I ):-( Dream Bill

It’s early.  It’ll be a little while till Robbye wakes up.  Anyone that follows her blog knows she’s been a bit of an insomniac of late.  My snoring contributes to that, and I am trying to get that under control.  It’s a difficult fight to fight, much less win, as I’m lightyears away when it’s happening.

That’s not the only reason she’s having difficulty sleeping, though.

Life, with all its promise and possibility, is a tenuous affair.  The phrase “passing through the eye of the needle” makes its way out of our mouths with notable frequency.  When all is said and done, we will be great.  In fact, despite a few nuts and bolts that need tightening, everything is great now.

But it—life itself—is a stressor…on myriad levels and in numerous forms.  Hell, for my own part, living right now feels more like the storming the beach at Normandy scene in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN than anything else.  I’m relieved simply to exit the day intact.  Taking the bunker isn’t even a consideration.

I know that this life—for all its positives—has proven to be a rough road for my beloved.  Rougher than I think was expected.  Definitely more bumpy than she deserves.

Which, of course, makes me love her all the more.  I often tell people that Robbye is the bravest person I know because she stepped into all this—the somewhat psychotic tempest that frames my existence—and she did so without hesitation.  And she stays here.  The fact that this wonderful woman doesn’t run screaming from the house on any given day amazes me.  The fact that she’s still here and that she loves me as she does lays me low.  It awes me.

Because I know that the pressure cooker of our life leaves her feeling blistered and burned at times.  I know she worries.  I understand she has fears.

Of course, she talks about them.  That’s good.  But the bigger, deeper worries and fears come out another way.  In an altogether more insidious manner.

Enter my new nemesis: Dream Bill.

Sleep is a precious commodity right now.  I am trying work the mornings to give her all she can get.  Thank heavens Boy and the dogs have been cooperating lately.  That’s the difference sometimes between 2-3 hours of sleep and 5-6 for her.  Every hour counts.  Because she not only loves sleep (as is well documented), but she needs it.  And she deserves the rest.

When Robbye wakes up, she likes to share her dreams with me.  She has about he most vivid and exciting dream life of anyone I’ve met.  Since I’m a person that rarely dreams, it fascinates me (and tires me out a little) to recount the excitement that unfolds as she slumbers.  Usually it’s fun to listen.  It’s a lot like Cute Overload…on psychedelics.

Then there are the other times.  When he shows up, and the party’s over.

Dream Bill does all sorts of raunchy and terrible things.  He disappears.  He runs off, even.  He says bad things and does even worse ones.  He’s an ass of unspeakable magnitude.  And when Robbye awakens, Dream Bill haunts her.  Casts shadows over her thoughts and a shroud over our morning.

It’s not as difficult as it used to be.  In past days we’ve logged serious time helping her see that Dream Bill and Real-Live Bill are two very different guys.  That I would never do the things Dream Bill does.

As we move farther along in our relationship, she’s more trusting this as opposed to intellectualizing it.  We find ourselves laughing about it more often than not.

Yet, occasionally, Dream Bill does something so deplorable that Real-Live Bill needs to answer for it.  Like last night.

There are times when I wish Dream Bill would take his own heat.  That I wasn’t taken to task for his crappy faults just because we share the same face and name.  He makes his bed, but I gotta sleep in it.  Which used to make me a little grumpy.

I’m learning something about Dream Bill, though, that lately has me appreciating the guy..if only a little.

Dream Bill represents—of course—my beloved’s deeper fears.  You don’t live 30+ years without gathering up more than a few of those babies, right?  And the scars we carry are, I believe, the windows to said fears.  They speak to their presence and validity.

Hell, I got ‘em.  We all do.  I think it’s part of what makes us, you know, human.  They’re part of the journey, and I’ve come to think of them more as badges of honor than baggage.

I know talking about Dream Bill’s shenanigans provides her a venue to talk about her fears and address the scars in a tangible way.  And a way to meet the fears head-on.  I realize if Dream Bill didn’t exist, we might not ever get a chance to talk about them, and our relationship would suffer for it.

So…Dream Bill.  I don’t like you, man.  You are—to put it mildy—an absolute dick.

But thank you.  I don’t know whether you mean to do this or not, but thank you for the light you shed on our relationship.  Thank you for giving us an opportunity to talk out some very important and foundational issues, which is making our life together better and our bond even stronger.

And thank you, Baby.  For your courage and for walking beside me every day.

And for your love.

The devil’s in the details

Okay…here’s the thing.  My friend, Mike, knows I hate these things.  Oh yeah…and I know he hates them.

Why…then why would he fall prey to one of these insipid Internet lists?  And why…tell me, God, why would he not only inflict it upon me, his supposed friend, but then announce to the world that I was one of the most likely candidates to respond to the f@cking thing!

Because he knows me better than I know myself.

And he knows that as the thing sat in my inbox, it would eat at me like acid, eventually exposing my guilt-ridden underbelly.

He knew I would cry uncle.  It was only a matter of time.

Michael…you devil, you.


Okay…no more drama.  Vote Obama.

Here’s the deal.  You don’t gotta send this thing to anyone.  If you’re up for it, though, show yourself, OLU readers (both of you!).  Cut and paste the questions below, delete my answers, and put in your own.

We wanna get to know you!  According to my friend’s email, "The theory is that you will learn a lot of little known facts about those who know you."

For now, here’s my answers.

Four jobs I have had in my life

1. Grill Master and Drive-thru Wizard at Wendy’s Old Fashioned Burgers
2. City Maintenance Worker, where I painted all the fire hydrants and babysat the city sewage plant in Isanti, MN one summer
3. Salesperson and Store Manager at Radio Shack
4. General Manager for a chain of Black Hills Gold jewelry stores (even though I have never been to the Black Hills)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once

1.  Planet of the Apes (the real one)
2   The Commitments
3.  The Dukes of Hazzard (against my will)
4.  The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari

Four places I have lived

1.  Los Angeles, CA
2.  Las Cruces, NM
3   Sierra Vista, AZ
4.  In my car

Four places I’d like to live

1. St. Petersburg, FL
2. Loreto, Mexico
3. New York, NY (Manhattan or Brooklyn)
4. Moonbase Alpha before the big, nasty explosion that sent it hurtling away from Earth at apparent FTL speed

Four places I have been

1. La Paz, Mexico, gawking at a too-fresh-for-comfort skeletal arm that washed up on the beach
2. On a late-night Central Park carriage ride with my baby
3. Hanging in a near-deserted pub with my Canuck "brother", Pigger, in Thunder Bay, ON, unexpectedly tossing back more Labatts than we could count with The Beautiful Girls
4. Perched in scaffolding, 10 feet directly above Prince’s head for two hours (I coulda hocked a loogey, but I demonstrated incredible restraint)

People who e-mail me

1. Dean Hyers
2. Pete Machalek
3. Robbye
4. Scores of people who are quite concerned about my penis size and sexual endurance

Favorite foods

1. Eggs–especially my pickled ones…  Mmmm..!
2. Chipotle burritos
3. Robbye’s lentil spaghetti
4. Peanut butter slathered on pretty much anything

Four places I’d rather be right now

1. The Madeira Beach cottage
2. London, England
3. An eco-resort on the Virgin Islands
4. Snuggling in bed with my wife

Four friends I think will respond

1. Robbye
2. Diana
3. Colin
4. Barack

Four things I am looking forward to this year

1. A week off bumming around somewhere with Robbye
2. Selling another script
3. FINALLY, MAYBE getting to see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse
4. Speaking in Seattle later this month and in LA in June

Four T.V. Shows that I watch

1. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
2. Medium
3. Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
4. ("Who wants a..!") Clean House (Official Member, Miss Niece Fan Club.  Mmmm Hmmm!)

Now, do you know me better?

And…are ya satisfied, Mike? [wink]


Remember this?

No longer will I call thee "Poop Phone".

From here to eternity, I dub thee "Lazarus".

Turns out the phone, itself, was fine.  When it went in the drink, it was only the battery that shorted out. 

Don’t know why it took me so long to check that out.  Well, for one, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  Second, when I fished the thing outta the pot and rinsed it off, it seemed as though the screen was shot.  Oh yeah…and none of the keys worked either.

It’s been sitting in my desk for months.

Being forced to use the Ancient Phone I HATE has been absolutely grating on me.  I mean, let’s get this straight…ol’ Lazarus mighta taken a poop bath, but APIH was and always will be, quite simply, a shitty phone.  I don’t wanna piss off any cell manufacturers, so I won’t mention the brand.  All I can say is using the thing wears my nerves RAZR thin.

To top it off APIH hasn’t been doin’ to well lately.  Feeling it’s age.  So it’s old and shitty.  Ack!

Facing the prospect of having to sling significant jing at a new phone, I decided to see–just see–what would happen if I put Robbye’s battery (it’s the same model) in my phone.  And, well…lo and behold…  Hot damn.

Next thing I know, I am running out to my local ATT store for a new battery.  $23.00 later, I slip that bad boy in, and guess what?


Umm…anyone got any Lysol spray?

Catching up

Dear friends,

Hello.  How are you?

I am fine.

Thank you for stopping by today.

What’s going on?  Oh, man!  Where do I start?

Remember this l’il thing?


Apparently, I should be provide a little more explanation when I post something like that.

Reminds me of the time when I posted this (really bad) poem I wrote as a kind of nod to Pablo Picasso and Surrealism a couple of years back and promptly left town for a week to the lands beyond cell service coverage.  Oh, my…  Can you say voice mail messages?  Took me over a week to convince everyone that I was neither losing it nor suicidal.

Friends and family.  God love ’em, but sometimes it’s hard to be a writer trying to strut his stuff in their line of sight.

Oh, well…occupational hazard.

No one said it was gonna be easy.  Trying to understand a writer guy, yet trying to care about him at the same time, that is.  It requires a whole new compass than most folks are used to.  North doesn’t always point north.  What’s worse is north changes, sometimes shifting unexpectedly and for inexplicable reasons.  So you can’t obtain a compass for the purposes of getting a good read on us writer types.  You gotta build ’em from scratch.

Oh, well…all guys like me can hope is that the rest of you think it’s worth the trouble.

That said, from the "What I really meant" department, comes this:

I had a lot going on.  I tried to write it all out in a sort of "let’s catch up with Bill" missive, but there was so much to say.  It gave me a head ache.  My creative response to said cranial distress was to let the long, rambling post go and simply (and, I thought, humorously) "depict" my feelings over trying to describe the myriad plates I had spinning at the time.  The rest, as they say….

In truth, everything was fine, though I admit that I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed of late.  Hyperactivity, with rarely enough energy to tackle each zone of my crazy/beautiful life with the gusto, creativity, and passion it deserves.  There have been many days, in fact, when I’ve felt like I’m losing ground everywhere.  And even moments when I’ve felt like an utter failure.

Then again…that’s nothing new.

Occupational hazard…of being me.

But the strike is over, and far from my previous fears, Hollywood seems to be welcoming me with reasonably open arms.  Yeah..check this out–

  • It’s not out of the realm of possibility that RUNAWAY could see some sort of distribution in the near future.
  • The management company I would like to work with seems genuinely interested in working with me.
  • I am in very active talks with a very reputable production company to develop a real, live Hollywood movie (a proposed budget in the mid-eight figures was tossed onto the table yesterday).
  • I have a good bead on (and have been highly recommended to) a great agent at a major agency.
  • INCARNATION, all of a sudden, is getting a lot of attention and seems to be taking on a life of its own.
  • As I plan on making a pilgrimage to the Tower of Tinsel in the next few weeks, people seem to really wanna meet with me.  For the first time ever, I think that my dance card will be full–with real and meaningful meetings to show for it.  Yikes!
  • If I play my cards right, I’ll have a first draft new spec script (which already has parties interested in reading it) ready to show the world by the end of March.

Holy crap, right?  Makes my head spin.  Mostly in a good way.

SagePresence is going equally well.  People are really responding to it, and we’re getting opportunities to speak and train all over.  The biggest problem there is there’s only three of us.  At some point in the VERY near future, we will have need to hire someone (or somones) to help us manage this thing.  Especially as word about what we’re doing spreads outside the Twin Cities, as it’s beginning to do so.  It’s quite amazing and scary cool.

Funny how this professional speaking thing so powerfully supports the screenwriting career, and vice versa.  Equally, how much fun I’m having going around and talking to folks.  Having such an immediate, profound, and positive impact for people–seeing it on their faces and hearing their stories of trouble and triumph–really makes my day.

And home…  With respect to that, let me simply say that Georges Seurat would be proud.  As I am proud of us.  All of us.  Yesterday, I noticed a piece of me was calm in the face of an otherwise tubulent day.  That piece was the one associated with home.

It was a bit of a surprise, as honoring this Great Love, this great family, and "putting it together" hasn’t always been the most calm of affairs.  But yesterday’s discovery spoke volumes.  It spoke of healing.  It spoke of health and happiness.  It spoke of peace and prosperity.  It spoke of adventure and accomplishment.  It whispered in my ear, visions of the future that brought a smile to my lips.

Today, my head doesn’t hurt.  Nothing has changed, except for today I feel a little less overwhelmed by this crazy/beautiful life.  That’s all.

Because I know head aches come with the job description.









None of ’em easy.  All of ’em worth it.

Dear friend…I hope you are well, too.  I look forward to catching up again in the near future.

Best to you and yours.  Let’s get together soon!

Yours TRUE-ly,


Two years ago…

We were painting what was then my bedroom.

In a house that must have felt like a ton of bricks on her soul, I was trying to create weight-free oasis.  Someplace that could feel hers.

We’d already moved well beyond talk of "possibly" moving in together.  The "ifs" were long gone.  Our conversations landed solidly in the "whens" column.

Then again, as we were working and dancing and singing and joking and smooching, I knew something she didn’t know.  Or at least I thought I did.  Turns out she knew it was coming, but not quite at that moment.  Come to think of it, I didn’t really know it was coming quite that day, myself.

Yet, it wasn’t a concept to me.  It was a certainty.  And only after all was said and done, could I share with her, for example, why I was so quiet, like "such a freak" all New Years Day, just a month earlier.  It was because, if I opened my mouth, it would spill out.  There simply was no holding it back.

But back to painting.  It was another day like New Years.  Every brush stroke seemed to whisper it to me: "Say it.  Say it…"  As the walls came to life, they called out: "Tell her.  Tell her…"

We were taking a break.  We were tired from going at it (and I don’t mean "in the good way") all day.   Exhausted, in fact.  We were sitting on the couch having one of those intense and yet quiet conversations.  You know…the ones you have with…well…the one.

And I am sitting there, and I am thinking, "Oh, my god…  This is the moment."

Plans be damned!

Hadn’t showered in two days?  Who cares?

Dressed in dirty, smelly painting clothes?  Whatever…

I got down on one knee, and I started talking.  I have no idea what I said.  I am guessing that I was babbling.  I am guessing Robbye thought I was babbling, too.

But I caught her attention when I said this…

"Will you do the honor of marrying me?  Will you be my wife?"

There was about a three second span where I thought she might say, "What the hell are you talking about?!?"

Turns out she was a little stunned.

In the next second, though, I got my relief.

"Of course!  Yes!"

At this point, I would say that the rest is history.  But there is one more movement to the story that not many people know.  Not enough people, anyway.

Robbye, Lucy (her dog), and M.P. (her cat) were staying the weekend at the house.  Kind of a "trial run" for the pets.  See how they would fare in the insanity…not to mention with the three other animals already running the joint.

Robbye didn’t have kids before all this.  For the most part, she’d lived on her own.  Robbye, her dog, and her cat…in a little pink house in St. Paul, in an apartment that was about the size of my living room.   Needless to say, life was a lot quieter.  A lot simpler.

Okay, then…on top of that…add…you know…THE HOUSE.  THE HISTORY…  Ack…

When I talk about our coming together, I tell people that Robbye is the bravest person I know.  Yes, because she said "yes" to the "Will you marry me?" question.  But more significantly to how she answered the next question to tumble out of my mouth that day.

"Now, will you just stay home?"

To which she answered, "I guess I’ll need to get some clothes."

I tell Robbye that the three smartest things I ever did in my life where these:

I called the girl, I asked the girl, I married the girl.

Two years ago today…  Proof positive, Baby.  Proof positive.


Cabin Fever

No, it ain’t the 20 below mornings of my youth, where 40 below wind chills were as commonplace as a Britney Spears mental breakdown, but it’s been dang miserable here.

We did have that one anomalous 40 degree day on Sunday, but it doesn’t count.  Whereas I am certain God believes he’s tossing us a mid-winter bone, he ain’t.  Days like that are more pain than pleasure.  They simply serve to remind us of what we will NOT be enjoying for the next 60 days or so.

I am sitting here bundled up in my bathrobe, a space heater running at my feet, trying to keep icicles from forming around my nostrils as I breath.  And earlier, I had to bundle up all Ralphie-like and trudge over to Holiday for half-and-half.  Because…?  Neither car will start in this frozen wasteland.

Somethin’s gotta give.

In my head, the constant sound of Sam Cooke crooning, "It’s been a lo-o-o-o-ong/Long time comin’ but/Change is gonna come/Oh, yes it is."

I’m with you, Sam.

Change is gonna come.  Hell, yes it is.

I am also tired of this strike.  I know, I know…I’m supposed to be all solidarity, fist in the air, Hollywood in flames, and all.  And I am, for the most part.  I’ve been "pencils down", and stayed away from talking to anyone and everyone, out of respect for my WGA bretheren.  (and, admittedly, fear for making the wrong move and being black-balled for the rest of eternity)

And I know that I am a,) not the only person in the world affected by this strike, and b.) many people have it far worse off than I do.

But I’m tired of it.

I haven’t said much (read: anything) about the strike because there’s enough crap flying around about the whole fiasco.  No one needs my two cents, or likely cares to hear it.  And, you know…what I said in parentheses a few paragraphs ago.

But I’m tired of it.

Yes, the writers need to get paid for I’net and other digital media.  Yes, people are being buttheads.  This has dragged on so long, however, and gotten so nasty, I am afraid that real, honest-to-goodness recovery will be years in the future.  That, my friends, I further fear will bode worse for guys like me than it will those already firmly ensconced in the industry.

We’ll see.  I am playing Punxsutawney Bill, and poking my head out of this foxhole (though only in appropriate circles) just a smidgen, over the coming days.  See whether anyone notices or I get my head blown off.  If you read my professional obit. in Variety any time soon, you’ll know it was the latter.

In the meantime (and as usual), no one sums it up better than Jim Henson’s Muppets…


Keep warm, all.  Like my bro-in-law sez, "Think flip-flops and margaritas."  Meanwhile, I will continue to experiment with the power of positive bitching.  How’s it working so far?