Friday, March 29, 2013

Comic Relief: Mr. Mom

I love this witty dialogue from Mr. Mom (1983) when Jack (Michael Keaton) wants his son, Ken, to give up his beloved scraggly security blanket. He tells him:

"No listen to me, I understand that you little guys start out with your wubby's, and you think they are great... and they are. They are terrific, but pretty soon a wubby isn't enough. You're out on the street trying to score an electric blanket, maybe even a quilt. Then the next thing you know you're strung out on bedspreads, Ken! That's serious! Now gimmie the wubby."  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Action!: Battling Resistance

It's been a long time since I posted about action. For the past few months, I made very little progress (if any). I was a victim of Resistance.

I set a goal to enter a short script into a screenwriting contest with a January 31 deadline. I referenced the contest a few times in my posts: "Block" Buster: Allow abundance.... "Block" Buster: Involve other imaginations. ... and Action!: First draft. That was the last Action post until now.

I was excited about the story with its unique concept, however, every time I set aside time to write, something interfered. Legitimate somethings, over-riding my writing. I knew Resistance was having a hey-day. As the deadline drew closer, I drew a line in the sand, so to speak, and blocked out my calendar so I could complete the script and obtain the goal. Take that, Resistance.

Then I became very ill. The deadline came and went while I feverishly hacked, barely able to think or function.

Missing that contest sent me into a deep blue funk. Resistance won, and I was tired of fighting the battle. I raised a white flag, and cried, "Uncle." I started searching for a job where Resistance would give me a free ride, because as Stephen Pressfield explains in The War of Art, "Resistance only opposes in one direction... It kicks in when we seek to pursue a calling in the arts, launch an innovative enterprise, or evolve to a higher station morally, ethically, or spiritually.... So if you're in Calcutta working with the Mother Teresa Foundation and you're thinking of bolting to launch a career in telemarketing... relax. Resistance will give you a free pass."

I wanted that pass. A job without Resistance nipping at my heels every day? Sign me up.

As the weeks went by and I struggled with thoughts of defeat, I questioned: If Resistance fights me when I strive towards goals, yet gives a free pass when I let go of the dream, where does Divine Assistance fit? Shouldn't Divine Help counteract Resistance? Shouldn't Divine Assistance give me a boost during the uphill battle, or provide a speed bump to slow my decline?

I felt alone and somewhat miffed in my battle-weary state and decided to have a long talk with God about it. This fight seems pretty one-sided. Can't I have a little help here?

God is a patient Father. He didn't tell me the answer, but told me where to find it. You refer to the War of Art. Why don't you read it again.

Okay. I did. And there I re-learned a horrible truth. Pressfield wrote: "Resistance is internal. ... Even though we think others or situations outside ourselves block us from doing our work, it's actually an inside job. Resistance comes from within."

What?!? Did I cause my own sickness just to resist the contest? I don't think so.

But then I remembered that a few days before the deadline, I actually rallied for a little bit, health-wise. I had thoughts that I should buckle down and do my best under the circumstances to finish the script and submit it. But I didn't even try. I didn't feel like writing. I ignored my writing rule: write no matter what (no matter I write, no matter where I am, no matter how I feel). I didn't cause my sickness, but I didn't take advantage of a window of time when I felt well enough to put my fingers to the keys. Ouch. Painful awareness. Resistance did indeed come from within.

As the cartoon character, Pogo, said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

I kept reading, and came to the section titled "Combating Resistance," where I was reminded that a major key to fighting Resistance is to write. Do the work. Be committed and consistent.

The next section, titled "Beyond Resistance: Higher Realm" brought answer to my where's-the-Divine-Assistance question. Here are quotes that stood out to me...

"...the most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.

Why is this so important?
Because when we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist in our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose."

"Just as Resistance has its seat in hell, so Creation has its home in heaven. And it's not just a witness, but an eager and active ally."

"Angels are like muses. They know stuff we don't. They want to help us. They're on the other side of a pane of glass, shouting to get our attention. But we can't hear them. We're too distracted by our own nonsense.

Ah, but when we begin.
When we make a start. ...
When we make a beginning, we get out of our own way and allow the angels to come in and do their job. They can speak to us now and it makes them happy. It makes God happy. ..."

Perhaps during that short window of wellness, making an attempt to finish the script might have brought a miracle. Maybe Divine Assistance stood nearby, eager to give me a dose of energy and clarity of thought, but I didn't do my part... I didn't try.

It took weeks to recover from the illness and months to recover from my Resistance wounds.

Thankfully, I was guided to read that book again, and reminded that I am not fighting the creative battle alone. There is Heavenly Help ready to give a boost, but I need to show up, be committed, and work... no matter what.

So I turned away from the free pass and re-entered the war of art. I'm writing every day, especially on my screenplay, even when inconvenient. And I've been rewarded with creative ideas... and joy.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Motivation: Finish

"Best advice on writing I've ever received.  Finish." ~Peter Mayle

Friday, March 22, 2013

Comic Relief: The Incredibles

If Disney animators make a spin-off of The Incredibles, (2004) I hope the main character is Agent Edna "E" Mode.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Motivation: Persevere

"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did."
~Newt Gingrich

I soooo need perseverance right now.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Comic Relief: I got nothing, folks.

"Dying is easy.  Comedy is hard."

Finding the original source for that quote is even harder.  And finding movie clips with clean humor, free of foul language, is harder than that.

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Block" Buster: Do the work.

"I think most writer's block is just not wanting to do the work. Heck, nobody really wants to work every day. But if writing is your job, you have to write. No excuses, no 'but I'm just not in the mood today.' Plumbers don't get 'plumbers block,' right?" 
~William Martell

Writing is not a paid job for me... yet. If I'm serious about writing, I have to do the work no matter what. The excuse of "I'm just not in the mood" is too handy and too deadly. When I start using that excuse, Resistance moves in for the kill.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Comic Relief: Is this what you are wishing for?

I saw a humorous sign on

"When you wish a book would be made into a movie, you really wish it'd be made into a 19-hour-long spectacle that includes every detail of the storyline and is casted perfectly."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Motivation: Practice art.

"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.  So do it." ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, March 1, 2013

Comic Relief: And the award goes to...Holly.

Last Friday I posted humorous quotes from the 2012 Academy Awards (click here), and hoped to capture funny quotes from the 2013 Oscars for today's Comic Relief.  I wasn’t familiar with Seth MacFarlane's humor, or I would have known beforehand there would be nothing funny to write about.

When I finished watching the recording of the awards, I went on-line to see what people had to say about the show, and found a funny Facebook post from my young friend, Holly (due to have a baby any day now).  After such a long dull spell of watching the program, her update gave me welcome laughter.  My favorite 2013 Oscar humor award goes to her:

"Poor Noel nearly lost his life last night.  While watching the Oscars he commented on something being over dramatic.  Unfortunately, he spoke out as I was struggling to roll over and get out of bed. I thought his comment was directed at my huffing and puffing. Lucky for him I let him explain himself."