Being Alone

As most who know me know, I love being alone.

I can spend days, if not weeks, without human contact and not even bat an eye. I’m not saying this as some badge of honor or anything. Merely as a fact about me. And one pertinent to what I’m about to tell you…

Recently, my husband was heading to the East Coast to visit his mother for some one-on-one time. I was planning to stay home and enjoy my alone time.

Well… things didn’t go exactly as planned.

It just so happened that my grandfather passed away and his funeral was scheduled during the eight days my husband was also away, so needless to say, my alone time at home was interrupted with a four-day-trip to New York.

I had a day alone before flying to the east coast and then I had three days alone after returning.

I know this sounds ridiculous but I was savoring each one of them.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love and adore my husband and we are seriously perfect for each other BUT we BOTH work from home and though our apartment is nice and large, our kitchen is the size of a bathroom (not kidding!) so when we’re both in there, moving is difficult. For someone like myself who loves (no, needs) alone time, this is all very difficult. I also work nights part-time so my sleep schedule is all over the place.

Anywho…

My grandfather’s funeral was beautiful and we celebrated him with love. I have no regrets and loved him very much.

When I returned home, I was keenly aware of my alone time countdown. I reverted back to the Christina who lived alone for seven years. I pee’d with the door open, I walked around with zit cream on, I worked wherever and whenever I wanted. I slept soundly as there was no one there who could wake me up. I cooked what I liked and didn’t care if the house smelled of shrimp (my husband despises it!) All in all, I had a good time. Not gonna lie.

I was so enthralled with this aloneness though, that I shared a little too much about it with my loving partner, who needless to say did not care too much to hear about how happy I was living it up in Aloneville.

Our reunion wasn’t as heartwarming as it should have been and I take the blame. Rather than express how much I was enjoying being alone, perhaps I should have told my husband how much I missed him.

But the funny part of this whole story, the reason I am writing this long tale, is that I didn’t realize I missed him until after he came home.

I know. Crazy. But that’s how it went.

First, I started to see how nice it was to have him by my side at night. Falling asleep on him is one of my favorite places in the world to be. And sleeping alone, though it was great to sleep diagonally in silence with all the covers, didn’t seem as significant as before. And when something good happened, like when a piece of mine got published, sharing it with him made it so much more meaningful than smiling to no one in the room.

I also realized coming home from work to an empty place isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Sure, the freedom to do whatever you want is tempting, but much less satisfying that coming home to a smiling partner, who is waiting to eat dinner with you and genuinely tells you they missed you all day.

But what really got me thinking was a few days after my husband returned, I shared with him how much I loved him and that I try to learn about us and grow every day and how I want to show him this more… and you know what, it turned around his entire day, taking it from a shitty one to not so bad.

Love is powerful.

It teaches us daily if we’re open to it. But with it, comes responsibility.

Thank you, Don. For putting up with my demand for alone time but you know what, I might not need it as much as I thought…

 

Road Tripping Days 8 & 9

Washington D.C.

Such a strange character.

It’s a state but not really. It’s a city, kinda. It’s the nation’s capitol. We, tay-paying citizens, give taxes for it’s existence and there are ample museums and monuments around to learn from for many days to come.

History is everywhere in D.C. and yet, it isn’t.

It’s like modernity meets the past and both sides are trying to cling on for dear life….

I see the change in administration affects the local government workers in the area more than anyone. It’s interesting to see partisan politics at work. As an idealist, I wished it was based on fact rather than what party was in power but Washington locals soon put me in my place, essentially telling me that’s the perfection that will never exist.

But I still toured D.C. as though I was an idealist in my twenties. I went to the Capital Building and visited Thomas Massie’s office (Kentucky Rep, and closest to Ron Paul in ideology as we can get.) I saw the White House, Capitol Hill, most of the Smithsonian museums, Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, not to mention their modern art garden and Veteran’s Memorial.

I loved every moment and soaked up as much history, along with reality, as possible.

That said, I couldn’t help but remember my days of being a reader for major Hollywood production companies.

Most of the books I read had a lot to do with espionage and the CIA/FBI and were murder thrillers. Seriously, I probably read upwards of 300+ in the ten years of doing that job. Needless to say, my dreams were epic at that time…. and scary as shit, but I digress.

As a reader, I got to learn a lot about terrorism and intelligence operations within the government branches. My knowledge on law enforcement of our Nation grew quite a bit during this time and it’s always stuck with me.

And what better time for it to surface than when visiting the Nation’s capitol for the first time?

So…..

When my husband and I first arrived in D.C. in the later hours of the morning, we decided to stop in a Starbuck’s to get caffeinated before heading on into the National Mall. (Look it up. Not a shopping mall like comes to mind….haha)

Once inside, I realized I had to go to pee for the tenth time that morning (road trips kill my bladder!) and after learning the code, I made my way into the one-person bathroom.

I squatted down, far from the seat as it’s a public bathroom, and proceeded to go while I glanced around.

My eyes stopped on the baby changing station. The main bed part had been pulled down rather than secured in its wall mount. As my first instinct was to fix it, I glanced at it first and noticed a nondescript suitcase under the bed part.

All the stories I’ve read over the past ten years flashed in my head and I stopped. Though I wanted to tell the attendant about it, I couldn’t help but notice that it seemed as though someone wanted to hide it.

So I kept my mouth shut. Those are the disposable characters in the books. The one who can identify the suitcase but have little meaning otherwise….

Yeah… No thank you. Not gonna be that person.

Till tomorrow….

#roadtripping

Start Small, Grow Big

I’ve been thinking lately about the difficult things. We as humans all face challenges, some much larger than others, quite a few of our doing and many in the face of adversity, but that’s where we define ourselves really, if you think about it…

I’ve made short films for the past ten years. Most have played the festival circuit, a couple have distribution, but I have yet to hit my stride and earn a living from filmmaking. I’m far from giving up though. That simply won’t happen but my philosophy is to see things as they are and take it from there.

At the beginning of this year, frustrated with the lack of securing the budget to get my first feature film produced, I decided to take the script I wrote (along with a wonderful contributor) and turn it into a book. I haven’t written about it in this blog yet because then it becomes real. Out there. So please, hold me accountable for it.

Allow me to add some facts. I adore books. I’ve read them professionally as a paid book analyst for film production companies and writers for a decade now and read about one book a month for pleasure. I’ll pretty much read anything, though I must admit I’m not too into comics and graphic novels but I have given them a try to be fair.

Once I started writing this book, I started to wonder what took me so long to get here.

But then, who cares? I’m here now.

As I prepare Part I of my book to give to my father, who always provides me with an honest, critical analysis of my work, I can’t help but think about my path here.

I began telling stories when I was seven, filling my neighbor friend’s ears with my thoughts. I then wrote my first script at 12, a tv show titled “Roommates” (true story, I called The Roseanne production office, posed as a teenager “doing a homework assignment and would love a real script to see” and asked for a script, which they sent and I studied for days but I digress…) and then went on to college, unfortunately not as a straight-A student by any means. In fact, I was on academic probation. Twice.

The one class I excelled in happened to be Screenwriting 101. A bunch of my friends hated the teacher and thought he was difficult and I kid you not, some were even getting Ds and failing, unlike any of their other classes. They bitched about him constantly. I, however, found the class to be the easiest one on my schedule. I would often do the assignments the night before and get A’s on them. At the end of the semester, I gave the professor a postcard so he could send me my grade and when I got it in the mail, I smiled. It read, “Are you kidding me? Tops in the class. A++++!!! Have a great summer.”

I channel that when I start to doubt myself.

It’s time for me to write the book I’ve been thinking about for perhaps all my life.

So here I go…

Please wish me luck!!

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Two Strangers

I was waiting in line at a store today when I heard a lady behind me talk loudly to the gentleman she was with. She smiled at a child who walked by with a giant painted decorative Easter egg and exclaimed, “That’s a big egg!”

She caused a few stares. And her clothes made one wonder if she lived on the street. The gentleman she was with answered her questions calmly as she looked in awe at the candy selection near checkout. Her face looked like a face of a forty-year old but her behavior was like that of a ten-year old.

“Oh! Can we go to Best Buy after this?” she asked the person she was with.

He looked into their cart and said maybe they should’t today with all this already. He said they wouldn’t have much room. She agreed and moved on to checking out the chewing gum.

“Your purse is open.”

I turned and realized she was talking to me.

“Oh, thank you! I didn’t realize,” I replied, zipping up my purse pocket.

“You know, you’ve got to be careful. People can get near you and take something and you don’t even know it!” she said, warning me.

“Yes, you’re right. Thanks again. I appreciate it,” I said, smiling at both her and the man she was with. He just stared at me before she continued.

“The other day, someone had some money on a table and another person tried to take it. I saw it and I told him not to do it.”

“Really?” I asked, as the line moved up.

“Oh yeah. He tried to grab it when she wasn’t looking. And you know what?”

“What?” I said, getting into her story.

“He called me stupid.”

“What? Why on Earth…”

“I know. He said I was stupid for stopping him.”

I looked straight into her dark black eyes and said, “You know what? You are not stupid for stopping someone from stealing. In fact, you are very smart. What you did was great. He’s the one who is stupid.”

She looked at me and gave me the biggest smile, feeling very proud.

“Yeah. He’s stupid. Not me.”

My husband, who was shopping in a store next door, came in and asked for the credit card because he forgot his wallet. I quickly handed it to him so he could get back to the register.

When he left, my new friend asked me, “Is that your brother?”

I laughed. “No. That was my husband.”

She looked at me in awe and exclaimed, “No way, you’re too young to be married.”

I’m not going to lie. As I near forty, comments like this one put a smile on my face.

It was my turn for the next register. As I left the line, I told my new friend to have a great day.

“You too!” she said.

Just two strangers, making each other feel good.

 

The Other Night

WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT IN THIS BLOG POST

I try to keep my posts all-ages friendly but sometimes, that’s simply not possible.

The other night, I was inside a convenience store buying some sparkling water when I witnessed the most interesting interaction between what appeared to be two homeless males. If I had to judge, I would say one was nearly old enough to drink and new to the streets while the other was not so new to the streets and likely in his later thirties. They were in line before me, buying some beer.

The pudgy older one was purchasing the beer with cash while the skinny younger one grabbed a lighter called “The Torch” and flicked it on. His eyes lit up in awe as he exclaimed with a goofy smile, “I’ve got to have this.”

The older one stared at his friend and said, “No you don’t. You said you were gonna quit that shit. Smoke pot or something but don’t smoke crack.”

The younger one, who seemed to be on some drug already, grabbed the older one’s face and smiled into his eyes. “I love you,” he said and gave him a bear hug.

The older one hugged him back but didn’t give in. “Put it down. You don’t need it.”

Despite the pleading, the younger one took out a few crumpled dollar bills from his short jeans pocket and paid the cashier the three dollars it cost.

As they exited, I heard the older one still saying the younger one didn’t need any torch lighter. He said, “Come on, let’s just go drink our beer and forget about that shit.”

It was my turn at the register. I paid for my water and left.

The homeless guys were outside the store, doing something with their bicycles. I could hear them talk as I walked to the corner to cross the street.

The older one was more serious now. “Do you want to sell you ass? That’s what’s gonna happen if you keep smoking that crack shit.”

The younger one said nothing but had an odd smile on his face.

The older one continued, “I love ya, man, but I don’t want AIDS squirted up your ass. I’m serious. Stop! Smoking! Crack!” He was practically yelling at this point.

The light changed and I continued on, no longer able to make out their conversation.

I’ve been thinking about these two for about a week now.

While it was disturbing to see a young adult on the streets suffering from what appeared to be a crack addiction, it was quite beautiful watching his friend, a fellow homeless man, trying to talk him out of it and get him off it. I hope he succeeds.

#beautyiseverywhere

 

Countdown till Christmas – 6 days to go!

As I was thinking about my countdown today, I wanted to come up with something that I could personally offer to another person. I found many sites asking for cash donations but I didn’t want to just throw money at a problem. Not to say donating money is bad, it’s absolutely not, (though I do find it best to vet a charity organization before you give any money…)

So, I thought – what do I have to offer that could help another person…. Hm…..

Then today at work, someone asked me if I’m still reading scripts. For those new to my blog, I’ve worked as a professional script analyst for the past decade and though I’m trying to maneuver my way into writing rather than reading, this is something I get asked about quite often.

And this led me to deciding to offer my reading skills to someone who has a script they want read.

My offer is this – I will do FREE coverage for one script from someone who either comments on my Facebook post about this or for readers of my blog, comments below. I will be selecting one tomorrow at noon….

#countdowntochristmas

 

Have Courage, Will Film

I launched a Kickstarter campaign a little over three weeks ago to “kick off” the fundraising portion of my feature film debut, Driving Your Mind, a film I co-wrote with editor, Suzanne LaBrot. I’m not asking for the budget of the film by any means but rather a modest amount (in my opinion) to help get the ball moving for this film.

It has not been easy. I’ve tried my best to offer value for value but the reality is it’s down to the last five days of the fundraising campaign and I’m at about 45% funded.

Imagine trying to move a mountain, by yourself, with your arms. That’s kinda what it’s like if you’re a writer/director/producer trying to get an independent feature film made. At least, for me, I often feel like I’m trying to move mountains. Making a film is hard. It’s damn hard. But when mountains do finally nudge a bit and the sun streaks through, that right there is the essence of life and exactly the reason I do this.

Kickstarter helped me see I have to go outside this small box I live in. At first, it was an eye-opening experience to see only a handful of people I know decide to support me in this endeavor (and I’m taking into account all who supported me, both financially and/or with other actions) But then! I realized how large this world is and how my work has only been exposed to a select few…

It’s ME who needs to step this up now. I need to throw out my hatred of networking, all of my fears about being perfect and what not and get the budget I need to make this film without sacrificing any quality. I need courage. I am going up against the steepest of mountains. And thinking about this, I’m reminded of a moment from my childhood…

When I was no taller than my waist, I had a fear of something on television. It was big and scary and busted through its clothing and turned an odd shade of green. The Incredible Hulk. This green giant scared the bee-jeezus out of my brother and I when we were kids until one day, my father decided to show us this hulk was nothing to fear. He made us go to the television screen when the show came on and touch it as the Hulk grew into full form. It terrified me to think of doing anything like that at that moment… but then… after a minute, being coaxed by my father… I did it. I touched the hulk on the screen and nothing bad happened.

I need to channel that moment right now and touch “the big screen.”

Have courage. Will film.

(And for anyone interested, please find my kickstarter campaign link below! Thank you for the consideration! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/drivingyourmindinc/come-along-for-the-ride-with-driving-your-mind/description)

A Walk

I had a few errands to do today and fortunately had some extra time so I decided to take a walk to get them done. I also wanted to write a blog today but hadn’t committed to one idea for it yet. Then, as I was putting on a shirt before hitting the pavement, I was struck with the thought of combining these two things, so…

Here is my walk with pictures (and a little writing to round the story out.) I recommend doing this yourself too. You’ll be surprised at how much more you notice when you have a camera in your hand on your walk.

A Walk

Off I go!
start

Lovely… but killer on my sinuses.
photo 5

With a bright blue sky though, I’ll suffer.
photo 4

These signs are EVERYWHERE. (I don’t have a pet…)
photo 3

Is this a large bonsai tree???
photo 2

First stop, where my sour-puss faced helper informed me that they can open up my media mail package to make sure I’m not lying about what’s inside. I replied, “Wow, that’s a lot of time. Fine, as long as you put it all back together.”
photo 1

It’s like a drunk not able to pass a bar. photo 5

Of course I bought something.
photo 1

Third stop (because it’s in walking distance.) I prefer Von’s, Sprouts and Fresh & Easy but they aren’t…
photo 4

photo 3
My theory: they’re trying to piss off…

the McMansions being built directly across the street.
photo 2

I forgot my phone one day.

I left the house feeling like something was off. I couldn’t place it. I just knew all was not right. I shrugged it off since I had to get to work though and carried on.

As I was waiting on a 405 off ramp, I glanced at my phone. Or where I thought my phone should be. Uh oh. I sunk my hand in my purse and swished around, hoping to feel that familiar rectangular piece of glass.

It wasn’t there. Damn.

It hadn’t even hit noon yet and I had a long workday ahead of me. I wouldn’t be home, or more notably at that moment, I wouldn’t see my phone, until nearly ten in the evening.

I panicked. A little. Not in the “HOLY SH*%, my finger’s just been sliced off” type way but in the “Crap, I have a two-hour break and without a phone, it will suck” type way.

I turned to the backseat. Damn.

I had forgotten my weekly Hollywood Reporter too (last week’s issue actually, which I was still trying to finish.)

I arrived at work. Oh well, I thought. I did my thing. Served some tables. Poured some drinks. Made some money.

I left for my break. I had a little over two hours before I needed to get back. I started to do the math in my head. I theoretically could have gone home to get my phone and still have time to grab a bite to eat and get some emails or phone calls done. I rationalized it in my head and got in my car.

The 10 was a parking lot, which I habitually got on since I normally work a double and leave around ten in the evening. I spent twenty minutes barely moving and berating myself for caring so much about my phone. I had other work I could do. In fact, I had a meeting with my writing partner the very next day and hadn’t written the scene we were to go over yet.

I went to a quaint little Chinese restaurant, ordered the beef fried rice and settled in for an hour or so at one of their red faux-leather booths.

I wrote the scene on the backs of two printed coupons I had in my car and three index-card-sized pages of paper I ripped out of a notepad I always keep with me.

Flash forward to the meeting with my writing partner.

I told her the story I just told you. Then I read her the scene (which took effort by the way because my writing was hastily scribbled and half the size it should be.) But I read it to her, to which afterward she replied,

“Thank God you forgot your phone.”

I was thrilled she liked the scene, which I wrote based on our notes from a prior session, but I kept wondering if I would have written this same scene had I not forgotten my phone? And what else do I not do because I have my little time-sucking machine attached to fingers should I find myself with an extra minute? I do not want to be a slave to this thing. Yes, I love the convenience of checking my email and not missing important calls but really, Facebook statuses and words with friends and random searches on the web should not be on my to-do list nearly as often as I do them. So readily on my phone.

Think about it. I say, forget your phone sometimes! Okay, just turn it off for a bit? Oh hell, at least put it on silent then…

How much more do you think you’d get done?