We’re pretty serious.
We’re pretty serious.
I finished my screenwriting class last night. My teacher pulled me back after class and said he hopes I continue to pursue writing.I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I wrote him a dramatic piece and that drama is not even my strong suit. I did mention comedy and he said, “oh, but comedy is much harder to write.” And I giggled to myself as I often do when people just have no idea who they’re dealing with. (Which is often, as you all probably know, I play real close to the vest.) His last words to me after he encouraged me to keep pursuing it: “the world needs good writers.”
Last night was the soundest I’ve slept in months.
Quick lil announcement that I’m officially home! The writing program I set out to complete in Chicago was finished in September 2013. It was really the time of my life; but once the program was over, it was glaringly obvious to me that staying wasn’t conducive to living a “full” life. And that there is indeed a difference between merely “existing” and actually “living.” Twas not an easy decision to come back, and there have been many days, moments, and minutes of doubt since.
During times of apprehension, the only thing that’s assuaged my misgivings is my friends and their contagious joy over “having me back.” On the better days, they make me feel happy and correct in my decision. When I told them I was coming home, their excitement could only be described as unbridled. Some of them full-on attacked me when they saw me. And some of them just carried on with me as if I had never left. Getting double and triple requests for “dates” with many of them was the status quo for the first couple months.
Dinner with my BFF Chelle’s fam is the first real outing I had after my return. As I was explaining my anxiety about leaving Chicago, her husband was the first person (besides my dad, but parents don’t count, they’re biologically programmed to feel such things) to say out loud, “well, I’m just gonna say it: we are so. happy. you are home.” And that one sentence did so much to calm my stressin.
More importantly, her son (my godson) did not forget who I was. One of my biggest fears in leaving was that he’s right at the age of full consciousness now and I worried he might forget me.
I learned a SHIT TON of new tricks about writing while I was in Chicago. But I also learned a SHIT TON of new life tricks.
The basics never change, though. Certain writing assignments always try to reduce life down to the 5 W’s: Who, What, When, Where, Why.
I learned that we’ll all get to a point where the WHAT of your life is not nearly as important as the WHO:
As I looked what was coming down the pipe, there was so much exciting stuff for all my peeps in the days ahead and I just couldn’t reconcile missing out on all of that against what I was doing in Chicago. In my initial preparations to move, I braced myself for missing out on a lot. But all it took was one or two big events to see that the reality is a whole different beast.
Don’t anybody freak out, I’m still writing and looking for new classes and down certain avenues. And all those same friends I mentioned always ask me the important questions: Am I still writing? What am I working on next? One of my aunts who came to see my final show always sends me newspaper articles about writers, books, shows, comedy. And then you have my friend Shaunie Pooh, who invents ridiculous projects for me. I love it when they all do that, cuz it keeps me chugging forward.
Trying to get all caught up has been a total whirlwind. But, in any case, I’m home and if you’re in the NYS, feel free to get at me; chances are high I missed you. Yes, even you. (Not so fast, Donald Trump. Ugh.)
I set this blog all up for today, specifically, cuz since Chelle was my very first BiFFle, I learned everything I need to know about selecting and keeping great friends from her. We taught each other, really.
Happy Birthday, Chelley!
(Um also it should be noted that it is only for her that I’ll ever show my actual, full, hideous face in pictures on this blog. Thus it will self-destruct within five days.)
If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do for them is to present them with copies of ‘The Elements of Style’. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.
Dorothy Parker (via writingquotes)
FRIGGIN HILARIOUS! I do have a copy of ‘The Elements of Style.’ I always keep it around and refer to it when I’m least expecting to.
No, but seriously. Too funny.
This lil story will be short and sweet. I’m not sure how/why, but my parents are both so much cooler than I am and know way more about celebrity and current trends than anyone over the age of 45 has any right to know. One of the more recent road trips I took with my dad, this is how the debate over which iPod we should use went:
Dad: Do you have your iPod on you?
T: I do, yah.
Dad: Plug it in.
T: K, what do you want to listen to?
Dad: how about…(thinks for a few)…Lady Gaga. NEW STUFF. Not the old stuff. I want that “Applause” song and anything from her new album.
T: Well, the only Gaga I have is the old stuff.
Dad: Naw. How about Avicii?
T: Don’t have that. I have the new Bruno Mars. I know you like that.
Dad: No. I’m sick of Bruno. How about One Republic? Their newer stuff.
T: No One Republic either. Sorry dad, I haven’t updated my iPod in a reallllly long time.
Dad: Ugh, forget it. Just plug in MY iPod.
If you read this blog at all I thank you. Sometimes I’m not sure anybody reads it at all and then I get into this whole spiral of “well, then, why bother?” And then I realize even if I knew for sure no one read it, I’d still write it. Because, quite frankly, I fucking crack myself up sometimes. But, the real, true reason I write it is because it’s like any other creative art. If you want to be good, you have to keep practicing. And there’s no shortcut. There just isn’t. So, I thought, if this helps me keep my discipline up and keep sharpening the knife, then I have to do it.
So, anyways, this week I was walking out of a screenwriting class I’m taking. We had just read my script draft out loud as a class and analyzed it a bit. One of the girls approached me and said, “do you write a lot of stories? Because your prose is amazing.” I told her I mainly write a lot of humorous essays. It took a few days to galvanize inside my brain, but finally it hit me! All the blogging practice is paying off. And I felt pretty successful in that regard. When you have a writer’s brain, a sense of victory is fleeting so I had to bask in this realization before my joy ran off like a scared rabbit.
So anyhoo, I’ll keep plugging away here. If you’re reading this and if you’re not.
"YOU SMACKED THE SHERIFF…"
"…BUT YOU DID NOT SMACK THE DEPUTY"
One bleary morning after an all-out rager, we see this post on the MySpace page (remember those?) of our friend, Blue. My sister left it for Blue to find upon awakening. Doing a mental re-check of the night brings us to our last stop: a food truck. Starving after a night of drinking and dancing, most of us got hot dogs. Blue got fresh with an officer of the law (you read that correctly—it was the sheriff) and smacked him square on the ass.
It’s a Friday night in the balmy spring weather. My roommate and I gather all of our enthusiastic twenty-something peeps over for a party. Blue and her roommate, Green, are invited but they’re already full speed into their 30’s. They decide not to hide from their advancing age and to party within the limitations of their age group.
Blue and Green show up to my apartment with coffee and Bailey’s; this is the extent of their planned alcohol consumption. But, as they watch the rest of us whipper-snappers GO IN on a few rounds of flip cup, some sort of switch flips within them and they decide they need to play, too.
As the competition ramps up, Green celebrates a win with too much zeal. She knocks into Blue. The force of their impact sends Green flying backwards into the wall. Green bounces off the wall and BACK into Blue, who is hurled to the floor on impact. Unable to stop her momentum, Green lands on top of Blue. They’re laughing so hard that neither of them can get up. The rest of the party suffers fits and spasms of laughter as we try to make sense of what we just witnessed. Blue crawls out from under Green and then crawls away into my bedroom, laughing the whole way. Blue tries to tell us something but we can’t make it out over the hysterics. Green remains on the kitchen floor, flopping from one side to the other while she waits for her laughter to subside.
We regain our composure and continue our game. Blue runs back in and announces that she pissed in her pants as a result of Collision Cup. We barely stop our game to listen to her and she gets annoyed with us. Green decides to check on Blue and ambles back toward my bedroom. But Green immediately SCREECHES out of my room and back into the kitchen. She waves around some sort of flag/garment, laughing and crying:
Green is waving Blue’s pissed soaked capri pants around in the air. We’ve all assumed that Blue just eeked out a couple drops during all the mayhem. The loud, saturated stain on her discarded pants begs to differ: Blue dumped the whole bucket and soaked right through her pants.
As party-goers move through varying degrees of hysterics, Blue yells at us. “I JUST TRIED TO TELL YOU A**HOLES HOW BAD IT WAS AND NO ONE LISTENED TO ME! YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME!!”
Too deep into Operation: Reclaim Youth to back down, Blue and Green decide that yes, goddammit, they are going out clubbing with the young kids. I walk into my room just in time to see the two of them rooting through my closet. My clothes fly every which way as they pick something out that’s suitable for a night of debauchery and a far cry away from the Murder, She Wrote marathon that they originally dressed for.
Green picks a cute top that matches her own pants. Due to the, um, circumstances, Blue’s re-dress was more of a chore. She picks out a top that shows off her enviable cleavage and a casual, flowing black skirt that should do just fine for the evening.
We shut down the pre-game party and all hit the town with a vengeance. We make our way through several clubs.
Blue is her typical Force-Of-Nature self; she spends much of the night on the dance floor—her natural habitat. She chats up dudes, dancing up on a couple of them. She stumbles and trips over some steps, or perhaps over her own two feet (you just never know with her) Her and Green dance up on each other.
At the aforementioned Hot Dog Stand, we run into one of our old friends from the neighborhood. The rest of us stop to say hi. I am standing back and remembering that said old friend is now a sheriff in our city. Blue takes this tip in good faith and decides to plant a big, open-palmed “Great Skate, Thanks For Comin Out” directly in the center of his authoritative ass.
As we round everyone up to leave, Blue and our friend Grizz reunite in the middle of the street. She dances over to him. He dances over to her. He triumphantly holds his hot dog over his head and bounces along to the beat. Blue grinds her way down to the ground, poppin and lockin down by his ankles. They are both shouting, “HAYYYYYYYYYYYY!” as they get their groove on.
Just as we are about to get in the car, Blue asks me to hang back with her for a second. She needs to tell me something she’s only just discovered. The full night’s activities replay in my mind as she leans into my ear and drops a bomb.
"Totally just realized I’m not wearing any underwear."
melancholily24 said: Hey Chuck! Love your work. What advice would you give for young writers?
Okay, long answer here. A writer friend, Doug Coupland, recently told me about medical studies that suggest the final developmental changes in the human brain occur around the age of 31. When asked, most people — for the rest of their lives, regardless of their actual age — will say they feel 31 years old. I’d written for several years, but at 31 I wrote ‘Fight Club’ and that age seemed to allow me the peace to sit and concentrate. A peace I didn’t have in my 20’s. My advice is to live a rich, interesting life, practice writing if you want, but don’t beat yourself to produce your best work until after the age of 31. Okay? Okay.
Over the last few years I struggled with how I only just started to really like my writing after I turned 30. But most of my counterparts/classmates etc, were all college age kids. I was talking to one of my teachers about it and she told me not to worry one bit. “These kids have nothing to write about compared to you. They’re 20. They have no life experience. They’ve never struggled to pay bills. Probably never lost anyone close to them. None of life’s weird little heartbreaks. They can’t write things half as interesting as you can.” And her advice did a lot to calm me down.
“You don’t want the opinion of another writer.”
This is pretty accurate. However, I find that the more confident (read: older) I become in my own writing, the easier it is to appreciate excellent writing and feel awe in place of jealousy. And it’s just like tennis. When you play with people who are better than you, you are forced to up your game and that’s when things get really fun.