The First on Reading

Ladies, Gentlemen and Ogres in Disguise:

This post on reading feels like the first of many.   As a human that longs to express myself in the deepest way possible via writing (and other forms…acting, filmmaking, music, etc.), I cannot imagine a life without reading.   Sure, a quick tour of People magazine might offer some insight.   The type of reading I suggest is one that challenges.  One that might lose you for a page or two.   One whose characters are so unlike you that you either wrinkle your nose in disgust or dive so deep into the book, it appears that you and the printed pages are conjoined twins.   Doesn’t matter the genre.   Could be a non-fiction book about a sweaty old genius who loves his ginger snap cookies but beats his kids.   Could be a novel about a ginger snap cookie that teases kids with its sweetness, taking them away from their sad lonely widower father.

In the anthology Writers on Writing, Saul Bellow wrote a short essay, “Hidden Within Technology’s Empire, a Republic of Letters”. Here, Bellow discusses how technology has, in so many ways, taken over our reading time.   Sure, we spend our time responding to texts (which, of course, must be read).   Words though are being shortened.   There’s the LOL’s, OMG’s and FML’s.  Are these acronyms here because we’ve forgotten how to spell the words properly? Or is it that we live such a rushed life, no time for writing, must get to the next text?  LOL.

In writing about technology and these new digital acronyms, I say there’s nothing wrong with any of this.   As this piece is written, my cell phone sits a foot and a half away.   Should it light up, my eyes gravitate toward it, taking my attention away from this.   Please, though, I urge you to take just a simple thirty minutes a day to read something meaningful, something that challenges you.  It could be read on the can, the subway, in a doctor’s waiting room.  Your life, I guarantee, will be enriched.

The Whine

It feels like forever since my last post.   Life’s been rather insane.   On December 8th, a letter from Department of Labor came in reminding me that my unemployment benefits could expire on the 30th of this month.   My finances are in the hands of congress.   This is so fucked up!  All I need is one more month.

Last Monday, I visited an organization in New York City called The Actors Fund.   This wonderful organization helps actors, filmmakers, writers, dancers, etc find work in everything but the entertainment industry.  There are networking opportunities, seminars, career counselors, so much!   Since I’ve never earned a dime in the entertainment industry, I’m in the process of asking former actors, musicians, collaborators of all sorts to write letters, vouching for my validity as a writer/filmmaker.   Maybe, just maybe, I can receive their assistance.  Isn’t this fucking blog enough?

In other news, this evening I’m auditioning for a role or two in a Vassar film.  There’s no pay but fuck I need something in life to feel good.   Yeah, I know, I sound whiny.  But if you were to walk in my shoes, you’d probably be dead…or lose your feet.

Enough of “me”.  Here’s the next installment of the script —

               EXT. CLEARING - EARLY MORNING

               Smoke rises from the log cabin's chimney.

               Damian and Will run through the clearing toward the cabin.

               EXT/INT. LOG CABIN - EARLY MORNING

               Damian and Will duck beneath the window.  

                                   WILL
                             (whispers)
                         I'm gonna take the shot.

                                   DAMIAN
                         Hold on.

               Damian raises his eyes to window level.  Bites his lip. 
               Crumbles to the ground.

                                   WILL
                         What?  Can I take it?

                                   DAMIAN
                         No.  Fuck!

                                   WILL
                         What?

               Will peers through the window.

               Charlie smokes a cigarette while hot water boils on the wood
               stove.

                                   WILL (CONT'D)
                         Who the fuck is that?

                                   DAMIAN
                         It's Charlie Hammond.
                             (loud)
                         What the fuck are you doing here,
                         Charlie?

                                   CHARLIE (O.S.)
                         Oh you're back.  Thank God.  It's
                         been lonely without you.   Thought
                         maybe you got eaten by a bear or
                         drowned or something.   Where are
                         you?  I'm making some coffee.  Want
                         some?

               INT. LOG CABIN - MORNING

               Damian and Charlie sip their coffees.

               Will's perched on the bed, his rifle aimed at Charlie's feet.

                                   CHARLIE
                             (to Will)
                         You can have some.  It's good. 
                         Picked it up at this health food
                         store.  Don't worry it's fresh. 
                         Organic and fair trade...

                                   WILL
                         I don't drink coffee.

                                   CHARLIE
                         Well, it's here if you want it.  I
                         mean it's like really...

                                   WILL
                         I won't.

               Damian slams his coffee on the table.

                                   DAMIAN
                         You can't be here.

                                   CHARLIE
                         I know, yes.  You keep telling me.  
                         This island must be messing up your
                         memory.   Is this island like the
                         island from Lost?  You know the TV
                         show?

                                   DAMIAN
                         Never saw it.

                                   CHARLIE
                         It's all supernatural.  Creepy. 
                         Only seen a couple of episodes. 
                         Induced the worst insomnia.  Had to
                         stop watching it.

               Will leaps off the bed and signals for Damian him.

                                   DAMIAN
                         What?

                                   WILL
                         Outside.

               EXT. LOG CABIN - MORNING

               Damian and Will sit on the last step, huddled close.

                                   WILL
                         You invited him.  Didn't you?

                                   DAMIAN
                         Will...

                                   WILL
                         You just want to sabotage this
                         whole operation.

                                   DAMIAN
                         Don't be ridiculous.  The man's
                         obsessed with me.

               A lump wells up in Will's throat.

                                   WILL
                         I thought you'd fix this shit with
                         Kate?

                                   DAMIAN
                         She's stubborn.

               Will cracks the step with the butt of his rifle.

                                   WILL
                         This is fucked!

                                   DAMIAN
                         Calm the hell down!  And loose the
                         rifle.  He's not gonna kill us. 
                         He's a neurotic comedian.

               EXT. ISLAND WATERFRONT - DAY

               Damian rolls the row boat right side up onto the sand. 
               Pushes the boat into the water.  He then hands Charlie the
               oars.

                                   DAMIAN
                         Get in.

                                   CHARLIE
                         Oh no, no.  I need a life
                         preserver.   How can I get into a
                         boat without the extra security?

                                   DAMIAN
                         Charlie...

                                   CHARLIE
                         Fine!

               Charlie fumbles onto the boat.  Once settled, he jumps off
               the boat.  Kicks and screams in the water.

                                   DAMIAN
                         Charlie, what's gotten into you? 
                         C'mon now.   Get the hell back in
                         the boat.

                                   CHARLIE
                         No, I can't.   I love it here.  
                         This is my dream island.  It's
                         where I'll channel Tolkien.   Trust
                         me.   Give me a month.   I'll stay
                         out of your hair.  I promise.  Just
                         a month.   

                                   DAMIAN
                         No.

                                   CHARLIE
                         What's you mean no?   You're
                         leaving and that's that.

               Will jumps off a boulder.  Tosses his rifle to the side.

                                   WILL
                         Damian, let him stay.

                                   CHARLIE
                         Really?   Oh God, I love you!  Ho
                         lord, I love you...

                                   WILL
                         There are conditions, though.

                                   CHARLIE
                         What kind of conditions?