Sunday, January 31, 2010

Guess how wide a Jetta is?

Last night it took me about a half a hour longer to get to the Tempe Improv because every single road anywhere near the club was closed, including the freeway. I raged and eventually got there.
I'm leaving, after the second show and it's almost midnight. On an typical night, I'm in bed by ten. When I have a comedy job and there is two shows I am up much later which can be a struggle stay alert, but I make it and begin my 45 minute drive home.
The construction was overwhelming. Cones and wooden barricades and orange flashing lights everywhere. I see an arrow, move to this lane, another arrow, not that lane, that lane is closed, another arrow, hey come over here, just fucking with you, this lane is also closed. I have to get on the freeway and there is blinking orange activity there as well. BUT, there are two cones by the on ramp separated just the exact size of, well, a car. They were separated the exact distance as the size of a Jetta, my car.

So, I enter the ramp and I finally feel calm because I am away from all the construction. I am apparently smarter than the other drivers. I enter the freeway and it dawns on me that the freeway seems to be really quiet which is odd because it's midnight on a Saturday. Then I notice another interesting thing. It is not only very quiet on the freeway, I am actually the only person on the freeway. I look in my rear view mirror, I'm looking out the windows, just darkness, and, me. Now the panic attack begins. I am driving on a closed freeway. I'm thinking, "What about the cones? They were spaced just enough for a Jetta?" The cones deceived me. Cones lie all the time. You know how you can tell if a cone is lying? Their lips are moving.
Okay, so, I am going to prison, this is what I'm thinking. But I'm still driving because there is no way off, no other ramps, there is no way out. I look up ahead and I see there is a wooden barricade lit up with orange flashing lights ahead and it is heavily spread all the way across every lane of the freeway. So I slow down, slow down more, until I am stopped, on the freeway with my lights on the barricade, alone. Because, of the spacing of the cones.
I am now in full hyperventilation mode. I think, quickly Dina! Turn the car around and speed back to the ramp where the whole thing started. But then I would be going the wrong way on the closed freeway. I would be illegal, on top of illegal. Is it more illegal to drive backwards or drive the wrong way? I don't know. Which story do you want to tell the judge? So I immediately put the car in reverse and drive backwards for several miles. I'm doing everything in my power to drive cautiously as to not attract attention and yes, I'm driving backwards but, I'm doing a good job. I think I may get time off my sentence if I could say, "I was driving very careful and I was staying in the lines and I understand that I was driving backwards but my car was actually facing the correct direction." You know, maybe they would be more supportive of me in court.

I get to the ramp and back my way down, get to the cones and very carefully back through the little fuckers, I back my way out. And then I began to drive the way the other cars were going, hundreds of cars, which by coincidence, were all going the same way, a completely different direction than I had previously gone. I was apparently the only one that was sucked into the cones, screaming 'Come this way! These people are stupid! You are the smart one! And your car is the perfect size!'
After I was with the others, I began to laugh so hard tears were falling down my face. I called anyone that I thought would be awake. I did not get anyone on the phone. I laughed the entire way home.

The moral of the story is this. They say, 'trust your gut'. I say, 'Do NOT trust your gut.' AND do not trust the cones that a guy in a city truck threw out his window at the entrance of the closed freeway because he is in a hurry to go to go see Avatar. How far apart were the cones? The exact size of a Jetta. My car.

Friday, January 29, 2010


So my grandson was in the hospital for a few days getting some tests done. Moses is eleven and he can't speak. He has seizures. They were testing for a particular kind of seizure activity that if he had, he could take medication that may help him be able to talk. So his mom and the rest of the people that are madly in love with Moses, we had a flash of hope that possibly he would speak at some point and his life would be easier. So he spent two days with about fifty 'Leeds' glued to his head to monitor his brain activity. The doctor comes in yesterday morning and says that Moses does not have the seizure disorder that they thought he may have. But he also says, he understood that we had hoped he could eventually talk, but we did not want him to have this disorder. He said it would involve a whole other pile of problems that would make Moses's life very difficult. That he might have been able to take the medication and speak, but the seizures would become horrific as he grows and it would cause him to be very sick a lot of the time. The Dr said that the seizures he would begin to have would be intense and often and could cause additional brain damage. So he would be able to talk, but his quality of life would not be good. Okay. We feel so, so relieved that he does not have this problem. But as the day rolls by, we are again faced with the fact, Moses may never speak. It's upsetting. Because we really did have that bit of hope. Then I guess we quickly accepted that this is what it is, and Moses is perfectly fine exactly the way he is. He is perfection. And after hearing of the complications of this disorder, we are so thankful that he doesn't have it. Don't misunderstand and don't feel sorry for him. This kid can communicate just fine. We are all learning sign language and Moses is very good at it. He is a very typical nine year old. When you are getting on his nerve, he points, as if he's saying, 'Walk away from here, just go, you're bothering me.' Or he'll put his finger up to his mouth and tell you to be quiet. If he doesn't want to do something he will shake his head no and if you insist the thing has to happen, he will run to his room and slam the door. When you open the door he will look at you, shake his head no, and point for you to leave. On the other hand he is the most loving, sweet, kind little boy that I have ever seen. Moses is the center of our family. Every decision we make is based on Moses. So, now we're home and he is home and we are back to our normal life whatever that is. He is seriously the best little boy in the universe. We are so, so lucky.

Monday, January 25, 2010

You are REALLY getting on my nerve

Okay, I'm one post behind so I must write this one to keep my New Years resolution. What do I write about when I can't think of anything to write about. What happens in this situation is I am left with whatever is on my mind. In other words... my feelings. Jesus, Christ, help us all.
I have three daughters. My oldest Jennifer has grown out of her 'my mother gets on my last nerve' stage. Thank god. My other two, have not. So it doesn't matter what I say, I will drive one of them to the brink.

Is it me? Is it the tone of my voice or the pitch of my voice or the words that I'm saying? Is it my outfit? Is it the weather? What is the problem?
This is how I look at it. When mommy had to bail you out of jail, I drove down to the pissed stained tank and took you away from there, buttercup. I have pulled one of you out of a crack den at the risk of being shot, but my pumpkin was in there so a mommy does what she has to do. Never mind that your dog is shitting all over my house and eating all my furniture. And you know, you snuck a cat in the house without my knowledge, hid it from me and because I'm allergic to cats, I spent weeks thinking I had a brain tumor because my eyes were swollen shut. "What's wrong with me? Why are my eyes swollen shut?"
"I don't know mom. Maybe you should go... outside."

I'm not going to worry about the fact that I say good morning and you grunt. I'm not going to worry about the fact that I say any words and your response is, "Mom! Stop!" When I actually don't even know what I said right then. Remembering back, I think it was something really antagonistic like, "How's it going?" I am actually beginning to flinch when you are in the room. My beautiful angels, now possessed by something scary. I say, "I love you sweetie." This is always met with something to the effect of, "God, Mom! I know already!" Is it that I said 'sweetie'?
And sometimes, I don't even have to say anything. Sometimes, it's simply me breathing, in and out, that hurls them over the edge. They way I'm sitting on the couch. The way I walk. The way I laugh. The way I drink out of a cup.

Just now I had to dress and put my mother to bed. Every single thing she does drives me over the fucking edge of the universe. She says, "It's cold in here." And I'm thinking, is that your last complaint for the day. Good god I hope so.
And now I think, oh my god. I will always grate up their spine. One day they will be tucking me in to bed thinking please don't use anymore random words today. I can not answer one more crazy question. Go. To. Sleep.

From now on, I will only call them by their first names. No, sweet pet names. I'm going to cut back on the words like, "Your hair looks great." Or, "I love those jeans." You know, all the fight starters. We need to communicate without speaking. Just nod here and there until they grow out of the 'my mother drives me crazy' stage. I know they love me, it's not about love. It's about me, opening my mouth for any reason to say anything at any point. Love has nothing to do with it. And by the way, you kids are not getting on my final nerve at all. Living with you is like living at Disneyland. I'm having the time of my life. Fucking kids.
(I'm caught up now... na-na-na-na)

The queen of dogs

The way I grew up, there were animals everywhere. Dogs, cats, cows, pigs. On beds, under beds, outside, inside, animals EVERYWHERE.
So when I became a grown up, I did not want any animals. To be honest, I'm not a fan. But when you have kids, you have to have animals so the kids don't grow up and shoot up a mall and say it was because you didn't let them have a dog. Okay, so, here, have this dog.
We got our dog 'Squirt' about 13 years ago from the pound. She was malnourished and there was no question that whoever had her last was beating on her because she would cower when you walked by her.

Squirt would also never go to the potty in the house. I think it was some sort of fear. And I don't mean like a normal potty trained dog, I mean if we weren't home to let her out, she would not pee on the floor. We would feel so horrible if we got caught up somewhere and got home and she would be there, waiting, to go out. I would try to talk to her like she is a human and say, "Squirt. If we don't get home in time, go potty in the house. It's okay." To this day, she has NEVER gone potty in the house.

Squirt went to the pound because someone found her wandering around in the desert. After she lived with us for a while, she stopped hiding and cowering and got better and fatter. Squirt went from walking around the dirt in the desert to our house where she sat on the couch that was next to a big window. She would put her arms crossed on the arm of the couch and look out the window as if she was adopted by Oprah.

For Squirt, coming to live with us, and be feed, and kissed (by John and the kids), and played with. I think Squirt felt she had won the lottery. And that spot on the couch? If Squirt felt moved to to look out the window at that moment and you were sitting there, you moved. She is the dog version of Lady Diana. She'd jump up, cross her feminine dog paws and look out the window.
John had a boat and Squirt would go on the boat and sit right where the wind would blow her fancy ears back and I knew she was thinking, "I am the queen of dogs!"
So years and years have gone by. In this last year, Squirt moves very slow. She has been getting very sick. Took her to the vet, 800 dollars, Squirt is very sick. She has a list of things that old dogs get. Took her back to the vet. 400 dollars. She is still sick and she is not getting better.

So here I am, not a fan. Not an animal person. BUT... it's Squirt. She's not really a dog. She's sort of this tiny, midget human covered with hair. She is OUR tiny midget person.
I don't know. I know she is getting sicker and it feels like confusion. The concept that Squirt, the queen of dogs, would ever not be walking around the house hurts my heart. Because like I said, she's not a dog. She's, a girl. She has a really pretty pink collar. She also has pretty purple barrettes which she doesn't wear because I think it hurts to have to wear barrettes.

So I'm thinking the new medicine will help. I'm thinking she will get better. Because if you took a photo of our family, Squirt would be in it. Looking just like the queen of dogs. Or, a midget covered with hair.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Funny people...

I have had the privilege over the past twenty years of being a comic and watching the funniest comedians in the world. I mean, seriously, the funniest people in the entire world.
I have worked with and laughed with at least a thousand stand up comedians. People that are amazing on stage, but off stage even more amazing. I have spent countless hours sitting around back rooms of comedy clubs talking about traumatic circumstances that have brought these people to a place where the only way their life makes sense is to make others laugh. I have also huddled in corners with other comics and laughed so hard, I have actually wet my pants. Yes, I did. People that are so naturally funny that everything they say either makes you smile, or laugh so hard the club manager tells you to keep it down.

I have not only had a life filled with laughter, I have sought out laughter. You get on the plane, or in the car, or get on your feet, and you go where you know funny people are going to be.
I have seen comics that are so good at what they do that I can't even laugh. I watch, and think, "Wow. I suck."
I have also seen some bad comedy. I mean... bad. Comedy that is so bad you actually feel sick for the person on stage. You feel uncomfortable and if you have a heart at all, you can't even watch.
In the middle of the comics that are brilliant and the comics that shouldn't ever tell a joke, even at a BBQ, there is a beautiful, fascinating process that helps a comic evolve possibly into a genius, but most likely, they become a really great comedian.

They pace the back of the club looking down every now and then at their notes. They mumble to themselves, walking, back and forth. Every other comic in the universe has done it and we all know, leave that guy alone. They know they are almost up so they take a quick glance at the page and up they go. It's going to happen or it's not. They get off stage and take another look at their notes and access what's going to happen with this bit or that bit. As they do this other comics may say, "When you do that one thing, you should try this, or that." Then they have to think about that and if the idea can save the bit, or if it's going to get shoved back in the notebook because most of the time you're thinking something about this is funny but I don't know what. They're dead jokes, but, one little line can bring them back. For me most of them stay dead because of the fear that if I got the same response twice, which is silence, I will have to double my anti depressant. I have found most comics are like that. You can go up and completely tear the walls down, but that one little line doesn't get a laugh? You suck.
Another thing that's common with comics is that you can make every single person in the room laugh so hard their white wine is spraying out of their nose, but that one fucking guy that WILL NOT even smile is the ONLY person you can see.

You come off stage and people say, 'great set', and all you can think is, 'Please. It was not a great set. Did you see that guy?' Now people are saying great set and you know they are clearly lying because if I was really funny that fucker would've laughed. Why am I even a comic? Then you watch the guy and he gives the same dead look to every one that goes up, but that doesn't matter. And you know where the I don't think you're funny guy ALWAYS sits? The front row, glaring you down with those beady, angry eyes.

Sometimes people like this will actually show you how unimpressed they are by you that as your speaking they read menus or literature that is on the table. The only way to handle this is to tell the comics that are going up after you so they can address them during their set, and by the way 'hacky' lines are fine in this situation. Something like, "Hey, man. You're at a comedy show. Tell your face."

For twenty years it has been an honor to work with some of the greatest comics from all across the country. But it has also been an honor to work with really funny people just beginning their journey in to the art of stand up comedy. It's great to see a veteran comic go up and completely rip the room apart. But it is also so cool to see a brand new comic nervously tell a joke, and it works. You can see the almost surprised look in their face while they are still standing under the lights.

And that one laugh begins a life of getting on the plane, getting in the car, and walking to find where the laughs are. Good times.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Raising Children

We were raised by sheep. But back in those days, everyone was raised by sheep.
The parents that raised me and everyone else I knew didn't have Dr. Phil ideals.
They way kids were 'raised' was a simple thing. You feed them, they got bigger and then one day, they're all raised.
Little Tommy is too active? Have him go shovel horse shit. Cute little Mandy has a low self esteem? Who cares. We all do.
We rode in the back of trucks, on the highway, often switching seating positions as the truck moved at sixty miles an hour down the freeway. If you were bored, you could always throw a rock at someone. We played tackle football on the dirt road and we never even considered stopping the game when someone was injured. If some bloody kid was limping off, we would try to make them feel better by yelling, "You're the biggest baby! You aren't even hurt! Go cry to mom you baby! You're like a girl!"
The girl comment only worked on boys.

We didn't have drug or alcohol rehabs. Our parents did it the hard way. They had to keep drinking. It was common to walk down the dirt road at night and see an old man sitting in his backyard by a fire he made out of a wooden chair singing, "To all the girls I've loved, before..."
We lived on a plot of land with four other families. All the families had kids that were our age so it was a giant bunch of aimless youth, all hyperactive with low self esteem. It was a religious community called 'Cristo Rey'. We all parked our trailers, or mobile homes on the land and the adults lived a Godly life while us kids, ran around the dirt streets like a wild pack of wolves.
The absolute center of our little world was, the ditch. Every single thing we did in our day involved, the ditch. Meeting a friend, walking on the ditch, throwing things in the ditch. Trying to fish something out of the ditch. And of course, the popular, pushing someone in the ditch.

We would have family from other places come visit and the adults would say, "I hope those kids aren't by that ditch." The real question was, "If the kids aren't by the ditch, where in the world would they be?"
Let me explain the ditch for those of you who have lived a charmed life. The water in the ditch was muddy and stinky. It reeked. Some areas of the ditch rushed with water and other areas stood still with a layer of toxic film. The ditch was taken over by bugs, mosquitoes, lizards, snakes, spiders, anything that could bite you lived in or by the ditch. This didn't bother us one bit. If you went to bed at night and you hadn't been bitten at least twice during the day, you hadn't lived a full day.

There were things about living in this time that makes you sad for today. For example, we were small kids, but we could walk the roads for ten hours a day and never worry about 'stranger danger'. We would leave in the morning and explore the world, via the ditch, until sundown. Then we'd walk in the trailer filthy, stinking and starving.
Me and my best friends Jeanette and Patricia would meet halfway on the ditch. It was easily five miles to their house but that's how you got somewhere if you planned on going somewhere. You walked the ditch. We met each other about ten times a week. Overweight kids were almost unheard of in those days.
The ditch had enough space for a car to drive down it but it was tight. You'd be real careful or you'd end up with a truck upside down in the slimy water. The number of times I remember seeing a giant tow truck pulling someones truck out of the ditch is too high to count.

There were secret places in various locations on the ditch path. Hiding places. Who were we hiding from? Army soldiers. Vampires. The ditch witch. The ditch witch came out to the ditch at night while we slept but during the day we could look for her foot prints or look for the children she had murdered, although we never knew of an actual child that had been murdered. Yet.
I remember so clear the feeling, walking to meet my BFF's. Perfect weather, no fear, walking alone, singing something. We had nothing as far as things you buy with money. But I don't know of any group of wild kids that had more fun than we did. There was no limit to our adventures. Everyday we had fun, got bit by something and got hurt. We didn't know then that this would be the time of our life. I spend five years with dirt in my hair but we all had dirt in our hair, dirty nails, torn up clothes and shoes. At that time it wasn't about how you looked, or smelled for that matter. It was about playing, being a kid, getting into everything that wasn't nailed down. No boundaries, just fun and an occasional trip to the ER.
These days you can't even allow your child to go in the front yard without your constant supervision. Kids can't stretch out their arms or their imagination. It completely sucks. It's not fair. And I don't care if they have cool things like Ipod's or the Wii. There isn't a better feeling in the world than fishing a lone shoe out of the ditch with a long stick as everyone screams in support. You hook the shoe and lift, very slowly, so slowly. Then, almost falling in, you grab it and the audience cheers as you stand there holding a slimy, toxic gym shoe, smiling like you just won an Emmy. That's a Kodak moment! Too bad, we didn't have a camera.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Heart Books

I was thirty two years old when I read my first actual book. It's not that I couldn't read, I just didn't want to read. I didn't get why people would choose to read a book when there was so much beer around. I don't even remember the name of the book but one day I checked it out in the library.
I got home in the evening and at three in the morning I was still reading. I finished that book the following day and went back to the library and got three more. Three days later, I went back and that's how I began loving books.
I had a book a day habit for a very long time. I was so fascinated that people actually thought these stories up in their minds and how brilliant they must be to be able to do this.
If I begin a book and the book is good, I don't stop reading the book. I will go to the bathroom or make a sandwich but other than that, every book is a one sitting book. That's my process. If I'm going to read a book, I'm going to read the whole book.

The thing that will make me close a book and annoy me is too much 'description'. I think some people would say that, me, as a writer, I don't have nearly enough description. I can't stand it. I do not want to read three paragraphs of you describing a tree trunk. It hurls me over the edge.
Writing in a vivid way is a gift and I don't know if I have this gift or not. I tend to write in a way that I guess is sort of sharp. I mean. Just say the thing. My feeling is, don't fuck around for three pages to get to the point. The point should be aggressive enough that the person reading feels like you've just thrown up on their shoes. Say the thing already. I don't want to 'ease' anyone into the point I'm trying to make. Because, in the end you are saying the same thing. People are going to agree or not and it won't matter how much you've watered it down. In my head this makes sense.

I love books. I love buying new books. I prefer new books to new shoes. I am very weird about my books. You could borrow money from me and I would probably forget about it. But a book? I will be up at night thinking about the fact that, my book is at your house and not on my bookshelf. I don't like lending out my books. People say, but you pass them along so other people can enjoy them. No, no, no. They are my books. Just step away from the bookshelf. I don't even like the kids to borrow my books. I walk in their room and see a Starbucks cup sitting on one of my books and I get dizzy.
I like hardback books. I LOVE hardback books. I love the way books smell. I love looking at the covers of books, and judging.
And the bookstore, I love the bookstore. I wish I was married to the bookstore. You know the beautiful way the bookstore smells? I could stay in there all day. The bookstore plays music that makes you feel warm and safe and calm.
I want my book in the bookstore. I love books. Books make me feel like warm cider on a blistery cold Montana night, as the wind howling through the big, sad, oak tree that is bending as if it's back is broken, almost saying, "I bend, but don't break, in the howling, crisp, heaving, rageful, Penelope Cruz type weather." At least, that's what I hear the tree saying.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Will you be ready at the end of the world?

So I'm a writer. I'm sitting in the office with the door shut writing. I'm 'working'.
I have gotten mom up and dressed and feed. I have given my grandson his seizure medication and breakfast. I have reminded John for the third time to take his heart pills.
Okay, now I can do the thing. Mom strolls in on her walker. She says, "The dog pooped under my bed."

I don't have a dog. The girls have dogs, but they aren't available to clean the shit our of moms room. I remove the poop, gagging, running outside to the can on the curb, gagging, and gagging. I close the lid and lean down with my hands on my knees trying to regain my dignity. I walk back in the house and mom is waiting there to greet me and says, "I'm cold." I turn up her heat.
So, I'm writing. I'm focused. My grandsweet walks in. Poop, running all the way down his legs.

Has your child ever pooped to such a level it would be easier just to get another child? It would be easier to just move? My second run in with poop this morning. I take him in the backyard and hose him down. It's not abuse, we live in Phoenix. It's 75 degrees. Then I put him in a bath. Crisis handled.

I'm back in the office. The door bell rings. I feel completely irritated and walk to the door. I open it and a virginal twenty something is standing there smiling like he just got released from the fucking loony bin. Jesus. It's the Mormon boys. He smiles and says, "Good morning! We were in your neighborhood..." I stop him and say, "Nice of you but not today." He asks if he can leave some literature. I say yes, because that's what I have time for. He hands me the thing and I shut the door. The front reads, "Will you be ready at the end of the world?" I'm thinking, 'Ready for the end of the world? I can't even find my socks.'

I walk back to the office. The phone rings. I answer and the lady says, "I am so and so and I am calling about a debt. Is Dina Kucera in?" I say, "She is... deceased." Complete silence at the other end. I say, "Can you take her off your call list." I hang up.
Mom is ringing her bell. I walk into her room and she says, "I'm hot." I turn her heat down.
It's lunch time so I feed everybody Froot Loops. I go back in the office and I am still in my pajamas. I sit, staring at the little line on the page blink on and off. I have some Hershey kisses for desert. The thing is still blinking and I'm starting to feel like it's mocking me.

I stare aimlessly out the window and I see the dog, shitting on the grass. Now, my third shit experience today. I wonder why dogs don't care about the fact that they are straight out taking a shit right in front of you. They don't care who's watching. They just crouch down, and, there you go. They shit. Number two for those of you who don't have the strength for the word shit. Numbero, dos.
I walk in the kitchen to get a Coke because the kisses made me thirsty and I see John's pill box, where his pills are still in place. I take them out and physically hand them to him and watch him swallow them. By the time I get back to the office, mom is standing there again, "I'm cold." I think in my head, 'You are fucking killing me'. I turn up her heat.
The Froot Loops didn't quite get us to dinner, so I go to the drive through at MacDonald's. I say my order and I say, and a Coke.

He repeats my order and says, "And a diet Coke." I say, "No, a regular coke. Not diet." The guy actually says, "Whatever. Diet, regular." I get up to the window and say, "This is regular Coke?" He says, "Yeah. Or diet. I'm not sure." I taste it, it's diet. I say I want a regular Coke and he says, "So... you want me to... exchange this one, for..." I say, "Call your manager." He says, "I am the shift leader." A half an hour later I drove off with a regular Coke. Whatever.
I get home and I am really planning on making some headway on my writing. Mom has had an accident and I won't go into detail because I won't humiliate my mom even though she'll never read this. But, my day has a theme. I took her in the backyard... okay no I didn't, but that would be funny. I get her back to her chair and she says, "I'm hot." I pretend to turn down the heat but I don't. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me four times, shame on me.
It's night and everyone has gone to bed and I know everyone in the house has had a bowl movement. It's been a successful day in terms of the colon. I write and write like these people aren't in the next room. I'm alone, still in the same pajamas, my music is playing, it's a beautiful thing.
I go to bed and look up at the ceiling and think, "I wonder if I will be ready for the end of the world?" I think I will. I mean, when is it? And what do I have to bring? What do you do to 'get ready'.

I guess as long as I shower each morning that will at least give me a head start when they sound the bullhorn. Which leads me to another question. Are they going to sound a bullhorn?

Big scary monster

It’s not always peaches and herb in ‘living your dreams’ land. Today, I run from those childhood demons that we all have. Some demons are little and you can just kick them and they limp away. Other demons are giant and you have to run as fast as you can so they don’t get you.

Because if they do, who knows what will happen? Will they eat you? Will they cause such a disruption that you don’t get out of bed and you can’t function, much less take care of the people who need you?
So you run for your life. You run from a monster.
For me the demon is ‘everyone’s misery is your fault’. This demon has been nipping at my ass since I was nine and my grandmother told me that my father drank because ‘I was a difficult child to raise’. So, I looked around, saw the carnage from drunk dad, and thought, “I did this?” Of course I grew up and the concept was silly and I knew that I didn’t cause my fathers constant drinking. I was not that powerful.

But there is difference between knowing and really, really, knowing.
So I’ve spent my adult life trying to move in the direction that the people around me want me to move so they will approve of me. I need them to like me and think I’m fun. Because if I walk off the line of what they have in mind I will make them unhappy and the demon will show up and swallow me. And if god forbid something horrible happens in their life, it would be because of me stepping off that line, and if I wouldn’t have stepped off the line, everything would be okay. Like, if I had gotten a ‘C’ instead of a ‘D’, my dad wouldn’t have gotten drunk and spent all the grocery money.

So here we are. I’m going to be a writer. I’m going to live my dreams. BUT, if things go badly, it will be me that will carry the ‘whatever’. Financial problems, medical problems, problems buying the cheese, whatever. This is why it is not a light decision to ‘live your dream’. Oprah makes it sound easy. But it’s not.
My making this decision feeds the demons. It creates that voice in my head that says, ‘If you do this, some people won’t agree. It will make some people unhappy.’ For me that’s like inviting the demon to climb all the way up my ass.
The demon is so scary and consuming for me that I have to keep it at bay so it won’t kill me. It’s a common thing for people to use alcohol or drugs or pie to keep the monster at a distance. The thing that is detrimental to you is at the exact same time your salvation. And the bad things blend into the walls and everything is okay.
Tuesday is dooms day. Go back to work, or do not go back to work. My childhood demon has me by the throat telling me that I shouldn't dare upset anyone. For me it’s very real. I know sitting here right now that I am not going back to work. I know I’m going to really piss a few people off. But for the first time in my life, EVER, I am digging my feet in and I am not going to sacrifice myself to make people smile.
So to my scary demon and those people who don‘t approve, fuck off. To get me to halt my living my dream mission, you will have to eat me mother fucker. I’m a writer.
(PS… I used the term ‘mother fucker’ in my last two writings. I love saying it and I love how it looks on the page. BUT, I don't know how I feel about having this cute baby so close to the foul language. Don't look up baby!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm A Writer. Yeah, You Heard Me

If you have something you want to do in your life that doesn't involve following the herd, know ahead of time you are going to get the shit kicked out of you. Veering off from the herd pisses people off because they also want to veer, but they are afraid.
I have been with the herd for many, many years. Most people feel comfortable and stable in that situation. I, on the other hand, never felt comfortable. I felt depressed and angry. But I did it so I didn't feel irresponsible. I have a family, three daughters and my husband, you do what you have to do. Now, my girls are grown and I'm thinking, goodbye herd.

I do feel you have to be strategic. I have been a comic for twenty years and have been writing all my life. I have spent over two years working on my book at night when everyone was taken care of and sleeping, while working and taking care of mom and all the other things in life. I wouldn't advise anyone to just quit their job and 'become' a writer or comic. You should put in years and years of groundwork on your craft and have some kind of foundation before you even consider quitting your job. And if you write in the hours you can steal from life, for years, and eventually something of substance together, goodbye herd.
Here is another thing. I have spent years calling my book, 'my project'. Or saying, "I wrote a little thing." Something about actually saying "I wrote a book." Made me feel fear of being ridiculed. Or made fun of. Or people rolling their eyes and making me feel like I was too stupid to write a book.

You know what? I wrote a book. I wrote a fucking book. It's not 'my project'. It's a book. I wrote it. I will get an agent and it will get published. And you eye rollers will buy the book and I'll spend your money on bullshit I don't even need.
I left the herd because I wrote a book. What do I do?

I'm a writer. There are zillions of writers. I'm one of them. And I really, really like it.