Zen and the Art of Screenwriter Maintenance

I can feel it coming on again. Bill TRUE…funny how it feels. Funny how not only my mind, but my body responds, prepares.

As Robbye headed off to work this morning, she picked up on it. Even before I did. Yes, everything we chatted about later in our wonderful and ongoing conversation about this new dymanic—this enormous love actualized—is abolutely bang-on TRUE: I wanted to make certain she got to work on time, and I needed to prepare for a morning phone meeting a scant half-hour hence. Now that I am sitting here, however, awareness is dawning. There was, I think, a glint of something else, crouching in the corner of my consciousness, waiting. Waiting…

I am ready to write the next thing. My body. It is telling me it’s time.

It’s little things. One—and I realize it’s one of the things that Robbye, in knowing me so well already, spotted as she headed out the door—it’s the slight air of distraction.

It’s an occupational hazard, and certainly one of the things, I imagine, that can be maddening about living with or being in the life of a writer. My attention is drawn to the world inside my head, and I have something of a time remembering which world—this one or that one—is more real. It’s a momentary flicker of an internal dialogue—“What’s should I be paying attention to right now? What was I just doing?”—but it’s a dialogue nonetheless.

The line between fantasy and reality gets a little hazy for me, and the hold that this physical world has on me gets a little tenuous. This is also why memory has been somewhat like Swiss cheese lately.

Then there’s this: even as I slog through more mundane fare—animal feed and fish finders—I feel a hot rush spread across my face. My pulse quickens as my fingers dance over the (now integral) keyboard, sweet nothings about swine and dairy whispered to the ears of co-op managers and feed dealers…my audience, captive. Hopefully, captivated.

So that’s another one, of course. I get lost in—and impassioned about—any-freakin’-thing I am writing. On the phone this morning with the R&D director of the facility that is being spotlighted in this video, I am spouting off about how I am going to go to bat to make certain this or that certain point stays in the video because it is imperative for the audience to better appreciate…blah, blah, blah…

She’s all, like, “Knock yourself out, Sparky.” She likes it, though. Of course…I am making her and her facility look gooooood.

And I listen to a lot more music. Rather, I should say that the listening is more attentive and intentional. And I find myself getting lost in THAT a lot more, as well. It’s evocative, inexorable in the way it churns up emotion; in the way it drives my heart into my throat. More often than I normally feel comfortable with, my eyes cloud with tears. More than I can casually brush away.

And I begin to blog a lot more. And simply to write a lot more. It becomes less of a chore. I grow insatiable. Word count is like calorie count—which, as a runner, is as (or even more) important than in matters of weight loss…as in trying to eat ENOUGH calories in a day to AVOID weight loss. The bottom line here is that I find myself gobbling them up, these words, and I can never seem get quite enough of them.

I am, of course, tuning up the machine. That’s what this is all about. It’s my unconscious self pulling it out of storage, checking out all the moving parts, getting it lubed up and fueled up. Making certain everything is in peak working order. Getting ready to type the second most important words a screenwriter can type: FADE IN.

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