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Fruvous

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A lazy kind of bleh [Apr. 2nd, 2017|11:37 pm]
Fruvous
[Tags|]

Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been indulging my lazy side today. But I earned it yesterday. Yesterday, I did almost all of the work for my Career Launch class.

Well, the first drafts, anyhow. Technically, none of it is due till the last day of class, BUT if it is handed in early, the prof will give me feedback on what works and what doesn’t, and it might be presented to the class for feedback too.

And that’s awesome, because I want these things to be as good as possible. These are the things I will use to represent myself in the world of entertainment employment, and I want to put my best foot forward.

I did four things :

  1. A query letter. That’s the sort of thing you send to a company giving them the basic idea of what you are selling and asking them if they want to see more. Mine is a bit too long, but quite charming, I think. If they ask to see more, you send them a…
  2. One-sheet.  Like the name implies, this is a quick one-page document that gives more of the details of who you are, what the project is all about, etc. Mine turned out to be a lot shorter than I thought it would. A little white space at the bottom of the page is not a serious crime, but I get the feeling I was a victim of how good I am getting at expressing myself succinctly. Still not perfect at it, by any stretch, but I am much improved relative to this time last year.
  3. My resume. Ah, the dreaded resume. Nobody really likes writing theirs, but people like me with no job experience in this millennium really loathe it. I managed to make it fun by injecting my particular brand of wacky humour into it, and I partially covered my lack of job experience  by listing all my independent creative works, like my million word year, hundreds of videos, dozens of short musical compositions, four novels, forty short stories,and of course, this blog where I have written a thousand words a day since 2011. But I had the most fun writing…
  4. My bio. I let my nutty sense of humour run wild on this thing,.Technically, your bio is supposed to be strictly for something to put on the show business equivalent of the inside front cover of a book. But my instructors have said that this is really what you use to sell yourself as a writer, and give potential employers a sense of who you are. Well, my bio gives them a heapin’ helping of that all right!

Here’s the bio. I am both proud and a little ashamed of it.

The Legend of Michael Bertrand

“A+++. Excellent student. Would teach again. “

Mrs. McLeod, six grade teacher

Wonderful and Perceptive Human Being

“He and I had the same business agreement for years. And I can say, without a doubt, that there wasn’t a single day that I didn’t get my newspaper. “

Mr Peter Hogg, newspaper recipient

Fine and Upstanding Pillar of the Community

“You mean the fat kid?”

Mister Anderson, worst gym teacher on the planet

Owner and Operator of a stupid, stupid face

These are some of the things that critics worldwide are saying about future superstar and all around swell kinda guy, Michael Bertrand. But do any of us really know him? What is going on inside that fantastic mind of his? What powerful forces intermingle to create such powerful prose? And does he have a heterosexual brother?

Yes. Yes he does. Text him at (555) 555-FAKE and he’ll hook you up.

Michael was born, at a very early age, in the tiny Maritime fishing town of Summerside amidst the green rolling hills of Prince Edward Island, in the great nation of Canada, He likes to say he wasn’t born in the middle of nowhere, but rather in the place people who did live in the middle of nowhere meant when they said they were going into town.

He says a lot of things like that. You get used to it.

He was the youngest of four children, and that meant nobody cared what he did. That was both the best and the worst thing about it.

At school, he was a gifted student who did his school work with contemptuous ease and passed every test without ever studying.

This might have contributed to the constant bullying.

He went to college at the University of Prince Edward Island, which has the dubious distinction of being consistently voted the second worst college in Canada. (Suck it, Memorial!)

He excelled there as well, and would have graduated with a degree in Psychology from there had his parents not withdrawn funding half way through so they could retire early.

From there, he become a wanderer of the wilds of the World Wide Web, and beheld many a majestic and mysterious site. Long did he roam, having grand adventures and carefully gathering knowledge.

In other words, he surfed the Web and played video games.

But soon he grew bored of the vagabond’s road, and after a brief stint in traditional education, was accepted into the Writing for Film and Television program at the prestigious Vancouver Film School. He worked hard, wrote many things, and now, he is a proud graduate of that program.

And now he stands, ink still wet on his diploma, ready to join your writer’s room and use his talents to make your television show even better,.

Almost brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?

It’s too long…. I will have to trim it by a hundred words or so. And it might just be that my prof will tell me I need to tone it way the fuck down. Which would suck, because what is in that bio is me all the way, or at least, my comedy writer side. I showed off my high-flying Douglas Adams level comedy writing abilities as well as showcased my big big personality and enthusiastic style.

And I definitely think it will quite distinctly different from all the other bios the gatekeepers read. They might find it annoying as fuck and want nothing to do with me ever again, but they will also remember it, and that’s what this game is all about.

It all comes down to this : you want to be someone they know, because when choosing between someone they know and someone they don’t, they will go with the known quantity nearly every single time.

The goal, then, is to make a distinct impression in their minds. It should be a positive impression, naturally, but that’s slightly less important. What you really want to do is turn yourself into a known quantity. If that known quantity is a little obnoxious, that is still better than being a pleasant nonentity.

That’s why persistence is so important. They might not remember your name the first time after your query them for the first time, but when you keep querying them every two weeks, you will both show your commitment and eagerness to work there, and push your name a little further each time to crossing the consciousness barrier, and if you make it through, they will be aware of you.

Plus you advance your cause in their minds towards the ultimate goal – to make it easier to simply give you what you want.

All the while, of course, you are pleasant and warm and nice. No going psycho and ranting to the wonderful people who can make your dreams come true about how they will rue the day they dared rejecting you when you become the next Matt Groening or whatever.

No going supervillain on them, basically.

And no treacly sucking up, either. People hate that. It makes them lose all respect for you and that makes you repulsive to them. Which is the opposite of what you want.

Just persistent, pleasant, polite nudges now and then. My father showed me the power of being polite but firm. It can move mountains.

So Phase Two of my career plan will center on getting my name out there. I’m going to come up with a system for tracking what places I have queried when (probably involving a calendar program) and I will stick with it no matter what.

The only thing that will stop the process is success. When I get a job, I will stop.

Other than that, I am in it for the long haul. I know this process will take a long time, and I am ready for it.

I am going to get a job in a writer’s room even if I have to charm the whole world in order to do it, god dammit.

I will talk to you nice people tomorrow, homework permitting.

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The sweet poison and me [Apr. 2nd, 2017|05:00 am]
Fruvous
[Tags|]

Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.

a simple question : why do I keep eating sugary baked goods when I know they are extremely bad for me?

And the simple answer is hardly noble or intelligent : I do it because it makes me happy. It is a long term sacrifice of health for short time feeling of wellbeing and happiness.

That’s not the kind of choice I usually make. I am a future-oriented person  who is always thinking about what is best for the long term, and in normal circumstances, I would be the last person in the world to be so shortsighted.

And I tend to have a bit of contempt for those who are, quite frankly.

Now the traditional explanation promulgated be Western culture is that I am obviously a weak-willed person who deserves to get sick and die because I could not control myself well enough to stay away from the sugar.

That, as patient readers will know, is utter bullshit.

Willpower is a myth. All that matters is reward and motivation. You either have it good enough mood-wise that a lack of pleasure/reward in one area will not be a big deal because you have enough other sources of pleasure/reward to compensate for the loss, or you don’t.

That’s why depressive have addictions. The disease, by damping down all of your emotional responses, suppresses most reward signals, leaving the depressive to subsist in a very unrewarding life.

And human beings can’t live like that. For humans, please/reward is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. We have an inner sense of wellbeing that dictates everything we do[1].

If it is above a certain level, we are happy and feel good about ourselves. In the deep social programming of our minds, this high level of reward means we have the approval of our tribe and are doing right by it, and that makes us feel good and shores up our self-worth. on a very critical level.

But if it goes below that level. we begin to feel bad. We are disfavored by our tribe or group and we will feel that way until we have set things right. Both our sense of well-being and our self-worth are at stake. We are motivated to change.

But when it goes down to a critically low level, the whole machine begins to break down. This leads to either panic (anxiety) or despair (depression). The individual is constantly in a state of stress because every fiber of their being is screaming out in need of some kind of reward. to bring the system into balance and until it is, the person is not in control of their actions and our sense of individual responsibility begins to break down and does  not fully take into consideration all the relevant factors of the situation.

All of our civilized behaviour is contingent on getting our basic needs met, and our need for pleasure/reward is the most basic need of all, the one that controls the rest.

The further away from that sense of well being we get, the more our instincts override our rational minds and take control. Our actions, therefore, do not fit the usual sense of individual responsibility because the worse it gets, the less our civilized mind is making the choices and the more we are dictated to by our instincts.

That;s why the honest man steals a loaf of bread if he is starving. And why he doesn’t remember deciding to do it. The truth is that he didn’t decide to do it. Instinct took control and it drove him to do it. The decision making part of his mind was cut out of the loop by instincts aroused to the point where they simply take over.

I suspect something similar happens in some cases of infidelity. Two people’s sexual needs are so strong from being unmet that they literally never decide to cheat. Instinct takes over and doesn’t give control back to the conscious mind until the sex is done and both people’s sexual needs meter is back up to a healthier level.

And when they are called on it, they are telling the truth when they say they never decided to do it, it just sort of…. happened.

My situation is not quite so desperate, but the same principle applies.; My depression blocks the pkeasure/reward I should be getting from life and my sense of wellbeing falls down to dangerous levels and it takes a super strong pleasure/reward in order to get it back up to healthy levels.

Hence the sugary food. Sure, it’s terrible for me, but that doesn’t matter because my immediate need for strong pleasure/reward drives me to seek high-reward activities and for me, that tends to come across via food.

Add in the fact that buying a sugary dessert makes me feel good when I do it, then makes me feel good because I have something to look forward to, then makes me feel good when I eat it and leaves me feeling good for hours afterward, and it’s no wonder that I keep going back to that poisoned well.

I can’t help myself.

That’s why my previous attempts to “dry out” from the sugar stuff – kick the habit, so to speak – have failed. Sure, I feel much healthier when I keep away from the sugar – but a gnawing emotional emptiness fills me and I can’t put up with that forever.

So what I really need to do is find others sources of the pleasure/reward I crave. This is far more complicated than it seems. Human being fixate on pleasures, and the stronger the pleasure, the deeper that fixation goes.

Hence an otherwise rational person like myself, one with a very good imagination, nevertheless has trouble even imagining something else giving me what food gives me. That’s the fixation at work. It’s an easy thing to imagine in the abstract – why, just take up chess, or nature hiking, or anonymous sex – but as soon as it applies to me, something else replacing food is literally unthinkable.

There has to be a way out, though. And it probably involves continuing in therapy and getting through a lot of the junk inside of myself that is the root cause of the whole thing.

That’s the only way to mend the hole in my happiness bucket that causes it to drain away so fast in the first place.

Maybe then, I could be normal.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)</p>
  1. a simple question : why do I keep eating sugary baked goods when I know they are extremely bad for me?

    And the simple answer is hardly noble or intelligent : I do it because it makes me happy. It is a long term sacrifice of health for short time feeling of wellbeing and happiness.

    That’s not the kind of choice I usually make. I am a future-oriented person  who is always thinking about what is best for the long term, and in normal circumstances, I would be the last person in the world to be so shortsighted.

    And I tend to have a bit of contempt for those who are, quite frankly.

    Now the traditional explanation promulgated be Western culture is that I am obviously a weak-willed person who deserves to get sick and die because I could not control myself well enough to stay away from the sugar.

    That, as patient readers will know, is utter bullshit.

    Willpower is a myth. All that matters is reward and motivation. You either have it good enough mood-wise that a lack of pleasure/reward in one area will not be a big deal because you have enough other sources of pleasure/reward to compensate for the loss, or you don’t.

    That’s why depressive have addictions. The disease, by damping down all of your emotional responses, suppresses most reward signals, leaving the depressive to subsist in a very unrewarding life.

    And human beings can’t live like that. For humans, please/reward is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. We have an inner sense of wellbeing that dictates everything we do{{1}}.

    If it is above a certain level, we are happy and feel good about ourselves. In the deep social programming of our minds, this high level of reward means we have the approval of our tribe and are doing right by it, and that makes us feel good and shores up our self-worth. on a very critical level.

    But if it goes below that level. we begin to feel bad. We are disfavored by our tribe or group and we will feel that way until we have set things right. Both our sense of well-being and our self-worth are at stake. We are motivated to change.

    But when it goes down to a critically low level, the whole machine begins to break down. This leads to either panic (anxiety) or despair (depression). The individual is constantly in a state of stress because every fiber of their being is screaming out in need of some kind of reward. to bring the system into balance and until it is, the person is not in control of their actions and our sense of individual responsibility begins to break down and does  not fully take into consideration all the relevant factors of the situation.

    All of our civilized behaviour is contingent on getting our basic needs met, and our need for pleasure/reward is the most basic need of all, the one that controls the rest.

    The further away from that sense of well being we get, the more our instincts override our rational minds and take control. Our actions, therefore, do not fit the usual sense of individual responsibility because the worse it gets, the less our civilized mind is making the choices and the more we are dictated to by our instincts.

    That;s why the honest man steals a loaf of bread if he is starving. And why he doesn’t remember deciding to do it. The truth is that he didn’t decide to do it. Instinct took control and it drove him to do it. The decision making part of his mind was cut out of the loop by instincts aroused to the point where they simply take over.

    I suspect something similar happens in some cases of infidelity. Two people’s sexual needs are so strong from being unmet that they literally never decide to cheat. Instinct takes over and doesn’t give control back to the conscious mind until the sex is done and both people’s sexual needs meter is back up to a healthier level.

    And when they are called on it, they are telling the truth when they say they never decided to do it, it just sort of…. happened.

    My situation is not quite so desperate, but the same principle applies.; My depression blocks the pkeasure/reward I should be getting from life and my sense of wellbeing falls down to dangerous levels and it takes a super strong pleasure/reward in order to get it back up to healthy levels.

    Hence the sugary food. Sure, it’s terrible for me, but that doesn’t matter because my immediate need for strong pleasure/reward drives me to seek high-reward activities and for me, that tends to come across via food.

    Add in the fact that buying a sugary dessert makes me feel good when I do it, then makes me feel good because I have something to look forward to, then makes me feel good when I eat it and leaves me feeling good for hours afterward, and it’s no wonder that I keep going back to that poisoned well.

    I can’t help myself.

    That’s why my previous attempts to “dry out” from the sugar stuff – kick the habit, so to speak – have failed. Sure, I feel much healthier when I keep away from the sugar – but a gnawing emotional emptiness fills me and I can’t put up with that forever.

    So what I really need to do is find others sources of the pleasure/reward I crave. This is far more complicated than it seems. Human being fixate on pleasures, and the stronger the pleasure, the deeper that fixation goes.

    Hence an otherwise rational person like myself, one with a very good imagination, nevertheless has trouble even imagining something else giving me what food gives me. That’s the fixation at work. It’s an easy thing to imagine in the abstract – why, just take up chess, or nature hiking, or anonymous sex – but as soon as it applies to me, something else replacing food is literally unthinkable.

    There has to be a way out, though. And it probably involves continuing in therapy and getting through a lot of the junk inside of myself that is the root cause of the whole thing.

    That’s the only way to mend the hole in my happiness bucket that causes it to drain away so fast in the first place.

    Maybe then, I could be normal.

    I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

    &

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On The Road : Freaky Friday edition [Apr. 1st, 2017|02:45 am]
Fruvous
[Tags|]

Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.

I really wanted to blog last night, but…. homework happened. I generated notes for three of my classmates, and that took four hours. By the time I was done, it was 11 pm, and I was way too tired to even think about blogging.

Basically, what I wanted to blog about was reaching for the sun.

As represented in this song :

That’s the kind of music that can heal me.

Because it is so exuberantly happy in a way that makes sense to me. Reach for the sun. Look to the beauty of the world to give you the sunshine you need in your life.

 

My other hero :

I feel like these people can teach me important things about being happy

And it’s about two things : faith, and letting the sunshine in.

Oh, what the hell.

What can I say, my emotions are made of music.

It’s about faith because it is Honey Bear’s deep belief in the sunshine in his heart always being there that makes him so sweet. He has this wonderful fixed notion, and it will work for him for as long as he can believe in it.

And he need no proof other than his own experience to maintain that belief. That’s what makes it faith. In the mind of every true adherent to a religion is a sense of connection to an idea rather like Honey Bear’s sunshine. An infinite, transcendent, benevolent force that can fill the spaces left by society’s inability to meet our emotional (as opposed to material) needs.

And I really respect that. All these people need for their belief is the evidence of their own happiness derived from their faith. That’s quite beautiful to me. I wish I had something like that to draw on.

But no, I chose the path of objective truth, and that means faith is not an option for me. Or at least, there is no clear path to it.

A transcendental experience or two might open the iron gates of my mind enough to let a little faith in.

It’s also about reaching for the sun in the sense of reaching out into the world for sources of strength, meaning, and happiness. Depression is a disease of introverts (mostly) because introverts shut themselves off from the world – we don’t really have a choice, our sensitivities compel us – and generate their own energies.

Which is fine until something goes wrong with their internal power plant and they can’t generate the light, heat, and motion to remain functional. What they need is to go out into the world and make new connections to things that give them the positive energy they need.

But when you’re an introvert, your instincts work against you. An introvert reacts to pain by withdrawing, and that’s the exact opposite of what they should be doing. Their medicine is out in the world and they are isolating themselves.

That’s the root of the problem. Withdrawal. You need to take in things from the world instead of wallowing in your own poisons.


Home again now. Had supper, enjoyed a wonderful (but naughty) ginger cookie from Bon Chaz, and now I sit me down to write.

I am not claiming that reaching for the sun will be easy. It will be grueling, because you have to go against your deepest and most primal instinct – withdrawal – and that will be ab uphill fight all the way.

Myself, I am still working my way through the cognizance phase of enlightenment. I am aware of the problem and its solution. I have sent out faint tendrils that stretch toward the light like a creeping vine, but as of this moment, the connection has not been made.

But at least I am humble and honest enough to admit to myself that what I had been doing just plain was not working. All my intellectual wizardry did nothing to actually make me any happier. All it offered was the coldest of comforts.

And that’s the last thing you want when you are naked before the arctic winds

So I find myself sifting through happy memories , and looking at what I had then that I lack now. It’s a kind of subtractive analysis, and so far the results are murky at best.

But one thing is for sure : when I imagine happiness, it’s a sunny day.

That’s hardly unusual. But something occurred to me recently : there’s a reason a lot of my happiest memories happened in the summer.

It’s because summer was a wonderful time as a kid. My mother is a teacher, so she was home. So were my brother and sisters. During the summer, we did things as a family, and there was a sense of togetherness and wholeness to the whole thing.

And the days were unstructured and leisurely, and the the grass was green and the sky was blue, and life was slow and easy. All that Ray Bradbury stuff was true.

It wasn’t bliss by any means. But it was good.

And I really want to find what I need to make life good again.

The obvious thing is money. I get by, but there is not a lot of money for pleasures, and I have to constantly monitor my financial situation in order to remain afloat. That is very stressful and fills my life with worry and anxiety.

I want to have enough money that I don’t have to worry about it. I am not talking millions here. Just enough to let me own a home, travel in comfort, and customize my life so I can optimize it for my own thriving.

Along with the money, I need a place in the community, starting with being able to pay my own way. I am so very tired of being a burden on people and if I had a job, I would be able to pay for my own care, so to speak, and I would feel like I was part of society and not merely a burden on it.

I would feel legitimate.

Respect of my peers would come next. I want to be an amazing TV writer, and it would be nice to one day earn a place as a star in the field.

That would make me feel better about myself, I think.

And finally, love. I need love. A man in my life who indulges my antics and lets me dote on him so I can show my love to him. One who is patient and wise and can therefore talk me down when I am freaking out, and in return, I give him the respect and affection he deserves. He would be my rock,and I would be his silly little songbird who lightened his life and made him laugh.

So pretty much Robin Williams to my Nathan Lane in Birdcage.

That is not my every unmet need fulfilled, but it would be a damned good start.

But maybe none of that shit really matters.

Maybe all I realy need to do is reach for the sun.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

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Homework 3 : The Revenge of the Notes [Mar. 31st, 2017|05:51 am]
Fruvous

Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.

No blog tonight, I am afraid. The work this term is intense. Possibly, blogging will happen tomorrow. No guarantees, though.

 

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Twenty Thousand Leagues [Mar. 30th, 2017|05:36 am]
Fruvous
[Tags|]

Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.

Barbara was doing a crossword (6 letter word : “Describes Garfield and Felix”. Easy. FELINE) when the man came through the wall.

She put down the crossword and sighed. Before he could say anything, she said “You aren’t here. So go away. ”

The stunningly handsome man smiled and it was like the sun had just come out from behind the clouds. “If I’m not real, then who are you talking to?”

Barbara picked up her crossword and pointedly ignored the handsome man while she solved it. Four letters,: “Sound of an explosion. ” BOOM. This was getting downright insulting. Where was the challenge?

The handsome man walked over to Barbara and rudely peeked down at her crossword. “7 down. More than angry. That’s easy. IRATE. ”

“I knew that!” said Barbara. But she filled it in anyway.

The handsome man grinned. “See, I knew I could get a reaction. Now that I know we can communicate, let’s sit down and talk. ”

He sat on the love seat opposite the couch, and aimed that sunshine smile at her again.

“Now I know you have every reason to mistrust me and anything else that seems like it can’t be real. You have suffered through a lot of delusions and have every right to reject me outright and kick me out right now. ”

Barbara nodded. “Go on. ”

“But I know you won’t do that, because you sense that I am not like the others. I’m more real than they were. Stronger. And more stable – none of that silly wobbling at the edges. ”

“I hate that. ”

“Trust me, Barbara… I know. So now that you know that I am most likely real, or real enough anyhow, I bet you are wondering who I am and how I got here. ”

Barbara nodded impatiently.

“Well, Barbara, I am your Guardian, and I am here to help you. ”

“Help me with what?”

“We’ll get to that later. For now, all you need to know is that I want what is best for you, and I am here to see to it that you have a happy life. ”

“Sounds too good to be true. ”

“I guess it does. But trust me, I am on the level. ”

Barbara really wanted to trust him. Not simply because he was so good looking and charming. But also because she had gotten sick and tired of her own company, and deep down, she wanted to have someone to talk to for a while.

Knowing this about herself made her even more suspicious of the man.

“So what are you selling?” she said.

“Freedom. ” he said simply. “Now I have to ask you a few questions, Barbara, to make sure we are on the same page. Question Number One : Are you happy here?”

Barbara glanced around her dingy one room apartment with the cheap ratty old wallpaper, old fashioned phone that didn’t work half the time, and dirty dishes in the sink.

“I get by. ” she said guardedly.

“Fair enough. ” said the man. “Question Two : What did you eat for dinner last night?”

“That’s a stupid question. ” she replied. “What difference does it make?”

“Please just answer the questions, Barbara. ”

“Fine!” she said crossly. She thought about it, and nothing came to her. Her face scrunched up in concentration. This shouldn’t be a hard question!

“It’s okay if you don’t remember. ” said the man.

“Oh, I remember all right. You can’t trick me there. It’s just that every day is the same and they all kind of blur together after a while in this place. ”

“Ah yes. This place.  ” said the man, and made a mark on a piece of paper. ” Question Three : how much did a loaf of bread cost the last time that you went grocery shopping?”

“It was… it was… ” She was interrupted by a small ground tremor. “Wow… did you feel that? Felt like an earthquake!”

“Yes. I felt it too. ” said the man. “When was the last time you went grocery shopping, Barbara? Do you remember?”

“Of course I remember! ” she snapped. “I’m not an idiot, you know. It was last… last Thursday, maybe? Or Friday. ”

“Now you’re just guessing, Barbara. The truth is, you don’t remember ever going to the grocery store, do you? ”

This time the whole room shook. She sat there, tall and proud, giving  away nothing.

“OK then… last question. When was the last time you left the apartment, Barbara?”

“I don’t understand the question. ” she replied, too quickly.

“Really? What part don’t you understand? There is your door right there. ”

He pointed to the bundle of cardboard, fiberglass insulation, and boards that made up her front door.. “That works, doesn’t it?

“Of course it works! It’s a door!” she said angrily. She was beginning to feel hot and uncomfortable. The air felt too thick. There was something wrong with this man.

“Okay, then when do you use it last? When was the last time you opened this door and walked through it into the world outside? ”

Now she was cold. She shivered, teeth chattering. “Why-why-why-WHY… would I want to do that? ” She clutched her thin blanket with the holes in it around herself.

“Because there’s a whole big world out there, Barbara. That’s why. You could go to a movie. Or the library. You could even go shopping. Those are all perfectly normal things that people do all the time, right Barbara?”

“S-s-sure. ” said Barbara. Now she was neither hot or cold but just plain scared.

“So why not go out? ” said the man.

“Because of…. ” Barbara’s eyes went blank for a moment. “the… WOLVES! ”

An eerie howling filled the air, punctuated by low growls and the occasional sounds of a fight for dominance. ”

“What, these friendly old things?” he said. Then, before she could react, he walked to the door, opened it, and went through.

“No!” said Barbara, but her voice was very small. “You’ll get eaten all up!”

The man returned, hauling a gigantic wolf into the room by its collar. The wolf was four feet tall at the shoulder. It snapped and snarled at the man with jaws that could bite the head off a full grown moose, but the moment it sees Barbara, it wags its tail and pads over to her, and sticks its nose into her palm.

Barbara was terrified, yet her hand instantly went up to stroke the wolf’s nose and rub it between the ears. The wolf whined softly with bliss, ecstatic at her touch.

“See?” said the man. “The wolves love you! They would never hurt you! But that’s no surprised, considering that you own them. ”

The man turned the wolf’s collar around to reveal a large silvery tag that read “My name is OSCAR and I;m the proud property of Barbara Baglady, 16 Crofter’s Road, Bardeau TX”.

“That’s not my name! ” Barbara gasped. It was hot again and she felt faint. The air was so thick you could stir it with a spoon. Something horrible was about to happen. She knew it in her bones. But no matter how hard she tried to scream at the evil handsome man and tell him to go away forever, all that came out was a moaning “Noooo….. ”

“That’s not your name?” said the man, surprised. “Then what is your name, Barbara?”

“It’s… it’s… ” she said, holding her head to try to force herself to concentrate. “I don’t… I don’t… I don’t….. KN-”

Before she could finish, her house split in half and fell into two pieces, leaving just her couch and his love seat behind. The sky shook with thunder so intense that the sound alone smashed down trees. All the wolves were running straight at Barbara. But the closer they got, the blurrier they got, and by the time they reached her they were nothing but indistinct grey blobs that were sucked down a storm drain.

“No…. not OSCAR! ” she sobbed. “Come back, Oscar!”

“Oscar can’t come back, Barbara. You know this. By the way… isn’t Oscar your father’s name, Barbara? Can’t you hear him now?”

A booming male voice calls out from the heavens.  “Barbara! Barbara! We miss you so much, honey. Please come back to us, Barbara! Barbara, please come home!”

And the words “come home” lingered in the air like the ringing of a bell, and grew louder and louder till they made Barbara cover her ears with her hands and rock back and forth on the floor. And still it got louder, and louder, louder than the thunder, louder than anything ever, until Barbara’s entire universe was nothing but that sound.

Then suddenly, it stopped. Barbara got up and looked around. There was nothing but perfectly smooth black glass stretching to all horizons. And the handsome man.

“Do you remember me now, Barbara?” asked the man.

She peered at him as if trying to see him through thick fog. “You are… a doctor?”

“Yes, Barbara. I am. Can you remember my name?”

“Doctor…. ” She stared at him ever harder. “Doctor… Lew… is… ston?”

“That’s right, Barbara. I’m Doctor Lewiston.. Now are you ready to go?”

A bright shining door appeared five feet ahead of Barbara, and opened slightly, nothing but the purest golden radiance shining through the crack.

“I think so, Doctor. There’s just one thing I have to do first. ”

Adult Barbara disappeared, and Eight Year Old Barbara appeared in her place. She smiled winningly up at Doctor Lewiston.

“I’m not really a grown up person at all. I’m a little girl. And nothing nasty has ever happened to me! ”

“That’s wonderful, Barbara. Now let’s go home. ”

Barbara slipped her little hand into the handsome man’s, and together, they stepped through the doorway.


In a semi-private room in the intractable ward of a small but expensive hospital, Barbara woke up, and looked around.

Her family was all around her bed, and next to them was a tired, sweaty older man taking off a virtual reality headset and gloves.

He smiled at Barbara, and relaxed. His patient was safe. All was good. Within moments, he was blissfully asleep.

Barbara’s mother hugged her, and they both cried.

 

 

 

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I’m here after all [Mar. 29th, 2017|02:13 pm]
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Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.

If you saw a “no homework tonight” post for today, rest assured, it was merely an illusion!

I had planned to get into doing that fourth draft of my pilot for my instructor Thiemme tonight. But when I found the notes I made last class, they didn’t make any sense to me.

I was having a bad note-taking day and the notes were coming too fast and I lacked the assertiveness to tell people to slow the heck down.

And these are the notes I am supposed to integrate into the new draft. So I am kind of inside the brined gherkin right now.

Translation ; I’m in a pickle. But I am sure you already knew that.

The other bit of homework that I need to git done is that I have to generate notes for tomorrow’s TV Pilot 3 class. That will probably take what remains of the evening after I am done blogging. And me with a brand new video game to play.

Oh well. It will have to wait. Maybe I will play it a little before breakfast tomorrow.

If not… oh well. It can wait.

After all, it’s just some goddamned video game.

It’s hard to wrap my brain around the entire concept of school ending soon. I am on week 5 of 8 in the term. That means I am over halfway through Term 6 out of 6. I am basically on Term 5.5 right now.

VFS is what I have been doing for almost a year of my life. Not having that as the focus to my life is going to be weird. From experience, I have learned that time off only feels like time off for around four days.

After that, it’s either action or ennui. I have chosen ennui for a long time, and quite frankly, I am sick of it. I need to hammer it through my thick skull that there is a cure for feeling lost and adrift, and it’s called actually getting shit done.

So I see my post-VFS life as being one of great creative output as I harness the spirit of play to all my creative outlets and even to ones I have never tried before, or even heard of.

All true art is play on some level. The fingerpainting child is not thinking of anything other than pleasing themselves in the moment with what they are making.

The play cycle is simple :

  1. Discovery : the child discovers that a certain manipulation of objects produces an effect which pleases them
  2. Repetition : the child repeats said manipulation in order to enjoy it again, and to make sure they know what did it. When that pales, you get…
  3. Variation : the child varies the manipulation in search of other pleasing effects

And when you think about it, that’s all art is. We creators discover things (or are inspired, same thing) and try them out, and if we like the result, we repeat it to make sure we know how to do it and what,. exactly, was the part that produced the effect. Then we engage in the generation of variations we call “creativity”.

I think that’s why there is always a sort of childlike quality to great artists. The truly great art comes from people who retain their childlike curiosity and sense of fun even when they are creating serious art. They are still exploring to find those pleasing effects, mastering that which pleases them, and then looking for other pleasing variations.

Had therapy today. Not a great session, or at least, not that good compared to the truly excellent one I had last week. What I was trying to avoid happened anyway : I ended up caught up in talking about trivial details of my current life instead of doing the kind of deep dive into my traumatic past that produce real, tangible changes in how I feel.

I don’t blame my therapist. I tend to lead the sessions the way a big dog “leads” its owner at the end of the leash. Often my therapist is struggling to keep up.

It’s one of those little things that suck about being a genius. Even highly intelligent and educated people have a hard time keeping up with your thought processes. What I wouldn’t give for a therapist who can operate at my speed all the time.

But then again, that’s always been my problem, hasn’t it? I was smarter than most adults by the time I left elementary school. That is probably why I had no fear of adults at all. I knew I could out-think them. That made it impossible for them to exert true authority with me. I was too goddamned smart for my own good.

Part of me still longs for someone above me. Someone who can challenge me, give me some pushback, show me where the limits are, and teach me the lessons that no amount of IQ or education can teach.

Someone who can be a goddamned role model for me. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be smarter than me. But it does mean they have to give me the impression that they have it together better than me and that they know how to live their life in a balanced and socially integrated way.

I’ve not had those people around me much, maybe not ever. Maybe the sort of person I am talking about doesn’t exist. Or they do exist, but I don’t see them because I am so good at seeing through people that sometimes I don’t see them at all.

Wow, that’s kind of deep. I will have to remember that one.

So maybe, due to my gifts and my messed up mind, there is nobody alive… maybe even nobody at all, even in theory… that could be an authority over me.

The problem with that, though, is that the lack of said kind of person have left some rather large empty spaces in me, and as of this moment I don’t know how to bypass those spaces so that they stop blocking my growth.

I dunno. I’m a writer, maybe I should write myself an authority figure. Someone with a strong will, a strong mind, and a strong personality. Someone who is not impressed or awed by my mental acrobatics but is, instead, interested in helping me grow the hell up

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The inherent futility of reboots [Mar. 28th, 2017|01:27 am]
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Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.

(EDITOR’S NOTE : The following is a fannish discussion of modern box office and television trends. As such, it may seem innocuous, even harmless. But within this work there is a very harsh truth. Consider yourself forewarned. ) \

We live in an era of creative cul-de-sac. At least half of the movies and a third of television series are based on properties that the public already knows. Whether it’s based on a comic book, a novel, a TV show, a movie franchise, or even a video game, the odds are good that you, the audience, will not have to deal with anything original and hence unfamiliar. You can just relax and watch whatever has warm memories attached.

But those memories shouldn’t be too sharp, because then you will notice all the ways that the new version is appallingly different from the thing you love and you will go away from it at the very least disappointed but more likely in a rage over how insulted you feel by the pathetic piece of garbage they have dressed up to be superficially similar to the thing you love and cherish.

It is as though they are saying, “You love your mother, right? Well here is a giant sack of dog crap with a picture of her face stapled to it! Don’t you love it?”/

I am not immune. I have felt that rage. One of the defining characteristics of a nerd like myself as opposed to other species of intellectual is that we are very open about how deeply we connect with certain media properties. There is little room in fannish culture for casual indifference or even mild interest.

To be a nerd is to care.

But I have come to recognize the futility of such rage because I have come to recognize the futility of the entire endeavour. From the fannish perspective, there is absolutely no reason to ever reboot a media property.

Why? Because it is literally impossible for them to “get it right”.

For one thing, we nerds have extremely high definition memories that love to absorb all possible aspects of the things we love.

This means that that details the filmmaker would have to get “right” is absolutely staggering. This stacks the deck against them before they even start.

Then there is the fact that movies are not made to please audiences, they are made to make money. The fact that those two thing overlap a fair bit is the whole reason the entertainment media exists in the first place. It’s called show business and not show art for a reason. Whatever else a movie is, it’s an investment.

And if it was your money on the line, you would want to make sure that the movie makes as much money as it possibly can, and that means making it appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

And nerds are a rather small minority of the population. We are a subset of another minority, intellectuals, and as such are a minority of a a minority. There are just not that many of us relative to population.

That means that it simply isn’t worth it to make movies or television shows that appeal only to nerds. You can’t turn a profit on a population that small that is spread so thin. Sure, there are millions of us all over the world, and the Internet brings us together like never before, but we are still a tiny diffuse minority.

Not only that, we are incredibly hard to please, and the media companies know this. They know that no matter what they do to appeal to the hardcore fans, they will get hundreds of fans violently rejecting what they do and flying into a rage that seems insane from a mundane point of view. And these people will call you and your company horrible things (like childhood rapist) and act like you should be on trial for crimes against humanity.

So why even try?

But the real reason reboots are futile is that, for us nerds, they are doomed to failure because what we really want is to recapture the good feeling we had when we discovered this media property, and that is completely impossible.

Time doesn’t work that way. No rebooted project can take you back to those happy days when you were young and fresh and the world was full of exciting possibilities. Nothing you experience now, as a more experienced and jaded adult, can ever be as good as your memories of your favorite thing.

And that leads to that harsh truth of which I warned you :

The thing you love is never, ever, ever going to come back. Ever. It won’t because it can’t. It’s impossible. You are a different person than you were when you discovered it, and that means that even if they “got it right” on every single detail you can think of, it still would not please you because it still wouldn’t be the same.

Stop demanding the impossible and simply close the book on all thought of a return to the days of yore when every single movie or episode (or book, or issue, or…) was a joy to discover. Enjoy your memories instead, and if they need refreshing, go to your treasured collection of your chosen property and its merchandise, and accept the fact that, as you define them, there will never be :

Another episode of your favorite show
Another movie in your favorite franchise
Another book in your favourite series..

And so for and so on. The rule is simple : if it has stopped, it is dead. Period. Nobody can bring it back to life to your satisfaction. It will never happen. I

The best you can hope for is a new thing based on the thing you love that will partially please you. But that can only happen if you accept the truth that the thing you love is never, ever, ever going to come back.

The past has passed. It is gone forever, with no possibility of return.

It’s time to face forward and find new things.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow, homework permitting.

 

 

 

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The bad sleep [Mar. 26th, 2017|10:32 pm]
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Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.

Today has been rough so far. That’s because of the bad sleep.

You know what I’m talking about.. The dream-packed sleep where I wake up sweaty and disoriented and feeling like I have been running a marathon underwater. The tortured sleep that leaves me drained instead of refreshed. The sleep that wears me out and leaves me so tired that, despite how bad the previous sleep was, I need to sleep even more.

That’s where I am now. I have slept for around nine hours so far, and yet, I really want to crawl back into bed and sleep even more.

It’s almost like an addiction.

But I have things to do, and so I must resist. At the very least, I have to get my blogging done. That’s non-negotiable. If I have the strength, I want to finish my DDD as well. I have two categories left to do : Weapons and Gadgets, and Locations.

Locations will require some (gasp!) research. I have set my game on the island of Manhattan, which in the game is practically a ghost town with only 67,000 residents. It’s also the seat of power for the Christian Fascist government that are the bad guys of my game. And seeing as I am using a real place as my setting, and I insist upon accuracy in that kind of thing, that means I will have to study a map of Manhattan and get an idea of where my adventure will take my protagonist.

This is why I normally make everything up. You don’t have to research make-believe places and things. They are exactly how you say they are. All you have to worry about is making sure everything is internally consistent.

But my game is about a worst-case nightmare America, and as that happens to be a real place, I have to get it right. And it has to be someplace iconic because my game has very strong political underpinnings and that requires equally strong symbols.

The other possibility is setting it in Washington, DC. There are plenty of iconic monuments there. And it has the sort of privilege versus poverty thing going on that I want for my game. But I dunno… seems a little too on the nose for me.

Plus I really want to explore just how eerie a ghost town version of Manhattan could be. Vast apartment complexes with nobody living in them. Silent streets with no cars and no people, just the sound of the wind. Piles of rubble where there used to be homes. Everything left to rot and decay.

Urban decay is a powerful symbol. It both frightens and soothes us. It frightens our civilized side, which knows how important it is that people remain civilized and just how dependent we are on modern society, and how horrible it would be if it all fell apart.

But it’s soothing to our untamed side because it shows nature triumphing over the artificial constructs of humanity. There is a part of us, buried deep, that rebels against the thousand tiny suppressions of modern life, and when we see the natural world win over it, it makes this side of us very happy.

Finally, this side of us say, things are getting back to normal.

So I would like to get that done. It’s not due till Wednesday, and to be honest, the full thing isn’t due for two weeks after that, but I have the damned thing nearly done and once I am finished with it, I I can move on to other assignments.

For one thing, I have a buttload of work to do for Career Launch class. None of it is due till the very last class, technically, but I want to be able to submit it to Kat ASAP so she can tell me what I have done wrong.

This is important stuff that will represent me in the future, when I am looking for work. I want to get it as close to perfect as I can.

Plus I have a rewrite of my pilot and second episodes to do, and of course notes to generate on my classmates’ stuff.

I am always dissatisfied with my notes. I am always pointing out small language and logic issues when my classmates are talking about the deeper and more important issues. It makes me feel like my notes just plain suck.

I think the problem is that I read their work and make notes at the same time. And that means I only notice the small stuff because I don’t have the big picture yet. If I was more energetic, I would read the whole thing once, then do something else while I am processing it, then read it again while making notes.

Oh well, I can only try harder in the future.

It feels like graduation is coming on like an out of control freight train. This upcoming week will be Week 5 of 8 in the term. Imagine that. I am beginning to worry about the nitty gritty issues of what my life will be like after I graduate. The whole notion of it freaks me out sometimes because it looms so large in my mind. And there are so many possibilities.

I worry that I will sink back into the depressed state I was in before I went to Kwantlen without some external source of structure. I have plenty of ideas on how I will stay busy even after graduation, but ideas alone won’t keep me out of the doldrums.

There were always tons of things I could have been doing in the pre-Kwantlen years. I didn’t do any of them. All I did was play video games and chat online and surf the Web and read. For twenty fucking years, that was my entire life.

The worst illnesses are the ones that keep you from seeking treatment. Depression was that kind of illness for me. I was too timid and passive and unmotivated to demand the kind of therapy I needed for a very long time.

Hell, for a big chunk of that time, I didn’t even know I was sick in a way that could be treated. I just knew there was something terribly wrong with me.

But at least now I have gone quite a long ways down the road to recovery. I am hoping that the sort of life I led before Kwantlen will now leave me bored, frustrated, and dissatisfied with my life.

It will be up to be to act on and thus reinforce those feelings instead of doing what I did before, which was to passively wait for the feelings to go away.

Once I graduate I will be in a state of constant peril.

It will do me good to remember that.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow, homework permitting.

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Brain drain pain! [Mar. 26th, 2017|05:32 am]
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Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.

I have had such fun today.

See, today, my task was to do a first draft of the detailed design document I am writing for my Writing For Video Games 2 course.

A DDD is basically a blueprint for the game from the writer’s point of view. A full one would include every script in the game, but we don’t have to go that deep.

Instead, I got to create the characters, setting, story, and everything else. And that kind of detailed creation is something I love to do.

So I spent four and a half hours pouring myself into the thing. And I was in deep. I wasn’t doing anything but writing. I wasn’t even listening to music.

When I am really deep into writing, even music is an annoying distraction.

That’s the joy of being a deep focus person rather than a multitasker. We deep focus types can get thoroughly absorbed in what we are doing. To a fault, sometimes. I would hate there to be a fire when I was in The Zone, because I might not notice until I am physically being consumed by fire.

For a multitasker to achieve that state, I assume they would have to have their optimal number of plates in the air. When their task space is full, then they feel peace.

It all sounds like too much work for me. Then again, to some, writing for four and a half hours and creating a six page document (which is not yet complete) would be way too much work for them.

Well, the only difference between work and play is whether or not you want to do it. And that has a lot to do with whether or not you find it personally rewarding.

I found doing all that writing to be personally rewarding as hell.

In fact, it was hard to pull myself away from it. That’s how deep I got. It was like it had a magnetic grip on me and I had to overcome that magnetic force to pull myself out of the hole I had fallen into.

Like I had been digging for so long that I couldn’t get out of the hole I had dug.

In fact, I didn’t really escape. I just reached the point where I ran out of stuff that was, as it were, pre-written in my head. That’s how my creativity works. I get an idea and a whole bunch of other ideas crystallize from that starting point.

I like to think that this is what keeps my writing logically coherent. Or at least plausible. If one thing didn’t connect to the other, how did I come up with it in the first place?

Anyhoo, eventually I ran out of gas, and stopped writing. Only then was I able to order some Chinese food, and I pointedly did not do any writing while waiting for it to come.

Instead, I tried a new CCG style game I downloaded called Star Crusade. Verdict : it contains nothing that you do not find in lots of other games. But I don’t demand that my CCG games be original,,just that they be fun to play.

Plus, the fact that it is sci fi themed and not fantasy themed is such a welcome and refreshing change. I am so sick of endlessly rehashing Tolkien! At least science fiction tries to be original.

Oh, and the makers of the game, or at least their voice actors, have a cheeky sense of humour and are not above stealing from sci fi properties. Like, there’s a Heavy Gravity Ship card and when you play it, it says “I have a strong effect on mass!”.

That’s a reference to the Mass Effect series.

And when you play a Terminator, it says “Come with me if you want to live. ”

Cute. So I can see me playing that for a while.

Which is good, because I beat the game I had been playing, Dishonored. Fun game. You get to be a deadly assassin going up against the bastards that killed your beloved Empress, kidnapped the heir (a 12 year old girl it was your job to protect), and then framed you for the crime.

And you do it. But then you are betrayed by the group of loyalists that had been supporting you, and then you have to hunt them down and kill their sorry asses.

Still, they had something I enjoyed very much in the first half of the game : when you finally get close to the Lord Regent (head bastard of those who framed you), you have two choice : either kill the motherfucker outright, OR send his recorded confession out to the whole island kingdom, resulting in him being arrested, thrown in jail, and loathed.

I of course chose the latter. Not out of mercy, though. Quite the opposite.

If I had killed him, his suffering would have been brief. But by ruining him instead, I ensured that he would suffer for the rest of his natural life.

That’s what you get for fucking with me.

And I totally saw being betrayed coming. From the third mission with the loyalists onwards I was looking at them and thinking “I wonder when they are going to decide I have outliced my usefulness and must be killed so I can never tell anyone what they have done.”

See, the loyalists were led by an aristocrat and a retired general. Both people way, way above a hired killer like me. And I make a policy to never, ever trust anyone who is more powerful than me.

Because we the lowly are not people to them, and therefore they have no qualms about lying to you to get you to do what they want then throwing you away like a used diaper the minute you become a liability.

Even otherwise good people can’t help but feel like those of a lower social status are not real people. Just props so they can show off what good people they are.

So yeah. I knew they would betray me. But I had to watch my character accept a drink from those bastards while saying “Don’t drink it! It’s poisoned. ”

And I was right.

Anyhow, it has been a productive day, but I think I may have overdone it because I now have a splitting headache and I feel sort of dazed and dumb.

So if you don’t mind, I am going to go take an Aleve and lay down.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow, homework permitting.

 

 

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The shadow of death [Mar. 25th, 2017|03:46 am]
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Originally published at The Homepage of Michael John Bertrand. You can comment here or there.

Had a low blood sugar incident today.

Let me set the scene. During a break in the morning class (Adaptation), I am reminded that my scene in the sitcom episode we are writing in Writer’s Room class was due today,. not Monday as I had thought.

D’oh! I had made the same stupid mistake that I had made a dozen times before : thinking an assignment is due the day of class when I should know that it’s always due two or three days earlier in order to give people time to read it and generate notes.

I had only one chance to save myself from disaster : skip lunch to work on the damned thing and minimize lateness.

Fortunately, I speak sitcom, so I was able to do this. Also fortunately, Adaptation ended half an hour early. That gave me an hour and a half to save my bacon.

And I needed to save it. This was what I had always dreamed of : writing for a sitcom! I could not fail at this. I wanted to prove that I am good at this kind of writing.

And I am. I think my scene is quite good, if I do say so myself. And it was a joy to write. There was some highly stressful bullshit with the software and formatting and such, but other than that, I loved it.

Just think, I got to write part of an episode of a Normal Lear show! Kinda!

I finished my scene with only ten minutes till next class (though I was fully prepared to be late for it if it was necessary). Victory! I had just enough time to get the printing done for class. And I was being workshopped today! Yay!

Well, okay. technically it was my writing being workshopped, not me. But for any good writer, those are basically the same thing.

And there was more bullshit because the printer ran out of paper in between printing my third and my fourth episodes. So I had to go get Steve. Then my print job still would not print. or so I thought, and I was beginning to panic.

Then I looked at the print jobs piled atop the printer and lo and behold, mine was there. I hadn’t seen it the first time I looked because by some bizarre fluke, it had printed the damned thing sideways, aka landscape style. So it looked totally wrong.

Luckily, I only really needed to make notes on it, so it doesn’t matter if it’s readable.

Still, some days it really feels like the universe has it out for me. I know it doesn’t, of course, because it is not a sentient entity and therefore cannot have emotion or intent.

But I am a mere human being and subject to the same mix of instincts and intellect as anyone else, and therefore I can’t help feeling that way sometimes.

Anyhow, so after more or less two hours of solid stress, I was able to relax in class. And everything went fine for a while. I completely forgot about the skipping lunch thing. I went on my merry way.

If I had thought about it, I would have seen the mess I was in. Not only had I skipped a meal, but instead of the meal I had worked quite hard. Writing is tough work and it takes a lot of brain calories to do.

If I had realized this, I could have gone down to the basement on break and gotten myself something from one of the vending machines there to keep me out of the Valley of Death.

But nope. I was clueless as always.

So the fuse was lit. And the bomb went off around 3:15 pm. There I was in class, minding my own business, when I felt the sudden sickening lurch that my blood sugar level has dropped to a critical level and that I am now basically running on fumes.

I was in the Danger Zone, and not the funny Kenny Loggins kind.

So I waited till end of class, just barely there. I call it the Valley of Death because it really does feel like I am dying.

And I am.

By the time class ended, my whole body was tingling as my suddenly starving muscles cried out for fuel. I carefully walked to Bon Chaz, got my food, and ate.

In a little while, I felt much better. Still not totally okay, but better.

And the whole incident makes me wonder about what kind of fucked up life I lead. I was within spitting distance of death’s door today. I am still feeling the effects of that. I am both very tired and very physically anxious.

Tired and wired. My least favorite mental state. It’s hellish.

But the real story is how casually I treat these kinds of experiences. It’s like I manage to save my sorry ass by going into emergency mode, where I am outwardly calm but inside I am kind of giddy and fucked up from the warring brain chemicals in my mind. But I am able to carefully pilot myself out of danger, whether it’s low blood sugar or that time I wiped out on my bike on a very busy street in my hometown.

Granville street. Doesn’t every town have a Granville Street? Makes me wonder who the heck this Granville guy was.

Anyhow, apparently I live the kind of life where nearly dying is treated like an “oopsy” and forgotten soon after it happens. You would think it would be more of an event, but you would be wrong. After all, I’m fine now, so what’s the big deal?

Oh, and the cherry on the cake? End of class, my teacher offered to buy a round of drinks for the class at a local bar called Jeager’s. And I had to beg off.

And that is exactly the kind of anti-social bullshit I have been trying to avoid. If I want to make it in entertainment – and I do – I will have to foster relationships with other people in the biz. That means I can’t afford to be anti-social. There is no way to become a TV writer and stay an anti-social hermit.

Today I had to miss a lovely chance to bond with my classmates and my teacher in an informal manner. And I hate that.

Granted, I missed it because I had to go eat or I’d die. But still.

I am going to have to change a lot fo things about myself to make it in show biz, and one of the biggest things is kicking my social anxiety to the curb and forcing myself to get good at things like networking and socializing and fitting in.

I haven’t done a great job of that at VFS. But at least my fellow students know I am a very funny writer. That might get me a recommendation from someone some day.

I don’t know what my teachers think of me. If I was them, I would have no choice but to think I am very talented but unreliable.

And people like that don’t get recommendations to people.

They get warned about.

Oh well. At least I am a much better writer now.

That has to be worth $20K, right?

I will talk to you nice people tomorrow, homework permitting.

 

 

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