It's been a while.
I didn't ghost, I swear. I just forgot how to write.
Something(s) happened in between the trailer and now. Today is Black Friday, I hope no one dies in some Walmart somewhere while trying to get a discount on some shitty DVD player. I hope people decide to go see a movie instead.
What happened was I went on a trip to Amsterdam, London, and Dublin. And in a week, I'll be going back to Dublin. Am I running to something or away from something?
Or am I running to exhaust myself? Maybe I'm better at being tired. Maybe the universe makes more sense when I'm lacking energy.
Things I try to do to deal with writer's stuck:
Change the pen I'm using
Write on magazine pages
Take a bath
Stop trying to write
Type a favorite book quote on my typewriter
Stop being so goddamn precious about one little blog entry
Post pictures of books on Instagram
It's not like I'm writing for The New Yorker, but who wants to write something shitty?
Answer: No one.
I'm pretty sure that the only real way to keep writing is to just do it, for better or for worse. Changing what I'm writing with sometimes does help a little but it's no cure, and if I stop trying to write, the only thing that happens is that I stop writing.
The truth is, I have some idea of why I haven't written in a while, but the cat has got my tongue.
This expression has never made sense to me. It still doesn't. I'm a grown-up, how can a cat get my tongue? What is it doing with it? Whose cat is this?
I don't know exactly what I was looking for on my trip but I was looking for something. The day after I got back to NY I went to see Wonderstruck at the Angelika. The film is about two kids in different era's that run away to New York City, searching for a "connection." The best thing about being on this set was not the 1920’s costume, or even being overnight in the Museum of Natural History (though that was pretty incredible) but being on a film directed by Todd Haynes.
Most people know him for directing Carol with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, but to me he is my Velvet Goldmine. He's the filmmaker that made the movie that made me want to make movies. He's part of why I'm where I am, for better or for worse. I should write him a note saying thanks but I think it might come out accusatory. WHY DID YOU MAKE ME WANT TO DO THIS? THIS INDUSTRY IS CRAZY!*
INT. MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY- NIGHT
For this one night, I'm on his set and I'm watching Todd Haynes watch everything. He's paying attention to each department, each detail, each element in the camera lens. I gaze at him moving from his seat behind the camera to the statue of Teddy Roosevelt, to the lead actress and her sign language translator. He's involved in everything, he is the life force. Beside me, leans a little boy:
Boris, from Brooklyn, 5th grade, Age 11
Boris was my son. If you are ever looking for a reason to have kids just look at pictures from the 1920’s. Every child will look so much smarter, well behaved, and polite in their lace up boots, button up coats, and little hats than most any kid in today’s generation.
Boris was small and simple and honest, he didn't have time for bullshit and he was the first kid outside of fictional characters that made me laugh. Boris was, in my mind, the reason kids exist in the first place, to make the world just a little less terrible and a little bit funnier. After the first A.M. hours, he and the other kids began getting sleepy. Summer vacation hadn’t started yet so after being in school all day, the kids would come to work on set and by hour eight even the craft service table full of doughnuts and mini Snickers couldn’t keep their energy up. Boris kept wanting to sit down between takes. “My legs are killing me!” I told him he could sit when he was old. Boris, just previously an affectionate but quiet faux son, blurted out, “I am old! I fought in the war! I won fifteen medals!”
“Wow, fifteen medals. What did you win them for?”
“For fighting, in the war."
After a few takes Boris wanted to take a different route. “I want to go to the other display. It’s cooler, they have guns.”
“That’s why you think it’s cool? Because they have guns?”
Then I thought, Boris might not be so cute outside his 1920’s pea coat. But that's okay, he's a kid.
I used to be a kid.
One other thing about seeing Wonderstruck... I saw it on my birthday. I don't know why that makes me feel something but it does. Time has a way of being an asshole, even on birthdays. Especially on birthdays. Todd Haynes keeps giving me that childhood magic all over again, nearly two decades later.
I accidentally left a bit of myself behind on that set. Part of the costume I wore was an orange cardigan and in one of the pockets I forgot my Driver's License. I wonder if another person that wears the costume in the future will find it. I'd like that.
I'm going back to Dublin soon.
There's something I'm looking for.
*Some historical context about the craziness: the news about Harvey Weinstein and others came out while I was on my trip, so... that was fun.