The meaning of joy

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….is rummaging in your pantry on a Friday night after a long, busy and stressful week, and finding a box of unopened Girl Scout S’mores cookies.

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Resolutions

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Ick. That time of year again. Thank God for chocolate.

This year, I’m going to start out by reviewing the previous 12 months and figuring out what it is that prevented me from making good on last year’s resolutions. Of course, it would help if I actually remembered last year’s resolutions. Something about losing weight, I’m sure. Or at least getting in shape. Right.

Writing more. How vague. No wonder nothing happened.

Having more sex. Oh, I did fulfill one resolution!

Those are usually the extent of my annual goals. Neither modest nor overreaching. Doesn’t stop me from ignoring them by my birthday, of course, but it’s always an empowering feeling to list them anyway.

So this year, herewith my 2007 resolutions, in no particular order:

a) Finish The Beast. At 126 pages as of today, not bloody bad. Actually, the goal is to finish the 1st draft by June 30, 2007, with the final draft completed by midnight, December 31, 2007. I’m nothing if not precise.

b) Finish the play (henceforth to be referred to as The Baby). So far, I have only the synopsis and the list of characters, both of which change on a daily, if not hourly basis, depending on what movie I’ve seen and who I’ve talked to. Goal: finish by March 31, 2007. Two scenes, one act.

c) Get in shape. The evergreen.

d) Eat more veggies. This one’s tough, even for a semi-veggie like me. Good thing chocolate’s vegetarian.

e) Set up and maintain Web sites. Not just this blog, but also the GEICO cavemen site (more on that later), Pinay Journal and my writing Web site. This could be hard, as it involves learning HTML (or at least NVU). But I’m nothing if not overly ambitious. (That could be why I have a chronic illness, but I digress.)

f) Speaking of which: get better at taking my vitamins. Another evergreen.

Should be enough, doncha think? So far, I’ve got #1 off to a rolling start. Got six pages fired off this morning. Have to admit, the whole business of writing everyday does help in maintaining the momentum and keeping the writer’s block wolves at bay. There are few things more terrifying than facing a blank or even half-written page after a week’s hiatus. The characters have faded to indistinct shadows in my head, so that I have to struggle to remember who they are. Poor souls. I bet they get lonely.

Ohhhhh… one more resolution: see more quality films. This precludes such horrifying projects as the one B. and I saw last night: The Star Wars Holiday Special. No foolin’. The word godawful was added to the lexicon as a way to describe this travesty. Think of it: Bea Arthur singing. Even worse: Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) singing. Han Solo and Chewbacca exchanging Meaningful Looks. A Wookiee family celebrating something called Life Day, which apparently involves donning KKK clothes and lighting what appears to be tree ornaments. A miniaturized Jefferson Starship performing in a blinding pink light-show. Yup, it’s as bad as you can imagine. One-and-a-half hours of sheer torture.

Badly subtitled scene in Sana Maulit Muli, a Filipino film with Lea Salonga (Broadway’s original Miss Saigon) and Aga Muhlach:

AMERICAN CAR SALESMAN: (What he actually says, in English, no less) Now, make sure you Armor All these tires.

SUBTITLE: Now, make sure I’m rolling all over these tires.

MRA

Madness and Chocolate

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I think I’m beginning to see why a high proportion of ‘creatives’ (artists, writers, musicians) in history have suffered from some kind of mental illness. It’s an all-consuming beast, this act of creation. Writing non-fiction, especially magazine features, can be so reassuring — you’re interpreting facts in a certain way to support your argument. Emotion should ideally play a secondary role, if it does at all, and the writer is discouraged from bringing herself into it.

But novels and stories are so awesomely different. I live inside my head when I’m writing the book, and it can be a jarring experience when stepping out of it after a long hour or afternoon of writing. Living inside your head isn’t fun, and it can be terrifying sometimes.

Thank God for chocolate. And Perrier. And tea. My arsenal of medications.

The play is starting to form in my head, a nice respite from the book. It’s not as serious, nor is it historical, so that makes it easier. I’ve written a synopsis and a list of characters, although as I develop it, it’s starting to look as if I’ll be winnowing the list down from five characters to two. And it may start out as a one-act/two-scene play. Easier for a beginner like me.

Still reading Buzbee’s book. A lovely, tender valentine to books and reading. Next will either be Memoirs of a Geisha or Star Trek: To Reign in Hell; The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh. Yes, I know, two very disparate choices, but B.’s got me into this Star Trek thing, and Khan intrigues me. Fortunately, it’s a short book.

MRA