Evil Gal Productions
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So that’s me. Super close. No make-up. Some days I’m good with that face. Some days less.
* * *
Growing up, almost everyone goes through an awkward phase.
Me, I went through an agonizing phase. Like a Spanish Inquisition phase (and who expects that?). I did the braces, the headgear – my teeth looked like they’d been in tiny car crashes with each other – sported vast ranges of throbbing red and yellow zits, and – I shit you not – rocked a Farrah Fawcett winged mullet with a spiral perm in the back.
Sad fucking mess, y’all. Sad fucking mess.
‘Course, all that sucked on its own, but when I was 12, I also had an unfortunate crush on one of the most popular boys at my school, Scott S.
“Unfortunate,” because when you’re poor, nerdy and – let’s be honest – at the least attractive point in your entire life – not to mention wielding a bottomless abyss where your self-esteem should be – WOW, lemme tell you, are you guy bait.
Still, I fantasized about slow-dancing with Scott S. in the gym at the school dance, getting roses on Valentine’s Day, him proudly introducing me to (anybody) as his girlfriend. But one day, a few minutes before the start of Geography, a friend of mine asked Scott S. if he liked me.
Scott S. laughed loudly.
“Hell no!” he shouted in the crowded classroom. “Meredyth’s a DOG!”
I was 10 feet away.
My disproportionate response was as follows:
For four solid years of high school, I DID NOT STEP FOOT OUTSIDE MY HOUSE unless my face was completely covered in concealer, foundation, powder, blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. In the Florida heat, this meant I looked like a melting clown for most of the day – but if you asked me, even a melting clown was better than my real face. And I did four years of that shit, day in, day out, relentlessly, exhaustingly, getting up at 5 a.m. for a 7:30 a.m. bell, just to make sure I looked “pretty.”
Just to make sure I wasn’t a DOG.
Thing is, that was nearly three decades ago, and though I’ve graduated to mostly not giving a shit (the laziness helps), every so often I’ll look in the mirror and still feel the sting of those words – “Meredyth’s a DOG!” – coupled with the feeling that looking “pretty” is the only thing that makes me worthy of, well… anything.
And what’s worse is, I’m not alone in thinking that.
* * *
I heard Sia’s “Big Girls Cry” after I bought her album “1000 Forms of Fear” (and then “We Are Born” and then “Colour the Small One” and… look, Sia is phenomenal and you should just buy all her shit, is what I’m saying). As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’d been looking for a music video to collaborate on – something simple, but that had some meaning – when I heard the lyrics:
I may cry, ruining my make-up
Wash away all the things you’ve taken
And I don’t care if I don’t look pretty
Big girls cry when their hearts are breaking
Naturally, the line about make-up was an instant flashback to high school, and suddenly the video I wanted to make unspooled in my head as if I were already watching it.
I’d found the song.
Now I just had to find some women who were willing to trust me enough to create art out of their pain.
* * *
The main goal was to tackle the idea of the beauty standard – and confront the fact that no matter how perfect the “mask” we wear, most women carry pain and insecurity about our looks underneath it. However, by allowing ourselves to transform that pain into tears, something that washes away and liberates us from the mask, we reclaim our authentic – and more authentically beautiful – selves.
With #BGCP – or Big Girls Cry Project – I wanted to dig under the make-up. I wanted to explore the feelings underneath the mask, the stories these women had to tell about their own experiences with the beauty standard. I knew I wasn’t alone in harboring the scars.
We took that classic 80’s/90’s mall staple, Glamour Shots, as our starting point.
If you’ve never heard of Glamour Shots (or don’t feel like following the link), it was a photography studio (usually in a mall) that hired a professional make-up artist and hairstylist to turn you into “your most glamorous self” – then took photos of you against incredibly ugly backgrounds, under terrible lighting, so you were DEFINITELY the most attractive thing in frame. Glamour Shots’ specialties were cheesy satin outfits, rhinestones, cowboy hats, big, big, BIG hair, and – the classic – a denim jacket with the collar popped. Basically, if there was a prop you could regret, Glamour Shots would give it to you. It was the epitome of a “beauty standard” – because all Glamour Shots had a somewhat creepy, identical feel. Same chin-tilts, same collar-pops – only the faces were different – but you couldn’t really tell that under all the make-up.
Likewise, though I had crowdsourced pretty much everything else in the shoot – studio, cameras, lighting, costumes (everyone shared stuff they brought in with everyone else; I’d put out the call for the “tackiest sexy things you own”) – I knew I needed professional make-up and hair to really drive home the point – and those were the only two paid positions on the shoot. Everything else you see was made in the name of ART! Which is to say, for free, out of the goodness of people’s hearts and their belief in the project. I will always be grateful to everyone who made #BGCP possible. I love you.
* * *
It was my Number One Priority to make sure the women in this video felt comfortable and safe – both with me and with the concept of the shoot.
“When was the first time you ‘realized’ you weren’t as pretty as the other girls?”
– was the first question I asked them all on camera. Yes, it was a mean question. An intentionally mean question, like poking a dentist’s tool right into a nerve. Combing through the footage to edit the video, I can’t tell you the number of times I cried, hearing the stories that arose from my asking it. (And believe me, I felt like a total shitheel for asking – but I wanted to immediately break through their defenses – a shock and awe introduction to the process, if you will.)
But that mean question? Every woman had an answer to it.
Every. Single. One.
With the camera running, I led them through dark topics, dark memories. All the tears you see in the video are real. These women discussed the ways the beauty standard had hurt them, left them scarred, left them feeling unworthy. By the end of the day, half of me wanted to sleep for 20 years, and the other half of me wanted to gather all these women in my arms and never let them go. It literally hurt something inside my chest: couldn’t they all see how amazing and gorgeous they were? And yet, what got me through it – maybe what got us all through it – was the laughter that came after the tears. Despite the emotional trauma we’d just been through together, the joking, the clowning, the teasing amongst ourselves helped us cope.
Women are remarkably good at that, remarkably resilient. Because we have to be.
And I want to share that with the world.
About last night.
Let me introduce myself, since – much to my chagrin – I didn’t get a chance.
My name is Mere Smith, and I’m a writer. I became aware of you in early 2012, when I heard about your Kickstarter campaign and started listening to your songs.
“Holy shit,” I thought. “This chick’s got brass ovaries and she’s amazingly talented! Hook me up!”
I downloaded “Theatre Is Evil” and paid what I wanted – and as a fellow artist, kicked in a little extra because I know how hard the fucking job is. In the interim, I’ve bought everything in your back catalog, from the Dresden Dolls’ albums to “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” to Evelyn Evelyn and everything in between. I’ve watched your videos, interviews, seen you live – and your TED talk changed the way I think about art and commerce. I read your blog, follow you on Twitter, sent in fabric for your signing tour kimono, and purchased two copies of your book, The Art of Asking – one for me, and one for a friend. What I’m saying here is:
I am your fan.
Not because I’m a star-whore who worships the ground you walk on (write TV for 15 years: it’s an easy way to get maximally disillusioned by celebrity), but because I truly believe in your message. I believe in the worth of your art, the worth of you, as a human being, existing and loving. I believe in your authenticity and am inspired by your strength and willingness to strive for compassion in all areas of your life.
I see you.
But here’s the thing: you’re right. Last night’s signing in L.A. was a shitshow.
A shitshow for you – as you’ve made evident today over Twitter and Instagram – as well as for me. And to be forthright – which painful as it might be, I think you’d appreciate – I wasn’t entirely surprised. Your work has always been pretty clear about what you think of L.A. – overly fond? not so much! – which completely sucks balls, since I live here, and you rarely come through. Even so, I can understand why.
Yes, Hollywood is full of your polar opposites – full of power-hungry sociopaths whose only key to success is making sure others fail. (Let’s be honest: duh.) But judging by the hundreds of people who waited on line for hours yesterday – both before the show and after – you should also be able to see that L.A. is plenty heterogenous, containing multitudes, including free-thinkers who actively seek out voices like yours.
So the L.A. bias? Your very palpable dread of the place? Meh – I get it. I’m not saying I’m over the moon about it, but I get it.
However, that wasn’t the whole reason behind the shitshow. Neither was the “bungly venue,” as you called it. It wasn’t even the chick heckler (the checkler?), or the painful uncomfortability of watching someone who wrote “really fucking horrible things” about you literally ask you for more by requesting to play onstage. (Hey, forgiveness is between the two of y’all, and you presented a fine – even supremely poised – example of compassion last night, no matter how uncomfortable it might have made me or anyone else. As I’m sure you already know, it’s not your responsibility to make everyone feel okay about your personal choices.) Even the monstrously late start time, the monsterier show length, and the insurmountable signing line – sorry, but I bailed at midnight, it was ridonk – all of this I was prepared for. After all, life is messy and complicated and full of unexpected fuck-ups.
Yet out of all those complications and fuck-ups – none of them made me angry.
But I am angry.
I went to bed angry. I woke up angry.
In fact, I’ve been sitting here all day asking myself, “Why am I so pissed about last night? Why am I not just happy I got to see her? What is wrong with me?”
Then I figured it out. (Not what’s wrong with me – that’d be a whole other letter.)
Generally I’m not one to make ad hominem attacks – which is what someone always says right before they make an ad hominem attack – especially since, as you discussed last night: people are real. Just because you let loose on the internet doesn’t mean that real people aren’t reading your words, and that real people don’t feel hurt by them.
That said, Bob Lefsetz was a total ass last night.
As a writer from the Deep South, I have both an extensive vocabulary and a hardwired inclination to politeness – and I assure you, “ass” is absolutely the most polite word I could come up with to describe your guest. I truly hope (and am fairly certain) you won’t re-watch the video of last night, because that icky weirdness you felt? Best as I can tell, almost everyone there felt it, too. And it might’ve been L.A., it might’ve been the venue, or the checkler, or the long wait times, or any other number of things. But for me, what killed your signing last night?
Was Bob Lefsetz being a straight-up sexist ass.
Because the songs you played? Rocked the fuck out.
The readings you did from your book? Were intimate and funny and moving.
But when Bob Lefsetz took over the stage – and I do mean “took over” – it was like watching your friend get punched in the face over and over again and being powerless to stop it.
Amanda, he ran over you so many times I lost count. Interrupted your answers with his own stories and anecdotes. Ran on about his blog, hated on his haters (it was like watching the Bizarro Amanda Palmer, repeatedly calling one of his critics “a motherfucking asshole” – or maybe it was “asshole motherfucker” – I wouldn’t want to misquote). He monopolized the quasi-conversation. Your book “doula” (and fabulous magician!), Jamy Ian Swiss, was given inexcusably short shrift because of Lefsetz’s continual self-righteous monologue – admitting no credit to dissent – about the music industry: in particular, his views on the recent Spotify dust-up featuring Taylor Swift – who is, to quote his recent blog, a “greedy, thoughtless person who’s only about the bucks.”*
You held your own there, insisting – as you do in your book – that artists should be able to choose however they distribute their music. And in my seat I was all, “Rah, Amanda! Stick up for women! Stick up for artists!”
But then he just got worse.
He asked you deeply personal questions you did not want to answer – questions I will not repeat here – questions that I have been asked and have not wanted to answer, most certainly not in front of hundreds of people. You, yourself, said something to the effect of, “Oh, I don’t really wanna go there” – yet still he pushed and pushed until it felt – at least to me – like you had no choice but to answer, or else betray your reputation for sharing your life with your audience. He didn’t seem to get what most people intrinsically know: that no matter how open you are about your life, some shit is personal, dude. It’s private. Lay off.
Walking back to the car, my fiancé (who only now, after three years of intense AFP-proselytizing, is beginning to get why I’m into your work), surprised me by saying, “You know, Amanda Palmer is so talented, and I really liked the parts of her book she read – but that Lefsetz guy, all that negativity, it fucked the whole night up.”
And that’s why I’m angry. Okay, that’s, like, 99% of why I’m angry.
The other 1%…
I’m angry with you, Amanda.
You’re one of my feminist icons. Sometimes when shit gets real, or when I take artistic risks, I make myself brave by thinking, “If Amanda Palmer was doing this, she would be brave. She might be scared, like I am, but then she’d be brave and do it anyway.” Then I get brave and do it anyway.
So why did you let him run over you? Why did you let him interrupt you time and again? Why did you let him push you and make you uncomfortable without saying “no”? Why did you let him talk and talk and talk when it was your night? Your book? Your tour? When the fuck did I buy tickets for the Bob Lefsetz Show and where can I return them?
I don’t know. Maybe this is victim-blaming, only I can’t see it because “victim” is the last word I’d ever use to describe you. Maybe I just needed to write all this down to sort it out in my head. Because what I’d been looking forward to for weeks was listening to you. And instead I got Bob “Ass” Lefsetz. For hours.
If you ever do come to L.A. again – though after last night I won’t hold my breath – will you please come alone? Or maybe bring Whitney, or Jamy, or Anthony, or Kambriel, or Neil, or a band, or some dancing monkeys or corporate CPAs who do mime – whatever – just bring someone who won’t figuratively punch you in the face?
Because I’m still working on my compassion, and next time I can’t guarantee I won’t punch back.
*Anyone who’d like to read Lefsetz’s bona fides when it comes to female musicians (apart from Joni Mitchell, who I’m convinced he thinks is the Second Coming), can Google his thoughts on Beyoncé, Feist, Adele, Grace Potter, and – while I’m at it – this charm of a quote about the fans at a One Direction concert:
“Students. Girls. Wanna get laid? Go to a 1D show. You won’t see odds this good at the prison of ‘Orange Is The New Black’. An endless sea of barely pubescent girls…”
That oughtta give you a starting point.
As most of my readers know, at the beginning of 2014, I spent eight weeks isolated in a cabin up in Washington state, writing a spec script of “Elementary”.
I’ve talked about it a bit already, but as I gain more distance and perspective, I’m starting to understand why the entire experience, rather than simply a writing retreat, was such a true SHAKABUKU – though not at all in the way I’d expected.
For in all that blessed quiet alone time – no TV, no Internet, no people – not only did I write, I also started sorting out a lot of tangled issues in my head – issues that tend to get glossed over, de-prioritized and ignored in the day-to-day bustle of what I call
The long succession of musts and shoulds and have-to’s and plow-forwards we line up in order to fulfill our roles as productive members of society. It’s hard to remove yourself from that flow – to step away and assess The Nextnextnext – and your place in it – objectively.
For me, the issues and questions that arose out of this assessment weren’t gigantic, just, y’know – what kind of human being am I becoming, and what do I want to do with the rest of my life?
The little things.
Despite my copious Sherlock research, my love for the characters, and excitement about my story – I was finding a lot of resistance within myself about finishing the spec (which I still haven’t finished, by the way) (note to aspiring writers: established writers leave stories undone, too, and it eats the core of our souls just like yours; that’s how you know you’re a writer) – but this time the usual suspects weren’t even called in for questioning.
The resistance wasn’t because I didn’t have the story broken, or because I was unsure of the show’s architecture, voice or tone. It wasn’t the standard writers’ resistance – which mainly consists of stamping our tiny feet and sniveling, “This is so hard! I hate this job! And such small portions!” *
No, this was a deeper resistance I felt somewhere in my chest and guts – which makes sense, given it hadn’t yet reached my brain – a resistance I had to fight every time I sat down at the computer. That supremely uncomfortable-in-your-own-skin sensation – the Germans have an awesome word for it: existenzangst – that, if you’re lucky, 10 years down the line you look back on and say, “Of course that’s when everything got uncomfortable – that was when everything started to change.”
Because when you’re comfortable, there’s no reason to change. It’s only when you find yourself struggling with something that change becomes a necessity.
I was resisting this script, resisting finishing.
Because despite how pleased I was with the writing…
…I wasn’t pleased to be writing it.
The more I thought about my goals in life, and the further removed I got from
the more I realized that the human being I was becoming, the human being I was struggling with… was constantly afraid.
That human being just wanted to finish this script so she could land the next job – any job – afraid of losing her career momentum, afraid of being broke again (hey there childhood), afraid that her entire choice of profession was just a terrible, terrible mistake and the Fraud Police were due any minute.
And as for what I wanted to do with the rest of my life? The only thing I was absolutely 100% sure of…
…was that I didn’t want to be writing that fucking “Elementary” spec.
Which scared the watery shit out of me.
It took eight weeks of existenzangst and total withdrawal from The Nextnextnext before I could look at myself in the mirror and admit that after getting burned out by Hollywood and taking 2013 off to pursue fiction, I was now taking the safe road back to show business – the well-trod conventional path – writing other people’s stories, not my own.
Not out of choice, but out of fear.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t been shilling my own shit for years. Aside from the four original pilots that didn’t get sold — this was all pre-FXX/SyFy/Netflix-explosion, dammit to hell — I’ve been lucky; I’ve been close. I wrote a video-game adaptation pilot for Starz (lost in the shake-up of new management). The project I developed in 2012 was sold to HBO and a Big Name, NDA yadda yadda – and before that, I’d been on the brink of a deal with Showtime and John Singleton – so brinky it made Daily Variety.
(Right?!? Even though the deal fell through, that pic reminds me it was real, which is weird because sometimes it feels like it was just a really cool dream — since I’m clearly too nerdy to actually have had that happen to me.)
But in my return to screenwriting, I was letting my fear take away my agency. I was acting from a place of scarcity and desperation – a place I’ve spent more time in than out — instead of forging my own path from a mindset of freedom and infinite possibility. I was betraying my capacity for bravery, my own desires…
…and worst of worsts, I was letting this fear dictate my creative choices.
At this point, as an artist, you have to bitchslap yourself and go, “What the FUCK, dude?”
So, after reconciling myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to finish the “Elementary” spec in Washington, and accepting that I had been making choices out of cowardice — which is true; that’s not self-denigration — I made the deliberate decision to scorch my creative earth and start from scratch.
This year I consciously declined to enter the Monkey Dance Competition called staffing season, and instead chose to concentrate on my original work, with the goal of selling a pilot of my own this year. It’s a big goal — okay, it’s fucking GIGANTIC fucking goal — but I’ve had a story noodling around my brain for several years now, and in the upcoming weeks and months, I’ll be working on it the same way I worked on TRADE (more on that in a sec). The timing may be a little wackadoodle — it always seems to take longer than you expect — and I may run into six tons of snags, each of which will seem, at the time, insurmountable. But I’ve been doing this long enough to know that a battle of wills between you and a snag will always be won by the party that cares more. And after plodding through two months of existenzangst, re-evaluating my life and my art, I can assure you that if I’m working on something I want to be working on, I will always be the the party that cares more.
And thus we come to TRADE.
TRADE was an idea I lived with for years before I ever seriously considered writing it. Back then, I think I knew I wasn’t yet technically proficient enough to do the story justice, but once I’d learned a trick or 4 million, I finally felt capable of creating something worth reading, watching, experiencing.
The genesis of the script itself was borne of several factors, not least of which was becoming friends with a high-end escort I’ll call R. I’d already had friends who had done or were doing various kinds of sex work, but never had I gotten a chance to inquire about all the obnoxious things you’ve always wanted to know about sex work but were afraid to ask. Luckily R. was very accommodating of my ignorance and (sometimes invasive and I’m sure insulting) questions, and what she told me was so much more interesting than most folks’ standard ideas of prostitution, that’s when I knew it was time to write TRADE.
I wrote TRADE because the story spoke to me about being female, being commodified and objectified, the “hierarchy” of sex work, subversive models of power, and — I won’t lie — whipping back the covers to demystify all types of sex — from vanilla to kink, hetero to whatevergoes, fetishes to obsessions, and the psychology behind it all. I thought it was a story worth telling, and a story I could tell in a way no one else could. After finishing the final polish, I felt like, fuck yeah!
As a writer, there is no better feeling.
More than one person has asked me, “But why are you putting it online? Doesn’t that make it less valuable? Less likely to be picked up?” And the answer to that, of course, is that it’s been available for years and years to industry insiders — but they did nothing with it. So rather than letting it accumulate virtual dust on my hard drive, I thought that giving my readers — and the web at large, I guess — new content (or in NBCese, “New To You!” content) was not only a great way of sharing a story I feel fuck yeah! about, but perhaps a way to spark discussions about women and the (literal) commodification of sexuality.
But if I’m to be perfectly, perfectly honest, I also wanted to post TRADE as a proof to myself:
You have done this before.
And you can do it again.
The kind of human being I’m becoming wants to be fearless, wants to tell my stories, my way — and so I share one with you now.
Ladies and gentlemen, I offer you for download:
I hope it gets you off.
(PC: Right-click on link and save file. Mac: CTRL + click on link, Save Linked File)
* This is an old joke about two biddies who go to a restaurant where they declare the food is terrible… “And such small portions!”
AVAILABLE ON MONDAY
JUNE 2, 2014
MERE SMITH’S PILOT
AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD!
I learned how to do that – the whole inhale, exhale thing – while I was up in Washington the past few months.
It’s not always easy to breathe in L.A.
Sure, there’s the smog and the choking pretentiousness of your fellow man, but sometimes the city itself sits heavy on the chest. The deals, the traffic, the people. Makes it hard to get air in. You small-sip it, never noticing how each sip gets smaller – until suddenly you’re Giles Corey being pressed to death – SPLAT.
L.A. was SPLATting me.
So I went to stay in a small cabin on a small hill, 20 minutes outside a small town, in order to write a spec script, which I did… minus a couple unfinished scenes I’m still battling like some fucking Game Of Thrones character who won’t die: the Beric Dondarrion of scripts. (That one was for you, bro.) However, spec aside, I found a lot more than I expected in that cabin – a lot more than I expected in me – like how to finally
I’ll write about my experiences soon. For now they’re still fermenting in the old brain juice – and as the ancient philosopher Orson Welles once said, “Ye shall blog no whine before its tyme.” He was a weird guy.
But other things press!
(If you hadn’t already noticed, this post’s gonna ramble. I am an out of practice blogger – which intellectually is, like, one step above coral – and I got a lot of ground to cover, so give a bitch a break.)
First let’s talk about this:
That’s right, ladies and germos,
APRIL 12 – 13
I will be at
THE LA TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS
ON THE USC CAMPUS
BOOTH 157 – BOOTH 157 – BOOTH 157
(I call that “cheap 3-D”: 3-Damn Times)
UCLA alums, I have already offered to lay down cover fire if shit gets real.
Naturally, I’ll be accompanied in this endeavor by my fellow author and co-founder of The Asylum Collective (unclench! I’ll get there!), Eric Sipple – also known as my webmaster-slash-bitch, aka W/B, aka Sippy Cup.
And yeah, I do call him Sippy Cup. He still answers my texts. Who’s got the low self-esteem now, YOU SIXTH-GRADE BITCHES?
Whoa. Middle-school flashback.
Point is, this weekend I’m gonna be in downtown Los Angeles shilling books, motherfuckers –
plus this one down here
and this next one too, which I only wrote 2% of but
was edited by Leslie Marinelli, publishing mogul extraordinaire
These are all really fun books – ones I swear you won’t regret reading unless you’re really trying to be an asshole – and if you’re nice – or even better, if you’re not – I’ll sign them for you! That’s right! Totally ruin a brand new book by scrawling my stupid name in it – I will DO that shit for you, man – because you’re my friend, faceless anonymous blog reader!
I can’t speak for Eric, though, who will be shamelessly flogging his own book like a sad old hooker with tits to her toes. Just don’t throw pennies at him this time, okay? It’s mean and it makes him cry. And being mean and making him cry is my job.
Speaking of which, earlier I mentioned The Asylum Collective, and you were like, “Whaaaat?” and I was like, “Unclench! I’ll get there!” and now we’re here.
Eric and I have been kicking an idea back and forth for a little over a year, and in the next few paragraphs, I’m going to give you the smallest amount of information I can get away with without someone going, “Well why the fuck did you bring it up?”
The Asylum Collective really started coming together after I wrote this.
I hadn’t intended for that blog post to become some sort of art manifesto – actually, I’m pretty sure it’s still not a manifesto, since I don’t know how to write a manifesto; rather surprisingly, there was no Manifesto Writing course at Brown – but through the process of writing that post, a bunch of nebulous stuff I’d been turning around in my head suddenly clarified. Thoughts about art and social media, the nature of inspiration and collaboration between artists, the currently-shifting rubrics for cultural gatekeepers.
The Asylum Collective will be a website.
And yet it will be so much more than a website.
We’re months away from launch – hell, with our schedules, maybe several, several months – but we knew the project was a fucking behemoth from the jump, and we’re not going anywhere. We hope you stick around, too.
For those of you who don’t know, the very name, The Asylum Collective, comes from the imaginary “asylum” I run on my Twitter account (@EvilGalProds) – the joke being, of course, that you’d have to be crazy to follow me. So the Asylum is already in existence in one platform – we’re just going to build an expansive new wing – where you can draw on the walls.
But if I told you any more, I’d have to lobotomize you.
From January 14 to March 14
Details to come soon. Just wanted to let y’all know what I’ve been up to for the last three months.
A beautiful, hopeful, happy, and shameless New Year to y’all!
So this pretty much sums up my take on the beginning of 2014:
It’s a giggle fit in the offing, a gleam in the eye, an adventure soon to be swashbuckled!
I AM MOVING TO WASHINGTON!
(Okay, okay, that was a totally cheap mislead and I’m sorry. Those of you who read my books know I can’t pass up a cheap mislead. If there is a mislead on Clearance in Filene’s Basement, I will inevitably buy it.)
Therefore to clarify:
I AM MOVING TO WASHINGTON…
FOR A LITTLE WHILE!
Yes, dear readers: as of this Sunday, January 5, I will be temporarily relocating to an undisclosed location (okay, it’s a cabin) in Washington state for the next month or so, to seek solitude, inspiration, and shakabuku, defined in Grosse Pointe Blank as “a swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever.”
‘Cause I think I could use one of those right about now.
See, by the end of 2013, I realized I was doing a lot of writing – like, a LOT a LOT — but none of it was for TV. Which is a tad self-defeating for a TV writer. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve got ideas coming out of every orifice (oh yeah, even that one; in fact, those ideas might be the best) for original shows, but after spending two years in Development Hell (otherwise known as Sorry-But-Your-Material-Is-So-Out-Of-The-Box-We-Don’t-Even-Know-Where-The-Box-Is-Anymore-And-Oh-By-The-Way-I-See-You-Have-A-Vagina-Let-My-Assistant-Show-You-Out), I switched focus to fiction for a time just to offset the accumulated maulings of my creative self-esteem. The only problem with fiction is that it pays about .000000013 cents an hour, so it’s time to get staffed on TV again before I’m reduced to living in a microwave* under the 405.
But in order to staff up, I gotta write some new TV material (apparently I can’t keep relying on that “Sopranos” spec like I used to; some nonsense about it being “dated” and “cancelled”), so I’m taking the rather drastic step of isolating myself in the woods in order to finish the “Elementary” spec I started earlier this year, only this time with no distractions – y’know, like getting interrupted by a brain cancer scare, and then withstanding medication FUBARs, and then publishing two books, and then flying to a foreign country to sell them, and then, and then, and then…
At this point, I’ve only got two solid plans for Washington:
- write the spec
And given that the cabin has no TV (holy shit, I just got dizzy for a second), I’ll also be trying a couple other things, like:
- reading the fuckton of books I’m shipping to myself
- updating the blog daily – mind you, most of these updates will probably be two sentences long:
- “Revised Act Three last night. Started My Booky Wook by Russell Brand.”
- “Hey, did you guys know weed is legal in Washington? I mean, I think it is. Is it? I’m hungry.”
- “I have begun speaking to the coyotes in their own language. All vowels. Bit like Hawaiian.”
- staying off-grid as much as possible (insanely tough, but I’m committed)
- 30 straight days of morning meditation
- and various other mini-ARTprojects
Also, I’ll probably be Instagramming a bunch of pictures that may or may not document my descent into Jack Torrance territory.
I’ll miss you all terribly while I’m gone (seriously, I’m terrible at missing people; I’ll probably forget y’all even exist)(total lie: I’ll be grid-lurking at intervals), and if you write or tweet me and you don’t hear back, please know it’s for a good reason: I have walked off into the snow to die.
That, or I’m really focused on finishing the script.
At this point, I can see it going either way, so:
BRING ON THE SHAKABUKU!
See you on the flipside, friendos!
* 10 bonus points if you now call this a “science oven”
October 21, 2013
A new entry from my other brother!
He called it a BOOK ANGEL, which I fucking love!
(And obviously, the model is his girlfriend. She’s way prettier.)
Right after my book launch, my brother and sister engaged in a who-can-buy-more-books contest.
I adored this for three reasons.
- My siblings are better than your siblings.
- Yes! Give me your money now so I don’t have to borrow it from you later!
- Whenever the two of them compete — over anything — laughs are bound to ensue.
So when the books finally arrived, I figured my brother won with this entry:
After which he taunted my sister mercilessly, calling her the “second-place sibling” and “a Bieber-loving Twihard who doesn’t understand the Evil Gal World”.
I knew he was in trouble when she texted him back, “Oh, it’s on now, bitch.”
And true to form, my sister sent my brother and me this gem an hour ago:
YOU WIN, SIS!
(And I love you both!)
LAST CALL FOR SIGNED COPIES
OFFER ENDS AT MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!
Get your crazy while it’s hot!