run stee, run

Man, alive. I'm running on little sleep here, kids. I'm running on a whole mess of tired and coffee and a mini Butterfinger and a Portishead CD and all the comedy shows I keep going to see (another tonight) and rumors and weirdness here at work and tons of email and my cat all mad at me and wondering where all the shit I ordered from is and me trying to decide whether to buy a TV, a DVD player, or a CD Burner. I'm running on fun and laughter and good times. I'm running on the flaky business people in my life being constantly mitigated by the good people I keep meeting. I'm running on the desire to let grudges and disappointments go. I'm running on hope. I'm running on Diet Coke.

Lots of things on my mind. Too bad organization of thoughts is the not one of them. So on Friday I've been asked to do this thing called the 24-Hour Plays. It started in New York and has taken on a sort of cult status there. Now they're doing it in LA and this is the second one. Basically, on Friday night at a theatre near my house (aw yeah,) six writers, six directors, and 30 actors meet at 10PM. The actors have Polaroids taken of themselves, then they and the directors leave. Us writers (I chose to write instead of act) then pick the actors randomly out of a hat. We then have until 6AM to write a short play for that cast. So we sit with our laptops and write all night in a room together, drinking beer or coffee or both or water or smoking or whatever. We then hand the disk to someone, and leave. We go home and sleep. Or get breakfast. Whatever. Then the directors and actors come in. They rehearse the plays all day, learning their lines and using costumes and basic sets and props, tech the whole show at 5PM, and then at 8PM we and an audience of 100 or so come back and watch the six plays. (Two friends of mine, including Pamie, are writing along with me and several friends of mine are in the cast and crew. It should be a blast.) Someone asked me if I'm nervous the other night, and I said no. I'm just not. I think I've gained a great deal of confidence in my writing over the last couple years. I haven't written a play in that time, and I know my screenplays have helped, but I think mostly this space has. Seriously. And this is what I wanted when I started it. To hone my voice. To get some bit of discipline. To have fun, sure, but to simply have a place where I write and people read it and I can practice practice practice. I know a musician who is about 70 years old and is one of the best Ragtime pianists in the world. He tours constantly and is a master of his instrument. You know what he does every day? He runs his scales. For about an hour. I mean, he's been running the same fucking A-minor scale for 65 years now, but he still does it. Religiously. And he's brilliant, (not to mention a great and fun-loving guy.) Now, I'm as big a lazy-bones as the next fellow, but I do believe in this, the need to practice your craft. Sure, this says bad things about me as an actor that I don't take class right now, but I'm at least trying to keep the discipline going as a writer. And it has helped. Immensely. And so I think I'll walk into the room on Friday night and I'll draw my cast and sure, yes, I'll grow a bit nervous as I turn on the computer to a blank screen and have to start those first stage directions, but then instinct will kick in…practice will kick in, and six hours later there will be something at least semi-entertaining. And then I'm sure my laptop will break and eat the play. But that's what it does, you know. Why take away its fun in life?

Things at work continue to be tenuous. Massive layoffs announced yesterday. Things will be unfun for a while. But I think my maybe-being-gone is separate from the announcement that kept everyone doing that talking-in-hushed-tones-in-small-pockets thing all around the halls yesterday. It's a weirdly electric vibe, when office gossip is spread, isn't it. There is something exciting about it. And I think it is this: that people secretly want to be fired. I sure have admitted this about myself. They want be pushed into the great unknown, but don't have the courage to make the decision to go out there, so a firing will allow them to be righteous and indignant, get a nice severance, and also to live life a little more hardcore and bad-ass. Freedom. Even a temporary, canning-fueled version is good. I sure want to go. I've made that clear. I'm letting the chips fall, I guess. Either I'm here next week or not. And I guess there's a smaller freedom in that, but a freedom nonetheless.

Oh hey, I just saw what my entries look like on the Mac. Man, I'm sorry.

Wow, what else do I have that I want to talk about. Well, I'm working on a script treatment right now. A treatment is sort of an outline of a script. This one is about six pages long. I extensively outline everything I write anyway (I didn't used to and now I can't recommend it enough) but we decided to do it this way because of the timeliness of the idea and the upcoming strike. Now we had originally seen this as a pitch, which I guess I would be sent on some meetings to people at studios who like me and I'd basically pitch this idea to everyone, outlining the story in a 10-minute presentation, but now we're not sure. I guess there is talk of sending it out on paper as a treatment. The other option, naturally, is just writing the thing. Aside from the fact that I'm currently already writing two scripts as it is, the problem with writing it now is that with a pitch or a treatment, they can buy it and in essence pay you to write it. Whereas with a spec, you write it and then see if anyone will pay you for it. Sure, you get less for pitches, but they seem to sell just as often as done scripts. So anyway, that's what I'm working on. I like it, which is a good sign, and other people seem to as well. I also very much like a comedy I'm writing with a friend. It's intensely silly and half of the time we just roll around on the floor laughing at ourselves and the ridiculousness that we're putting into this thing. The other script is a romantic comedy, which I also like but have been wary of. What happened was this, I've been in a sort of dry spell for a year, starting and abandoning three scripts. I worked on this one for a few months, but grew weary and unsure of it, and stopped. Well, when I told people about it, unanimously, everyone like it a lot. I was surprised as hell, but then realized what I'd done: as usual I'd told no one what I was working on. And being a creature of feedback, when I had none, it just sort of existed in my mind and was warped into something worthless by my natural self-doubt. So that when I let it emerge from just existing in my world, it received validation. And suddenly I saw the good in it. Sure, I wish I had 100% faith in everything I do, but it doesn't always work that way. And with this, getting the outside positive feedback made all the difference in the world, and saved this script from just being 40 pages with nowhere to go.

My computer has been on a lag for about two weeks and I'm growing weary of it. I did a defrag and everything. Nope. Still lagging. Just…a little…slower than…normal.

Fire me.

Baseball season is coming, people. Feel it? No? You're dead inside.

Okay. I've wasted the day. I'm looking forward to a rare quiet night. A nap. Writing. Dinner. Shit, then I have drinks and a show. Shit.

Ooh, the boss I've never met just stopped by to say hi and meet me. I introduced myself as, "The Expendable." She didn't laugh. Jesus.

The Robert Downey Jr. Happy Song Corner


Penny lover, don't walk on by. Penny lover, don't you make me cry. Can't you see girl, who my heart's beating for? You're the only girl that I adore. The first time I saw you, oh, you looked so fine. And I had a feeling one day you'd be mine. Honey you came along and captured my heart. Now my love is somewhere lost in your kiss. When I'm all alone it's you that I miss. Girl a love like yours is hard to resist. Oh, Oh, Ooh, Ooh, Oh. Penny lover, my love's on fire. Penny lover, you're my one desire. Tell me baby could this be true? That I could need someone, like I need you. Nights warm and tender lying next to you. Girl I surrender. Oh, what more can I do? I've spent all of my life in search of your love. Now there's one more thing I'd like to say: don't you ever take your sweet love away. Girl I'll do anything, just please stay. Oh, Oh. I don't understand it, what's come over me. But I'm not gonna worry, no not anymore. 'Cause when a man's in love, he's only got one story. That's why my love is somewhere lost in your kiss. When I'm lost and alone it's you that I miss. With a love like yours, it's hard to resist. Ooh, Ooh, Oh. Penny lover, don't you walk on by. Penny lover, don't you make me cry. Penny lover, don't you walk on by. Penny lover, don't you make me cry. Penny lover, don't you walk on by. I remember the first time I saw you baby. Penny lover, don't you make me cry. You had the look in your eye, you had the look in your eye, yeah, yeah. Ooh pretty baby. I just wanted to reach out and touch you, baby. I just want to reach out and hold ya. I want to reach out and say ooh, ooh. Don't make me cry. I wanna talk about you everyday. Need you, need you baby… speaking of which. I'm lying here next to you and it's warm and it's nice and I just want to tell you that I think I'm lying on your Tonka truck and perhaps you just wet the bed. Would you like a penny? Don't tell your mom.
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