Superball

It has been a roller coaster of a few weeks. I got my piece, “Clap Your Hands,” posted on Wordsmoker, and got such an outpouring of good feedback and welcome. After ten years of not writing, because it was the only thing in my life that I hadn’t yet managed to screw up, getting that kind of recognition from people I admire and respect just floored me. At one point I was crying on the phone to my friend Leslie, just blubbering about “I’m a real writer, a real writer.” I wrote something that touched people, that they responded to, that resonated with them. It was a kind of high I haven’t experienced since my days of amateur dramatics, the feeling when you are on, every cell firing, and you can feel the audience hanging on your every word, with your every movement. Drugs have little effect on me, I am a waste of pot, but if there were a drug that duplicated that feeling, I would be an addict after one hit. Except with acting, I was just slightly more than competent, and writing, writing is something I can be good at, if I keep working. I had moments of beating myself up (a favorite form of aerobic exercise) over years wasted not writing, but I couldn’t be doing this writing then, it’s because of what I’ve been through, what I’ve done, that I can. So having the years back would be nice as to have more, or, ha, any kind, of a career at it, but I’m proud of the work I can do now, it’s mine, no one else’s.

But it is annoying me how much I am craving the feedback and the adoration. It is like an addiction. I used to be happy if I liked how a piece of writing turned out, not worried about my grade or too worried about notes from classmates in seminars. But that gap of not writing, the battering my psyche has taken overall in the past ten years, and I feel like Sally Field at the Oscars, “You like me! You really like me!” I’m hoping my bruised and battered ego will heal over, and let me stop feeling like a junkie waiting for my next hit. In the meantime, I have found the greatest little collective of smart, funny, creative and supportive people through WS, and feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have them as my friends. It’s like finding my tribe. My weird, brilliant, hyper verbal, pun loving, overly harsh on ourselves, little tribe of misfits.

At the same time, I have started coming off my Effexor. It’s a good thing, not the best idea for someone with Major Depressive Disorder to come off all her meds, but something I have to do. Carrie Fisher, bless her, put it best, “I’m an emotional diabetic.” I am too, and I accept that I will need to be on some kind of meds for the rest of my life. But this one, at this dose, was just not going its job anymore, and I have had many other things in my drug regimen for other conditions change since going on it and hitting this dose, so I don’t think it’s the right choice anymore. Unfortunately, unlike diabetics, there aren’t simple blood tests, or even complicated blood tests, to see what your crazy levels are and what drug at what dose would stabilize them. So I’m carefully, under doctor supervision, coming down off the stuff, and it is white knuckle time. There is never a “good” time to do something like this, the side effects are always going to be unpredictable and worrying. But choosing to do it while trying to find a new job, dealing with various relationship dramas, and then imploding my bank account, I can’t tell which way is up some days. I don’t know if my spiteful and fragile state is caused by a normal reaction to hellish stress, or if it’s exacerbated by coming off the meds, or, most terrifying, if coming off the meds is revealing just how crazy I really am. I’m clinging to a combo of the first two theories, and soldiering on with getting off the stuff so my docs and I can find the right medication at the right dose. If only there was something more scientific than just spinning the medication roulette wheel, again and again until you hit something that works OK without killing you with side effects. They’re playing with my brain, I kinda need that to work. I don’t like experimenting with it, I don’t have a spare if they guess wrong.

I sent out 50+ resumes to TV shows, asking to be considered for any open assistant jobs. In the past I’ve cold called shows and then faxed resumes, but this year a took a cue from a couple friends and just mailed them off blind to any and every show I wanted to work on, picking a couple writer/producers at each one. After sending out 50, I found a typo in my cover letter. I worked with a professional on my resume, so I am secure on it, but cover letters kick my ass. And in this case, I was sending it out blind, no idea what if any jobs there might be open, so I had to try and hit all quadrants. Qualified, but not overqualified, able to think for myself, but not a threat to your job. It’s an impossible task, not helped by my tendency to revert to Serious Professional Manner when I’m doing business letters to people I don’t know. It was as dry as the Mojave. I finally got a friend to take a look, when I was starting round two and about to go out to picked up pilots. She shredded it, rightly. I got much better feed back from the one she helped me with, which actually sounded like me, rather than a Stepford assistant. I got a lead on a good job, had a panic attack at getting the cover email right, and bless Leslie and Sam for talking me down and helping me get it right. The girl who called to offer me an interview said she had found it “charming,” and that it had made her laugh. Huzzah! I used a variation on the format for the pilots, all of which were staffed up, but would “keep it on file.” Some seemed like they might actually look at it again, or even better, pass it on to someone else who needed to hire someone. It’s still round after round of rejection, never a fun thing, but I know my solid resume and a cover email full of my dry wit and willingness to fetch Diet Coke is in place around town.

The interview went well. I was a bit confused, as the friend of a friend of my dad’s who told me of the opening said there was an opening for an assistant on the show he had just started on, not that he was looking to hire an assistant for himself. The assistant who called to set up the interview said his name, but after years of imprecise instructions from temp agencies as to whom I was going to see and/or work for, I thought she was saying who had referred me for the job. And so I didn’t IMDB the guy, and didn’t know when it ended up that he was interviewing me to be his personal assistant that he had written two of my all time favorite episodes of The X-Files, the Bruce Campbell demon baby one, and the creepy slugs in the water after the hurricane in Florida. I would have been a complete fan boy, so maybe it was better that I didn’t know, but it might have given me a better idea about what I should say when asked, “What TV shows do you watch?” I was honest, I watch Gossip Girl to Breaking Bad, but I was interviewing on a procedural, and I don’t watch many traditional procedurals anymore. Supernatural, Fringe, both are non-traditional procedurals, and I kick ass at breaking procedural scripts, both in the classes I took and in my writing group. Decades of reading detective novels and countless Law & Order marathons, if done critically, can teach you the mechanics. I know my TV shows, I can talk about them as a fan or take them apart ten different ways to critique them, so I hope I came across OK on that point. Then he mentioned that he’d need me to do research for scripts. I don’t think I actually bounced up and down in my seat, but gosh golly, is research something my geeky self loves. I mentioned that I had researched writers and outlets while in publicity at Fox, to make sure a writer would do a positive piece on our precious talent. I also said that among my friends I am known for my wide and weird range of knowledge. Possibly using the example of Megan asking me what I knew about placentas wasn’t the best choice, but it is a weird bit of knowledge to have, and it could have been worse. I could have told the bit about how women’s breasts can become so engorged with milk that the skin actually splits. See? Totally could have been worse.

I am bouncing up and down like a superball, from highest highs to lowest lows. I have the chance of getting a true dream job, but also the chance of seeing it, holding it, knowing it is there, and having it taken away. A misunderstanding with Dan led to a wicked fight, one that had me on the verge of saying “Fuck it, I am out of here” at many points. Conflict, I am bad at it. But we worked it out, and whatever happens there, I have a friendship I value enough to fight to keep. I even ended up in a fight about Forgetting Sarah Marshall on a poor friend’s FB page out of nowhere. I’ve written about my feelings on that movie, and Apatow & Co. in general, but I can usually refrain from suggesting anyone “suck a bag of dicks” on a FB thread. I’ve laid low this week, as I worry that if someone looks at me sideways I’ll either burst into tears or let loose in a tempest of fists. I really wanted to go out drinking, enjoying the anesthetizing effects of vodka and snarky conversation. But everyone is paired off, busy, or currently not drinking. This may be for the best, but when you need to get your drink on, you need to get your drink on, and doing it alone is not a good idea in any state, but especially not the one I’m in now. I’m going to have to make do with pizza and Party Down, and thinking about all the very bad things I want to do to Adam Scott.

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June 12, 2010. Tags: , , , . Life, the universe, and whatnot.

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