Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.
I did something today that made me proud of myself : I wrote something that was bouncing around in my head instead of just letting it die and rejoin the primordial substance of my creativity like I usually do.
I called it Be You Later, and it is a translation of some of my ideas about procrastination into a kind of screenplay form.
It’s quite rough, naturally, and would have to be seriously worked over before it was actually produced. But that was never the point. The point was to actually follow my inspiration for once and actually give vent to my thoughts shortly after they occurred to me for a change.
Before I wrote it, most of the elements were already there in my head. That’s how my creativity works a lot of the time. It’s all there but the connective tissue and writing the thing is just a matter of putting the ideas into actual words and adding the necessary connections to make it into a whole.
That’s not always the case. Sometimes I have no idea what is going to happen until I write it. That’s how it’s been with my novels, and I have to admit, it can be pretty fun. And this might be idealistic or self-serving of me, but I figure that if I don’t know what is going to happen next, neither will the reader.
But for shorter things, I usually have a basic outline of it in my head before I write. It’s not in words, exactly, although scraps of dialogue will likely be in there somewhere. It’s more like a sequence of connected ideas in the stage right before being translated into actual words. Pre-words, if you like.
And you do, right?
So anyhow, I wrote the thing. I won’t say I hope that kind of thing will happen more in the future, because who knows? It would be nice, but putting pressure on myself to do it more will result in it not happening at all so why worry? It won’t accomplish anything.
That kind of philosophical attitude towards things does not come easy for me. I am a goal-oriented passionate person who tends to accomplish things through focus and drive, not via letting everything hang loose and seeing what happens.
And focus and drive can get you pretty far. But when it turns into pressure, I, for one, have to bow the fuck out because for me, pressure achieves the opposite of its goal.
I often think of myself as being like water. And water does not compress.
Following my passions and desires is a far more healthy and effective method for getting things done, and that means I have to surrender control to unconscious forces, and as we all know, I find that a very hard thing to do.
I mean, I am highly creative, and that involves letting unwilled mental events (colloquially know as “inspirations”) occur in your mind. So I am not that much of a control freak. Quite frankly,. an entirely predictable mind sounds like death itself to me.
But I don’t let those inspirations move me. They pass through my mind to no effect, like a a comet shooting by. And I just watch it go, and nothing happens.
Were I the classic artist type, my inspirations would inspire me to rush to the nearest computer type device and bang out the script or story or whatever in a fevered passion before falling, weeping, to the floor from the beauty of it all.
Admittedly, I am pretty sure there’s no writers that operate like that. Maybe poets. I have thought of being a poet, but it doesn’t seem like it would lead to my kind of life.
You know, one where you can earn enough money to eat.
Besides, I want to be around fun people, and poets do not strike me as a fun bunch. I want to be around bright, funny, wacky, intelligent people. Not mopey poets in love with how deep and mysterious they are.
That’s why I want to work in TV comedy. It’s full of people like that, or at least I hope it is. For me, the ultimate would be to be a Simpsons writer,and not just because they make money like rain makes puddles.
It’s also that from what I know about them, they are a gaggle of comedy nerds just like me and I feel like that’s a place where I might just fit in. And I hope the writer’s room of any kind of comedy is at least somewhat like that.
But comedy is my main thing, and that’s where I hope to work in TV. I will, of course, write literally anything people will pay me to write in the beginning. But I will be aiming to write for a comedy of some sort. Sitcom, sketch comedy, desk jokes, dirty limericks, jokes for executives to make them appear more human, graffiti, whatever.
And if that doesn’t work, maybe I will try to figure out how David Sedaris makes huge money writing tiny books of comedy about animals, and do that.
I saw this thing about him and he’s kind of cute and the little excerpts I have heard seem witty enough. But, quite irrationally, I resented him for not being any happier now that he is rich. Or at least pretending he isn’t any happier.
It’s the same way I feel about Douglas Coupland. How dare you still be unhappy when you have everything I want out of life! That’s almost like saying money and success don’t buy happiness, and if that’s true, what hope do I have?
And yet, if I did have all he has, and someone told me I had no right to be unhappy, I would tell them to go fuck themselves.
It’s funny how we react when a very deep bit of societal programming – like, say, the kind that tells you wealth equals happiness – is seriously called into question.
That’s why nobody ever really believes that they, themselves, are truly rich.
Because if they were rich, they’d be happy!
Obviously, the solution is to get more money! Surely, eventually, we will reach the right amount of wealth, status, and success to be happy forever!
I know the problem….. it’s taxes! I would be rich enough if it wasn’t for taxes!
A surprisingly large amount of politics amounts to exactly that.
I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.