Wednesday, May 13, 2015
That said, I’m going to follow my own advice. This is an experiment, but I promise three things. I will write this quickly. I will not censor myself even if the thoughts are fragmented or don’t segue properly, and I will post it (even if it ultimately turns out to be total crap). The thing about experiments is that they could fail. COP ROCK and MICROSOFT BOB leap to mind.
Make that four things – I will not go back and edit. In other words, I will allow myself to be a lazy horseshit writer. Rewriting really makes a difference – as this post will probably prove.
On the other hand, there are writers like Larry Gelbart who can compose a script straight through, without corrections. I don’t know how they do it. I’m as mystified by that as I am people who can break the Enigma Code or build a dresser from Ikea.
Gelbart used to write his scripts in longhand on legal pads with black Sharpies. And the pages would all be clean. And legible. When I used to write longhand it would be on UCLA binders and I would have 24 hours to transcribe it or it would be lost. My handwriting is so bad and I had so many cross-outs and arrows and lines squeezed into the margins that if I didn’t type it within a day I had no idea what I wrote. Of course now I understand they don’t even teach cursive in school. Somehow I can’t picture the US Constitution hand printed. That is if Founding Fathers even bothered to spell out entire words. “provide 4 the common defense.” “U need to be 30 2B a senator.”
Listening to RichBroRadio.com. They’re playing “Say a Little Prayer” by Aretha. Great Bacharach-David song. I love Burt Bacharach’s music, but some of Hal David’s lyrics – I dunno. From “A House is Not a Home” comes the brilliant lyric “A chair is still a chair/ even when there’s no one sitting there.” What the fuck? “Chair” seems to be a key word in stupid lyrics. What’s that Neil Diamond song? “I Am/I Said.” I think there’s a line in there something like: “And no one heard at all/not even the chair.” Deep.
Does Neil Diamond still wear pirate shirts when he performs? That’s just not a good look for middle-aged Jews.
See the HBO documentary on Scientology. It’s frightening and if you didn’t think Tom Cruise was an idiot and a tool this will convince you. What I didn’t know was the hot Persian girl from last season’s HOMELAND was a Scientologist and assigned/ordered to be Cruise’s girlfriend. Like he can't get laid on his own? He needs a religious leader to pimp for him? Tom and the exotic hottie got into a fight and he banished her. Maybe the problem was she’s a better actor than he is. Paul Haggis (writer/director of CRASH) was also featured. Remember he and I got into a friendly debate during the last WGA strike? He too is a FORMER Scientologist. Once upon a time a scathing expose like this would topple the institution in question. But today? Does anything really outrage us anymore to take action? Oh, right. Brian Williams was suspended. CITIZEN FOUR is another terrifying documentary that won’t correct any unconscionable injustice but did win an Academy Award.
Uh oh. I’m getting political. Whenever I do I can expect a rash of angry commenters. And speaking of commenters -- yes, Anonymous, we get it – you don’t like readers. Move on. See, this is why I like to edit. I say “commenters” twice in two sentences. Normally I would go back and change one of them.
What photo should I post? Lots of possibilities but since there’s nothing specific I’m going to go with Natalie Wood. Does everyone have that one actor or actress they never got over? That’s probably normal and healthy (unless it’s Tom Cruise – seriously, he’s a fucking imbecile).
Okay, I’m wrapping it up. I don’t know how interesting the actual writing was. And I’m not going back – so excuse me if there are typos or words missing – but if I didn’t just post this I could probably get a few days worth of topics from this exercise. Stupid lyrics, the value of rewriting, penmanship, the Scientology movie – maybe a parody where the Pope has to talk a nun into sleeping with Mel Gibson. None of those ideas were in my head a half hour ago. The point is – ideas lead to other ideas; even if some are bad. But a blank page or blank screen leads to nothing. Start typing.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM