Write Girl in Sierra Madre

There's a very exciting event you could attend if you're in the Sierra Madre area the evening of March 3. It'll be full of inspired reading of inspired writing by teen girls who have been a part of Write Girl and are published in Write Girl's latest anthology "Lines of Velocity". Oh, and I will probably be there, so come have a chat!


Decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse

Isn't it wonderful when something reminds you of something which reminds you of something else and soon you are exploring something you loved so long ago you can barely remember it? Yet, you see it again, and POW, it's more lovely and mesmerizing and charged with meaning than you ever could have understood when you were 19.

I just re-read The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock for the first time in, well, a long time. Astonishing.
"I grow old . . .I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me."
At times, leaving your own scripts fallow for a few months can create a similar experience -- except, you know, they're never going to read as well as Eliot. Still, it's a great way to remind yourself why you write, and that you can write, after all.

Artery Cloggery
Denny's chocolate milkshakes are another pleasure (though perhaps not quite so high a pleasure as T.S. Eliot) I recently rediscovered after years of their inconspicuous absence from my life. Now that you can't smoke in Denny's and they have a Boca burger on the menu, it's really not that bad. Plus, they still have Moons over My Hammy, which I have never eaten, because meat -- but I do so love the name. Still, Denny's ain't no 101, so it's quite likely I'll wait another decade before visiting it again.


Night time is the right time

I don't write after dark. Period. And I always write at home. It's just how I do.

Except this week, thanks to a chat I had one of the brilliant members of my brilliant writers group (and in case that sentence makes it sound like I was chatting to one of the brilliant members, instead of one of the cretinous members, let me state here that they are all brilliant, and I am blessed to be amongst them), I decided to kick myself into high gear, act like a real writer, and go sit in a coffee shop with my laptop. At night.

Hooray and thank you, brilliant writers' group member. 

As soon as I stepped into Swork on Monday evening it all came flooding back to me. I love coffee shops. I love writing in them. I love surrounding myself with people all quietly working on meaningful projects. Scripts, essays, physics homework, masterplans to rule the world – they were all being quietly hatched as I stared into space, thinking up clever ways for my characters to say clever things.

I love the writing I did that night. So on Wednesday I hit GroundWork on Sunset and last night it was Zeli Coffee Bar in Pasadena. (Notice how I carefully avoided any multifarious international conglomerates in favor of organic, fair-trade, independent kind of places?).

Right. So the moral of this tale for those of us who write (and if you don't, why are you reading my blog, Crazy Person?):

Change your routine. Get out of your rut. Do something you wouldn't normally do. It's good for your writing and it's good for your soul.


Artery Cloggery
Who needs sweet edible treats when you have Liam Finn? Seriously.
 You really need to hear his music. Like, right now. Which you can, thanks to MySpace. This is his page. Go. Listen. Go. Now. You'll thank me.


Ferocious sleeping badgers

Sometimes I miss commercials.

Artery Cloggery
Chocolate fondue. Heat 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream. Break up two 4oz Ghirardelli or Valrhona bittersweet chocolate bars. Wait 4 minutes. Whisk.

Chocolaty nirvana. With pretzels.


I don't like Mondays

Show runners, writers, assistants, production crews, Hollywood – congratulations. You get to go back to work.

Thank you for all you've done for me (and all those other future WGA members out there) over the last three months.

Now drink up that fourth cup of coffee. You're gonna need it!


Voice-over, what is it good for?

Pushing Daisies. Gossip Girl. Dexter. The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Veronica Mars. My So-Called Life. Grey's Anatomy. Arrested Development. Scrubs. Desperate Housewives... and so on ad infinitum.

Everyone always says "Never ever ever ever put voice-over in your spec pilots." So why do so many dang shows end up on TV with some form of VO or narrator all over them?

The obvious answer is because it's easier. Right? I mean, what better way to reveal those little plots twists, provide backstory, and turn those emotions up to 11 than by using voice-over? And how much easier it is to make something funny if you can shine a little VO flashlight on the joke. Or even give lots of jokes to the narrator, a la Arrested Development.

In some cases, it really does work. Imagine Arrested Development without Ron Howard. C'mon! How 'bout Pushing Daisies without "The facts were these". We'd be subjected to line after line of laying pipe. Veronica Mars without Veronica's clever insights? Probably not as strong. Desperate Ho-wives without Mary-Alice. I don't watch that show, so you tell me.

Thing is, it's so easy to get VO terribly, terribly wrong.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I'm looking at you. Can anyone ever remember Sarah's pseudo-existential ramblings from one episode to the next? Do they help tell the story, add a layer of characterization, entertain us? Anything? No. They do not. If they never wrote another VO for that show, no one would even notice. Except those of us that would be going, "Thank you Josh".

Same goes for Grey's Anatomy. I don't care what Meredith thinks "The thing about surgeons" is this week. Really. The only time I liked the Grey's VO is when they gave it to Dr. Bailey. 

What about Gossip Girl? How can a character we never even see be so annoying and so unnecessary? I love Kristen Bell, but we don't need her in GG-land. How can you call a show Gossip Girl when you really don't need the gossip girl? It wouldn't make any difference to the characters' lives if she never wrote another gossip column. 

They should change the name to Spoiled Rich White Kids with Inconsequential Problems. We don't need some bratty blog to get off on that.

Artery Cloggery
Burgers from Orean's on North Lake street in Pasadena. Totally vegetarian, totally yummy.

I didn't have fries or a shake, but I wish I had.