Loving the Delete Key

It’s there… for accidental e’s in place of i’s.  An extra letter in the word accidentall. 

It’s the delete key!

delete

That totally underappreciated, often-abandoned key. It’s there to keep me from looking completely stupid when I actually do publish something for public consumption. 

And so I love the delete key. 

But then there are other days.  The days that I write perfectly typed out words, ordered correctly and written out after hours and days and weeks of work.   They’re on the page! They’re finished!  And they’re 100% wrong.

They all need to be deleted from the pages that will eventually go out into the world.

And so I hate the delete key all at the same time. 

We all get into face-offs with our delete key.  A good writer knows when to hit delete OR when to just lean into what’s already on the page and own it.  Writing is never, ever just sitting down and writing a stunning first draft that will immediately become a shooting draft. These are things I’m still learning.

I usually have to get everything on the page to even see what I have to work with.  I assume that my first three or four drafts won’t ever exist outside of my computer. And then I share it with a few close friends and fellow writers.  And then I go through another draft. And another and another.  And then sometimes I start completely over. Sometimes I delete things I shouldn’t have.  But I have to try. I have to delete.

Writing is HARD some days. 

But every draft means I’m one step closer to sending things out. I’m one step closer to a finished product that I’m thrilled with.

So go ahead, love that delete key.  It only makes things better.

 

1,107 total views, no views today

My very own typewriter!!!

Luke surprised me with an antique typewriter over the weekend…

20140407-125308.jpg

I feel like I should start writing a hardboiled noir piece now.  The Lady of the Red Street Murders…

It was a rainy night when she walked into my life, cigarette in one hand and the last will and testament of Johnny Salem in the other. She loved him, that much was for certain. But everything else about her said only one thing: Don’t trust a word coming out of that pretty mouth. And here I’d been looking forward to a night with scotch on the rocks.  She smiled sadly.  “Make it two, darling.” This was going to be an interesting night. 

1,350 total views, no views today

Life in my Messy Kitchen

Mainly, my days are writing. Or researching. And finally getting the nebulous story idea I have floating around in my head to finally make its way to my computer screen.

But one of my most important creative outlets is being in my kitchen.  Baking, cooking – it doesn’t matter.

I love it all.  

And I’m totally the girl who takes pictures of the best of the best: Instagram that shiz! 

gluten-free pumpkin sage pasta with toasted flaxseed
IMG_4037
fancy blt crostini (definitely cooking for other people)
gf almond buttermilk scones
gf almond buttermilk scones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aren’t they pretty? 

And… when I’m all done cooking, my kitchen usually looks like this:

the messy
the messy

That’s just real life for those of you totally swayed by my Instagram feed.

Being creative is all about getting to the final product: the finished painting, the end of an episode, a gorgeous meal out on the table.  It’s about having something to share with the world.

But it’s also about enjoying the process and realizing that sometimes it’s going to be messy and crazy — and you can’t skip it, no matter how much you’d like to. It’s not always easy, I know.

Because sometimes the mess says the thing you wish the whole world knew:  Art was created here. 

Messy kitchen and all.

3,660 total views, 1 views today

Sit Down. Shut Up. Do It.

20140415-205230.jpg

Every day, I come up against one of those MOMENTS.

You know, sending the email I’m totally freaked out to write. Writing the scene that has been giving me the most trouble. Walking into the meeting I’m so excited about, all while inwardly thinking Oh, please Lord. Let my jokes be funny.  Actually hitting send on a project. Standing in a room pitching a project. My heart is on my sleeve — and my brain is coming up with eight thousand scenarios of how I’m going to crash and burn in the most spectacularly embarrassing fashion.

And you know what?  I’m going to fail some of the time.  I’m human. I’m a writer. I’m never going to be everything to everyone. Some days I probably will crash and burn trying to do the thing I’m totally freaked out by.

But in the middle of all of this, the best thing is for me to SIT DOWN. SHUT UP. And DO IT anyway. 

I constantly have to remind myself to do all of this. Take the giant risk.  Share the story. Send the email. The outcome may not be exactly what I’d hoped — but if I don’t even try, then 100% of the time, the outcome will be exactly what I feared: nothing. This isn’t some magic formula of overriding fear and killing it entirely. Sometimes I am afraid. But the more times I jump off the cliff standing in front of me and discover mid-air that I’ve got a bungee cord around my ankle, the easier it becomes to jump later.  I have to say YES with no promise that it will be echoed back to me.

The only way I have a chance of YES is by being the first one to say it. 

So today, what are you afraid to do?  What is the paralyzing uncertainty that’s eating away at your heart? What is your question?

Give it a whirl. The world may not come to an end after all…

3,101 total views, 1 views today

Dramatics, Your Honor…

If you’re not watching The Good Wife, do yourself a favor and start at the beginning.

the good wife

I have my own personal Best of TV List.

West Wing’17 People.  Sherlock’s A Study in Pink. And His Last Vow. (I tried to pick just one. I really did.)  Homeland‘s Q & A.  Lost‘s The Constant.  The Heroes pilot.  Breaking Bad‘s 4 Days Out. Doctor Who’s The Doctor’s Wife.  Quantum Leap’s M.I.A..  Gilmore Girls’ I Can’t Get Started.  Star Trek: TNG’s The Inner Light.  Fringe‘s Making Angels (or Bloodline strictly for Seth Gabel’s amazing performance.)  The Alias pilot. And many more for a million different reasons. (I’ll be talking about more general tv awesomeness in future blog posts…)

They’re fresh. Inventive. They’re a pilot episode where you just know that the stories to come are going to be something spectacular. Stories where pieces of a character’s heart get revealed. Stories where The. Thing. You’ve. Been. Waiting. For. finally happens. They’re a twist in the backstory that now makes so much sense, and it’s all in the tiniest of details.  Or — the writers take risks and send the story off in some wildly new direction that we didn’t see coming…

Enter The Good Wife’s Dramatics, Your Honor.

It was an early, quiet morning. And I can now add ‘emotionally traumatizing’to my list of things that make an amazing episode of television.  (Seriously, how many showrunners actually release a letter to their fans?) Last night’s episode was far and away the gutsiest story move I’ve ever seen. (Yes, I’m keeping it as close to spoiler-free as I can while still making this coherent… or maybe I’m just trying to get you so intrigued that you have no choice but to join me in Sunday nights of The Good Wife.) Everything feels destroyed and up for review. It was ugly and shocking and unpretty. It was real. There was no dramatic and-now-we-have-a-speech scene.  No wrap-up. Just a missing shoe and no one else who really, truly, viscerally cared about this moment outside of Continue reading “Dramatics, Your Honor…”

1,661 total views, no views today

4 AM. Let’s Do This Again!

It was a late night last night — a long-planned fancy dinner with my love. (Unsolicited restaurant plug — seriously check out Scratch Bar in Beverly Hills. *Swoon*)

And yet at 3am, my eyes popped open. Good morning, Monday! 

After half an hour of realizing that there was no way I was falling back asleep, I curled up on my couch, staring out at the orangish Los Angeles sky above my apartment. The streetlights are alive and well in my neighborhood. And the silence feels physically tangible. I haven’t even made it to my coffee yet.

Everything in me wants to rush past this moment. 

Dear Lord, can’t I just go back to sleep?  Who should I start emailing?  What can I start writing? I could call Laurie — she’s already awake on the East Coast. Hell, there is a Good Wife episode sitting on my DVR that apparently I’m supposed to watch RIGHT NOW.  

Sometimes a voracious appetite for anything other than my own thoughts can expertly masquerade as ‘creative inspiration’.  

And yet, at least in my experience, learning to live in the quiet is just as essential — if not possibly even more essential — in the creative life.  Boredom is my friend. Silence is my friend. The vacuum left when there is no immediate input is also my friend.

It creates balance.  It’s permission to stop and thrive, rather than survive. It’s space for my soul.

Today, my quiet moments came early. Very early. And there was space to stay there for a while.  Sometimes, those moments come in just that — moments. Two or three minutes in between phone calls and meetings.  But they are equally important for my writing life. The quiet is allowed.

Where are you allowing the quiet in your own life?  

And now the sun is rising… and I think it’s going to be a beautiful day.

 

Early morning sunrise...

[EDIT: Shortly after posting this, I did end up watching that episode of The Good Wife… My thoughts are here if you dare.]


 

850 total views, no views today

LA, a modern day classic…

20140320-093257.jpg
taken from the East Pavillion walkways at the Getty Museum…


986 total views, no views today

Driving with Abby Singer

The second-to-last shot of the day on set is known as the Abby, named for a man who became famous for his “This shot and one more, and then we can all head home for the night!” reminder to everyone on his sets…

 

Legends_AbbySingerThis is Abby Singer…

But before we get there, a little background for you. When I was growing up, my go-to movies were mostly ones like Charade, His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby.  I grew up with a mad crush on Cary Grant, and I’ve seen Oklahoma and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers more times than I can count.  I would sit in my grandparents’ living room and listen to Frank Sinatra and Jack Benny and Glenn Miller with them for hours.

But it was always like I was peeking into this other world that was long-gone, this world that belonged with my grandparents.  I would never be a part of it — I was just lucky enough to catch the echoes of everything that went before me.

Never in a million years did I imagine I’d be moving to Los Angeles one day… 

I was on one of my first shows out here, and my boss asked if I’d be willing to drive a friend of hers around for the afternoon after he visited our set. Of course I said yes, and a few minutes later I was standing in a hallway shaking hands and saying hello to this delightful older gentleman.

That’s how I met Abby Singer. 

That afternoon, we drove from the Valley down to Santa Monica while he told me all about the Los Angeles that used to exist…   “Back when I first came out to LA, this was all orange groves…”  After a mile or two on the 405, he told me to get off the highway and drive through some of the neighborhoods so he could point out spots while he talked about them.  He started stories with “Back when I was working for Jack Benny…” or “That was around the time I was doing the Doris Day show…” He told me all about crossing paths with Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne and Cary Grant at events.

For just a moment, classic Hollywood was blazingly alive again, and it was gorgeous.

That drive remains, to this day, one of the best moments in my entire career.

Hollywood lost someone truly lovely yesterday.  He helped create the trails that so many of us walk on today.  And while it’s probably true that outside of Hollywood, there may not be a lot of people who know his name — I like to think that today on film and tv sets all around the world, people will take an extra second on the second-to-last shot of the day…

Hey! We’re on the Abby…

… and we’ll all smile.

1,262 total views, no views today