the circular runner

Why I’m Mentally Constipated

In life, observations, Uncategorized, writing on December 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm

OK, so I have a few ME’s inside me and I’m going to share them with you because it can be crowded up here, in here, up and in here–you get the picture.  Though the company can be good at times because of the way they lend other points of view, there are times when all those ME’s clog me up–not so much in the usual sense of the word, but rather, in a mental way.  Recently, I’ve gotten a little of both–perspective and constipation.Here’s how:

I was applying for a job–a good job teaching young people how to write fiction.  The job seemed like such a good fit that I didn’t check with the other ME’s because I thought WE were in agreement.  Good money, good benefits, what more could I ask for? So for a month, I worked on the application, got it in, got an interview, did pretty well at the interview, but while driving back from that interview, the Thoughtful ME or the Neurotic ME (they look so similar sometimes, I can’t always tell them apart) started in.  Basically, this ME asked a simple question that I hadn’t thought to ask: is this great job a great job for me, by which I mean ME-ME?  Good question, I thought, but before I could answer, Practical ME jumped in and things got nasty. “It’s good pay, good benefits, not an office job, and Gabe is poor, so shut the f-up!” That’s what Practical ME stated screaming. Practical ME can sometimes get a little aggro.

Well, Thoughtful/Neurotic ME is pretty stubborn.  IT persevered and pretty soon, my head became a battleground.  It was ugly and since I was operating a moving vehicle, I made a deal with both ME’s: if I get the job, I’d take it, but if I didn’t get it, then I’d take that as a sign that I should take on a new writing project–which made the Writer ME get excited.  Writer ME, it should be said, had been wanting to write a script for years now, but Practical ME had put that idea on ice for me, by which I mean, ME-ME.  (Confused? Try being me.)

At this point, Neurotic ME wants me to chime in that this idea is not random–just in case some of you were thinking that. The idea of writing for TV or film has been with US (by which I mean the ME’s) for a long time.  If you don’t happen to be in my head (and for all I know, you are), then you might not have known that. Admittedly, I have wanted to write scripts for about three years now–all of us agree on that.  We also agree that scriptwriting goes to my strengths as a writer.

When I write fiction, I tend to think less about language than about the images in my head and the plot points of the story, which makes for less than wonderful literary fiction.  I can adjust and I do when writing for the page. But naturally, I write story and dialogue. That’s what I love most. I also like working with others.  Yes, I have a loner-streak (even though the ME’s do keep me company) but sometimes I need more. The ME’s can only provide so much company.

So, back to the job: I didn’t get it, but I kept to my crazy pact with Writer ME. After doing some research, I found a TV writer who currently works for AMC’s The Killing, and after stalking her for a little while, I convinced her to do a private class with me.  She agreed. And we’ve had two sessions, already. Abso-fucking-lutely cool?  Right? I mean I found a Hollywood insider to show me the ropes, and I had two great sessions in which we talked about the makings of TV drama.  We mapped out my first script, and now, this week, I’m supposed to have a first pass at a script done. I’ve had two weeks to do it. Plenty of time. But my friends (and by that, I don’t mean the ME’s, I mean the YOU’s) I’m a screw-ball. No, that’s not right, that’s an easy way out. I’m a ball of fear all rolled up ball-like fashion with the other selves.  The only one who’s not stuck is the Asshole-ME.  He’s just standing around criticizing telling the rest of us to stop trying, to give up, to stay rolled up until we end up in the gutter of life. (Asshole-ME is not very original, metaphorically-speaking.)

One thing I’ve noticed about ME-ME is that I’m really good with goals when I’m the only one expecting anything from.  But as soon as someone else gets involved in the whole expectation thing, I become all wishy and washy and puttyish. I should be in a good place, writing a first spec-script. I have someone who’s helping. I’m even feeling like my intuition was right: that script writing is a good place for me, that it goes to my strengths. So I should be happy and working. That’d make sense.  Instead, I put the thing off, and I’m anxious about starting.

I have accomplished a lot these two weeks because Catholic ME guilts me into doing stuff even if it is not the stuff that I should be working on. I’ll say that for putting things off. I am a really an achiever when trying to put the thing I am most interested in putting off.  Then, I’m great! Amazing! I’ve cleaned my bathroom twice in the last week, ran all kinds of errands to the post office. I’ve seen my folks in LA and paid bills. I’ve written two fables, finished a script for a short film, which meant that I was able to break through the fear of learning a screenwriting program. Though in point of fact, I used the fear of that program to get me to finish the fables and all the chores, but that’s ok–right.  I’m checking and most of the ME’s are in agreement that that is ok.

OK, so maybe I don’t have to worry. I’ll get this spec-script done. We will, eventually. But like so many other things, I will do so only after I drink too much espresso and fidget and waste time worrying when I should just sit down and write. It’s just not that hard. And yet, Pessimistic ME needs to get the last word: it is. It is hard.

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  1. hi… that was totally discouraging/encouraging and confusing… I get about all the ME’s – I’ve got lots too… usually I try to have just one be the one who is held responsible for any decision… that’s supposed to be the adult ME… but, we all love to analyze, even after a good outcome, so it really never stops… so the worrying ME reminds all of us ME’s that it is what is… which means it sucks to be ME, right? best of luck for all of you…

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