Make the commitment

February 27, 2010

Washi on the Wall

Field of Dreams

It’s hard to write; it hurts to write; it’s troublesome to write; it’s bothersome to write. It’s such a commitment!

Yeah, so?

I’m finding that the more I’m willing to commit, the more I’m able to get down on the paper (or the screen); the more I’m willing to write deadlines down, the more I find myself getting something accomplished.

My goals this month were to finish a short script that has been gnawing away at my imagination for the last two years, as well as to get my dramatic feature into presentable shape to have it critiqued. Well, with one more day in the year, I think I’ve done that. But it did not come without a lot of procrastinating, nail-biting, running away, housecleaning, eating snacks, “forgetting,” denying, fighting, arguing… you know, the whole gamut of human emotions and excuses.

And yet, the thing is… once I actually “get into” the writing… I feel transported and thrilled and alive. I love writing. It frees my mind, it makes me better, stronger, smarter, more sophisticated… it taps into vast wells of dreams and colors and memories and fantasies… there is so much to say, and so little time to say it… maybe that’s what I’m afraid of. How can I get it all down when I know I’ll never be able to?

Make the commitment. That is a start.

Though my looking-glass is cloudy with the mist of a dying winter… I can just make out the words, “Make the commitment…”

This is what I see in my looking-glass today, tucked away in my quiet corner of Tokyo, far removed from everything and everyone I ever knew…

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Facing the Page

February 16, 2010

Although I love to write, I, like most writers, dread “facing the page.” Once you decide you want to write, you have an enormous responsibility to make sure that you actually do write. You are suddenly responsible for other lives, other stories, other worlds. Your characters flourish or flounder at the tip of your pen (or via the clickety-clack of your keyboard). Who needs such responsibility in a world where we are overloaded and overwhelmed? I sure the hell don’t!

And yet… once I am willing to “give in” to my “higher powers” and “surrender” myself to all the voices in my head (and yes, I hear them!), then I find my writing starts to flow. So, if you’re like me, clear your workspace, set the mood, get your “music to write movies by” playing, and… submerge yourself in your gifts.

More importantly: Don’t judge, don’t backtrack, don’t edit, don’t criticize. Just keep moving the pen (or the fingers). Get the ideas down. Easier said than done, I know.

Today I have a short script I’ve been working on, as well as my feature that I have not finished, but have vowed to finish by the end of February. ┬áSo… I take a glance at my looking-glass today… I see the rain, the threat of snow, the silver-blues and grays… I embrace them and let them help guide me to the words my heart needs to say. There’s so much I need to say… must get started.

Surviving February

February 15, 2010

I come from sunny Los Angeles, but have been living in Tokyo for the last 16 years. And every year, about this time, I am struck by the chilling reality that while global warming might kill us in the end, there’s the strong possibility that some of us might freeze to death first.

And yet… I love February in Tokyo: grey skies, icy rain, millions of people rushing about in sweaters and scarves, braving the winds, sidestepping the puddles, hiding from flurries of snow…

And I love… anchoring myself to the table in my living room because every other room in my manshon (Western apartment) is simply too cold to walk into. And so it is from this table that I write my message to the world, and the looking-glass I see today is a dark, dreary, overcast one. But… there is much beauty in the greys, the silvers and the clouds that swirl and swoop and threaten…

Let them, I say. Perfect weather for writing a drama… which is what I’ve been doing. My first dramatic screenplay. What a struggle! The laughs have always come to me easily, but a drama… well, indeed, that’s a horse of a different color. But I soldier on, because I’ve made a promise to myself to finish my drama before the end of this month. I’m going to embrace my February, it’s depressing gloom, its short, snowy days. I’m going to make it work for me.

This is my first entry and I will endeavor to use this blog to share with you what I see through my looking-glass, a displaced Los Angeleno in his now adopted home of Tokyo, a songwriter turned screenwriter with a dream of seeing my screenplays on the silver screen… or even on the computer screen.

This is my creative adventure, my chance to share a few observations about all that is odd, strange, wonderful, beautiful, haunting, enchanting… all that I see through my looking-glass.