Thursday, September 2, 2010

En la Puesta de Sol

Pretty much all the Spanish I know I retained by repeatedly watching the scene where Mouth translates to Rosalita for Mrs. Walsh in The Goonies. And also, of course, Sesame Street. Which means I can muddle my way through the Español version of ‘One, two, three, four, please can I have some cocaine & heroin so I don’t have to lock you in the closet for two weeks without food or water? Thank you, friend!’, but anything else is a stretch.

So when I found myself sitting home on a Saturday afternoon with nothing better to watch than The Day After Tomorrow on the Spanish channel (seriously, not even some really good infomercials, WTF?), I knew it was time to start writing again.

Either that or maybe I should just learn Spanish so I have a clue what they’re saying.

Without understanding the words during the commercials, I rely on pictures, inflections and facial expressions to tell me what’s going on. What I discovered is the Spanish population is really excited about everything that’s for sale, and most often I was told how much they love their Fiber One cereal.

I was proud of myself that I completely understood that ‘ochenta cero dos ochos uno ochenta cero cero’ meant 800-881-8000. Maybe more sunk in than I originally imagined back in high school.

It isn’t as difficult to figure out what’s going on during the movie because I know it pretty well, but not well enough to quote it (like The Goonies). It’s cool to watch knowing the premise and general storyline though. I can just listen and try to pick up some words without having to strain too much.

This is the way I want to relate myself to the world of being a writer -- not really understanding much about the process, but a fairly avid reader who is still, for some reason, drawn to it. Enough to keep pushing forward, even though I often feel like I’m flailing about in confusion and haven’t yet made any real progress.

I guess there’s a learning curve with every new job I’ve ever done so this is that time for me when I look down at my business card that says ‘Writer’ and I wonder what in the world I’m doing. But then I remember that what I’m doing is what I always wanted to do so a few learning experiences in the process shouldn’t throw me for that big a loop. Right?

Hell, I was the co-manager of a Victoria’s Secret store for two years and when I started there not only did I have no clue how to fold a bra (yes, there is in fact a correct way) but all my skivvies came from Bradlees.

Now when I go into Vicky’s, I can easily spot who the shoplifters will be and sell not only a new bra and matching panties to whomever I’m with, but also a bottle of body lotion as if I still worked there. Not to mention if the employee in the front room doesn’t say hello as I enter, I want to call the president to report them.

How’s that for embedded into the company culture, seeing as though it’s about ten years since I left that job. Plus I will never wear cheap undergarments again, that much I know after working for a foundations company.

The one thing I know with absolute certainty when it comes to visual media, however, is that I have a soft spot for happy endings. Okay, it isn’t so much a soft spot as a twisted need to have everyone ride off into a sunset and live happily ever after. Yeah, and not always metaphorically speaking either.

Seriously, a setting sun in the final scene of a movie is so cliché but from all I’ve seen in this world, the more commonplace, comforting and familiar, the more it tends to resonate. In other words, I just don’t care if a 75 foot wall of water wipes out most of lower Manhattan then freezes the entire northern hemisphere, as long as those helicopters arrive to pick up Jake, Dennis and all their smiling friends at the end. As they pan out, there better be some orange in the sky reflecting off the snowy white backdrop or there is no satisfaction for me.

I would end every single movie exactly how Grease ended with the teenage sweethearts literally flying into the sunset and waving, smiling in perfection of perfectness, to everyone they are leaving behind as they head off to make their perfect way in the perfect world. Sigh.

And I always cry at the end of cheesy teen movies where the protagonist and antagonist both discover themselves, discover that they are now best friends (and make no apologies for it) so the entire school falls in love with them, even though everyone picked on them incessantly for the first hour and forty minutes (Can we say Made: The Movie anyone?).

The ‘going after what they want and coming out the other side smiling’ spirit forces the liquid salt every time. Even in Spanish, “we’re saved!” is the most recognizable human emotion to register on the face and my belly gets all warm and squishy.

Now I am at this place where I have to keep pushing for publishing of my first manuscript, to have my own ‘go for it’ moment if you will, but in less than sixty days NaNo begins and I start the process all over again.

Wait, what? I have to start writing another one before the first one has come to any sort of resolution?

Well, in short, yeah. After all, someone who doesn’t keep writing doesn’t make a very good writer do they? Huh. Funny how that works.

So now what? Now I have to come up with an entirely new cast of characters that I can channel into a whole slew of words while still keeping the old ones inside. This directly competes with what an old boss once called my ‘completion syndrome’. She was so right.

All I really want is for my first cast to be released into their happily ever after, their sunset. To go get a beer and watch a game and forget all about any of the troubling situations I forced them to experience for 200 some odd pages because they are ready for the world to see that they do in fact live happily ever after. (Seriously, it doesn’t really ruin the ending to tell you that most of them do, if you read this post you already pretty much know that’s going to happen so I make no apologies because it really isn’t a spoiler now is it?)

But life rolls like that sometimes, if I try to follow all the rules so stringently I’ll never really get anywhere. I’m the one who taught me that (or was it Ferris?); I said those words once or twice some time ago, long enough ago to feel like forever.

Of course at the time I was probably referring to why I was speeding or weaving in traffic, but why quibble over little details like that right?

In the spirit of being a writer I’m coming back to this blog again full force this fall. In fact I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about all the balls I tossed about. The ones I spontaneously threw up into the air before I learned to juggle.

Yeah, those balls. Not the ones I need to make it in the literary world. Those I already have, in droves thank you very much.

I still don’t know how to juggle so it’s pretty much inevitable that a whole bunch of them are going to have to hit the ground. Which, after months (maybe years or even decades if I’m being really honest with myself) of trying to head-butt all the ones I couldn’t hold just to keep them airborne, I have to say isn’t bothering me as much as I thought it would.

All the ones I find still in my arms, after dropping my chin and abandoning the ones barely escaping gravity, are the ones I’m keeping close. I’m not positive of all the things that will fall just yet and that doesn’t even freak me out. Probably because I haven’t had to let go of them yet but again, details.

Guess I’ll just decide later if I’m interested enough in the Spanish channel’s weekend programming to learn more than sentences containing illicit drug names. Maybe I’ll check out a few more Jake Gyllenhaal movies while I mull it over. Donnie Darko had a happy ending right?


Almost Precious said...

Glad to hear that your mind is beginning to churn up another story. Gotta keep those creative gears in motion. :)

Yeah, I think we all prefer happy endings. Life is anything but predictable so it's like comfort food to see a movie or read a book where everything works out the way it should in the end. Pass me another hot fudge sundae. :)

spottedwolf said...

I trust you are snickering....

spottedwolf said...

I'm reminded of the movie about the woman who wrote "Valley of the dolls" and how ardent she remained even while her closest friends laughed at her. Then she finally hit the big time and got the "cadillac style" .....but no sunset riding scene there......just a hearse. OMFG

spottedwolf said...

I wanna go to Florida and ride off with a saggitarian...hahahahahahahah!!!!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Yeah I'll take one of those hot fudge sundaes too please...pass it on over this way Anna! Now that's what I call a happy ending (shoot, think Friendly's will try to sue now? lol)

Dennis of course I'm snickering lol, that was funny. Now see if the hearse just drove into a sunset it wouldn't even need to be discussed lol

Rosebud Collection said...

You know Jenn..If the desire is there,so will your success come..It may be in a form you didn't expect. I know this..when we succeed, it is because we have faith in our you keep at it..
I had you on my mind last night with this hurricane..I was thinking..I have to check on Jenn..and there you were on my blog.
I do hope you are not near any water..if so "get the heck away from it"..I always worry about the tides..Take care my dear friend and keep safe..sending love and blessings..xoxoRosebud/Carolyn