Clean Shaven Problemhood

Problems are a lot easier to create than they ever are to solve.

I shaved in the shower this morning, as I always do, but I leave the clean up tricky parts for later when I’m looking in the mirror.  Forgot to do the clean up trick part, and now I’m sitting in the window of Atlantis and the whole city of Regina is looking at me.  Cars on the street are stopping to stare.  I can see ‘em from two blocks away, watching me, pointing and talking about me.  They’re saying, “Look at that guy in the window of Atlantis!  He forgot to do the clean up tricky parts in the mirror.”

My hoodie smells like campfire.  I was hanging out in Shawn’s backyard over the weekend, drinking beer, and burning wood in his fire pit.  Shawn was there too.  It was a good time.  Gotta do more of that… making time for old friends.

I had a hellova time trying to keep my head screwed on straight yesterday.  I was doing a gross margin calculation based on numbers from a cash flow forecast I prepared.  I know how to do these things, but I really really don’t like to.  It’s like my brain refused to cooperate with the mission because I didn’t consult it first.  I eventually just threw my arms up in the air and said fuckit!  Found my couch, turned on some music, closed my eyes and did some meditating for 10 minutes or so.  The calculations went much smoother after that.

This is purgatory.  Work on a proposal and put it out the door.  Over and over again I do that, and at the same time, doing as much as I can to keep my options open for the future.  It’s hard to tell the difference between being productive and spinning my wheels.

I have good days and bad days.  This is a good day.  The headspace is in a good place.  I smell like a campfire and I can look forward to shaving when I get home.  After that, maybe I’ll put another proposal out the door.

No problem.

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Molehill

There’s a man on the top of the hill and it’s been so long since he got there that he can’t remember anything else about anything else except being there.

There’s a man at the bottom looking up, wondering what’s up there, wondering if moving onto higher heights of perspective will really be worth all the effort.

There’s a woman in the aether somewhere for both of them, and they’re pining for her.  Love raises them up.  Love drives them down.  Love turns their guts around.  Love sets them off to the highest bliss.

And nothing else really seems to matter.

Battlestar Galactica

‘Fish Store Sexy’ is a new phrase I wish to enter into the vernacular.  The words just kinda came out my mouth when I ran into Tamara.  She charged out of the fish store on 13th as I was walking by.  She looked kinda sexy.

Probably didn’t need that last sentence, but if the literary bar starts low, it can only get better right?

Speaking of low bars, I’ve been watching a lot of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ – the original 1978 series.  I remember seeing it as a kid.  Played with the toys that came out.  That’s about it.  The memories are a bit foggy otherwise.

The series was ‘re-imagined’ in 2004 to high critical acclaim.  It spawned four seasons, which I quietly devoured over the last three months.  It’s a great series.  Almost as good as ‘Firefly’.  Can’t believe I hadn’t discovered it until recently.

So as I said, I’m now watching the original 1978 series and my predominant thoughts revolve around how incredibly cheesy it is.  Bad acting.  Bad writing.  Bad wardrobe.  Bad music.  Bad FX.  Poor directing.  The list goes on.  I’m watching it because I find its cheese to be incredibly interesting.  This was a highly rated series in its day.  This represented the pinnacle of 1970’s television.  This is what a million 1978 dollars got you per episode.

I fantasize about travelling back in time with the modern series and playing it for a 1970s Battlestar Galactica audience.  This re-imagined series would be beyond anything they could ever imagine.   However, the brilliance of it comes from how much they would actually recognize.  As an homage to the orgininal series, the re-imagined series builds a lot of 1970’s technology into its sets.  Wired phones.  Rudimentary graphic displays.   Fighters and space ships are even modelled after their original counterparts.  The cheese has been scrubbed clean and the seeds of a great idea are left naked to sprout anew.

You could even say it’s fish store sexy.

Weak

So here’s the deal… Whenever I start bitching about not getting into the groove, call ‘bullshit’.  All I gotta do is start, and then I’ll be fine.

How many times have I said that to myself?

After putting the finishing touches on the momMe proposal for an UK Brand sponsor, I met with Chelsea and Vicci from the high school class I volunteer at.  They’re working on a game of their own, and need advice.  In trying to help them see a way forward, I couldn’t help but look inwards.  How many times have I sought the same thing for my own projects?

I lent them $80 to attend a ‘convergent media’ workshop during the Yorkton Short Film Festival and introduced them to PJ over the phone, who immediately took a liking to them and their work.  Hopefully it works out for them.

Afterwards I went over to Jamie’s for supper.  She wants to form an acting group, and asked me to teach/direct.  I will be providing my play, ‘That Moment In Between’ for study.  I know it intimately well, and it has a number of scenes that will work for a variety of group dynamics.  We start Monday night.

Bit of a weak effort with the blog today.  I could make it better, but that would take time away from diving into some other writing I wish to begin.  Tomorrow’s effort will be more betterer.  I promise.

Nothing Else In Particular

Don’t feel like doing anything today, but I desperately WANT to do something today.  Just gotta start right?  I’ll be okay once I start.

Is there some sort of trick to this?  I mean, sometimes I sit myself down to write, and hands fall off the clock.  Othertimes, like thesetimes, the wheels won’t turn.  I’m just not inspired, or interested, or… something.

Or perhaps I’m just making excuses for myself.  I haven’t actually seriously tried to start something… yet.  How about I just open the document, and begin?  If I’m still not into it after a good honest 15 minutes, I’ll consider it a sign that I should be doing something else (or nothing else in particular).

Stay tuned…

Gonna Be

I’ve been in a lousy mood lately and I decided to stay away from my blog as a result.  The world doesn’t need to hear me bitching about the things I do not have.  I actually had an article sitting on my computer from last Friday that I didn’t publish.  Just deleted the final two paragraphs and called it ‘Four Disparate Paragraphs’.

On Monday I hosted an open mic event to launch the Cathedral Village Arts Festival.  Writers of all stripes were welcome to step up and share their work with a receptive audience.  I didn’t have great expectations for it, but we wound up filling the room beyond capacity.  People seemed to enjoy themselves and more importantly, they seemed to laugh at my jokes (mostly because they were drunk).  People I never met before started to friend me on facebook as a result.

I also spent time with Kate over the last couple of days helping her get an audition reel together.  She came over Monday morning and I turned my living room into a studio space.  She sang, played a guitar, and performed a monologue.  As I said, I was feeling pretty shitty about myself at the time, but something clicked into place.  How many people get to say that they start their day with incredibly talented artists performing and doing their thing in your living room?  When combined with the really amazing people I met at the reading a few hours later, I had no more shit left in my shitty feeling tank.

I’m now about about a quarter way through a pint at O’Hanlon’s.  I’m sitting by myself at a table, alone, without anyone sitting with me.  Just came from an afternoon’s worth of meetings with three broadcasters who flew into town to meet with Saskatchewan producers and I’m in a celebratory mood.  My projects were received well enough, but that’s not why I’m drinking.  Actually, I don’t know why I’m drinking.

I’m here.  The light at the end of the tunnel is within reach.  I’m gonna be okay.

Four Disparate Paragraphs

I’m sitting in the Last Straw and Dean will be joining me in a few minutes.  I just finished teaching in his class and draining a pint seemed like the right thing to do on this final day before the Rapture.

I actually googled ‘Rapture’ this morning, and I couldn’t find any websites that actually took it seriously.  I don’t buy it either, but still, it would have been interesting to read someone’s perspective who actually believed their existence on this earth would be ending tomorrow at 6pm (local time).  Maybe they would be agreeable to giving me money or something.

I sent the CBC proposal out this morning instead of last night.  I decided that I wanted to hear my script read out loud before sending it off.  To that end, I dropped in on Tanya and her friend Mike.  We drank beer and I read them my 53 page script.  It feels like it holds together.  I’ve also been watching episodes of CBC’s other shows to see how ‘Highwaymen would fit in as a drama.  I’m optimistic.

On Monday I’ll be hosting an open mic event as part of the Cathedral Village Arts Festival.  Writers are encouraged to step up and share their words with a receptive audience in an intimate space.  I plan to read some articles from my blog.  I’m looking forward to sharing the stage and meeting new people.

Meandering With the Peddle Down

In my natural habitat I am a meandering unfocused being who becomes infused with spontaneous bouts of inspiration.  I have a hard time keeping the peddle down for long periods of time.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  The vacuum provides the space for my mind to sprawl out and be.

Still, I could stand to drill deeper when I think good enough is good enough.  That’s the lesson I learned this week.  I don’t need new projects to develop while I wait for the old ones to green light.  There’s always more I could be doing.

An avalanche of opportunity came down upon me when all I did was poke around in the aether a bit.  I am both my own advocate and saboteur.  Work hard to push the success of my projects to a singular moment in time, then get stuck in that moment.

There’s still time for long meandering walks and thinky thoughts thunk in the quiet of a solitude.  I just can’t stop doing all that other stuff too.  I’m putting a proposal for Highwaymen out the door today.  I’m moving forward.  I’m no longer concerned about a phone call that looms imminent.  It’s something that’s out of my hands.

Down Then Up

Yesterday was a hard day.  I thought about throwing in the towel, turning on the TV and playing video games.  Of course I didn’t, because I knew that would only make me sink lower.  It took all my effort to get my head in the game.  Been too occupied with shit that’s beyond my control.  I can only do what I can do right?

I phoned PJ up and blew off some steam.  Seemed to help.  Then I started scratching at the nooks and crannies of my projects.  Downloaded the CMF’s annual report and did research.  I wanted to learn more about who the players are in the different genres I’m pitching in.  Who are the broadcasters?  Who are the production companies?  Where are they based?  What are their budgets?

This research sent me down a rather unfocused meandering path, which was probably the best way to do it.  You don’t climb mountains in a straight line.  I looked at two or three production companies who work in two different genres.  I took names.  I bounced around.  I wound up on CBC’s website where I discovered a trove of information.  More leads.

Most significantly, every new piece of information heightened my mood.  I saw new pathways.  Fresh opportunities.  My realm of possibilities grew significantly.

With that I set off for the gym.  I have this app on my iphone that tells me what to do when I’m there.  It’s like having a personal trainer, except it only cost me a buck 99.  Blood flowing through the brain at a high rate is good for the headspace too.  Besides, I had all these fresh opportunities to ponder on.  Might as well do it whilst sweating.

I came home and wrote ‘til 1am.  I’ll have a package ready for CBC in two days.  I’m downright inspired right now.  One hellova journey through the headspace in 24 hours.

No

The Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day yesterday was… ‘no’.

Yes, it was ‘no’.  I’ll have to commit that word to memory and try to use it in a sentence every now and then.  That way, my use of it will take on a certain verisimilitude.  I’m not like those other losers who just throw these 10 dollar words around to make themselves seem super smart.  No, (tee hee, I just used it) I use words as a means of expression, not a call to self importance.

I’ve been a subscriber to the OED Word of the Day for four years now and my vocabulary is much richer for the experience.  Of course, I do worry that using all these new-found words of OED esteem will render me incomprehensible to those who use a lower class of vocabulary.  Who but an Oxford Scholar will understand me when I say, “NO, I do not see the DUCK on the LAKE,” (all three capitalized words being recent OED Words of the Day).

I suppose I will need to use discretion when talking to people.  If my wealth of vocabulary overwhelms them, I will know from the expressions on their faces.  I have already decided that I will be charitable towards their ignorance.  It’s not their fault that their vocabulary hasn’t been enriched by the OED.  If anything, their ignorance presents an opportunity for me to enlighten them, and in so doing, reenforce those words in my own vocabulary.  Teaching something is a great way to learn something.

This reminds me of something interesting.  There is no visual way to express ‘NO’, or ‘NOT’.  A photograph of a tree says ‘tree’.  It cannot say ‘not tree’.  An image of a smoker says ‘smoker’.  It cannot say, ‘not smoker’.  Words or symbols need to be added to the image to communicate it’s opposite meaning.  Even negative themed advertisements can only use positive images to express an idea.  A black and white photograph of a homeless person passed out in an ally, cannot communicate ‘NOT a homeless person in an ally’.  The idea of ‘No’ or ‘not’ exists only in words.

Hmmm…. can it be that all things are positive until we place some negative idea upon it?  Can you say that about abusive relationships or Japanese nuclear reactors?  Perhaps I’m confusing values with simple statements of truth.  Things are what they are, until we say they are not so.

Maybe when we say ‘no’ or ‘not’, we have some explaining to do.  Maybe when we see an abusive relationship, the hardest thing for the people involved is to accept the truth that the relationship is indeed abusive.

Perhaps closer to my own situation, is my freelance artist/writer/filmmaker lifestyle an exercise in futile sustainability?

Yes or No?

I’ve been doing it fifteen years.  Raised vast sums of money in that time.  Blew a half million dollars on misguided dreams, people and infrastructure.  Times are lean now.  The industry is changing.  Still, others are not only making a living, but they’re thriving.  I’m one phone call away from being back in the game.  One phone call.

Am I mistaken to let so much ride on one single moment in time?

Yes or no?