2 or 3 (or 20) things you don’t know but now do

Busy busy with work and writing and so on, so here’s another time-saver of a website update.  If you don’t know me, you may find these illuminating. Actually if you do know me, you’ll probably find they explain a lot.

  1. I hate being photographed.
  2. I don’t like being hugged, esp. by people I barely know.
  3. I rarely have more than 1 cup of coffee a day (which for a writer is rare).
  4. The most valuable tool in my writer’s toolbox? Post-its.
  5. I am a total introvert. Always was, always will be, which best explains why I became a writer.
  6. “Brad” is actually my middle name.  “Robert” is my first, after my father and grandfather. They called me Brad to avoid confusion with the aforementioned two (which doesn’t explain why they named me “Robert” but whatever).
  7. I lived in 9 different cities by the time I was 13.
  8. I rode a bike last year, for the first time in 18 years.
  9. Despite jokes and tweets to the contrary, I’m not really much of a drinker.
  10. I remember things that happened 20 years ago with greater ease than stuff I did last week.
  11. I studied film in university, majored in screenwriting, and paid my student loans off in totality with my first screenwriting gig.
  12. My first pro screenwriting gig came two and a half years after graduating.
  13. I’m shy in real life, which probably explains why I’m more successful in online relationships than actual face-to-face ones.
  14. When dragged to parties, I used to sneak paperback books in with me, find an      out-of-the-way spot, and read quietly. Now I just fiddle with my iPod.
  15. Counting sleep and writing time, I probably spend the majority of my day in my pajamas.
  16. I am one of those rare people who can and will keep a secret to his dying breath.
  17. I have a natural distrust of people. Believe me, it was earned.
  18. I have no tattoos or piercings.  Just not my thing.
  19. While I own a cell-phone, it’s never been activated (or used).
  20. I’m only close to two, maybe three people. In the entire world.

And the bonus round:

  1. Growing up I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. I bet I would have been a good one too.
  2. I could swim before I could walk.
  3. My first memories were at 5-6 months old, and I have the picture to prove it (surprise, I was in a pool when it was taken).
  4. My left leg is half an inch shorter than my right, due to a bad skiing accident I was in at age 9. I still limp slightly when walking too long.
  5. Lists are a good way to waste time.



The Wanderer

To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea — cruising, it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it,’ some men say. What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine, and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need — really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in, and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all in the material sense, and we know it.

But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?

– Sterling Hayden (The Killing, Dr. Strangelove, The Godfather).

Feel The Pain

Coming from the cuthroat world of film and TV, it’s easy to assume the world of publishing is like nirvana. Books are nice and warm and fuzzy, and comic books are comfort food.  In reality, the world of publishing is like being in the mosh pit of a Nirvana show circa 1992. You’re battered about, kicked in the face and occasionally wind up in the “Circle of Pain” where ‘roided up jocks with agression issues pummel each other and anyone who gets in their way.  To be more succinct; publishing is like any other creative industry; the “industry” comes first, followed several miles down the road by “creative”.  Publishers want to make money. They need to make money to keep publishing.  Every writer will have horror stories about their experiences, yet they soldier on, and use those experiences as cautionary tales.

I have yet to experience this first hand in publishing (film is another story — and it takes a few drinks for me to loosen the tongue and spew bile forth).  But the other day I read something that left me speechless.  It’s a cautionary tale, and a warning to anyone in the creative field; that sleazeballs may come in all shapes and sizes, but all leave the same distinctive slime-trail in their wake.

Poor Kelli Owen … all of the details here.  It’s an incredible story.

These Days

So it’s Monday morning and I’m at one of those rare points in my usual run of things where I literally don’t know what to do with myself.  Check that; I do know what to do – there’s no shortage of things I could be doing – only I’m finding it difficult to muster up the motivation to do them.  What I need to do and what I want to do are totally different.  I need to do follow-ups, I need to prompt responses out of people, I need to do dishes and I need to take out the trash.

Now, that’s what I need to do.  I want to avoid it all.  I want to flake out and read comic books.  I want to flake out and watch a couple movies.  I want to crawl back into bed and catch up on the sleep I haven’t been getting lately.

“Yeah, yeah,” you’re saying.  “Who wouldn’t want to do those things?  Our lives are filled with things we don’t want to do.  But, we do them anyway because we have to if we’re to have the lives we want.”

You then follow up with; “Wait, aren’t you in your pajamas right now, tapping away on your computer, while I’m at my crummy office job, dealing with all of the BS you don’t have to, and haven’t had to deal with since sometime in late 1998?  And when I punch today’s clock I still have to go home and do all the stuff you’re complaining about right now?  Allow me to break out my violin.”

To which I counter, “yeah, it’s so tough earning a regular paycheck and all the perks and benefits that come with steady employment.  It’s so rough having three weeks paid vacation and sick days.  Oh, I have a sniffle, better call in and tell them so I can stay in bed and still draw salary.  You know what happens when I feel like crap?  I drag myself over to my desk and work through it anyway.  Deadlines don’t give a shit about how I feel.  If I don’t work, if I don’t write, there’s nobody there to cover for me. “

“You chose that life,” you say.

“And you chose yours,” I retort.  Then we stop talking to each other for a bit.

So yeah, I feel like a lazy bastard today.  I was a lazy bastard all weekend if you must know.  I poked my head out for an hour or so on Saturday to grab groceries and take a walk in the park but Sunday I stayed in.  We both did — actually Friday was our weekend,as it involved errands and dinner, and seeing a friend off as they moved to LA.

Yet in my defense there is what I like to call a “calm before the crazy” aspect involved here.  To wit, take into consideration last week, when, after finishing up a project on a Friday (detailed here) I get an email about starting another.  It happens infrequently – too infrequently if you ask me – but when it does, you can’t help but be thrilled, especially of it’s with people you’ve worked with before and found to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

I’m not at liberty to divulge the details yet (partly out of superstition, but more out of professional obligation) – I wait until papers are signed and work actually commences to do that, but it looks like I’m on the clock through the remainder of 2010 and probably into 2011 on a Top Secret Project.  I’m sworn to secrecy, but can divulge that it’s a genre busting piece, it’s Horror (my favorite genre), and involves my least favorite horror types (take a wild guess and you’ll probably be right).  The fact that this particular subgenre has been done to death is something I take as a challenge, but given the producers have come up with a take I really haven’t seen before, I look forward to injecting some new blood into a dusty corpse.

How this impacts my other work is anybody’s guess, as I’m due to commence rewriting another script for another company in the coming months. Plus, there’s the matter of the Mixtape project, the novel, and other more mundane business matters.  Still, I’m never one to complain when people ask what I’m working on and I can actually tell them, by telling them nothing about it at all.

But dammit, I still don’t want to do dishes today.