I’m producing a feature film. When I speak to people outside of Los Angeles, they always talk about how glamorous it must be to work in the film industry. It has its moments, but really, It’s a hustle – as you can see from this video. If you feel so inclined, please support. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/quiet-as-kept-2/x/480313
A couple of days ago I went to brunch for my birthday with a dear friend that I have known since college. As we were walking back to her house, she says, “If I could go back in time and give myself advice, I know exactly when I’d go.” This is probably something that we have all thought about. I know exactly what time I would go back to, and I know exactly what I’d tell myself. For many years, I had only one time. I made a huge mistake in 2001 that jeopardized my relationship with my friends and family and ruptured my faith in myself. If I could go back and correct it, I would jump at the opportunity.
Since 2001, my list of regrettable events has slowly grown. I haven’t made the same mistake, nor any quite as severe, but gradually, the blunders have stacked up. They have become blemishes on my life that I sincerely wished to erase.
Later that evening, as I was driving from Los Angeles back to San Diego, I listened to a TED Radio Hour podcast. Low and behold, it was about regret: what is regret; why we regret; the effect of regret on the psyche, etc. So much of the talk was about learning from our past and forgiving ourselves for our mistakes. It rang with the hope that one day the pangs of guilt and the aches of sadness will subside.
One thing I hadn’t really considered, though, was using my own regretful situations as inspiration for my writing. Sure, we all make mistakes and we mostly write from our own experiences. But what about writing about the doozies. The huge mistakes. The life-changing, fear-inspiring, heart-aching foul ups? What about telling stories about the things that we really never want to think about, let alone speak about? Could I potentially immortalize an event that has taken years of therapy to process?
It seems a daunting task, and if I’m honest, I’m not sure that I will. However, writing about it, even fictionally, may be rewarding in some way. This thing that took over my life for a while could actually serve some positive, productive purpose. It may bring usefulness and meaning to a time that feels hollow. It could erase, or at the very least, ease my regret. Somehow facing my gloomy past could turn me into a better writer – a courageous storyteller.
Now that is something to consider.
Most days end with me stomping away, frustrated, vowing never to write again. Now I know why.
These two haiku are from her book Homegirls and Handgrenades.
your love was a port
of call where many ships docked
until morning came
I also love this one:
let me where the day
well so when it reaches you
you will enjoy it
Her poems inspire me. I highly recommend this book as well as Morning Haiku (which I love even more!)
I had lunch with my mom today at Genghis Cohen, a Chinese restaurant in the Fairfax district in Los Angeles. While the decor is reminiscent of an MTV music video circa 1984, their pineapple fried rice is worth the 100 mile drive from San Diego. At the end of the meal, the server delivered the requisite fortune cookie.
The fortune says, “Do not hide your feelings. Let others know where they stand.” This advice isn’t novel by any stretch of the imagination. However, just two posts ago, I was wrote about how important it is for me to embrace my emotions in order to make me a better writer, to create believable characters with emotional depth. I can’t realistically create the very thing from which I have spent my time hiding from.
I find it ironic that I found this message in a fortune cookie. Years ago, I saw the movie Oh God, Book II starring George Burns. He tries to convince a young girl to spread the gospel through witty slogans. And how did he first reach out to her? Through fortune cookies. I spent my childhood (and a short period of my adulthood) believing that God speaks to people via fortune cookie. While most people were busy adding “in bed” to the end of their fortunes, I was more likely to add the words “in church” to mine.
This time, however, whether or not the message is divine, it is certainly apropos. I am working on being more emotionally open, making me a better person, and ultimately, a better writer. Thanks George Burns!
When I was a kid, I used to only write when I was upset. At some point, that changed. I only wanted to write when I felt great. I think that was because I discovered that I am an escapist. I don’t like to feel my emotions or explore them.
While writing only when depressed is not a good game plan, I also think avoiding writing because I am emotional is crippling. I can’t be afraid to feel. How else can I create emotional depth in my characters?
Speaking of characters, the characters in Chapter 5 are running me ragged. I had to put them in a time out last week. I think they’re ready to come out now. Hopefully, they will act right…