Sunday, July 09, 2006

Still Kicking...

Hi all! Thanks so much to those of you who keep tuning in here watching for signs of life. Once, a friend asked Emily Dickinson if she had been writing much poetry, and Emily said she hadn't because "lately existence has over-whelmed being." I think I know what she means. Writing that is worth reading requires moments of "being." That is, time when a writer can think on experience. It's two different moments "experience" and "reflecting on experience". I am piling up stuff to reflect on - which I will do here hopefully soon. Just not right now. And, frankly, I don't trust what I would write in my current frame of mind. I'm very clipped lately....

So what's going on? Well, there are our two Act One programs - Writing and Executive - which are both in full swing. (Please keep our sixty students in your prayers.) Then, there have been my trips to Europe and DC (and soon Seattle - coming at you Jeffrey! Want to have lunch?) and, of course, every trip tends to generate more work in cleaning-up, following up and new leads.

There has been a lot of friend and family stuff - friends getting married; friends getting engaged; friends having babies; friends out of work; friends changing jobs; friends needing script help.

It seems like I've been shaking a lot of hands of visitors - parents and friends of our students and alumni and then just people who have heard of us. That happens in the summers when people travel. More and more people seem to be "dropping in" at Act One all the time because they just want to meet us. It's nice. Time-consuming with everything else, but certainly a sign that our profile is rising.

Then, there's the perpetual journalists. Not as many lately but there are still always one or two in my email box. Wanting sound-bites. Wanting approval of sound-bites. Fact checking. Wanting to know what a Christian movie is. Wanting to know what it is like to leave the convent and come to Hollywood. What do I think about a Christian movie getting a PG for talking about Jesus. (BTW, As I have said before ad nauseum, I think we are in a time of persecution. It's so damn obvious and it is funny to me that so many Christains are still walking around 'eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage' and scratching their head in shock at stuff like this. "CAN YOU NOT READ THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES?!!" No, we humans can't it seems. Particularly we Christians. Ever. Maybe that is part of our charm for God.)

Then, I have had some stupid physical pebbles in my corporal shoe: A two month-long bout of bronchitis. A persistent ear infection which my doctor assures me will go away if I can stay off an airplane for more than two weeks. And then that finger cyst has come back and is swollen like a grape.

Then, of course, there has been an unusual amount of fundraising activity for Act One because we will really need a good chunk of money very soon.

Oh, did I let that slip?.... We are in our usual "How are we going to get through the Fall?!" financial traumatic stress weeks at Act One. There is so much money going out for program expenses and very little coming in from grants. We really need some financial angels right now. There is a "Donate to Act One" button on the right....see it? Thanks. God bless you.

But there's something else too. It's that being "clipped" thing I mentioned above...

It probably has more to do with me not writing much lately than anything else. I'm bored. Completely, mind-paralysingly, agonizingly bored. This happens to me every ten years or so. I started realizing I was getting bored during the whole Da Vinci Code insanity. One day I woke up irritated about having to go over again why blasphemy is like pornography - not something at all that is useful or neutral especially to Christians. And I found I was triple times infinity to the tenth power of pi bored with people who want me to either not state the obvious about problems in the Church or state it is such a way that it is obscure. I know it is true that "You get more bees with honey," but what exactly do you get with two and a half parts watered down aspartame and why should I care anyway? (And please. I'm already bored with those of you who are going to tell me with umbrage that what is obvious to me may not really be obvious at all but just you know, subjectively obvious in some way, you know, to me.... Please resist.)

I'm bored with pretty much every speech I've been giving lately... before I even start. This is the pitfall of making it onto the Christian guru speaking tour circle. That is, you have to be on it. ( I really love meeting all the people! It's listening to myself repeat myself that is so awful.)

I've been really bored this Spring and summer with the greed and lust for celebrity that has been in my face lately in so many believing folks who are doing movies in this moment. I have felt spiritully sullied by the - how can I say this gently? - lying and back-stabbing and preening and posturing and over-all lack of honor that I have seen up close in at last five projects which have in some way swept me into their vortex. What is it about this business that makes good people consistently try to violate agreements that they have made? Why is a good thing never enough in itself, but always a sign that maybe this could be a much better thing which we can have if we just dump over the side the people who helped us make this thing a good thing? Boring was a lunch I had a a few weeks back in which I was I suddenly awash in scores of deja vu recollections of similar meetings when I realized that the nice Christian "producer" across the table really had no real money, no real story for a movie, and no real idea that it isn't nice to set up meetings by saying you have these things only to reveal over the salad that you really don't.

A friend said to me recently, "In my twenty-five years in Hollywood, I can count on the fingers of one hand decisions that have been made for the good of the project itself. It's always something else: greed, pride, fear."

And then somewhere in the middle of MI:3...or was it Poseiden...or maybe it was reading about the reliably hug boxoffice for Fast and Furious Really, Really Full Throttle This Time XV - I realized I was bored with Hollywood. I mean the movies. I have long been bored by the Brad/Jen/Angelina,Britney/Tom-Kat/Gwyneth has a daughter she named Apple - part of Hollywood. But I have always felt a thrill opening a new script, or watching the studio logos come up right in front of a new film. Lately, the thrill is gone. Which makes it hard to write about.

This could be burn out. It could be turning forty two. It also could certainly be what a friend said yesterday, "Sounds like you really need to start a new program." Maybe. It most certainly is the first REAL opportunity for heroism I've found yet in Hollywood. No really.

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