I recently finished reading Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer-prize winning novel, The Road, and I have to say that it was one of the best books I've read in a very long time. I loved the sparse, staccato-like language, it's poetic rhythm taking you along the journey with father and son. The story was brilliant in its minimalism, giving the reader just enough information to go on the journey, but holding back the right amount to allow the reader's mind to wander. What I appreciated the most was the book's symbolic and metaphorical ruminations on the nature of love--when civilization has been decimated and father son are forced to find their way, is love enough to not only sustain them, but the future of the human race? In many ways, the book reminded me of The Fountainhead and Ayn Rand's theory of Objectivism, which condones altruism and advocates a rugged and fierce independence that in theory should empower the individual to survive. It's strange last night, because we were at a family party, and several of my husband's cousins and I stayed up late into the wee hours, debating this whole question of altruism versus the individual. One person in the group is a fierce Republican and believes wholeheartedly that tax dollars should not be used to help greater society, even when it comes to public services like health care, schools and more. He himself is wealthy and has done well in life, and some ways doesn't have much sympathy for those who have gone through hardships. It was an interesting discussion, something that kept bringing me back to the novel, The Road. McCarthy's book explores such complex and intricate questions, I've been thinking about it all week. Amazing that he could do so much with so little.
It's 3am and for the third night in a row, I am wide awake. I am so awake, it feels like 3pm in the afternoon, like I want to go jogging around the block five times. Whenever I come to NC for the holidays, I can't sleep. I'm sure it's partly due to the time change, but it's also because my mind goes into overdrive and I cannot stop thinking--the investors we're going to hit, the plot turn I'm adding to my new script, the short piece I need to polish. It reminds me of being a teenager, when I could never sleep, so I would read until 4am every night. Insomnia frustrates me, but right now, it's okay because I am in total chill mode, hanging out at my in-laws' place, eating all of the Indian delights I love like chaat and bhel. Yesterday, I finally fell asleep around 4am, then woke up at noon. It's been a long time since I've been in "chill mode", honestly, I can't really recall the last time, because I've been so crazed. So, instead of complaining, I will catch up on email and continue reading my books. It's sort of nice being in slow-paced Charlotte, going to Best Buy to get my father-in-law a TV and baking some cookies. It was weird flying here not only because Ameet and I were retarded enough to miss our flight, which meant hours of waiting for the next one, but also because the flight from Dallas to Charlotte was full of soldiers coming home for the holidays. I could not help but stare at a young woman, clad in a too-big uniform, her wire framed glasses sliding off her nose, her blond hair pulled back in a messy ponytail and her face full of pimples. Her young sister and mother waited in a corner while her father grabbed her bags off the conveyor belt. I couldn't help but worry, wonder whether she would make it home for the next Christmas, as she waved at several others wearing their camouflage. At least she was home for this one.
As the Hollywood writers strike continues, I have been watching and monitoring the situation. While I believe that it is very important for a deal to be worked out, I always figured that market forces would create new incentives for both writers and internet ventures. The guild is a critical entity because it helps writers work out fair deals with the studios and major media conglomerates, particularly for larger production entities. But what I love about the Net is that it is a de-centralized form of media (that's why the studios don't know what to do with it) which is not overseen by the studios and media giants. In other words, what's stopping writers from going out and starting their own Net related ventures? That's what indie filmmakers do. We set up an investment entity, then we get people to believe in our vision. That is what I have been doing for the past couple of months--going out and getting investors. I know that many writers like working under the guild with the studios bc that is where the cash is, but on some level, now is a great time to come up with entrepreneurial ventures for the Net. We've seen sites like Quaterlife crop up, which I believe is a great idea, but the web site still needs a lot of refining on the technical end. It seems to me like in some ways, Hollywood is a little behind the curve bc content-related sites like even Current TV have been several years in the making. John August writes on his blog today about this idea, that technologists are in talks with high profile writers about setting up new entities. There is also a good article in the LA Times about this, as well.
The past month has been a total and complete whirlwind between writing, teaching, grading and trying to keep my head above the water with making my little indie film. This time of the year is always a bit tough because people are so swamped, and it's stressful in terms of setting up meetings, etc. But we've been chugging through consistently talking to all kinds of people about investing in the movie. This process is rough, and absolutely not for those with weak stomachs or hearts. Even myself, there are days when I feel totally discouraged, and I just want to put a blanket over my head and pretend I'm five years old. But alas, I want to make the film, so I have to crawl out of that shell and make the shit happen. I am excited, actually, to head back to NC for the holidays and chill, just a little. The financing for the film will be ongoing, but I am excited that my new spec is really coming together. I've got a first draft, and I'll prob spend the next couple of months punching it up to a third draft. Hopefully by then, this strike will come to close! On another front, I've been writing new flash fiction, which is exciting and fun, since it's super short and requires much less committment than a feature length screenplay :)