Vladimir "Well? Shall we go?" Estragon "Yes, let's go."
(They do not move)
- Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, Act 2
Have you ever experienced such a series of uncanny delays and standstills that, as much as you try to move forward, unsettling obstacles keep leaping in your way bringing you to a screeching halt and the next thing you realize is that you are suspended, hanging upside down and forced to look at the world in a completely different way? Pretty much the whole of September has been a knuckle-gnawing waiting game of several "Do Not Pass Go and Collect $100" cards dealt out by fate. I've been through this before. It feels like deja vu yet, as I struggle to recall the finer details of past events; a misted amnesia shrouds my mind and senses. Did I benefit from this wait? If the universe organized this month, I hope in the bigger scheme of things that it was necessary because it's kind of pissing me off. Bastard!
Writing lately has been akin to heaving a boulder up a hill. Most of the time, I sat in front of my laptop waiting for my muse FROZEN as though I had just Skyped with Medusa. Hold on: that's me reflected in the black mirrored screen with my hair standing on its ends in total shock! In such mentally constipated states, I bargain my way around this by focusing on the other non-writing ways I have in my life to move forward: Autumn has arrived and catering season has begun! So, I'm hoping to catch that gathering tidal wave of money at just the right moment to help make my web series (in addition to applying for grants, entering competitions and future crowdfunding).
And these intentions are all good and said, right up until I'm innocently riding my bike up a hill when suddenly my back goes out! It's fierce irony that I was scheduled the very next day to start a catering job with a brand new employer and then THIS bloody happens! So for the past week, I canceled all shifts from all of my temp jobs, had Doug help maneuver me in and out of bed and ultimately lie stiff as a corpse in a hot bath heaped with epsom salts. I had to wonder: "Did the universe organize this?"
My incapacitation brought me eventually creaking over to see Suzanne in the Lower East Side. She's a licensed massage therapist but also the first friend I made in NYC and, ironically, one of the leads in my series is significantly based on her! What? It's been THREE years since we caught up!
This angelic healer carefully put her hands on my body to read my skin, muscles and bones and immediately cursed at me. "What the fuck have you been doing to yourself?!" It was a brutal message AND massage: a combination of her elbows and body weight ironed out the million stress balls and this one particular boulder on my right shoulder. I felt my truest form: I AM Quasimodo. In the scene happening over some Thai food (and two bottles of rose) later, we laugh and hug. She wants to throw my open toe wedge sandals out her window and offer her ergonomic shoes instead:
Suzanne: This session is just scraping off the crud. I can't even see the painting beneath!
Me: What if there is no painting, but only a void?
Suzanne: Nah, something is there. I've seen your colors before.
Me: I've got writer's block.
Suzanne: More reason for me to "sort you out".
So, OK. I will go down this route and cross my fingers for a green light as I enter October. Need to keep writing. Need to keep going: I need to produce my series.
During my jail time, Doug and I watched an absolutely remarkable New Zealand film called The Dark Horse. The Kiwis always keep the bar so high in producing gritty, honest, yet full of heart stories and this is just the latest example. You may know actor Cliff Curtis for playing the straight man in Fear The Walking Dead but his jaw-droppingly transformative performance (as a real-life former chess prodigy with bipolar disorder fighting to save impoverished youth) is deeply touching. All of the actors are so truthful and magnificent! A must-watch, perfect gem!
I also binge watched Six Feet Under. Loved it before, but this series never feels old because of its deep humanity and unique content. This time round, I focused purely on Alan Ball's scene writing, structure and how he captured his endearing characters. As I create a universe, I find myself carefully choosing material that will inform mine. I try not to watch anything that is in a similar vein (i.e. a "fish out of water" story) because when you're in the middle of creating original content you don't want to be in danger of accidentally copying another. Thank you, Alan Ball, for your gift and vision of an outstanding series. I bow with deep respect.
So, I hope your September was way, WAY more dynamic and productive than mine.
For those of you who also experienced a series of delays and halts, especially with your creative and passion projects...
I leave you with the mantra to your right.
Much love to you, Dianne xxx