Sunday, August 25, 2013

The First Twenty-Thousand, My Gremlin of Self-Doubt, Coming to Terms with My Inner Schmoozer, and Getting My Face Done at MAC

Look at Me, Damnit!
I exceeded twenty-thousand words on my novel this weekend, which was both exhilarating and insecurity-inducing, as my ever-spontaneous little Gorgonzola-breathed Gremlin of Self-Doubt (who I have yet to assign a name), crawled up onto my shoulder and rasped, “Don’t you think that you might be over-writing your scenes?” To which I replied, “Over-writing? What the hell does that mean? Where did that even come from?” Then he cackled and clambered onto my other shoulder and hissed, “You’re right. Now that I’ve had a closer look, I see you should be more worried about under-writing your scenes.” Thanks, Gremlin of Self-Doubt! Whatever would I do without you to drag me down into the cold, weed-choked sea of low writing self-esteem, just when I started to feel like I was accomplishing something?

Speaking of accomplishing something, I spent my final day of vacation last Monday (ahh…vacation--it seems like such a long time ago now!) with my friend Frankie, during which we went to the Korean spa, and an alternately mean/nice lady salt-scrubbed my pale naked flobbery body within an inch of my life. Frankie and I spent our spa day talking a lot about artistic success and the lack thereof, about how much depends on being the sort of person who is comfortable making friends solely for the purpose of using them to get ahead, and the value of being a Class-A schmoozer--something which we both seem to suck at utterly. However, my suckiness at schmoozing is inversely proportionate to my closeted, greedy, egotistical desire for artistic success. And it is ego-driven, no doubt about it. I try to keep this unsightly part of me in check and focus on the fiery joy and calm satisfaction I feel from the process of creating, but sometimes the greedy little monster bursts her shackles and tears around hysterical and unfettered in my brain, gabbling and pleading, “Look at Me!! Look at MEEEEE!!!”

As I write about this, I’m remembering that my favorite local radio host Luke Burbank often talks about his struggles to keep his infamous Show-off Demon in check. Every time he describes his Show-Off Demon, I laugh with recognition. I don’t have a show-off demon of the exactly the same make and model as his, but I think inside all of us is a little kid who never got adequate attention and still clamors to be seen, heard, and reassured of our marvelous-ness.

Speaking of being seen, Mr. Typist, never shy when it comes to pointing out jeans that make my butt look fat or otherwise ill-advised wardrobe choices, told me yesterday that my makeup was a problem. “It’s all blotchy and whenever you touch your face it rubs off.” He’s right, of course. I’ve been cheaping it up over the summer with drugstore foundation and powder in an attempt to save money, and it’s been disastrous, but in some ways it seemed like a just another fitting failure in a summer full of ugliness, stress, and calamity. The cheap crap melts off my face at the first hint of sweat stress and just sits there in a mottled pool of grime. I hate it, but I’ve been too apathetic change it out. So I buzzed off to the mall yesterday to invest in some quality face paint. I was going to go to Sephora, but the MAC counter was closer and the makeup artists were all so sweet and made a huge fuss over me. I’ve always liked doing makeup for other people--stage or otherwise, and actually considered being a makeup artist at various time, (especially for special-effects makeup.) And the MAC kids had it down—they had holsters! Actual holsters! The young woman who did my face had gorgeous skin and managed to sell me a lavishly expensive, one-percenter-esque set of fluids, powders, and magical flaw-hiding serums, which I justified by telling myself it was an investment, sure to last at least two years, as she assured me you only needed  a tiny dab of each one.  For once you can’t see my insomnia-induced under-eye smudges or red cheek blotches. The marriage of culturally-enforced beauty standards and capitalism: Win. Righteous feminist fuck-off to said standards: Epic Fail.

1 comment:

Frank Moraes said...

First, congratulations on the first 20K words! Only writers think in terms of words! People are forever asking me how many pages things are? Over time, I've developed some reasonable answers as I've realized that most paperbacks are 300 words per page. You've written 67 pages! Hooray! I prefer screenplays; we don't write pages; we write minutes.

But I wanted to address the issue of the egotistical desire for success. I don't think it is a bad thing. If you don't care about success enough, there is a strong tendency to never finish anything. I think this was part of the problem with Orson Welles. As an artist, all you need to do for yourself is get to the point where you know how it all comes together and leave it at that. Onto the next project!

In addition, I think the only options for a writer are "egotistical desire for success" and "narcissist." Although I think if we are honest, we have to admit that we are both.