Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Banana nut is a good muffin.

It’s only one o’clock PM on this, the last Friday of 2002. These days at the end of the year, especially these between Christmas and New Year’s, are almost completely useless to me and I’m not sure why. I can’t bring myself to implement any of the things that I know I need to push myself to do. I have no motivation, and I have not even the motivation to motivate myself.

When I look back on my year, it hasn’t really been that bad. In fact, 2002 was a year in which I made my onstage acting debut, had plays go up in both Chicago and (day after tomorrow) New York City, and made my first thousand dollars strictly on my prose fiction[1]. And yet, I can’t stop myself from feeling like I’m still not doing as much as I could be. That could be, perhaps, because it’s true. I’m still dawdling. I’m still not as disciplined as I could be. I did manage to finish the first science fiction story I’ve written since high school, with plans to rewrite the one I’d written previously, and as soon as I have a few more opinions on this new one–Donna feels it “needs a beginning”–and rewritten it based on those opinions, I’m going to send it out to magazine anthologies. Anybody want to offer comments on amateur sci-fi? You know how to reach me.

Nobody ever asks me this question, but if they did, I’d have to answer that the Muppet I most relate to is Gonzo. But if they asked for a second Muppet–you know, just in case Gonzo was still recovering from a recent stunt involving free weights, lawn flamingos, and Dostoyevsky–I’d have to mention the Sesame Street Classical Composer [2], who through much of my childhood sat at a grand piano, staring at a bust of Beethoven, pecking out a few bars of music, and then slamming his forehead to the keys and exclaiming “Ohhhh! It’s terrible! Terrible! It will never work!”[3] That’s almost exactly how I write plays and fiction these days, although I have a different keyboard, and I don’t literally slam my head to it.

Wednesday night, in keeping with the Accidental Robinson-Dardai Christmas Tradition [4], I saw Adaptation and was both immensely entertained and fantastically depressed by it. The latter, especially, as it hit me on two different levels. First of all, the film’s Charlie Kaufman is suffering from a painfully conveyed spell of writer’s block brought on by an ill-advised attempt to adapt for film a novel with no dramatic arc and no conflict–and oh, how I felt his pain. But the second part of the reaction I had is knowing that both Charlies–the Nicolas Cage persona and the actual screenwriter, did eventually pull out of their blocks and created this film that I blew me away, much like Jonze/Kaufman’s previous film, Being John Malkovich.

I keep telling myself, as always, that I might be as good a writer when I hit thirtysomething, as all of my living literary heroes inevitably are or older, but then again, what if I don’t?

2003 must be a better year than the one I just had. I’m not sure what I’ll do if I get to 2004 and it isn’t.

[1] And on a single story, at that. If it were possible to twirl a word processor around one finger and then drop it into the holster–and if word processors had holsters–I might be doing just that right now.

[2] And I’m sure he had a name, and I want to say it was Ludwig von Something-Or-Other.

[3] One of my fonder memories of his appearances was his retooling of the Sesame Street theme’s lyrics. “Cloudy night/not even a star in sight!/On my way/to where the sky is dark…/Can you tell me how to get?/How to get to Yellowstone Park?”

[4] Every Christmas, my buddy Hannibal and I go see a movie. This is the sixth year of the Accidental Tradition, having begun with Jackie Brown in 1997, and continuing with Shakespeare in Love, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cast Away, Vanilla Sky and now Adaptation. It might have been Catch Me If You Can this year, but Hannibal had recently seen Gangs of New York and didn’t want to suffer from what he termed “DiCaprio Fatigue.”

Current music: MP3 list, Barenaked Ladies, “Never Do Anything”

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This entry was posted on December 27, 2002 by in Movies, Plays, Theatre, Writing.
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