture, a veritable flood of great ideas started pouring into my brain. Interesting how that works, isn’t it?

And nothing beats having enthusiasm for a project you’re writing, right? Enthusiasm is that fine line between heaven and hell.

The trip to New York City is getting closer. It’s supposed to happen in two weeks, they’re just trying to nail down the best airfare.  It is so hard for me to believe that my life is really this good. The money still needs to be a lot better, but I know it’s on its way.

Yesterday when I was taking my walk, I was getting so psyched about being able to go see Broadway shows again! I can’t remember the last time I got to see a Broadway show, but I think it was about twelve years ago.  You know, New York City has changed so much since the days when I first moved there. Back then, in the 80s, I lived with my first husband on the corner of W. 45th Street and 8th Avenue, in the Camelot Building, fittingly enough!

The Camelot Building, New York City
The Camelot Building, New York City

This was literally just a few steps from every theater on Broadway, and tickets back then cost $15, if you can believe that. I was in my early 20s and a waitress in those days, and I saw every show on Broadway.  Then, gradually, it just got more and more and more expensive.  It got to the point where I could only see one or two Broadway shows a year.

I read an article in the Hollywood Reporter over the weekend that said that 78% of the people who attend Broadway shows are white, and %68 of them are white women, with an average age of 44 1/2 years old, with an average income of $186,500 a year.

I don’t know. Those numbers just sort of made me feel weird. I read them over a number of times, trying to make sense out of what has happened to the world I used to know. Not that it matters. I’m just curious.

All right, well. I have to go work for a few hours, so I need to get crackin’ around here. I hope you have a great Monday, gang, wherever you are, and I hope it’s the start of a super-terrific week! Thanks for visiting. See ya.

[This was the first Broadway musical I saw that truly blew me away. And here I’d thought I was going to be bored…]

 

 

Don’t you just love girls??!!

I do! I think little girls are amazing. They are lethal, they are dangerous, they are awesome, and they are usually way too trusting — which is why it all starts to come crashing down for most little girls by age 11, when everyone starts telling them to be something they’re not, and, being so trusting, little girls try to start following the most bizarre cultural rules imaginable. Hence, so many girls who are out of their freakin’ minds… Including moi.

That said, though. I was researching some stuff about Brownies & Girl Scouts from the 1960s, which was when I was a Brownie, and I found this. I thought it was hysterical, so I share it with you:

girlscout_motivation

Being born in 1960, I think I came from the first generation of American girls who were told they could do or become anything they wanted to do or be, and at the very same time were told by everybody that whatever it was they were trying to do or be simply wasn’t done by “nice girls” so, if you did or became what you wanted, watch out, because no guy was going to want to marry you.

I am so serious.

Luckily, I was also one of those girls who marveled at the stupidity of a remark like that, and also was not a huge fan of getting married anyway, but the constant oppression of the minds of girls still wound up making me completely bonkers. Certifiable. I mean it.

However, as the indisputably awesome S.E. Hinton (who perhaps used initials in her pen name back then to hide the fact that she was a girl) so aptly put it in 1971: That was then, this is now. I am well into my 54th year, turning down marriage proposals right & left, and still doing whatever the heck I want.

Which reminds me — FANTASTIC breakthroughs have finally come on the re-writes of the TV pilot and on the screenplay I’m writing with Kevin. I will talk more about that some other time because I have one last paper to write for school this afternoon before I can kick back and relax. (And I seriously want to kick back and relax, gang.)

Okay! Hope your Sunday has been sensational, wherever you are! Thanks for visiting, folks. I leave you with this tribute — and I leave it to you to decide if it is delightful or down right delusional. All right!

Autumn in New York, Baby!

Yes, I finally know the dates of my trip to NYC to begin working on that incredible musical that I am so excited about!! It will be in just a few weeks, gang, so I will get a chance to be back in New York in the fall, my favorite time of year.

I will be staying in a hotel around Midtown-ish, so hopefully I will get some free minutes to spend in Central Park among all those splendid trees.

Autumn in Central Park
Autumn in Central Park

However, I might actually be too busy to get a chance to do that this trip. We shall see!

This play is shaping up to be just incredible, folks. I can’t wait until I am at liberty to talk more about it.  It is a one-woman show about an African-American actress — this is not the Pearl Bailey play. That one is next in line. But it is looking like this current show will occupy me/us for a few years, if all goes according to plan!

Yes, I know. You’re wondering how on earth I have time to do that, while still being in Divinity school full time, and trying to come up with a final-ish draft of the TV pilot — oh, and, like work at all my 17 million part time jobs… Here, I’ll give you a hint. (That video explains how I do it.) At least school is almost over.  Only about 8 more weeks.

Plus, “that guy” up in the Hudson Valley is going to try to get a train into the city to see me for 14 seconds! Oh, I am so excited! I cannot wait.

Meanwhile, life here is going pretty good.  Yesterday was a gorgeous fall day. I celebrated by going to my favorite grocery store: Aldi’s! They have tons of autumnal delights right now, like pumpkin frozen waffles, pumpkin seed tortilla chips, pumpkin soup, pumpkin-chipotle pasta sauce, pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin spice tea, special fall wines — oh, and they actually have PUMPKINS, too! Mostly, I bought baking supplies because I love to bake this time of year. I’m not exactly sure when I think I’m going to have time to do all this baking, but we will find out!

Here's me, with a freshly baked dish of silverware (??!)
Here’s me, with a freshly baked dish of silverware (??!)

Okay!! Well, I gotta get crackin’ around here! Thanks for visiting, folks. I hope you have a terrific Thursday, wherever you are and whatever exciting thing you’re doing! I leave you with this romantic  incentive to get yourselves to the Big Apple this fall! We can wave to each other! All right, see ya!

 

 

Some of my favorite days are coming!

I was hoping to celebrate my return to this blog by posting a spiffy selfie of me in my brand new Marilyn Monroe glasses! However… when I went to pick them up this morning, the prescription in the left eye was off so they won’t be really ready for another week or so. But they did look great on me for a couple moments!

Well — welcome October! My favorite month of the year. And fall is my favorite season.

I love when the leaves turn, and I even love the gloomy days when it rains — like today. There is something about an autumn rain that is just so pretty, in my opinion. And last night, the absolute moment I came home from my pastoral hospital visitation training, the world cracked open with a really impressive thunderstorm.  It kept storming for quite awhile, so I turned out the lights,  lit candles, and crawled into my really comfy bed with Bunny. We listened to old Jack Benny radio programs by candlelight while the wind and the rain did their blustery autumnal thing outside…

Copyright Georgeta Blanaru
Copyright Georgeta Blanaru

I love listening to old Jack Benny radio programs. They are so silly.  Back when Hubert Selby, Jr. was still alive, we used to write letters (yes, old fashioned, hand-written letters — he was a muse of mine and I was very lucky to have known him in the last decade or so of his life). We both loved listening to Jack Benny. If you know his work, and know my earlier work, you will probably find it unlikely that we both loved someone as silly as Jack Benny. But we did. Oh, and we also both love(d) cats.

Okay, so.

There are many reasons for my long absence from here. I won’t go into all of them because some of them were really sad. But it is sufficient to say that here I am, back at it, and also taking another course in school — winding down to the final course, which starts right after Thanksgiving. I am actually liking the new course, even though I was expecting to hate it.  I took one look at the cover of the textbook and decided the course was going to be unendurable, but, as so often is the case when we judge a book by its cover, I was wrong! The book is really good. (The course is on teaching Christian education.)

Some of my other news is that, once the developers take over my property and tear down my house, I am moving back to New York! Mostly because I have so many theater-writing jobs lined up that it makes sense to move back there, plus 99% of my friends still live there, along with “the guy” I would like to live closer to (to put it cryptically). I am not going to live in the city, though; I am going to be a commuter from the truly lovely Hudson Valley area! (Somewhere between the Beekman Arms and the old Roosevelt home.) I am also going to be buying my first 4 wheel drive vehicle, since I will be living in the foothills of the Catskill mountains. I have my heart set on a Jeep Commander! I will be sad to say goodbye to my trusty and rusty old 1997 (!!) Toyota Camry because it gets such incredibly great mileage. But, I guess the next (last) half of my life is destined to be entirely different, so here we go…

The Catskills in Autumn
The Catskills in Autumn

I guess I will close now and relax a little before trying to tackle that darn TV pilot re-write that is really plaguing me these days. Hope you’ve had a really great Tuesday, wherever you are and whatever the weather is doing! Thanks for visiting, gang. See ya’ real soon!

Seemingly back on track!

I had been really excited about yesterday. I had veritably quarantined the entire day for me — me, me, ME!  I knew I would have one quick call with one of the producers in LA, and that was going to be the only “work” related thing I would allow to happen all day.

Except for the Hospital Visitation Training,  which happened on Monday night, I am on break from school this whole week.  Yesterday was going to be a day where all I would do was work on my own projects; write whatever I felt like writing; just sit at my desk and be creative and happy! I would fiddle with my notes from that rewrite seminar I took on Saturday and I would use what I’d learned to create veritable miracles with my scripts! I would break new ground that would lead to unqualified success all across the board!

It panned out a little differently.  First off, even though I had slept great because the night had been really cool — down in the low 40s — it turned out that I was totally, thoroughly, 100% exhausted. I was too exhausted to even do my morning meditation; I couldn’t think straight. It seems weird to have been too tired to meditate, but it happened.

Then Kevin called and I was going to regale him with all the miracles we now held in our hands, thanks to that rewrite seminar, and how it was going to elevate our script to new heights… Instead, he unexpectedly said, “I’m sorry to bother you so early in the morning, Marilyn, but our car blew up.”

“What?!”

“It was parked in the street, over a manhole cover, and something down in the sewer exploded and it sent the manhole cover right up into our car. We had a full tank of gas. The car completely exploded. Went up in flames. It is totally destroyed. And now there is no electricity in the apartment. The whole building is out. And for some reason, it’s really cool outside but unbearably hot in the apartment. I’m losing my mind. I hate Brooklyn.”

Wow, well after that, I figured that discussing our miracles could wait until some other time.

I tried to journal (yes, that noun that has become an exceedingly active verb in our culture), but just as I was getting started, one of the men that I do part-time clerical work for called and asked if I could do one quick payroll thing for him on my computer, so I said yes, and twenty minutes later, I was too exhausted to “journal.” So I wrapped myself in a cozy sweater, went down to the family room and watched a “Miss Marple” movie that I had DVR’d (another exceedingly active verb from our culture) from PBS.  I enjoyed the movie so much! It required that I do nothing but sit and stare! I am really good at that, especially when I am exhausted.

Since it was such a gorgeous day outside, after the movie, I forced myself to go take a walk down to the creek and back. About 3 miles, tops. I thought it would invigorate me.  And it really was such a beautiful fall day.  So I walked. I walked and I walked.  I saw the ducks, the swan, and the beautiful creek with the sunlight playing on the gently rushing water as it flowed over the rocks. I decided to take the Big Walnut Trail back to my house, instead of walking along the busy street. (If you check that map I linked to, my neighborhood is — yes! — Gramercy Park! And, no, it is not that Gramercy Park!)

It was really a beautiful walk. I even took this photo for you of the empty community swimming pool, always such a bittersweet sight in autumn:

Gahanna community pool, CLOSED now 'til summer.
Gahanna community pool, CLOSED now ’til summer.

But as I got closer to my neighborhood, what did I discover? Construction going on!! They were tearing up everything and it was full of noisy trucks and tons of construction workers!! This is one of the reasons why I hate living here now and am moving away: there is construction everywhere; trees being torn down all over the place. They are even going to tear down my 60-year-old maple tree once they bulldoze my house. I am really heartsick about all of it. But what was worse, is that I had to turn around and walk back to where I had come from, then head home from there — adding about 2 more miles to my “nice walk.”

By the time I finally got back home, I was indescribably exhausted. I spent the rest of the day laying in bed with Fluffy, watching a veritable marathon of Andy Hardy movies on TCM. It is both an innocuous and nauseating way to spend about six hours! But I was too tired to do a single other thing but stare.

So much for yesterday. But I slept great last night and feel totally back on track today, so I will attempt to spend the afternoon working on those miracles. We shall see!! Meanwhile, I leave you with the clip below.  (Multiply this 3-minute clip by 6 hours and see if you don’t come to a solution that looks like “nausea!”)

Alrighty! Have a terrific, peppy, miraculous Wednesday, wherever you are. Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya!

Ok, Need to Turn Things Around

This not sleeping right nonsense has got to stop. Last night, I slept 8 hours but they were “fitful.” (As evidenced by the selfie above that I just now took, right this minute, which highlights the lovely lines all around my eyes. They are usually not there.)

Actually, that’s an interesting word — fitful. It’s an adjective that means “occurring irregularly.”

I woke full of resistance this morning, feeling argumentative. After breakfast, I did a guided meditation on letting go of resistance and I thought that had worked. My ACIM review lesson this morning was on not holding onto grievances; so I thought I had a grip on that. But then, everything I pulled out of my closet and tried on to maybe wear to church made me feel like crap, so I got mildly pissed-off and, after changing clothes no less than 5 times, what I eventually did was stayed home from church altogether, at the last minute. Which made me feel like even worse crap. (This is all good English, mind you, so feel free to borrow liberally from me!) I hate when my insecure ego gets in the way of my doing things that I normally really love to do.

So then I decided to go for a walk. It had made me feel so great yesterday. But I got to the end of my driveway and noticed dark, thunderstorm-like clouds on the horizon, so I turned around and went right back inside, where I noticed that I have a ton of housecleaning to do, but I do not feel like doing a single bit of it (which is not the best idea when you have ten cats).

In short — the day seems to be sucking! And I am not one who suffers sucky days gladly, gracefully. Graciously? Hm. Which word? Well, whichever way, I don’t like wasting time on suckiness so I need to turn it all around.

Here’s the good stuff: a.) I turned in all my homework for the Church Administration class so that is DONE. I am officially on a 10-day break from school, starting today;  b.) that course I took yesterday on screenplay rewrites was actually really good. I recommend it, even though I have to be honest and say that I don’t always recommend those free screenwriting courses from Screenwriting U, but this one was, in fact, really helpful. And it will come in handy, since I am currently up to my eyeballs in no less than three separate projects that are in rewrites: a one-woman play; a feature-length screenplay; an hour-long TV pilot; and c.) I have to teach a 2-hour writing class tomorrow, but other than that, I don’t really have to be anywhere for “work” work until Wednesday morning at 10 AM.

All those things together should add up to a terrific Sunday, right? I would think so. You know, it has gotten really breezy outside and those dark clouds actually blew away without ever raining on us, so I think I will re-visit that idea of taking a walk. It’s windy but the sun is really shining now. Then maybe I’ll go to a movie. I still want to see The Hundred-Foot Journey and I can see it today for 5 bucks! So perhaps I will! Anything to not let the suckiness rule.

Okay, I hope Sunday is panning out really great for you, gang, wherever you are! I leave you with the song below, as an added omen for non-suckiness! Thanks for visiting. See ya!