in the thick of it

Yeah, so it’s a clich√©. It’s a good one!

It’s an apt one. A little over a month ago, I began work on my next short film project. As I said in a previous post, I pretty much had to go back to the drawing board with my team and my vision. It was a big deal. It still is a big deal, but it’s not as horrible as I thought it might be. Not at all. My new director doesn’t have a ton of experience, but she doesn’t let that get in the way. I’m really excited by what she’s brought to the table, and I can’t wait to see her grow. I even picked up a very driven cinematographer. I had no idea what a joy it could be to work with someone like him. In film school, we were all developing our eye, so… although I had worked with a few, it wasn’t at all like this. It’s the core of, maybe, a new team. I don’t want to get ahead of things, so I’ll leave it there. Maybe a new team. ūüôā

As for the project itself. Wow. I have never felt more outside my comfort zone and in the deep. Being a producer sucks–and it’s awesome. I have so many people to talk to, elements to draw together, people to hire, fire, and placate. It’s a great experience, and it’s definitely stretching muscles I never thought to develop. On the flip side, I feel like I’ve lost a creative step in the process. I’m a little less involved in the actual production than I’m used to, because my head is overloaded with all these strange logistical concerns. (Not the least of which involves my ever-expanding, non-existent budget!) Forms upon forms to organize, get signed, keep together. Last minute brushfires to put out (they don’t have an 85mm macro lens anymore!). Outsiders to bring in only to learn shortly thereafter that they might’ve spoken in haste and really don’t have time to get involved.

That’s one of the hardest lessons. I already knew that people aren’t always reliable. You prepare for that. But sometimes it hurts when certain individuals you were really counting on just don’t come through because of… reasons. It reminds me a little of what happened over the summer, and some might say that I’m asking for it when I don’t take a firm stand on the issue. Just tell them they’re fired! Or write them off. Definitely don’t beg. It’s true. I could be tougher. I have been tougher, but it’s those lost relationships I miss most and wish I hadn’t lost.

Well. I’m learning.

Meanwhile… I suppose this would be a good time to plug? Sure. Let’s plug.

So my new short film is called “The Lazarus Bridge.” It’s about a young woman who’s dealing with a very unique, very difficult client at work on the day of her mother’s funeral. It stars Meghan Bordeaux (find her here, here,¬†and here) and Matthew Hallstein. It also co-stars Isaiah Grass (catch him here, here, here, here, and here)¬†and Journie Kalous (see her here¬†and¬†here). A truly gorgeous and gifted cast. And it’s directed by Crystal Contreras, a very passionate and talented filmmaker on the rise, I assure you. Our first shoot day is done and behind us (hopefully behind us), and it looks pretty damn good so far. Our final two days are this weekend, and I’m sick-excited (mostly sick) to see it come together. If anyone is interested–and, of course, you are ;)–you can check out some of my company’s work on this and previous projects.

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

I’m still working on an official webpage. (Anyone know a good web designer?)

It’s been exhausting so far, and there’s a lot left to do (post-production, anybody?). And then, of course, NaNoWriMo is about to start too. ūüė¶ Damn. Why aren’t there enough hours in the day? Well. Somebody wish me luck.

 

James

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when things don’t quite work out

So where did we leave off? Ahh yes. On a high note!

Well. Summer came and it’s slowly on the way out. Shot, edited, and promoted the company’s first short film, That’s my D*ck! And in retrospect, I feel as though I should’ve included a disclaimer. It’s not a porno, it doesn’t have nudity, it doesn’t even have swearing (I think). It’s not offensive in the slightest. It’s just a play on words. But I didn’t say any of that, so more than a few times I got the troll lash for pushing what people thought was a porno. Lesson learned!

Not so long ago, I had a particular vision for my film company. That vision, alas, has become muddled in the last several days. I’m looking at starting from scratch (with the exception that I now have a short film under my belt and some hard-earned experience). I’m no stranger to failure,¬†few of us are. Trying and failing is easy. It’s the getting back up to try again that’s hard.

It’s coming up on ten years soon, since I decided to steer myself toward a future in filmmaking. I’ve made a few strides, I’ve second-guessed myself a million times, I’ve screwed up even more than that. But I can only do what I think is best. I’ll miss some of the relationships that have been lost, definitely the friendships. But I can’t let the setbacks get in my way anymore. I’ve spent too much of my life nursing old wounds and sulking over past failures. Not this time.

Ever since I started writing seriously, I’ve been hyper-critical of my own work. If I don’t think it’s the best I could do, then I don’t feel especially accomplished even though I finished it. This was a problem in film school. I never¬†owned¬†the work that I wasn’t proud of. Maybe the hardest lesson I can learn from all of this is that I need to stand by my work. Even if it’s bad. And as I read in another blog, especially if it’s bad. I have permission to make… not-good stuff. But I can’t step away from it or pretend that it doesn’t exist.

I produced¬†That’s my D*ck! It was a hell of a ride planning for it and shooting it. It was a slog editing it. And I don’t know what to say about the end product except that I’m proud of it. I didn’t show that before. I didn’t know how to. But I am proud of it. And I’m very proud of all the people who helped make it possible, and there were many.

Own your work, good or bad.

Get back up.

And move forward with confidence.

Are you listening, self?

same as last time

Writing is an art.

“Duh,” you say. “Shah,” I reply, to quote my favorite high school English teacher. Here’s my point. Writing is not a science. It lacks quantifiable rules and hard absolutes. We like to believe that distinguishing good writing from bad writing is obvious and universal. Hemingway and Thoreau good. Meyer and Paolini bad. You won’t find me in disagreement about those examples, but this notion of determining the quality of writing stands on shaky ground. It’s completely subjective. True, there is a craft to writing well. One needs look no further than Campbell’s monomyth, but we’re describing cross-cultural truths and themes, not laws.

I love, love the works of R. Scott Bakker and Steven Erikson. I think they’re exceptional writers, true masters of the craft. I aspire to shape my storytelling like theirs: non-traditional, epic in scope, rich in philosophical nuance. But a lot of people would disagree with me. Patrick Rothfuss and Christie Golden have legions of fans defending their every word, and I’ve spent a lot of time reading them too. I’m convinced they’re glorified hacks.

Damn. I’m starting to sound a little resentful, aren’t I? This isn’t the direction I want to go, so allow me to get back on track.

Writing is subjective. There.

Ultimately, only you can decide if you’re a good writer or not. (Or if your preferred author is good or not, but I’m going to focus on “you the writer,” not “you the reader.”) Only you have the power to say if your story works or not. No one has the power to tell you that your stuff is weak sauce and be right. Because writing is, pardon my language, fucking art. It’s not some geometry proof where you missed a step and messed it all up.

So… why, then, does it hit¬†us so hard when the feedback¬†we get isn’t the feedback¬†we were hoping for? It’s not that¬†we wonder if¬†our writing sucks. Okay, it’s not only that¬†we wonder that. It’s that¬†we want our work to be understood. At least that’s how it is with me.¬†In a way, yes, I’m referring to¬†the old adage that our writing is personal and¬†comes from our own experience. I don’t care if people think/say/write that my writing sucks. I’m confident and comfortable enough to know that it doesn’t. And I really don’t care if my writing is appreciated, because I write for me. I don’t write for validation, kudos, or Kit-Kat bars. Because in my heart, I firmly believe that writing is about communicating. And I think everyone wants to be understood.

The editor who has been working on my manuscript is very good. Excellent, even. I can clearly see in her notes that she’s intelligent, intuitive, and a skilled communicator. The work she’s put into my manuscript has been exceptional, and I would eagerly refer other writers to her. Still. I’m not sure she really understands what I’m trying to do. Or maybe she does, and my manuscript really needs a lot of work. It’s something she and I will have to discuss.

As I said in my last post, I have not been the best at identifying weaknesses in my own storytelling efforts until long after the fact. I guess it’s not so unusual to say that we writers have some blindspots when it comes to our work. But that’s not the case with my manuscript. I went into it knowing that it would lack certain elements traditionally considered essential or, at least, desirable. Telling stories in medias res requires some adjustments. The reader needs to exercise some patience and have faith that, by the end of the story,¬†their initial questions will be satisfied in one way or another. It’s a common technique, in literature and film, but mainstream films tend to rely heavily on flashback sequences¬†to fill in the blanks. I wasn’t going to do that, at least not in the same way I’d seen it done. My manuscript would ask more of the reader, and I’ve succeeded for the most part. Maybe too much. My editor may think so, and so maybe my blindspots persist.

I’m also hyper-critical. Of myself and others. I’m very good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) at identifying weak points in others’ stories. Camera angles look¬†that look askew. Lighting that distracts. Acting that doesn’t convince. Dialogue that falls flat. Plot choices that strain credulity. (Yeah, all¬†cinematic stuff. I’m¬†a little gentler with literature.)¬†And with my own work… well, I’m extremely nit-picky about my choices. (Not so much here in the blog, though. I work hard to stay relaxed.) I agonize over every character choice, every twist in plot. It all has great meaning. And I want to be understood.

when the feedback you’re hoping for isn’t the feedback you get

No, no clever title this time, though I admit this may still confuse some people.

When I went to film school, I had a lot of big story ideas I couldn’t wait to translate to the screen. I’d been writing for so many years, fantasizing about my stories appearing on TV or film. I’d spent days, then weeks and months developing characters and story arcs… maybe I was a little light on theme, but the hope of further developing my ideas pushed me to step way outside my comfort zone twice and move across the country to attend film school.

If you ever hear someone say that filmmaking is a collaborative art, it’s completely true. And in some ways it isn’t. Unless you’re gifted with superhuman speed, stamina, and masochistic tendencies, you need other people to work alongside you–a cast and crew. When we’re talking professional (Hollywood or “indie”) productions, there’s really no way around that. You just can’t make a film by yourself. But when I say that filmmaking isn’t collaborative, I mean that as the designated “filmmaker,” the person with the vision and the need to make this film (whether that makes you the director or the producer), it’s really all on you to push and make sure you succeed. Like with writing in general, it can be kind of a lonely road. Your vision guides the shape the story takes. Your perseverance steers the project through the inevitable tough times. (Yes, I know all about the studio system. Let’s not pop open that particular can of worms.) It may be that you’ll invite others to participate in your storytelling process, of course, but the product should reflect what you want. Don’t look to someone else to make those final creative decisions, because you’re the filmmaker. (There’s a really great text called¬†The Independent Filmmaker’s Law and Business Guide: Financing, Shooting and Distributing Independent and Digital Films
by Jon M. Garon
that describes this concept of a “filmmaker” in its opening chapters.)

Unfortunately, I didn’t take this lesson to heart while I was at film school. Despite all my hard work, I never fully “owned” my productions, and the quality suffered for it. And for as long as I was in school, I never really understood why. I never even noticed the problems on set, or during post-production, not until it was too late.

My classmates saw it but if they knew the real reason why, they didn’t say. Despite that, they still saw more clearly than I did. They pointed out the obvious, of course. (Obvious in hindsight.) Visually, a lot of my work was a mess. I couldn’t argue with it. But I was sure the story, the script, was solid at least. Feedback on that part was minimal. Neutral. Needless to say, I was crushed. It wasn’t until I switched from a Directing concentration to Screenwriting that I finally started to received the kind of¬†feedback I was looking for.

Except it wasn’t the feedback I was hoping for.

My professors–and especially my thesis committee–and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on my scripts. Technically and lyrically, they had nothing but high praise. Thematically and otherwise, well, I can only hope that they just didn’t get what I was trying to do. Whether they did or not, though, the feedback was discouraging. In the words of one professor (whose opinion means a lot to me), “It’s beautifully written, but I just don’t see why I should give a shit about these characters.”

Those words, even now several years later, have never left me.

forcing it

If there’s anything I’ve learned this past NaNo, it’s that forcing it ain’t fun. Duh, you’re thinking. Well, duh back at you. Sometimes when the words don’t come, you gotta force it or face the blank page forever. Yeah, you can step away for a while. Read a book, go for a walk, watch TV, meditate, eat, etc. But eventually, you gotta get back in front of the screen and put some words down. Even if that means having to¬†force it.

I’ve done a lot of forcing it this month in my mad effort to reach that 50k. So I made it, and that’s that, and wonderful I can move on. But the lesson sticks with me. Sometimes forcing it is necessary. Sometimes forcing it is not the right way to go.

Aside from the writing, part of the hair-pulling insanity has involved the evolution of whatever scene I’m working on. I have a pretty decent, detailed outline that I’ve been working from. But, as in war, no plan ever survives contact with the enemy. My outline has been through several changes this NaNo, much to my frustration. Its current incarnation feels alright to me, but I won’t be surprised if it goes through major changes yet again. All that aside, I have been hard at work typing out a scene for it to suddenly try to veer off the rails. And I don’t mean my characters start speaking for themselves. I’m talking a full-on train wreck of the bad variety. When creativity goes wrong–which is totally possible. You’re not happy with the new trajectory of the scene, and you work and sweat and grunt to force it back on track. Well, good luck with that. It doesn’t always work out. But good luck.

This month, I’ve lost touch with some people I wish I hadn’t. And I know what you’re thinking–why not just pick up the phone and reach out? Yes, I could do that. But at this point… that would be totally forcing it. I’m not in a talky mood with most people. On the flip side, I’ve reconnected with a few others, and that’s been pretty awesome. But even that involved forcing it. Yeah. Sometimes with friendships, you need to force it. And sometimes you need to just let things go where they will. Even if that means they go nowhere.

There’s a young woman I’ve been doing the whole on again/off again thing with. Not intentionally, of course. (I’m not¬†that much of a jackass.) But it is what it is, and things have been a little rough with her. We even tried forcing it (it being the relationship, don’t misinterpret me) because we’re obviously into each other. But it’s really not working out, and sometimes it’s okay if things don’t work out. There’s no need to force it just because you’re both into each other. Some people just don’t belong together, for whatever reason. Of course, neither of us seem that willing to call it quits, so… on we go with the efforts to force it!

Finally… and perhaps I mentioned this before, but I reconnected with my old, original writing partner. Well, it hasn’t been the blissful reunion I envisioned. She’s a busy woman, and I’m a depressed, antisocial sort of guy. So I don’t call. When I do call, she doesn’t answer or doesn’t return my call. Or when I do call, she really doesn’t have a lot of time. Sometimes we connect and spend some time working story out, but… it feels like (surprise) we’re just forcing it.

You sense a recurring pattern here? Am I being too subtle? Alas, she’s not so great with forcing it, so trying it in those moments involves some angry feelings about not having to write all the time, especially when we’re not feeling it. Fair enough. Hell, I agree with her. But for me, that leads to flabby writing muscles.

I just had a similar conversation with my mom a couple days ago. Sometimes, the temptation is to vegg out. Do nothing. With depression, this temptation quickly becomes the status quo, and–in my opinion–that is not a good thing. Relaxation is one thing. But lethargy is something else. With me, it’s usually just laziness. I have spent most of my life coasting through one endeavor or another, relying on my natural talent to carry me where I need to go. (Yeah, maybe that sounds a little dick-ish, but it’s true.) I never had to work hard at school to earn good grades. Writing papers was always easy–except for my last year in grad school.

I’ve wasted a lot of time not doing things I should’ve been doing. Why? Well, part of it is the depression. Those of you who are depressed or bi-polar know how hard it is to get started. It’s like running up a hill made of ice while wearing tap dance shoes.

Ironically, I took tap dance as a child. Now if I could just find those shoes…

nano, nano

Yes, I said it. And yes, I’m doing it.

National Novel… something. Writing? Writer? I’m way too lazy to verify which one it is. Month.

I had a different topic on my mind earlier, but I felt I should at least toss out that I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year, my third year in a row. Last year was a difficult one, I barely made it thanks to lots of homemade confections and bacon chocolate chip cookies.

I’m working on the next book in my fantasy series, and yeah I know I haven’t finished working on the first one, but this is NaNo, so I’m making an exception as to be as productive as I possibly can be.

I’m excited. My region appears to be quite re-energized with dozens of new participants. I attended the sort-of kick-off event. It’s all looking quite good, except that I haven’t attempted this before while working a full-time job. So it’s definitely going to be a bit of a challenge this time.

Well. At least I know I’ll get something done. Not sure if it’ll be great, but that’s not the point! Maybe I’ll even learn how to be okay with that.

the wall

This isn’t the first time I’ve been here, but it never gets easier. Creatives and non-creatives alike know what I’m talking about: that frustrating inability to (figuratively) put one foot in front of the other. We writers call it (quite cleverly) Writer’s Block. When getting words down on the page is like the spilling of your own blood. If it’s not writing, it’s a homework project, or a career-related project, or a home-improvement project or self-improvement or so on. We run into a wall that seems impossible to get through.

I’m not even creatively dry, though. Ideas constantly bounce around in my skull like a lotto drawing, and I’m just waiting for the first number to pop out. Well, it does, but that doesn’t seem to improve anything. Because I still can’t transcribe any of my thoughts into a coherent narrative piece.

This is my situation, my condition, where I’ve been for weeks. Maybe months. Just… wandering my own personal Sinai. And I’ve looked outside myself. Television, people watching, reading, navel-gazing, scribbling notes, conversation. I’ve collated a ton of information, there’s still a process between acquisition, assimilation, and expression. The divide among those can be as small as a crack in the sidewalk or as daunting as the Grand Canyon.

There’s no getting through the wall.

Until, one day, you get through the wall. When does that happen? Who knows? How does it happen? For me, it’s a mystery, the difference between being healthy and falling victim to a cold. (Which, btw, I am currently experiencing.) How did I catch a cold? I don’t know, it happens.

My synopsis continues to stare me in the face, mocking all my preparation, notes, and previous draft efforts. Meanwhile, other story ideas have logjammed against the wall. Yes, I’ve considered putting the synopsis on hold, but it seems like a bad idea. The synopsis is all that prevents me from querying agents and publishers. So I really don’t want to put it on hold for anything, even another story idea that’s ready to be hammered out.

I would really love some feedback on this phenomenon. How do some of you respond to it? Have any of you had to just buckle down and weather it until it passed? Leave a comment.

with passion

I attended a 4-year Christian college. Several, actually. And among the usual required courses (English, math, science, humanities, etc.), we also had to take a number a of theology-based courses. It was during these classes that I first learned the value of passion.

The willingness to suffer for a thing. That’s how it was defined to me. Definitely not the traditional understanding, which involves love, desire, even obsession. Well, those can all be elements or effects of passion, certainly, but I gained a keen appreciation for the way my Christian professors described the concept.

Now relax. I’m not about to proselytize or speechify about doing all things with passion. That’s silly and, in my opinion, not at all possible. I admit, it’s a common Christian tenet, but I¬†firmly believe¬†there are lots of things to do without passion. Worthwhile things.

Passion is a great thing. It can provide strength, focus, stability, joy. Passion can provide endurance and purpose when you’ve run out of both.

But passion is also a terrible thing. It can frustrate, bring tears, enervate, and worst of all–make you question yourself. How? Well, as I said, passion is great–so long as you possess other complementary traits. Motivation, energy, strength, focus. In my experience, passion rarely manufactures these independently. In my experience, one or more of these must already exist. Or you will be miserable.

But that’s the whole point, the whole validation of my original meaning. Passion simply is the willingness to suffer for a thing. You may disagree, and that’s fine. I’m not proposing a universal truth. We experience things in different ways.

My mother asked me a few days ago what I’m passionate about. Of course, my response was immediate: writing. Storytelling. Stories in general. I love and live for story. Creating it, receiving it, experiencing it. But she persisted. What else? I must confess, that question still hangs over me. What am I willing to suffer for? Family? Friends? Perhaps. But aren’t most of us? That hardly seems a worthwhile confession. God? Country? Now that appears much more oblique, not terribly personal unless I’m in the ministry, military or government. What am I passionate about?

What’s your passion? I wonder. Is it a simple exercise for you?

no brains allowed

This is kind of a film review… but not really. I don’t go into the particulars of the narrative. So no spoilers, either!

 

Popcorn, check. X-tra large Coke, check. Contraband M&Ms, check. Logical, critically-thinking brain–whoa. Check that at the door.

A disappointing number of blockbuster films this year have done their best to convince us that they are, in fact, good films.¬†Transformers 4,¬†Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,¬†even¬†Guardians of the Galaxy. (And I really wanted to love that last one.) The most I can say for any of these movies is that they aim to be fun–but senseless. Plot holes are meant to be ignored. Narrative dead ends are unimportant. Just sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

I can enjoy spectacle. Why, just last month I loved the Fourth of July fireworks. But I can’t forgive this new wave of cinema that insists we not pay attention to the nonsensical story. Should I have expected more from¬†Transformers 4 or¬†TMNT? Of course not. They’re the film equivalent of cotton candy. They’re gum: sweet and diverting to chew, but utterly indigestible. I did–and rightly so–expect more from¬†Guardians of the Galaxy, though, which is currently coasting through good reviews and word-of-mouth on a tide of nerd-love, Star Wars-ian nostalgia, Rocket Raccoon worship, bitchin’ music, and a lot of Marvel kool-aid.

None of these scripts would’ve passed muster in film school–except maybe for the obvious market appeal. Setting aside the fact that these are all franchise cogs, I am hard-pressed to think of better examples of lazy storytelling. Since the aforementioned Michael Bay efforts never had a chance of approaching a coherent narrative, I’m going to focus squarely on¬†Guardians.

Let me be clear. I’m a Marvel fan. I’m a DC fan. I’m a comics, sci-fi, fantastical storytelling fan in general. I loved Marvel’s Phase One. I enjoy¬†Arrow, and I even nerdgasmed over the Dark Knight trilogy. The current adoration over¬†Guardians, however, leaves me nearly apoplectic. As a writer and as a would-be filmmaker, I’m appalled by the shortcuts James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman took. Entire character biographies were dropped in spurts of dialogue like oversized nukes. Songs from the 70s provide the emotional¬†atmosphere, obfuscating any genuine experience we have with the story. Ironically, it’s the surprisingly entertaining character of Groot that serves as a metaphor for the entire process. For a character reduced to only using the same three words as his entire vocabulary, he conveys an impossible amount of information and intent each time he says them. In his case, it works–as a humorous conceit. In the case of the film, I find the conceit too big to swallow.

I saw the movie on opening night with a buddy of mine. I took care to notice the other people in the theater with us. Geeks, mostly, a lot like us, but with a few families and small children. Undoubtedly, the mood of an audience affects the moviegoer and vice-versa. Could it have been my bad luck, then, that those around me weren’t terribly moved by anything they saw or heard? The only time I noticed any significant emotional reaction was when a new song started. After we left, the chatter was subdued and mostly about other topics not involving the movie we’d all just seen. I turned to my buddy and noticed a small frown on his face. “I didn’t really like it,” I said. His frown deepened. “Yeah… me either,” he replied. It was like being told Santa was a lie.

I was¬†so looking forward to¬†Guardians. I’m no hater. And there’s a lot I liked¬†about the film. Chris Pratt was great. Bradley Cooper was entertaining. Dave Bautista was surprisingly good, too. (I had mixed feelings about Michael Rooker, who I normally love to death.) I geeked out over¬†the Thanos moments, brief as they were, and even Lee Pace was great to watch, although Ronan the Accuser is one of the weakest, most one-dimensional villains I’ve ever seen in any film. But the story never captured me, not from the first scene.

Obviously, it’s all subjective. One man’s masterpiece is another man’s total waste of time. ūüôā

All I know is, if¬†Avengers 2 doesn’t blow me away, I may need to take an extended break from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

a little this, a little that

It’s been a week of some setbacks. Maybe the last couple weeks. The war against my synopsis has not gone well, and I felt that until I produced a finished version of it, I will not say much about how to write one. ūüôā Though a chat with a friend re-energized me somewhat. I’m a little more hopeful there.

But it’s been an unpleasant couple of weeks aside from that. The depression has hit hard, and I’ve been floundering without really trying to grab onto anything solid. Not smart, I know.

Stupid synopsis.

On the plus side, I have sent out a handful of new query letters. I feel good about that–when I actually remember I did that. Each query letter is a big deal, like an application to college but even more stressful.

In other news… I went to see¬†Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m… I didn’t enjoy the movie. It had its funny moments. It had its pretty awesome moments. But I didn’t like the movie. I just haven’t been a fan of Marvel’s Phase 2 in general, with the exception of Captain America 2.

I also watched the first episode of¬†Outlander. Now, I haven’t read the books, in fact, hadn’t heard of them until a few weeks ago. So I came into the show cold. God. The first 30-something minutes was so unbelievably boring. I didn’t get the hype at all. Afterward, I wiki’d the series. Wasn’t impressed. The first book itself seemed alright. I read some reviews of the show. Most seemed to love it. That’s fine, but I didn’t even though I realize and appreciate why it played out the way it did. Yeah, I’ll tune in for the next episode.

That’s it, really. Oh, and my teeth hurt from my most recent trip to the dentist. I wish I had something… encouraging to write about. I wish I had some wisdom to share, a lesson I learned, a piece of great and empowering news. I guess it can’t always be that way. My buddy and co-worker would tell me that “perception determines reality,” and I can agree with that to some extent. And I can also say that sometimes things happen outside your control, and it’s perfectly natural to feel crappy about some of it. I suppose the point, though, is what to do next. Get back up? Or quit?

Of course, I’m not quitting anything. How could I? I have a book to get published. ūüôā