Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vacation Day 2: If Only My Work Days Went By As Quickly

7/1. I wake up at 5 (because, y'know, my stupid body is a well-trained overweight machine designed with one purpose and one purpose only: to get me into work by 6:30AM no matter in what damaged condition I am when I get to sleep). It takes me 15 minutes to go back to sleep, after which I groggily wake up once every 30 minutes till approximately 7:15, when I stagger out of bed, say "Good morning" to my sister, who has been working online since 5ish herself, pour myself a cup of coffee, and sit down at the computer. Three hours later I have uploaded yesterday's blog entry and finished the one-act I started writing over the weekend.

The play is called I Know What Alex Would Say, which is a line from The Big Chill (“I know what Alex would say; he’d say ‘What’s for dessert?’”) Alex is the character who slits his wrists before the movie starts, and he’s dead at the start of this play too, which started out as a title and a single line description: “dead guy talks back during funeral to priest, friend, wife, mistress.” So did I wrote it because I went to a funeral three weeks ago? Oh yes, but that was only one of several reasons, which include (a) that funeral, (b) the fact that the Grim Reaper has been cleaning up in the Celebrity Dead Pool Sweepstakes lately, (c) my growing awareness that very soon now (as the universe counts time) my consciousness is going to snap off like a light switch, which means (d) I will have no say in how I am remembered and (e) no way to either correct the record or express my regrets, which only makes me more and more angry at (f) the overwhelming is-this-any-way-to-run-an-airline stupidity of the whole Death Thing. So instead of writing what I know, I wrote what I know I’ll never get a chance to say. And then tried my best to make it not-about-Matthew as it poured out of me.

(Just to give you an idea of how long it took: the outline and the first two scenes were drafted between 8 and 9 AM on Saturday morning in a Dunkin Donuts; they were typed up and printed out from 1:30 to 2:30, and revised from 4-5; the next three scenes were drafted between 8 and 11 Sunday morning in the Wall Street Starbucks, then typed and printed from 12 to 1; and those five scenes were rewritten on the train from New York to Boston Tuesday morning between 6 and 10 AM. The last scene was rewritten four different ways on Tuesday afternoon, from about 2 PM to 6 PM, and then one final time between 7:30 and 10:30 this morning.)

And my reward? The sun actually started coming out 20 minutes after I finished proofing the final draft. So I took my pale-ass self to the beach, plunked a chair down on a patch of sand, oiled myself up, and actually got 90 minutes of haze and actual sunshine . . .

. . . before the fog rolled in off the water, . . .

. . . the clouds blanketed the coast again, the thunder started to echo from the north, and the rain started to fall.

Which it is still doing. So I am spending the rest of the day working on Scarlet Woman, and watching the first season of Wyatt Earp.


gw said...

wish i was there.
soak it all in babe,

Anonymous said...

did you know that Alex was played by Kevin Costner? all the shots with him paying dead guy were cut. But I do think you get a shot of his hands in the opening credits or something.

but I digress.