30 January 2010

in place of sleep

for the last few weeks, i've followed the same routine on friday nights. i come home, i have dinner and spend some time with the only person crazy enough to live alongside my own craziness. eventually, i brew a pot of coffee and, around midnight, i sit down in front of the computer and start writing until i feel like i'm about to lose consciousness.

it occurred to me today that have really, really gotten to love my friday nights. despite the fact that i end up going to bed shortly before the sun comes up, despite the fact that i know when i go back to start reading the things i've written, i'm going to find all sorts of strange mistakes to testify to just how tired i was getting, this just seems to have become the time when i feel most relaxed and most able to accomplish something.

of course the problem now is that i've started wanting to do this every night, which can get a little tricky when you have a day job and have to get up at 6 in the morning (well, having the alarm go off at 6, which isn't quite the same thing as getting up, but close).

at any rate, it's late on friday and i've hit the point where i don't think i'm going to be creating anything more useful tonight. here's a short excerpt of what i've been working on. the adventure continues...

***

“So now what?” She says it aloud exactly as her uncle says it, mimicking his clipped, deadpan voice.

The answer had always been hers to give. She could have what she wanted, all she had to do was ask. Perhaps, she thinks, she’d feel better if she just ran back to him, to his giant, empty house, with its scents of flowers in the front garden. She knows this isn’t the first time this thought has occurred to her, but it is the first in a while. She could go back, of course, whenever she wants, without asking, without even letting him know to expect her. She could walk through the streets and feel at home and eventually she would forget this place and Adam would become another confusing spirit whose real existence melted into her over-active imagination. She believes that she could forget.

The book glares at her accusingly. Would she forget it? She wants to think she could. It isn’t difficult for her to free her memories. Unless she concentrates on holding tight, most of them just fly away of their own accord. And yet somehow, she can’t quite think of the mark left on her by these mysteries surrounding Cronos, her shadowy benefactor, as something that she could release. Like the memory of crying as she was carried away by the woman in the scratchy brown suit, some things she can’t get rid of.

So now what?

She runs her finger over the carefully recorded notes, trying to feel out the story that lies underneath them. It’s no use. For all the pages she’s filled, for all the talking she and Lloyd did, for all the details they were able to recall, the sobering fact remains that the two of them really don’t know much at all about what happened, either with Cronos or the book.

27 January 2010

fearful spammetry

spam mail is useless you say? NOT SO! for instance, it can be used to create new and interesting things, such as this little poem i threw together entirely from the bung in my spam filter...

If you have any difficulty seeing the contents of this email, please click
What stops loving
It’s about you or no?
Your loads of pleasure
Accumulator of your desire
Become virile like a rabbit
Make her your rod’s slave
You’ll surprise her with your hulk
Blow her with your hormones
Become a perpetuum mobile of love
This is, indeed, to ride like an angel in the whirlwind and direct the storm:
like an angel whose mercy is equal to his power.

If you have any difficulty seeing the contents of this email, please click
Hey, why do you not write?
Please answer me
It’s about you or no?
What stops loving
Stop night fails!
Nothing heals better
Set your wife on fire
Uplong our dignity
Please read
I am very unhappy without you

If you have any difficulty seeing the contents of this email, please click
Why do you cost me?
Economy in crisis and you
We care about your body
Natural to his age, nay his fortune and his blood, on the altar of our liberty.
STOP your pain NOW
Buy cheap Vicodin (hydrocodone)
Be active and want more girls
Get maximum form love
It’s about you or no?
I keep coming upon such thoughtful gifts which you sent to us
Your private video here

If you have any difficulty seeing the contents of this email, please click

26 January 2010

dj kali @ burning monday- burns day extravaganza

another longer-than-usual set following the comedy stylins' of paul ash, joel west and 'devil' dan derkson. had a lot of fun with this one... along with some better known (relatively speaking) stuff, the crowd let me get away with a lot.

blondie :: hangin on the telephone
the gun club :: sex beat
dead kennedys :: halloween
the damned :: lively arts
the cramps :: garbageman
45 grave :: riboflavin, non-carbonated, polyunsaturated blood
perverse teens :: little doll
devo :: s.i.b. (swelling itching brain)
led er est :: woman in a cafe communication
mortuo similis :: past time of the glamour charme
portion control :: chew you to bits
the screamers :: punish or be damned
killing joke :: war dance
siouxsie & the banshees :: night shift
shockheaded peters :: blue rosebuds
the residents :: blue rosebuds
maska genetik :: haut
asche :: kiss the whip
komm intern :: ufo
byetone :: plastic star
drahomira sound orchestra :: they came out of the earth
colin newman :: alone
gary numan :: you are in my vision
sleep chamber :: snakebite
human hands :: i got mad
blank dogs :: face watching
xeno & oaklander :: blue flowers
the danse society :: my heart skipped another beat
wall of voodoo :: factory
death in june :: nothing changes
big black :: kerosene
jesus lizard :: blockbuster
andres loo :: love hurts
coil :: heartworms
legendary pink dots :: casting the runes [skip. skip. skip. skip. move on...]
birdmachine :: the fly room
severed heads :: spitoon thud
implog :: she creatures
venetian snares :: dad
novy svet :: en possession de te

20 January 2010

a lovely mess


movie review :: the lovely bones

it's a heartwarming family movie! it's an emotional meditation on the nature of life and death! no, it's the lovely bones, peter jackson's latest film, an adaptation of alice sebold's novel of the same name.

you can never fault peter jackson for not trying. whatever he does is going to contain some elements that make it fascinating to behold and moments that will stick with you long after. that said, most of his films also contain moments that leave you cringing, wondering if you're missing some in-joke between crew members, or if his editor is trying to get back at him for something. and true to form, the lovely bones has both.

on the positive side, the premise for the story- told from the point of view of a 13 year old girl who has been murdered- is an unconventional one. saorise ronan (best known for playing keira knightley's younger sister in 'atonement') gives the lead role everything she's got and stanley tucci's neighbourhood creep/ killer is spot on. the cinematography is stunning (no surprise) and, unlike jackson's more grandiose projects, this one hearkens back to 'heavenly creatures'- the film that unleashed kate winslet on the world and what i feel is still his masterpiece. and perhaps that's part of the problem. once you start making that comparison, it's kind of hard to avoid noticing that 'the lovely bones' just fails to measure up.

as someone very close to me, a film fanatic, is fond of saying "the script is the most important thing". i sort of wish he'd talked to jackson before the latter spent a hundred million dollars putting together what i saw on screen. because if someone had been able to point out the problems with the script- its indecisiveness about what kind of film it wants to be (do we really need to stop the whole film for a five minute music sequence showing susan sarandon playing bad babysitter for her grandchildren?), the hyper-literary dialogue that sometimes borders on laughable (what works on the written page sounds oh so different coming out of someone's mouth), the perplexing decision to give the film about seven different endings, as if it were originally designed as a 'choose your own adventure' story. these are the sort of things that hobble a film from the start. whatever visual magic the director can work, whatever humanity and pathos the actors can bring to their roles, is not going to overcome the burden of a poorly written screenplay.

i'm not sure why jackson, certainly no neophyte to cinema, missed these problems. perhaps he was focused on the visual element, which is remarkable. the realistic setting- early seventies suburban america- is perfectly rendered. the early scenes look like photos of the era brought to life, complete with the hazy brown cast that seems to adhere to all pictures from the time (my mother has albums full of them). rather than going the david lynch route, jackson's suburbs appear much as they probably were- simple and strangely sterile, devoid of emotion and, for lack of a better way of putting it, devoid of life. it's easy to see where the sections set in the dream world of the afterlife came from the same imagination that created the fantasy world of 'heavenly creatures'. rather than trying to create something that feels real (as he did in the lord of the rings trilogy), jackson here focuses on creating something that appears entirely fake, with keyhole views of reality. it's great eye candy, but it can't overcome the triteness of the material.

the biggest mistake the film makes, however, is a sin of omission. with the limited character development and limited action, it is crucial that the audience feel the pain and impact of the moment where the family's average, storybook life falls apart. for unknown reasons (possibly to keep the film at a pg rating and thus open it to a wider audience), jackson elected to truncate the murder scene, so that the violence is implied but never seen. i'm not trying to say that he should have gone with a sequence à la "i spit on your grave", but without that sense of shock and horror, the audience is placed at a crucial distance. seeing is believing. (somnolent performances from the remaining family members don't help matters either.)

the result of all this is something that starts out promisingly, gets weighed down by all the different things it tries to encompass and finally falls apart. what i said earlier is true- you can't fault peter jackson for not trying. but with a result like this, you can't credit him with succeeding, either.

18 January 2010

mixed nuts


i've always been fond of sinking some time into on line quizzes. so i decided to indulge my cyberchondria and see what a handful of on line psychological tests had to say in response to the simple question: what's wrong with me?

going through these, i tried to select to ones that at least had some pretense of seriousness and i set one rule: to the best of my ability, i answered every question honestly. this is what i ended up with.

this first one asks a series of general questions involving a range of psychological disorders and attempts to identify by percentage likelihood of your having any or all of them. as you can see, according to this test, one does stand out. (i fault this one for using the old-fashioned term "manic depressive". the correct medical term, at least in north america, is "bipolar". if you want to be cutesy about it, i supposed you could say "unpredictable".)


What mental disorder do you have?
Your Result: Manic Depressive
 

You have extreme cycles of highs and lows. Sometimes you feel like you don't know who you are. One week you could be very hyper and happy and the next week you are slow and depressed.

Paranoia
 
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
 
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
 
ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
 
What mental disorder do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


this next one was a particular favourite, not just because it diagnosed me with something so rare it wasn't even listed on the other quizzes and which, to the best of my knowledge, i show no symptoms of whatsoever, but because the quiz is hosted on an online dating site. now what better way to hook a new mate (assuming i were looking to, which i'm not) than to have a big banner declaring that i have multiple personality disorder. the only way i could think of to spin this is by trying to convince someone that it would be like being in a very open relationship with a number of different women.

Your result for The Mental Illness Quiz...

Diagnosis: Multiple Personality Disorder

51% Depressed, 47% Obsessive, 47% Delusional and 70% Anxious!

Now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. Dissociative identity disorder is characterized by the presence of split identities or personality states that continually have power over your behavior. With dissociative identity disorder, there's also an inability for you to recall key personal information that is too far-reaching to be explained as mere forgetfulness. With dissociative identity disorder, you have highly distinct memory variations, which fluctuate with your split personality.



Take The Mental Illness Quiz at OkCupid



this is another one of these tests that determines your propensity for a number of different disorders. as far as i can tell, it's impossible to score a "low" on any of them. answering yes to any one of the frustratingly general questions basically guarantees you a moderate. i'm assuming, given the nature of the quiz, that pretty much everyone is going to get at least one "very high". i got three. i wonder if each of my multiple personalities from the quiz above has one disorder, or if one poor schmuck got stuck with all of them.

DisorderRating
Paranoid Disorder:Very High
Schizoid Disorder:Moderate
Schizotypal Disorder:High
Antisocial Disorder:High
Borderline Disorder:Very High
Histrionic Disorder:Very High
Narcissistic Disorder:High
Avoidant Disorder:Moderate
Dependent Disorder:Moderate
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:High

-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! --
-- Personality Disorders --



enough with the general! let's talk specifics! here is a series of quizzes to determine one's likelihood of having specific conditions. let's see if it lines up with what we've already discovered...

add is still kind of a mystery to me. i hear more about it in kids and my reaction is always to shake my head and think that kids are hyperactive by nature. i don't see that many adults running in circles, screaming and pounding crayons into their head. but apparently that might be because i'm not able to concentrate long enough to see them. i personally like the fact that the add quiz results are shorter than any of the others. know your audience, i guess.

Results of your
Attention Deficit Disorder Quiz

You scored a total of 66

You appear to be suffering from a moderate amount of attention and concentration difficulties according to your responses to this self-report questionnaire.

the result for my anxiety test is amusing chiefly because generalised anxiety disorder IS something i've been diagnosed with. and yet it's one of my lowest scores. i still seem to qualify as "moderately anxious". this would come as news to people who know me well.

Results of your
Anxiety Screening Quiz

You scored a total of 32

Based upon your responses to this anxiety screening measure, it appears that you may be suffering from moderate anxiety, symptoms that might typically qualify you for the diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. Sometimes people who feel such anxiety symptoms don't realize that their body may be trying to tell them something. Look for patterns in your behavior, such as when and what circumstances under which you experience the symptoms you've described. For example, if it occurs prior to public speaking and your job requires a lot of presentations you may want to find ways to calm yourself before speaking or let others do some of the presentations.

The most common anxiety disorders diagnosed are either panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.

OK, i have to say that i know very little about autism/ asperger's, but i know enough to know that i don't have it. so perhaps this result serves to validate some of the other results in this series?

Results of your
Autism / Asperger's Screening Quiz

You scored a total of 24

You have answered this autism screening in such a way as to suggest that you are not likely currently suffering from an austism spectrum disorder, including Asperger's disorder.

i think this next one might be just a wee bit of an exaggeration. people with BPD1 are subject to manias that involve a complete break from reality- psychosis, in other words. i can state with authority that i've never had that. it's this sort of result that probably makes your doctor want to take your internet away, because according to this, i should be demanding lithium and checking myself into hospital. yes, i have mood swings. yes, they are extreme. i'm looking into that. but that's a bit different than saying i'm bipolar type 1.

Results of your
Bipolar Quiz

You scored a total of 56

Based upon your responses to this bipolar screening quiz, you appear to be suffering from severe symptoms associated with a bipolar disorder. People who have answered similarly to you typically qualify for a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder and have sought professional treatment for this disorder.

ah, the classic. depression. i'm willing to bet that no one ever scores low on this one. honestly, i know i do/ have suffered through some major depression (medical professionals back me up on this), so i'm not disputing the result. i did notice one interesting thing about the quiz, though. i got this high score while giving only low to moderate marks to any of the emotional signs of depression. all of the physical signs, however, i have in spades. how weird is that?

Depression Quiz

You scored a total of 56

Based upon your responses to this depression quiz, you appear to be suffering from a severe depression. People who have answered similarly to you typically qualify for a diagnosis of major depression and have sought professional treatment for this disorder.

again, this one is something i expected, but not quite to this extent. this one is actually my highest score and, while i'm prone to periods of "excessive bounciness", i don't think it's as bad as all that. (on the other hand, perhaps i'm kidding myself because being manic is just a lot more fun than being depressed.)

Results of your Mania Quiz

You scored a total of 72

You appear to be severely manic from your responses to this self-report questionnaire. You should not take this as a diagnosis of any sort, or a recommendation for treatment. However, it would be advisable and likely beneficial for you to seek further diagnosis from a trained mental health professional immediately.

i have ocd too? yes, i have weird little rituals i feel compelled to do (like complete every single one of these quizzes), but if you think i'm bad now, you should have seen me when i was a kid, when i'd force myself to step up and over invisible "trip wires" that connected the furniture in our house.

Results of your
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Screening

You scored a total of 14

Based upon your responses to this screening measure, you are most likely suffering from an obsessive-compulsive disorder. You can view symptoms and treatment options for this disorder. This is not a diagnosis, or a recommendation for treatment. However, it would be advisable and likely beneficial for you to seek a professional diagnosis from a trained mental health professional in your community immediately.

once again, the low score on this one presents a possible validation for other results. i've known a number of people with schizophrenia and i'm very sure that isn't one of the disorders to which i am subject. and i consider myself lucky, because i see for those who do have it how much work is involved in just trying to go through stuff that the rest of us deal with every day. (nice little scorpion sting at the end with the "don't worry- you still might be schizophrenic" caveat.)

Results of your
Schizophrenia Screening Quiz

You scored a total of 6


You have answered this schizophrenia screening in such a way as to suggest that you are not likely currently suffering from schizophrenia or a schizophrenia-related disorder. Because no online test is 100% accurate, please be aware that this does not necessarily mean you do not have schizophrenia, only that this particular quiz did not find sufficient evidence to suggest that you do.

if you think i'm making light of mental disorders, you're wrong. i'm just baffled at the sheer number of things that can be wrong and how certain symptoms can be indicative of any number of them. not only that, but it's perfectly common for people to have comorbid (meaning co-existing, but sounds much better when you're talking about mental health problems) conditions. looking at this, i could have several, but it's hard to tell where to start when i can't even get a clear idea of what all the possible conditions are. the "correct" thing to do in this situation is to get a professional opinion, but i have about as much faith in doctors as i do in miracle cures. (hm, perhaps the paranoia test results have something to them.)

so that's it. according to the internet, this is a compendium of all that things that are wrong with me.

i guess that:
- my manic side is going to simultaneously try about eight different "cures"
- my depressive side will give up hope
- my paranoid side won't say anything, because i don't trust anyone enough to help me
- my add side will forget about it before the end of this sentence
- my ocd side will start making lists of all symptoms and cross-referencing them and
- my histrionic side will post this to a blog to get attention.

16 January 2010

resurrection

a few of you- i won't name names, but you know who you are and i hope you know how much your feedback and interest has meant to me- may remember that i was for several months posting episodes of a story for public (or at least friend) consumption.

that got put on hold indefinitely as i put my energies into a screenplay and then, of course, getting that screenplay ("conversion" if anyone hasn't heard me talk about it enough) filmed this summer.

now that filming has been over and the pieces of the picture have been handed over to experts in post-production, i have the time to be creative again, something i really haven't indulged in for a year. i thought about all the new things i could work on, but, in the end, the unfinished serial called to me.

so i'm redoubling my efforts and throwing myself into the task of getting this completed.

since i'm not publishing it in serial form any more, it isn't a serial. i'm not sure what it is. i just know that it's growing and keeping me busy.

here's a short excerpt of a recently written part (very rough), to let those of you who supported the project know that it lives again and has some kind of future and to give those who don't know me that well a chance to see what something i write reads like. as i said, it's very much a first pass and is presented completely out of context.

thanks for reading...

***

A young man, dressed in a black suit similar to those at the table, bursts into the room from a passage in the back. He is obviously animated and, unlike the others, his suit shows signs of his having recently been in a fight. He speaks almost at the top of his voice, in a language Adela doesn’t understand but guesses to be a form of Chinese. He gesticulates frantically, but as he does, she notices he is distinctly favouring his left arm, that he seems almost unable to lift it. The other men at the table rumble to life. They rise with a thunder clap of guttural noises, and follow him out the same point where he entered.

A few seconds later, Adela hears a thud, a security door, she imagines, being thrown open with considerable force. The owner continues to polish her cutlery, without looking up, observing each piece to see the reflection of the gaudy interior lights on its surface.

“This might be a good time to go,” Lloyd mutters tensely.

“Probably.”

He drops some money on the table and pulls her out of the room. As they disappear into the vestibule, Adela can still see the flicker of forks and knives through the smudged door.

The street is desolate of traffic and people, save for a few unfortunates who are making a bed in the thresholds of shops. A stinking river, most likely effluent from the restaurants and dingy grocery stores up the hill, slithers towards them and beyond, into the sewer. This, thinks Adela, is what people mean when they say ‘the dead of night’.

“How are you feeling?”

“Oh fine.”

“I realize you probably want to go home and sleep, but, in the interests of helping, I was thinking it might be an idea to find somewhere else to sit for a while and make notes on everything we talked about. Maybe we’ll start to see some sense in it.

“At the very least, it’ll mean that you’ll be able to refer to it, in case it gets knocked from your memory.”

Adela gives a weary smile. “I don’t sleep, actually. You’re the one who has to get up early in the morning to open the shop, so if you’re up for it, great.”

“Well, one of the perks of being the boss is that you get to make and break the rules. No one cares if I sleep in.”

He starts off, pressing a hand against her elbow, guiding her forward. The streetlights buzz like a swarm of hornets overhead, throwing shadows in every direction. Adela tries to focus on what her companion is saying, but her eyes turn unconsciously towards the starless city sky.

15 January 2010

focus on the positive

ok, so now that we've all had our say on pieces of music that we never want to hear used again in film, let's look at the other side of the proverbial coin. after all, there wouldn't be all these bad examples if there weren't also examples of music and movies being blended to a shimmering perfection.

i maintain that there is an artistry to finding the perfect song to bring a film moment to life for the audience. personally, i'd like to see some of these big awards ceremonies add a category for that. after all, while most elements of a film are crafted particularly for it, using other people's music is taking something independent and recontextualising it within the film. properly done, it's magic.

here, to get things started, are a few of my favourites:

eliot smith :: needle in the hay/ the royal tenenbaums

i personally think that i could make up a list of great uses of music in film just from wes anderson movies. he seems to have an uncanny sense of how to mesh the two (see david bowie's "life on mars" in "the life aquatic", the who's "a quick one" in "rushmore" or for that matter nico's "these days", also in "tenenbaums").

when the film first came out, no one was aware of the sad foreshadowing in having the song appear in a scene where one of the characters attempts suicide.

the rolling stones :: you can't always get what you want"/ the big chill

this is an example of taking a song i don't particularly like and putting it in absolutely perfect context. no, alex about to be lowered into your final resting place, indeed you can't always get what you want. one of those moments where you're not sure whether to laugh or cry.


stealers wheel :: stuck in the middle with you/ reservoir dogs


quentin tarantino is another one of those directors who seems to put as much effort into selecting his music as he does into setting up shots. virtually every one of his films has at least one iconic musical moment that gets embedded in the public consciousness. personally, it was a toss up for me between choosing this one and "across 110th street" from the criminally neglected "jackie brown", but i defer to this one since, going on twenty years later, i still know people who call this "the ear song".

13 January 2010

stop me if you've heard this one before...

i've just returned from a night at the movies and, my feelings about the particular film aside (more on that later), there was one thing that stuck in me like a splinter about the experience.

at an appropriately dramatic moment in the film (because it always has to be a dramatic, emotional moment), this mortal coil's "song to the siren" starts wafting out of the massive sound system. i think i kind of liked this song when i was about thirteen. that was before every director and his dog started throwing it in movies, television shows and documentary footage to augment the dramatic, emotional scenes.

i'm all in favour of the use of various forms of music (aside from an original soundtrack) in movies. i firmly believe it's an art form- finding the perfect piece to work in a scene- and nothing convinces me of this more than when i see a film that forces me to warm to a track i would hate taken out of the context in which it is used.

however, i'm also of the belief that, once a song has been used in a movie once, it has made its association and other directors should just move on. apparently, there are a lot of film-makers who disagree with me on this. and therefore, the same songs keep cropping up, usually in the same sorts of scenes, ad nauseum.

therefore, i'd like to suggest that there needs to be a banned song list that movie makers are forced to follow. and "song to the siren" is going to be at the top of mine.

02 January 2010

national insecurity

i'm just thrilled to learn that air travel, thanks to new security regulations, will now mean longer line-ups than ever (arrive three hours in advance? what if i have an early morning flight? the damn counters aren't even open before 5:30), less chance of having luggage space to carry on books, music and anything else that might make a long flight bearable (i guess i'm supposed to succumb to the dubious charms of the in-flight entertainment) and being felt up before entering the plane by someone who likely flunked out of the police academy.

i've spent most of the holidays hearing about the nigerian student who allegedly attempted to blow up a northwest airlines flight. i've heard all about his family relations. i've even been subjected to pictures of his underpants (i really hope those brown stains are burn marks, i really, really do). and as if days of hysteria and hyperbole weren't dispiriting enough, the last few shreds of tolerability have now been stripped away from air travel.

people better versed in terrorism than i are already insisting that none of these tactics work. and their logic makes sense: nothing creates a panic faster than leaders who seem to be panicking themselves. furthermore, not one of these restrictions actually addresses the serious security failures at issue in this particular incident- that the person responsible managed to get on board with items that were already contraband and that a young man whose name was on a terrorist watch list was granted a visa to the united states.

governments in north america have been trying to convince potential terrorists and their own citizens that they know how to handle these sorts of situations. they don't. and if they want to learn, they should start by listening to people who do have experience.

unfortunately, the sort of chest-beating and sabre-rattling that keeps some world leaders from looking into the reasons why violent fringe groups are able to recruit across a broad spectrum of nations and cultures also keeps them from admitting what they don't know and seeking the counsel of those who would be able to offer meaningful help.

i think i'll just stay home.

to recap

i can honestly say that i have never had a year like 2009. i mean, every passing block of time has things that distinguish it from others, but this last year was really something special.

for one thing, 2009 for me really started in the middle of 2008. some may recall that, when the year got off to a rocky start, i opted to fire 2008 about half way through. coincidentally, that lines up with when i moved back to montreal and started giving some serious thought to the process of what i wanted to be doing.

but if we're really sticking to the calendar year, it started with me half-jokingly telling my boyfriend over brunch that i wanted him to direct a screenplay i'd just written. i was kind of surprised to learn that this was actually feasible and, for the next several months, i was wrapped up preparing for something that, until we started filming in august, i never really believed was going to happen.

of course, before that, i managed to fulfill a long-term ambition of mine and publish an anthology of short stories (also available through barnes and noble and through lulu). some of those tales had been kicking around for a long time and it felt good to finally see them in print.

all the while, things started to come together for the film, more people got involved and it did seem alarmingly possible that this was actually going to happen. i got to put in some time being the music editor for paraphilia. plus this year saw me dj'ing more than i have in a long time.

by the beginning of august, of course, we were ready to start filming and, even as the cameras rolled, it didn't seem real to me. perhaps because it's not something i've done before, so i'm not sure how it should feel. we even got some media coverage (translation here). i owe a huge debt of gratitude to many people for making this project come together. as a writer, i'm not used to working on a creative project where a lot of people are involved, but this experience was truly remarkable. more to come in 2010. (note: the process of film-making is also teaching me patience, something which i have never possessed.)

the latter part of the year, my "post-conversion period" was quieter to start with, but in late november, my boyfriend and i got engaged. i don't even know what to say about that, and i've said a lot about it already (see post "q: are we not still devo?" below). i'm happy. really happy. and it's another first that ends a year (and a half) of important firsts.

and, yes, the year did have some pretty bad lows. the day that my book was published, my youngest cat, the adorable, loving walter, died unexpectedly of a heart attack. (although, even from bad can come good, since we've since added two young'ins to the brood here). by late in the filming process, stress and lack of sleep were making me wonder why i'd started the whole thing in the first place (hey, we all have our moments of doubt).

in july, one of my dearest and closest friends for many years was seriously injured in a car/ bike accident (read the whole tale). however, as difficult as it was seeing him remain in a coma for two weeks and wondering what would happen when he woke up, the sadness of the memory is mitigated by the fact that, once he did wake up, he made an astounding recovery, far faster and more complete than anyone had predicted. religious people would say it was miraculous. i just think that it's testimony to his strength, both inner and outer.

it's funny, because i've often looked back on years and thought to myself that they didn't sound like much. i can't say that about this year. 2010 will be a year of seeing what i can make of what i did. i feel lucky to have the opportunity.
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