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Singularity

5th grade was a really important year for me, I’m learning. Except I’ve known it. The books I read in 5th grade have stayed with me for a long time. I remember exactly what seat I was sitting in when I read The Bridge to Terabithia. I remember what seat I was sitting in when I read Where the Red Fern Grows. I remember making the diorama for The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I do not remember my 5th grade teacher, but, looking at the list of books we were reading, I do think she might’ve been going through some soul searching. And good for me.

There has always been one specific book that settled itself so deep within my soul and yet, I couldn’t for the life of me remember the title or author or any detail google-able enough to light my path. All I could remember was it was about twin brothers and one gets locked in a shed in the backyard of some house and when he comes out, he’s significantly older than his brother. And it has perched itself on the edge of my brain like a dream that slips out of focus as soon as you realize you’re thinking about it. I had spent years looking it up, asking everyone I knew if they had ever heard of it and I ended up with no leads, no one that had ever read such a book, nothing. A ghost book. Maybe it was a dream.

UNTIL!

I asked my Facebook friends. No one, as expected, had read it. I was about to give up and declare myself the new author of a cool book I knew I had read but no one knew of. My own Yesterday. And then a friend named Nissa, who I imagine has read every book ever written by this point goes, “Is it Singularity by William Sleator?”

I doubted it. For one thing, I didn’t recognize the title. I didn’t recognize the author. I know I had never seen the cover.

The only other brief fleeting feeling I had was that the cover was blue and someone with a badly drawn face was naked, which didn’t make a lot of sense to be on the cover of a book I was reading in my 5th grade classroom, 4th desk from the front, 2nd row in on the right. The description of Singularity sounded vaguely like the book I was remembering, but like, vaguely? I didn’t remember a toothy eel or whatever those Saved by the Bell looking boys were trying to make me look at, but there was a lot about this thing I couldn’t remember, so I bought it on the off chance I could close that chapter and move on.

And then I forgot about it.

Until yesterday when I was putting my kid’s Harry Potter book back on his bookshelf. (Side note: Thankfully we already own all the HP books and I don’t have to make the moral decision to financially support that woman’s horrific viewpoints or make my kid stop at book 6. Anyway) I saw Singularity sitting, dusty on the shelf and having just finished a book, I knew what I had to do. I had to finish what my 5th grade self had been yelling out to me subconsciously for 30 something years. I decided to read the book to find out if this was the thing I couldn’t let go of, but could never find.

It’s a funny thing that where you were at at the age of 11 can be exactly where you’re at when you’re 43. It was the year that I knew I wanted to be a writer. I have written poems and stories since I could pick up a pencil, but when I knew was in 5th grade. When I wrote a book about witches that my teacher turned in for some contest. And I won. Only a couple kids from my school were able to go, and I was one of them. The Young Writer’s conference. I didn’t go, but that’s for another day. The point is, I knew. I heard my dream crack into focus that year. The same year I fully realized my love for reading. The same year I read Singularity by William Sleator.

And here I am. 43 years old. In the middle of a pandemic, locked inside my house for the past 3 months, even though we’re officially allowed to leave. Here I am. 43 years old. Thriving in quarantine, reading a book for young adults about a boy who voluntarily locks himself in a shed for a year or 3 hours depending, and thrives.

Here I am, having read a book that has haunted me for 30 something years and was as completely enjoyable today as it was 30 something years ago. Here I am, remembering that I really, really want to be a writer. Here I am, happy that my brain saved every tidbit of that book that it did.

Except I could’ve actually lived without this.

The Back Garden

Day 2. You know how Picasso or whoever went through his Blue Phase? Maybe this period will be known as my House Phase.

Something about this picture, the white picket fence? The tree? Something about it reminds me of the warmth of being completely lost within the pages of To Kill a Mockingbird. Like, I feel the same feeling about this picture that I had when I was reading that book when I was 15 or however old I was. Normally white houses give me the creeps, like a feeling of trapped angst. It’s like a past life trauma or something. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, wasn’t that house white? I don’t know. They all look like you’re going to walk into them and it’s going to be dark inside, and you’ll be surrounded by a smell; that mixture of urine and stale cigarette smoke, and like, mildew. The kitchens all have that white painted wood cabinetry with cut out embellishments and the paint is so thick that it almost feels sticky. I hate the very thought of it.

This house doesn’t give me that feeling though. This house makes me feel warm and childlike. I want to wander in that back garden and pretend I’m in a forest. I want to explore and pretend that I’m in a different time.

This art project is probably not going to improve my drawings all that much, but it is forcing me to slow down. To stare at an image again. To figure out what that image wants to tell me. And I love that it’s giving me a chance to explore that in a medium that I am not personally invested in the outcome of. I highly recommend it if you’re trying to figure out a way out of a creative block.

On to the art

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash
Lol

The Art Challenge

Everyone is doing some kind of learn a new hobby thing right now, and I’m finishing my novel right now. But I feel like I need a creative outlet that is not writing, and not sewing because I just made a gazillion masks and I need a smidge of a break on that. And more thread.

You know what I can’t do that I’ve always wanted to? I cannot draw. I mean, I can pick up a pencil and make some lines on a paper, but my skill level hasn’t improved beyond 6th grade. So I’m doing it. Everyday, I’m going to look at a picture of something, and I’m going to draw it. Maybe I’ll do it for a month, maybe I’ll get bored of it after 3 days. BUT, I’m going to attempt it. And then I’ll blog about it so I can look back and see if I got any better. Or get a good laugh. Hopefully that gets me out of my head enough that I’m able to write my way out of a very serious issue that is popping up in my novel that I absolutely do not know how to tackle yet. The reason I ever started writing is because I had these very vivid images in my mind when I was a kid and I wanted to put them out into the world somewhere and I couldn’t draw what I was seeing. So I would write it down in exacting details, just to get it out of my head. And then I fell in love with it.

So, today is day one.

I found this picture of a red house in a field. The colors in this picture lured me into a feeling, like that creative bubbling feeling, so I decided I would draw this. Looks easy enough.

Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

LOL

Nailed it.

Day 62

Day 62. 62 days ago was the last day I went out in public. I went out on my weekly Saturday brewery lunch with my mom. We knew the day before that schools were starting remote learning, but we went out to our normal lunch. Probably well aware that it was the end. Before that we met a dog. My mom was in the middle of adopting a dog and we met him at a farm a couple miles away. I do not live at a farm, unfortunately. That’s kind of an ultimate dream. In theory. Because in reality I’m a city lady. But we went to a farm and met my mom’s future dog.

That was 61 days ago. 61 days ago I was super nervous because I had chaperoned a middle school trip to the Buell Theatre in Denver and I had standing reservations for my grandma’s birthday party coming up. News of the shutdown was rolling in, but I still felt foolish telling my family I had to cancel because I didn’t want to get grandma sick.

62 days. Only like 2 “fights” with my husband which is miraculous because this might be a record! I really think we’re better as a family. Which makes me feel awful because I read something that said this was Ayn Rand’s dream scenario, and while I know NOTHING of Ayn Rand’s writing, I know that people absolutely HATE her take on stuff so, I’m super worried about how easy this thing has been on me. I worry that my desire that everything STOPS potentially puts me in Ayn Rand territory.

I worry about my friends that have to work with the public. Whether for moral issues, financial issues, health insurance issues, mental health issues. I want all of you to get not only hazard pay, but paid insurance. Like zero out of pocket.

I am super proud of my teacher friends that are holding it all together so that I don’t necessarily have to.

I am PRAYING for my nurse friends. PLEASE LET ME KNOW YOU’RE ALIVE!

And yet here I am. Day 62. And my daily distraction is my awful haircut. Because I cut my hair a few weeks ago. Or days. Or months? And it is a situation. And all I’m focused on is maybe cutting it more and making my hair into Debbie Harry hair or Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag hair. Currently, my hair looks like 2008 Kate Gosselin hair, minus the chunky highlights. Also, it should be noted, I am not a stylist. It won’t work. I’ll cry even more.

But then there’s the realization that my normal “summer mood” is basically my current “lock down mood” and I’ve come to realize, they are the same thing. I cut my hair now because I have the safety net of seclusion. But what if I’ve always had this passion for bad hair. My privilege allows this. I am in a place that allows me to Tiger King my hair. Or Debbie Harry it. Or Fleabag it. What’s the worst thing that will happen? Now? But what about later? What would happen in the event this was normal times? Would I be immediately shunned? Immediately put into a box? Is this even something I care about now?

And yet, Day 62. I’m worried about my hair. I’m worried that I want to sound too much like some celebrity who is posting a bunch of social media nonsense to stay relevant. I am not relevant. I don’t want to be relevant.

I am happy. I am content. I know this gives me privilege. I feel awful about it.

Quarantine

I feel guilty.

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

I feel content and happy and comfortable and I don’t want this lockdown thing to end. But then I think about the people who need to leave. The bad relationships someone must be in. The kids that are having a hard time with remote learning, or even worse, the ones that are locked in with violence, and no one is looking after them to make sure they’re okay and being fed.

I need to stop. I don’t want to think about this time this way. I know all of that is out there and happening and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s stressing me out. I have to live my own time. I have to choose to enjoy my time. I am enjoying my time. I love not having to put on pants or look presentable. I love not having to drive the kids to school. I love having my husband home. I love not feeling pressured to go out and do something. I love not going to restaurants and I love not having to put on pants.

My hair is growing out and showing how much older I am than I thought I was before this whole thing began. But there’s something so comforting about the loss of beauty and youth for an entire culture. The entire world. We are reverting back to our physically ugly selves. And that’s so calming. So relaxing. We’re forced to do our own hair and our own pedicures and we’re all stuck. We’re all ugly and old and stuck. All of us have crusty heels and badly painted toes. I don’t want this time to end. Partly because I cut my hair and I need it to grow back a bit before anyone sees me looking like this.

I know I have this time easier than others. I know that I’m lucky that my husband and I are getting along. I know that I’m lucky that my kids’ school district has been amazingly well organized. I’m lucky that I have wifi and my kids are able to remote learn without me having to do much, although I do suspect that my middle schooler is just reading Harry Potter books the whole time, but I’m fine with that. I’m lucky that the boys have an xbox and they can play Fortnite and Minecraft with all of their friends. I’m glad that they facetime their friends and that both of the boys are forced to get along. I’m glad that we can “meet” my mom outside from a distance and walk our dogs together at least 6 feet apart while we yell through our masks about our day so far. I’m happy that we eat three meals a day together. I’m glad that the boys entertain themselves for the most part.

I had a breakdown around Day 25. I was a stay-at-home mom before the shutdown and we all became stay-at-home and I didn’t realize how much I needed the silence of everyone off and doing their real life things everyday without me. Of how much I thrived in my solitude until I was forced into the daily group setting. And on Day 25 I yelled at everyone and I cried and I wrote an emo post on Facebook about my “hard time”. Quite frankly, I had my own Ellen on Instagram from her mansion-jail moment. But honestly, I just needed space. I was overwhelmed and overstimulated and it wasn’t anyone else’s fault but my own. Because I wasn’t taking my space. I was expecting everyone else to just give it to me. So I got a glass of wine, apologized to everyone for my nonsense, and told them I needed an hour alone. Just like that. And just like that they told me they loved me and told me to go to my room. I’m loving that I’m learning to take care of myself. I’m learning to communicate better. I’m learning that I don’t have to yell. And I think my family is better for it. I do still have to yell at the dog for barking inappropriately. But this forced space has made us closer as a family.

And I’m writing. I’m reading and I’m writing and I’m pretending that the outside world is stopped. I can pretend that people are being kind to themselves and to each other. I can pretend that we just don’t have a government right now. That everything is fixing itself. That nothing bad is happening outside of my windows. My dog disagrees and would like me to tell to everyone that life is NOT okay outside the windows, because she saw the neighbor’s dog, Mister poop on our lawn last week. But everything in my little bubble is fine.

And I know I’m lucky. I know I have it better than a lot of people. But I’m having my John Locke on the LOST island feelings. Because I’m a better me here.

I’m still trying to work out exactly why I want the world to continue to stay paused for a bit longer. I think part of it is the shared experience. The entire world stopped. Most of the world. But I know that I’m speaking from a place of privilege. The world paused for me. It didn’t pause for the doctors or the nurses or the lady that has to go to work at the grocery store or the person that still has to work at McDonald’s because rent is due and they need health insurance for when they get sick. It’s such a baffling feeling. A selfish one. But when the responsibility to live in a society has been taken away, I feel myself thriving. The pressure to conform to something, the insecurity of not measuring up, it’s all paused. All of it. No one is coming to my house so my bed remains unmade. My bed is usually unmade but now there is purpose to it. Now I vacuum for me and not because I worry what my mom would think.

My roots are grey, my heels are rough, my eyebrows are a mess, my legs are unshaved, I’ve gained 5 pounds, and I’m just really at peace.

I think I just want a break from everything for a little bit longer. I want to stay inside and I want the world to stay inside and I want the system to fall so it can be rebuilt from scratch. So that it will be rebuilt by the people who will work to do it for all of us. I want it to be controlled by the people who need it to be better. I’m not ready to go back. I don’t want to go back to rules. I don’t want to go back to forced small talk and bedtimes and appropriate drinking hours.

So here’s to Zoom happy hours and my awful haircut and my self-pedicure. And my new solitude.

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Things to do in Denver when Old You is Dead.

I’m from Denver. Well, like 20 minutes northwest of Denver. Denver adjacent. I moved back about a year and a half ago from a 21 year stint in Sunny Los Angeles and I feel like I left a whole chunk of my heart and my soul back in the Valley when I moved.

Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

I moved to California, when I was 20 and obnoxious (probably because I was 20). I was shy, and angry, and wrote embarrassing journal entries that I was sure would win awards once I died and they were found and published. I knew everything and as I whined about the world through pages of angsty words I threw together about living alone in this world (dramatically with cats and adoring fans of my works). I couldn’t stand to be alone. I couldn’t do anything on my own. I didn’t know how to do anything on my own. I didn’t know how to do anything. And I didn’t ever have to. And then I moved to Los Angeles. Studio City to be accurate. A mile from the Brady Bunch house to be even more accurate. A couple of blocks down the street from Universal Studios, actually. Thankfully. Because I got a job at Universal Studios (CityWalk) and on my first day of work, my car wouldn’t start, so I had to walk those couple blocks (and that REALLY BIG HILL) in end of July, Valley heat. Valley heat isn’t like anywhere else I’ve ever been. Valley heat is sticky and it smells faintly of car exhaust and dirt. Sometimes garbage, depending on where you happen to be. And your head sweats under the hair you just straightened, making it rise in volume by 2.5 units. I’m not a math person, so just believe me and pretend you know that I’m right and hair units are a real measurement. I walked into my new job, a helmet of hair that now smells like the street, face hot and flushed bright red with exhaustion and being out of shape and it’s now itchy because of the sweating and I’m in HOLLYWOOD (adjacent), my roommates hated me because they had to live with the awful version of me that was now completely depressed, and, the icing on the cake, freshly car-less. I had to make friends. And quick. I knew no one. And that lasted about 20 minutes, because let me tell you something about Los Angeles. Everyone is obnoxious. And lonely. And insecure. And alone. People cling to other people like life rafts in Los Angeles. And it’s wonderful. Sometimes it’s awful, like being stalked by a stuntman awful, but most of the time, it’s amazing. And I wouldn’t be who I am now if I didn’t have to kill off pretentious, emo queen, “Denver Amy” to survive. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Like Personality Boot Camp.

I moved back to Denver (adjacent) on an opportunity and while it’s been a great move for all the California boys I brought back with me, which is really only a husband and two kids and not like actual back-up dancers, which I didn’t realize I needed until now, there’s a feeling about moving back to a hometown where nothing has changed except there’s now a church that’s taken over the old movie theater that I saw Beetlejuice in. It’s suffocating in a way that I imagine is a lot like that one Tom Hardy movie with the black ink demon thing that people draw porn and write fan-fiction about. Anyway, I feel like “Denver Amy” haunts the streets where I grew up, reminding me of how awful I can be; my own personal Ghost of Christmas Past.

It’s entirely possible I just grew up, but throwing myself at a huge city I had only ever seen on tv and then loving everything about it for 21 years has a way of making you feel a part of something bigger than you. And I think that my reluctance to fully re-embrace Denver adjacent has more to do with my fear that if I let LA go, I can never get it back again. If I embrace my new, I’m allowing back in the old. And I made a pact to pretend that version of myself was a bad fever dream. However, recently I’ve been coming to refreshing feelings, and maybe it’s because it’s been warm for like 3 days in a row and I’m getting hopeful. I’ve decided to embrace and fall in love with my new home as if I had never sat in that new church down the street laughing at Michael Keaton in his striped suit, or been in that grocery store a mile the other way that allegedly had a make-over but I can still hear inky demon/high school me thinking about Anne of Green Gables in the frozen food isle that used to have greeting cards in it. So If I avoid those two places – the church will be easy because I don’t do the church thing, and the grocery store is where my demons seem to congregate so that one is out, then I can pretend I never lived here before.

You know what it is? When you move away from your home town, you create a new life. Like a Witness Protection kind of thing. And you can completely erase all the bad, embarrassing character flaws like Peggy Olson did with Pete’s baby. You just Don Draper it. But I’m at the Priest Colin Hanks calling me out in the Lord’s house part of the show and I want to skip ahead to the roller skating in the office part. You know? The walking down the hall carrying all my stuff in a box with octopus porn art under my arm in sunglasses with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth part of my journey. I think that I’m actually pretty close to strapping on my roller skates, though. I have made a conscious decision to actively love where I live with such vigor, that I single-handedly become the Denver Adjacent Tourism Board. I can still love Los Angeles, fiercely, but I’ve seen Sunset Boulevard. It doesn’t work to shut the world out thinking it still loves me; demanding that Hollywood not forget me while I rot away in my self-imposed exile.

But you see, as I wrote this, several friends from LA have randomly and unknowingly sent emails and texts of love and gossip, reining me back in.

OMG! Mr Deville, I’m ready for my close-up.

Day 28:

I don’t really have a blog post in mind, but I’m coming to say that I’ve been working on my novel which has let me forget about this project. So yay! on the one hand, and boo! on the other. I mean, yay because I’m actually making good on my novel, but boo because I’m so close to the end of this camp nanowrimo question of the day project that I feel like I’m failing. Okay, I have some time so I’ll look up a question on the google and see what happens. Be right back.

Do you talk to yourself? What kinds of things do you discuss?

Source

I am unable to shut up. I mean, there are times when I can’t think of things to contribute to a conversation, but there are a LOT more times when I am unable to stop talking. About everything and usually it’s embarrassing.

If I’m talking to myself, I’m usually either acting in a movie or accepting and award OR I am full on owning someone in a verbal altercation. None of these things have worked out the way I’ve imagined them, but I have to keep sharp.

If I’m talking to other people, I am full on in on a conspiracy theory within minutes. I realize that this places a lot on the shoulders of the people I’m with, but that’s just how I roll.

Conspiracy theories are my favorite, whether I’m full on in or debunking them. There’s so much research and thought that goes into them on both sides, so If you want to or not, I’m usually talking about them to you at a party and asking you questions to gauge what side you’re on. These topics include but are not limited to: the Paul is Dead thing, and if you want my thoughts, it was originally a joke thing that the Beatles, mostly John, decided to play on their fans with help from all kinds of people, including the Stones and then the Manson murders happened and they had to go on record saying that they had never put anything subliminal in any of their songs or records and that was that. But Paul was never dead and replaced for real, but they thought it would be funny to create a theory about it. There is WAY too much evidence to convince me this wasn’t a real hoax. This is my favorite conspiracy and I will talk about it for hours if anyone is interested. What else do I like to drunkenly discuss? Larry Stylinson. It’s real. It just is, look it up. What else? OOH the moon landing!! Okay. This obviously happened but the debunking of the whole thing is fascinating. Also now that I think about it, the whole moon sounding like hollow tin? I’m down with these theories. I don’t believe in them but I’m so interested to hear others that do and why they do. ALSO, 9/11 being an inside job. I’m not 100% sure on where I stand on this because there are things that don’t add up. And I’m seriously on this Russian scam that’s happening now in the US and globally to be honest even though I don’t know that much about what’s happening outside of my own country’s nightmare. But listen, my grandpa was a die-hard democrat who enlisted in the Navy and was yelling about the KGB and the Russians since I’ve known him (he died 2 years ago and got a posthumous letter of gratitude for his service signed by the orange plague and I need to remedy this and write to Obama and see if he’ll rewrite the tribute. I can’t have my grandpa done so dirty). Anyway, was the original conspiracy theorist in my life and he was SO convinced the Russians were behind the republican base, and we’re talking Reagan era, that seeing everything coming to light makes me high-key paying attention.

Anyway, now that I’ve said too much… What are your favorite conspiracy theories? AND if you want to talk to me about any of these, the Paul is Dead one I have any leg to stand on as far as research, talk to me!!

Either that or I’ll be over here talking to myself.

Day 26:

Earlier today, I came across a question on one of those old facebook surveys that we used to fill out and then post in the notes section or whatever it was called way back in the beginnings of facebook before the Russian bots and racist family members took over and ruined it all. And this question I found has awakened this memory that might as well have been Eternal Sunshine‘d out of me, but now I so vividly remember fondly that it’s today’s Camp Nano: Question of the Day. Day 26.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Once upon a time in my foolish early 20s, I had a friend named Ijah who lived way out in Sylmar, which feels really far away when you live in Studio City and have an old car that doesn’t have a/c in it. Ijah and I were in a band (I know, this is what I do, I make bands with people and then don’t learn how to actually play music) and we would practice in her garage, and by practice, I mean, Ijah playing piano and singing really loud and me writing songs and pretending I could play guitar.

Me in Ijah’s garage pretending I could play guitar.

Ijah wasn’t your typical, early 20s, Southern California girl. She was loud. She was brash. She ate the apple all the way through, core, seeds, stem, all of it. She drove like a maniac. She walked around naked. She once got fired from her job and still showed up the next day in uniform and clocked in and started working until they sent her home. She had bright red hair that was completely natural, it just grew from her head that way. And to top it all off, she wore these really not in style, wire-rimmed glasses. Non-ironically. And we didn’t even say that back then.

During our garage band practices, we would practice for about 15 minutes and then we’d usually end up doing other things like drink tea and have her mom read our tarot cards and then we’d go explore Sylmar on foot. Sylmar is actually where the high school scenes of Encino Man were filmed so if you want an excuse to go watch the movie again, here’s your excuse. You’re welcome. Anyway, Ijah and I would just walk around and talk about stuff, people we were crushing on, the band, I don’t even remember, actually.

I remember one day we were at the bottom of the hill that went into her neighborhood and we didn’t want to walk back the whole way, I remember it was really warm that day. An ice cream truck slowly passed us with that music playing, so we ran up to catch it and flagged it down. We bought some ice cream cones, I think mine was strawberry for some reason, and then Ijah bribed the guy to let us hop on the back of the van and take us up the hill.

Okay. You know how they won’t let you do a bunch of adult things when you’re young like, rent a car? Well, this is why. Young adults don’t make good decisions.

The ice cream dude waited for us to hop onto the bumper and grab on to these poles that were on the back of the van and then the music started and we were off. I was on the driver’s side, meaning that my dominant hand, my right hand was holding an ice cream cone while my ridiculously weak arm was trying to wrap itself around the pole and not fall. My left arm was shaking and I could feel my Chuck Taylors sliding off the metal bumper as we started climbing the hill and I kept trying to scooch my feet back closer to the van, but this was a normal sized bumper so standing sideways, one foot in front of the other was as close to scooched as I was going to get anyway.

We were probably only going 15 miles an hour, but it’s uphill. I have ice cream running down my elbow on one arm, the other one is trying to keep it together and not let us fall us, while whimsical, ice cream man, clown music is playing the theme song to my bad choices. And I’m sweating.

It was the longest 2 minutes of my life and I don’t know how I didn’t die that day, but life lessons were learned. One of them is that I am not as cool or carefree as a tardy Marty McFly, and especially when he was that werewolf and got on top of that van to surf.

Day 25

I just came across a question for Day 25 of Camp Nano: Question of the Day that makes me want to write a short story. Except, the Freeway Series (Angels and Dodgers, go Dodgers!) is also on and I keep getting distracted, so if this posts tomorrow, now you know why. (I wrote this yesterday and then today was the Mueller thing and so THAT thwarted my motivation, and I was so caught up on my Nano numbers too!!! and now, I’m hopelessly behind.) Okay, so let’s go. I’ll never make up time sitting here with a glass of rose’ watching Ellen’s Game of Games. Let’s do this.

15. How Would You Quickly Dispose Of A Dead Body In A Hotel Room?

source

Let’s lay this scene out. Where is the body? In the bathtub?? Where?? Should I be wearing shoes? Is there blood? Is this like a murder scene? Do I have anything to do with it or have I been entrusted by a friend to get them out of a situation…? Is this a set-up? Am I being set-up? Okay, make sure to leave no fingerprints or loose hairs or cigarette butts, I have watched way too much Dateline to be a fool in this game.

Um, well my first inclination is to stuff the body in the bed like in Four Rooms HOWEVER, the body would be found and eventually, there would be a situation in which, people would want to know who put a body in a mattress.

Um, well my first inclination is to stuff the body in the bed like in Four Rooms HOWEVER, the body would be found and eventually, there would be a situation in which, people would want to know who put a body in a mattress. Could we fake the death? Like, that would buy us a bit of time wouldn’t it? Like throw it out of the window or something?

Okay, who’s the dead body? If this is a Clue situation, do we pretend they’re drunk? Make out with them when the police arrive? OOH! Could I frame someone? Do I wrap them up in the shower curtain and throw the body into the back of the trunk of the victim’s car and then mop up the blood and then throw them into the lake???

Remember when that woman was found in the water tank in that Los Angeles hotel? Was that ever solved? Oh my god, I don’t know. Here’s the thing, you gotta make it look like an accident and you gotta hide all evidence that you were involved. Those guys always get caught though. Maybe hide the body down the … laundry shoot? No, won’t work. First of all, I don’t think hotels even have laundry shoots anymore?

Here’s what you have to do. If you’re not going to blow the entire hotel up with the boiler like the book version of The Shining SPOILER ALERT, then you have to either dump the body and entire car and all towels and evidence in a swamp, OR you have to be smart enough to stage the whole weird scene in the elevator beforehand like with that exchange student from Canada or wherever that was found in the water tanks after days of other hotel stayers complaining that the water tasted funny. Make it look like a haunting.

But then how do you get the body from the hotel room into a 20 foot tank or however big? Without anyone noticing you’re carting a body around??? Do you Weekend at Bernie’s the body up to the roof on a golf cart? Back to Dateline, let’s Dateline THIS. How!! How do you get a body ALLLLLLL the way up into a tank?? Because, I haven’t had to pick up a dead body even (If you don’t count any hamsters *sad face emoji) but I HAVE had to try to pick up a toddler in the middle of an epic breakdown and if a dead body is anything like a three year old that is mad and self-thrown on the floor of a restaurant, well, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.

I really wish people won’t call me for this, because as much as I wrote about the perfect murder in 6th grade (Stabbed with an icicle. Then it melts without fingerprints. I mean, right???) However, I don’t have the ability to stay cool under pressure. If questioned, I would fold like a fish or accordion or whatever that idiom is.

What would you do? AND If someone asked you to hide a body, would you? I think I totally would, I mean, the drama! Right??

Day 15: Hollywood

We’re going to rein in what is quickly becoming an angsty diary instead of what was supposed to be a fun Camp Nano project. See? This is what happens. I overshare and then I get anxious that I’ve overshared and then I don’t want to share anything because I figure that the whole world now hates me and wishes I would shut up. But we’re in the middle of this project and I still have a ways to go. So let’s pretend my 15 year old emo self was never even here. Camp Nano project: Question of the Day. Day 15.

What fictional character is amazing in their book / show / movie, but would be insufferable if you had to deal with them in mundane everyday situations?

source: here

Character tropes are fun. As a writer, you get to flesh out a “person” into a 3d living, breathing entity, the quirkier the better. As readers, we get to get inside this character’s world. Hang out with them. They seem really cool and we want to be friends with them. Maybe it’s the “manic pixie girl”, maybe it’s the “tortured artist”, maybe it’s not a character in a book at all! Maybe it’s the stand-up comedian, maybe it’s a rockstar, or a movie star. Personalities set to 11.

I lived in Los Angeles for 21 years up until last summer. I love Los Angeles. I love the culture of Los Angeles. I love the people in Los Angeles. And a lot of people in Los Angeles have hiked their personalities to 11. Sometimes, it’s wonderful, other times, it’s plain awful.

Los Angeles doesn’t exist on the same plane as anywhere else. Possibly NYC but I can’t speak to that as I was only there once for like a day, although I’m going to assume it’s still not. My outsider view of New York is that people don’t put up with your nonsense. People in Los Angeles encourage it. A whole town of people encouraging other people’s dreams. It’s glorious. To an extent. And let me preface this with saying that this is young Hollywood. This is “haven’t made it yet” Hollywood. Once someone gets a touch of fame, people come out of the woodworks to grab onto their coattails and instagram selfies with their new bff, and leverage their relationships to build up their xp points. (Did I use that reference right? I always hear the kids playing Fortnite or Sea of Thieves or something and yelling to their friends about xp points. I think I’m right. Let’s go with it.)

Then there’s the middle tier people and a lot of them are amazingly wonderful and just trying to do a job but a lot of them would also drop you like a sack of potatoes if need be. Then the absolute worst ones are the ones that have bought into their own fame whatever level that is. And then you get the STARS. The people who don’t think twice about picking flies out of your wine for you and rubbing lipstick off your teeth in the middle of a sentence and envy that you live in an apartment. And not one of these people act like your standard midwesterner. Even though most of them are from there.

My favorite are the two on the ends of fame; the haven’t made it set, and the famous that doesn’t need to act famous set. Obviously, I’ve met and known a significantly higher number of the never made-its. But the innocence of both sides of fame is fascinating.

A few years ago, my kids and I were at a neighbor’s birthday party. It was in a party room at the Dave & Buster’s at Hollywood and Vine overlooking the black carpet premiere of Ghostbusters. I wish I would’ve taken a picture of it, but when there’s a movie premiere or an awards show, they close Hollywood Blvd to traffic, (obviously) but people can still walk the Walk of Fame and the stores are all still open, but it’s all barricaded off and they put up bleachers and big fake walls that say E! on them or whatever and make Hollywood look glamorous, and limos are rolling up and glittery gowns are stepping out onto the carpet that’s covering up the boulevard and cameras are rolling and big lights with filters are making everything look perfect. But what you don’t see on tv is that 10 feet behind the wall that say Chris Hemsworth is being interviewed in front of, the guy that actually works Hollywood Blvd dressed as Miss Piggy is puking into a trash can next to a dj passing out club flyers to tourists in fanny packs. And none of this is probably new information, but to have an aerial view of it, split screen and in real time is AMAZING.

The other time I remember noting the dichotomy of Hollywood was a few years after I moved to LA. I went with my friend to an audition to be a phone sex operator. And I’m sitting in this office building with other voice actor hopefuls with an unobstructed view of the Hollywood sign. It felt VERY Pretty Woman.

I haven’t even answered the question yet, this is how I get when I think about Hollywood. Anyway, all of this to say that there are a lot of people that would make great characters that live in LA. I had a neighbor who was a clown and she would answer the door in a clown suit and she drove an uber. I don’t know if she combined the two, but it’s Hollywood so it could go either way. And then there was the girl that video recorded everything, every conversation she had and claimed that she was was friends with Ray J and he wanted to produce her reality show. That was like 10 years ago, I’ve never seen her on tv.

I hung out with artists and comedians and writers and actors and some of them have actually found fame. I’ve been at those parties in West Hollywood with all of these personality to 11 people, you’ve seen those parties. Someone runs by naked, and others are sleeping in the bathtub, while someone is playing the guitar on the toilet, and people are painting in the corner and there’s loud music and everyone knows everyone and people are talking about their scripts or their headshots. The kind of parties that you see in movies about Hollywood. They’re real. A nerd like me has been to a bunch of them. And they were fun. But much like characters in book or a film, most of these people don’t stick around for longer than their story. Sometimes I’ll see one of the people I know back then on tv, or scrolling tumblr, there’s another one holding an emmy. But we never bonded over friendship the way you normally do. We bonded fast and quick like a makeshift family because we all came here alone. And we all supported each other in our dreams and then our dreams took us on a different journey.

Then there are the ones that are the embodiment of wacky love interest, unconventional girl in some movie written by a dude. These girls are a hot mess in real life. All of them either move back home , wind up in jail, or are dead from an overdose in 6 months. Let this be a lesson to all my Hollywood hopefuls, don’t ever allow yourself to become a trope out of some guy’s version of romance. Hollywood will eat you alive.

Los Angeles. I love you with my whole heart.