Monday, February 28, 2011

The Redheaded Breadhead

Well if I accomplish nothing else in my life, at least I can say I received the prestigious "Breadhead of the Month" award (the bakery equivalent of employee of the month.) I have a new nickname to go with it too - the redheaded breadhead - which my co-workers and proud family now lovingly call me. I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry when they gave it to me but the thought passed through my head, "this is not my life." I had hoped I'd be achieving a little more at this point but I guess I'll take what I can get. It's not an Oscar but it's something.
I'm actually doing quite well and not because of anything quantifiable I can report. I'm just enjoying the work, I'm enjoying being in the ring, fighting the good fight everyday and trying to overcome the resistance to be better. One of my classmates lent me this great book to read called "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. I'm going to buy my own copy and read it again. It's all about battling (hooray for warrior metaphors) your own inner resistance, of listening to that little voice inside you that knows what you most want (or as Joseph Campbell called it following your bliss) and showing up to do the work. It doesn't matter what happens once it's out of your hands. If you show up to do the work, whether it's writing, music, marathons, whatever your heart's desire and regardless the outcome, there is enough joy in the trying and pursuing. And you know I've discovered for myself that there actually is. Maybe that's obvious, I've certainly heard it before and have probably been taught it too, but it hasn't really sunk in until now. Now I see better. For one like me who's always been so fixed on the outcome, the achievement, the resolution, the product, etc... and often fears that maybe whatever I do won't amount to anything, these new insights have been a good lesson. It really is all about the work, of learning to let go of the rest and what you can't control and being present in the work at the moment. It's getting out of your own ego more. I wish I could better elaborate but I'll leave it there. I know I still have much to learn and sometimes I have to remind myself of what Dora says in Finding Nemo: "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.... Sometimes on hard days all I can do is chant that to myself (and have some chocolate too.) I think I've become a chocolate junkie.
Other than that I'm still running, writing, riding the Big Blue Bus to UCLA. Life's pretty busy and good. I can't believe another month is gone. The end of my 2nd quarter is in 2 weeks. One more quarter, a whole new screenplay in 10 weeks this time, and that, we'll see...
And since I mentioned the Oscars earlier, so glad The King's Speech won best picture. That and Inception were my favorite films of the year. Well, on to March, the month of the Pisces, my month actually so maybe the whole Dora swimming thing is an apt description for whatever lies ahead. Embrace the adventure!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

LA wish come true

So, studying screenwriting at UCLA and being so close to Hollywood I've had some great opportunities to hear from seasoned professionals and attend some cool screenings, especially with it being Oscar season. My wish finally came true when the director I've wanted to hear from most since being here finally had a screening and Q&A this last Friday: Christopher Nolan. I find it amazing that time after time he can create not only big blockbusters that a variety of people love (including me), but that they also have such depth and great story to them. He is a great storyteller, and I was excited to go listen to him. There wasn't necessarily one thing he said that stood out. It was the whole experience of being there and seeing someone who has been so successful and continues to be while maintaining a strong sense of what makes him unique. It was kind of cool that Guilllermo del Torro was the one who mediated, and they talked about their influences and love of noir, Borges, trying different things to tell good stories and really get to the simple, bare bones of an idea. Just two great directors just chatting for all of us. We were not allowed to ask questions about The Hobbit or Batman, however. Not that there was even much time for questions, but you take what you can get. This is another thing I love about LA (besides the awesome weather), having all this so close...and yet when you figure in traffic it's not nearly as close as you think which brings me to the thing I hate most about LA - traffic. It seriously took me 2 hours to get from Redondo Beach to UCLA which is really only about 30 miles away. Then it took another hour to get to the Egyptian theater in Hollywood. I was getting so frustrated with the lack of movement, with being so close to my destination and yet moving so glacially slow that I thought I wouldn't make it in time that I could feel my body heat rising and my habit of talking to myself increasing rapidly. I'm so glad we made it in time. It was a sold out theater, mostly fan boys. They asked that no one film any of the interview since they're using it for promotional stuff, so of course the next day some fan has already edited and introduced the interview and put it on youtube for all to see. In a world of self-promotion no one cares about the rules. Or so it seems.
Friday night I also experienced another LA attraction - the food trucks. As I dropped one of my classmates off in Venice we stopped and got some tacos at the Koji truck, but not just any tacos...Korean and Mexican fusion tacos. It was so delicious I didn't care that I'd already had a falafel sandwich before the movie and couldn't fit anything else in my stomach. I made room for these delicious creations. And they were actually cheap too. It was a good weekend, and good to get out and enjoy LA. Still love the little house by the beach, though.