6.03.2008

School's not out for summer


Sometimes life speaks in fine print. And sometimes it takes out full page ads and throws in some sky writing.

Every once in a blue moon I have a school panic dream. It's always in high school, and I'm always behind on something. Or I realize I've ditched every math class for a whole semester, or I've blown off all of the homework. Now, I've been out of high school for some time. And school itself for a while. But whenever I'm really stressed and/or have a lot on my plate, the dreams tend to pop up.

But lately they've been happening more frequently.

And, following suit, I'm hearing about such dreams all over the place. NPR had a piece about it on All Things Considered on my drive home last week. And then Maggie wrote about that same program a few days back. And when I was googling around for a photo for this post, I found two more blogs talking about the subject of school panic dreams. One was by a recent graduate, and the other by someone who seemed like they might have grandchildren in school.

The polite-sounding PhD man on NPR talked a lot of psycho-what-have-you, but eventually he got around to me: people who have been out of school for a while and are having these dreams are grappling with issues of self-worth, failure, and a fear of not making the cut in their pursuits of choice.

Well, yeah, OK. Shocker. I'm playing in a writerly lotto -- I knew that when I moved to the desert. So, if I've got this straight, this guy is telling me that my subconscious is taking my not-so-sub-ly thoughts and finding another area of my mind to shovel the pressure onto?

Sweet.

But I don't think that's quite it. Part of it, maybe. (Some view the subconscious as a window to the soul or whatever, but I think it's just as much our very own Thespis.) But, really, I think it's the easiest, and possibly the most painless, method of telling myself that I'm not working hard enough.

THE GIVEN: (aka THE ROCK BOTTOM LIST)

1. My Dexter spec is kicking my ass.

I don't know why this spec is so hard for me. The writing comes, the voice comes, but the problems are coming hot and heavy. It's a mindfuck -- and I really don't feel like it should be one. I've never had this much trouble with a spec before. I'm hoping that my stand-alone-rehab will bring about a spec-Renaissance.

2. I'm still at my day job.

Enough said. Every stone is not turned, every call has not been made.

3. I'm not writing consistently enough.

I'm writing in fevered bursts -- and they're not so far apart. But I'd really like it to be more consistent. I want to distill it into a habit. Eat, breathe, sleep, write. The fevered bursts are productive and counterproductive at the same time. It's jarring and the throughline is jagged as hell. It's hard to maintain that narrative and thematic thread of a script when you're up and down and up and down.

4. Doom & Gloom

Many I know in the business all seem to be preaching doom & gloom. 'Wait until the next pilot season' seems to be a consistent refrain. I understand why they're saying it, and I'm aware of the world around me, it's just not fun to hear -- repeatedly.

5. Transitional flux

Many around me are in major transitional periods. In relationships, work, geographical locations, family, health. At times it seems reflective, and other times it makes me feel like I'm standing still. But shit is in flux -- I'm hoping my life catches a whiff of it and fluxes right along with the rest of them.


Okay. Enough of that. I'm not of the Doom & Gloom club myself. I just liked calling something a Rock Bottom List.

But I do think there's some stuff going around out there. And my own subconscious is letting me know that I need to pick up the slack. And to not take any shit.

So Step #1: Me & Dexter, mano a mano. Round 3...

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ps. Gonna get a lot work done before I pass out. Tire out the mind. Think about sublime things in presleep ponderings to curb the school panic dream likelihood: Working on a staff, Burkie, strawberry shortcake, Batman, vacation, celebrating all the little victories, sleep, snow days, the Cubs, the 10th Anniversary DVD set of Sports Night, the last day at my day job, the weekend (going to see the Cubs this Sunday at Dodger Stadium!!!), and a nice stack of gleaming white pages polished with my blood, sweat and tears.

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