Fuck the ocean.
So, little secret, I’m re-visiting my old YA Twilight Zone-inspired sci-fi shorts, finishing up four (maybe five) new ones and shopping the package around and already have the pitch in a few hands (the pitch has seven shorts in it). I’m shopping the anthology under the title TRY LOOKING AHEAD, a line taking from TWILIGHT ZONE’s “Walking Distance,” an episode in which an older man visits his old town and travels back in time in the process. He meets himself as a kid, and his father, who, when he realizes his future son isn’t happy, eventually tells him, "Maybe you haven’t been looking in the right place. You’ve been looking behind you, Martin. Try looking ahead."
The central thesis of the book is that biggest ideas come from kids who grew up with nothing but dreams. The book lives in the future, I’m just trying to construct it in the past.
11 proposed stories in the final package, could have some more but there are 11 in draft-to-final form. I just finished the first draft of the eleventh story, the titular “Try Looking Ahead,” which takes place during the blink of an eye, and tells the story of the 70-year relationship between a poor, single father, his transgender daughter, and a telescope.
Honestly, it’s probably the best first draft I’ll ever write. Literal tears as I was wrapping up the ending. Maybe you’ll get to read it soon.
A student of mine just informed me that there is a statue of Bruce Lee in the city of Mostar. She said that the divided city erected it as a symbol of unity.
She also informed me that, in the Balkans, “a lot of gypsies (a lot of them live in former Yu, they’re not the nomadic kind, but they kind of stick to a place and do their own - - crazy ass - - thing) name their kid Bruce Lee.”
So somewhere in the Balkans there is a bunch of gypsy kids named Bruce Lee…and they are going to kick the crap out of you one day.
Charles imagined his own feet, pressed against the floor of his house. He realized that if the floor were to disappear, he’d fall until he hit another floor. He never thought about the floor in this way, that he was always falling into the floor, and that the only thing stopping him from getting hurt was the floor itself.
Charles’s father saw the confusion on his son’s face. “Don’t think about falling,” he said, “Just try looking ahead.”
What is this expo? I’m in DC this weekend.
WHATTTT? Come on by, son: http://www.smudgexpo.com/
DC-area friends! I have this one student in my class, an older woman who retired from teaching and has been writing these truly wonderful poems. My class is the first time she’s ever read her poetry out loud and I decided that’s criminal. SO, this Sunday night my class is having a coming out party for her at Iota Cafe’s open mic night. We’re all bringing our own poems (even tho none of us write poetry…but I may bring one of my emo JHS-era poems for fun) and we’re gonna get up there, give her some confidence, and cheer her on as she reads her’s. My intention is to swarm on that place, so if anyone is interested in coming along and doing a reading or just clapping with us, please come on by.
They’re also gonna accompany me to the Smudge Comics expo on Saturday…it’s like a field trip weekend!
Seriously, spoilers, only read this is you want to know the final scene…
…you’ve been warned…
…Marty kills Errol Childress and Rust gives Marty a high five. Marty says, “Let’s go get a beer!” and Rust is ALWAYS down for that so they start walking away but then Rust is like, “Wait, I forgot something!” Rust goes back to Errol’s body and places one of those stick figure things near him and then winks at the camera. Then we here Chk! Chikka Chikkaaaa…DAY BOW BOW and fade to black.
I sometimes think about how society has changed so much since I was a kid. About how demographics, in particular, have changed. About how I used to be a kid, Latino dad who didn’t speak a lick of Spanish because my grandfather forbade it because he grew up in a group home where Spanish wasn’t allowed, Italian mom who spoke Spanglish better than my dad would ever speak Spanish, two adopted grandparents who filled the role of absentee grandparents, good grades, baritone player, video game nerd, comic book reader, terrible artist, occasionally depressed, usually depressed, constant therapy, comic book reading, some disposable income, but identified as “Hispanic” on all my paper work and my age was my age that was my demographic.
Demographics have gotten fragmented, as they should, because I was never really simply “Hispanic” and my age was never really a defining characteristic but people who were trying to make money would find some way to cater to that. If I was a kid, now, I think my demographic would be more complicated.
But then why, in my twenties, did I get calls from telemarketers trying to sell me consolidation loans and why did they always start by speaking Spanish? Why, in my thirties, did I get the same calls from people trying to sell me home insurance?
And I don’t think about this in a purely social context. In fact, I never really do. It’s interesting, sure, that kids growing up have so many tinier boxes that they can put themselves into but I think about this stuff not from our own private boxes but from the boxes the media machines place us in - they are much, much less refined.
I sometimes think that’s why network TV is getting beat by basic cable, why book companies chase bad dollars after good profits, and why movie companies see what works and try to adapt it to a model that’s been broken for decades - it’s because their boxes are too big.
Key demographics is a term that people still use. This show was a success because it’s this type of genre and performed well against this sex and this broad age group so we can sell detergent ads. This movie was a surprise success with this sex so we can make another one like it but, this time, let’s show some ass on the poster just to hedge our bets. This book left a lot of black in the ledger and crossed over to this race so let’s do that again and again but this time let’s cater to that race a bit.
When’s the last time you saw a new movie genre? Mumblecore? Does that even count? No - twenty and thirty year old men like action, twenty and thirty year old women like romance, college age men love comedies unless there’s a female lead in which case women love those comedies (but not older women! They only love who cares, no disposable income).
Big, big, big boxes that we try to fill up with a bunch of tiny, tiny, tiny boxes.
Blah, blah, blah - some people are still making money, I’m sure.
I’m sorry that I’m not sorry.
Good lord, there is an opportunity out there that’s so perfect - I never knew how badly I wanted it until I read about it, and as time went on I became obsessed with it. I have a Rust Cohle-like shed in my yard now where I posted pictures and clippings and text from the posting, the company, wiring diagrams of people who work there and how I might be connected to them - I dream about this job, literally dream about it - the fact that after ten years of developing a new business at my company I’ll be starting from ground zero in a new industry with new people and a likely pay cut and fighting over finances with my wife but finding new ways to cook ramen at the same time and how none of this really matters, in the end, time is a flat circle and I’ve gotten really good at TWO things but maybe I over-pursued the wrong thing and now here’s the other thing, the perfect merger of the two things along with this other thing I’m really good at, obsessing over the minutia and money of pop-culture.
Last night I dreamt that there was a war between good and evil and I teamed with an old god and at one point this wave of blackness came over me in a hotel room, it was Kali Ma because I watched TEMPLE OF DOOM yesterday, and I teamed with the god and said, “Go away, go away, go away,” and my breathing became steady and the darkness went away and I defeated the demon and this job was my reward.
DO YOU KNOW CARCOSA?
3/3/2014, the day I realized Dan Akroyd had a cameo in TEMPLE OF DOOM.
It still amazes me that there isn’t a rapper named capreezy out there.
"Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh…what? Yeah, I’m listening…Uh huh…"