save me a space

Okay, so first of all, this Birthday Week thing is turning out to be fantastic, and it doesn’t even start until Wednesday. I love the Amazon.com wishlist because it allows my mom and dad to figure out what I want for gifts. I love 60 Minutes for “breaking the story” on television technology. I love my parents for realizing just how much I wanted a Tivo. When Mom called the other week asking me if I’d heard about the “magic box,” I gushed about Tivo. She asked why Tivo didn’t sponsor Mighty Big TV and send all of the writers one if we sang the praises of the “magic box.” I told her that since I don’t own MBTV, I really have no right to try and get us free promotional materials. I told Mom that as nice as they are, I knew I wasn’t ever going to get one ever.

Mom and Dad surprised me good this year. I got a Tivo, y’all. It’s a big giant magic box and I don’t know how to use it. So, y’all can give me advice.

Okay, so the play festival on Friday night to Saturday night was pretty damn successful. I ended up writing a ten minute play and they did it and it went well. It was first, which I hate. I hate going first. First tends to be forgettable. Stee’s play ended up being last, so we bookended the production. I don’t know what he’s going to write about the experience, but I know I learned a few things. I can write something in a shorter amount of time than I think I can. I’m sure this all comes from doing so many recaps and entries. I can form my thoughts and create storylines faster than I used to. Jokes come easier. I get inspired by the strangest things. I like to look around at stuff and throw down a bunch of ideas that might not even make sense together. Then I start writing and I don’t really stop until I’m done. I spent the first hour thinking about ideas (I didn’t come to the festival with an idea in mind. I let my ideas form while I watched the actors introduce themselves. I waited until I saw what kind of a stage we were working with and how big the house was). Then I started writing and realized that I was almost out of stagetime and I hadn’t even gotten halfway done with my play outline. Then I cut a lot. I cut lots of dialogue and had to figure out how to streamline the story so the entire thing could fit into ten minutes. Then I finished about two hours later. Then I spent an hour and a half editing the play down. I’d go walk around (we had the entire building to ourselves, and the writers had all claimed corners and dressing rooms to themselves. I hardly saw any of the other writers the entire time). I’d sit on the stage and look at the donated props and costumes. An idea would come to me, or a joke would re-write itself in my head and I’d run back upstairs to add it to the play. There was a point where I knew if I stared at the play any longer I’d hate it so much I’d delete it and start all over. So I made myself stop even though I still had another hour and a half or so. I read the other plays and talked with the producers.

The entire next day was wasted because I was nervous. There was a theatre where people were reading my words out loud, committing them to memory, harvesting props and costumes and making decisions about my talent as a writer. They either loved me or hated me right then and I had no idea. There’s a possibility that they didn’t understand any of my jokes. They might have thought I was boring or stupid. They might be hating each other right now, or stuck with a half-assed director that didn’t care about the play. They might be changing my lines or cutting pieces from the play that they didn’t like. I was in a bit of a panic. And then once I arrived I found out that my play was first of the seven. And I didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad. My friends decided it must be a good thing. Start strong and finish strong. I don’t know. I think it’s because my plays always have a zillion props in them.

I don’t really even remember watching it too much. I listened to the audience, mostly. They had held the house for almost a half hour, so the audience was pretty restless to begin with. And the play is quirky and strange. I hadn’t even seen one of my actors before (I picked the “Mystery Actor” slot and just hoped he was talented and knew how to act. Sadly, the mystery actor was not Crispin Glover, who I really wanted to be in my play. I guess he was busy that night.)

People liked it. They liked it a lot. That’s good. My first play in LA was a bit of a success. And I didn’t have to go to any rehearsals or have meetings or stress about it for weeks. It’s over. I’ve written a short play. I did it.

And that’s the major milestone for me for that month.

This month the major milestone is turning twenty-six, which I’m really just bummed about. I’m not done with twenty-five. And then things happened this weekend that make me kinda nervous.

So, Karen Black was one of the writers in this festival, and she likes to ask you questions and then stare at you and then stop talking all of a sudden to stare and feel your clothes. She does. I don’t know what’s up with that, but she does. She also likes to sing while she writes. Anyway, I’m talking to her Saturday night and she stops talking all of a sudden and starts staring at me and then goes, “Your face. It’s interesting.”

And I say, “Is that a compliment?”

“Well. It’s… sort of beautiful.”

She keeps staring and I’m backing up and she’s leaning forward and she asks, “You’re Italian?”

“I’m a part Italian. I’m Polish and Czech.”

She then lowers her glasses and points at her eyes. “I’m Czech too. You see? You see this?”

I stare into her eyes and she says, “We look alike, don’t we?” She asked her husband for confirmation. “Don’t we look alike, her and I?”

I know. Right now you’d like to come through the computer and give me a hug. Here’s what my mother had to say about it this afternoon. “Karen Black the actress? She was very pretty when she was young. She must mean you look like her when she was young. How’s the Tivo?”

My mom. Always helping.

So then I’m driving home after the play and stee and I are stuck in some strange roadblock and we’re wondering if they’ve closed the road with us on it when this car next to us full of four teenage girls are all miming, “Roll down the window!”

I assume they’re going to tell us what’s up ahead of us on the street. But no. The driver goes, “You know you look just like Sarah Jessica Parker?” They all started shouting her name. “We thought you were her. Do you get that a lot?”

I said I did and they just shook their heads, amazed at the resemblance. Then we drove up a space at the red light where I heard the car next to us talking. I saw them looking at me. One said to the other, “I’m sure that’s not her. The girl from the sex show? Well, she sorta looks like her.”

I’m basically a big horseface-y Karen Black-eyed reality girl. You know you want some of my sweet ass.

You wanna read my play? Okay. Here.

Don’t steal it or I’ll be so pissed off you can’t imagine.

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