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Get Her Words Out

September 12, 2008

I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting my words out lately, a phenomenon that always reminds me of an episode of Wonderfalls where a woman named Binky, who has a stutter, goes Single White Female on the show’s lead, Jaye Tyler.  Jaye, who receives instructions from inanimate objects shaped like animals, is told to, “Get her words out.”  Turns out Binky’s an undercover reporter.  Still crazy, though, and Jaye ends up writing her article on Gen Y.

I am a writer.  It’s pretty much all I’ve ever wanted to be, aside from a brief period when I was three and I wanted to be a dentist – until I realized that meant I’d have to put my hands in other people’s mouths for a living.  And, to be immodest, I’m good at it.  Writing, that is, not sticking my hands in other people’s mouths.  This is an independently verified fact so even though I may not always believe it, others have assured me this is so.

Lately, I’ve suffered a loss of confidence in my abilities. I’ve even been avoiding this blog, just because every sentence I craft reads as absolute rubbish.  There are two sources: one, family issues that have had me on edge and questioning my own value, and two, a recent rejection from an agent that managed to be both positive and negative, and has had me scratching my head as to its meaning.

There is nothing I can do about the family drama, except to feel bitter and resent the fact that something that I had no part of led me to doubt my own self-worth (not on, family, not on.)  As for the other, despite the fact that I have gotten very good at receiving and decoding criticism, what bothers me most about the e-mail is not that it dared to imply more work could be done (that is always a valid critique even if I have been slaving away on this thing for five and a half years and can barely stand the sight of it anymore), but rather that the agent’s ‘suggestions’ a) don’t make sense, and b) aren’t specific.  So I’m now dwelling and obsessing about what changes I could possibly make to this overworked manuscript.  I can no longer look at it objectively, I know that.  Fortunately, my bosses have offered to read it and even help me understand the agent-speak, so I can get a fresh perspective.

Adding to my plugged up writing pipes would probably be that I haven’t heard from the agent who requested my full manuscript.  The two weeks oozed by, I emailed a follow-up, and nothing.  Now, I’m a realistic person, so I was doing my best not to get my hopes up.  This was not a promise of anything other than a reading.  Still, waiting for a response is my least favorite part of this whole process, one reason I was so thrilled that the literary business was moving into this century with e-mail.

On an entirely different note, I spoke briefly with Bryan Fuller (executive producer/writer Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies) this week at the Paley Center for Media‘s Fall Previews.  Thanks, as usual, to Vlada‘s knowledge and connections, I went to the previews and panels for NBC and ABC.  I had planned to go for Fox and CBS, but since there was nothing playing those nights that I was all that crazy to see, exhaustion won out. 

On Monday I went to the NBC previews purely for Chuck.  Because the writer’s strike caused a really abreviated pilot season, this year the Paley Center decided to add a short panel with guests from the returning shows, before screening the season openers to the sophomore shows that didn’t get their chance for a full first season.  The NBC panel was composed of an executive producer of Lipstick Jungle, executive producer of Life, one of the executive producers of Chuck, and Joshua Gomez, Adam Baldwin, and Zachary Levi – or Morgan Grimes, Agent John Casey, and Chuck Bartowski, respectively.  Zachary Levi stole the show.  He’s very funny, easy-going, and engaged with his fans.  According to Adam Baldwin, he’s also a delight to have on set.

It was fairly obvious from the reception that Chuck was the main attraction, and the other producers made good-natured jokes about their own lack of fan base representation. 

Since the Paley Center’s idea of “food” is proscuitto on a breadstick with dots of mayo, little dishes of saveche, and suspicious looking spring rolls, I was starving, and Vlada and I elected to only stay for the screening of Chuck.  It’s pretty interesting, the show’s been off the air for months, and I haven’t seen a single epsisode since, but I was still aware of the fact that something felt different about this new episode.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, and I wouldn’t call it bad or anything (in fact, I very much enjoyed it), but there was a slightly different tone.  Actually, I think it felt as if we had missed something – a feeling which turned out to be literal at the Eli Stone screening. 

Chuck stood out as more confident than the Nerd Herder I remembered.  I might feel differently after I get my copy of the first season and watch the episodes again, but there was definitely something different about Chuck…

On the other hand, the first episode of Pushing Daisies season two made me feel as though I’d never left the Pie Hole.  It was wonderful, and I remembered just how much I missed it, and how much I wanted pie afterwards.  Bryan Fuller wasn’t on the panel, but he mingled before the screening, and I managed to name drop the two writers who came to speak to my class, asking if they would be at the writer’s panel in November.  He said he thought so.  My only quibble with the episode is that one of the big reveals of last season (no, not that one), while not completely forgotten was fairly brushed off.  I expected to get more mileage out of it.

Now, I gave up on Grey’s Anatomy about two seasons ago, fed up with the constant adultery and the inability of those characters to make one responsible decision where their personal lives were concerned.  But my favorite character was Dr. Addison Montgomery, so when she got her own show (with a cast of characters who were all single), I thought I’d give it a shot.  Plus, it had Tim Daly, whom I adore.  Private Practice became my guilty pleasure soap show.  Not something I had to watch when it first aired, but that I could watch online at my leisure and continually get sucked in.

It was not the best of what last season had to offer, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.  Which is why I was so blown away at how good the second season premiere was.  It hit every right note.  There was just enough relationship drama, ethical drama, and professional drama for the perfect balance.  They consistently upped the stakes.  None of the characters felt flat or cartoonish.  I was truly blown away.

Slightly less so with Eli Stone, though I’m pretty sure that had something to do with the fact that we were watching the second episode of season two, since the first was apparently still under construction.  The problem with that was that episode 2, while featuring Katie Holmes as a guest star, spoils just about everything from the first episode, so for forty-odd minutes I kept saying, “Wait, what?  When did that happen?”  And for anyone interested, Katie Holmes did a very good job, but unfortunately I could not see her as anything other than Katie Holmes, and found Eli’s interaction with her to be completely lacking in chemistry.

I actually ran into a friend of mine from UCR at the Paley Center.  Marissa and I met during an ‘Intro to Literature,’ or some such nonsense class, and she was already interning for E!.   Apparently she’s moving up in the world, woking for  I’m envious because she has the most valuable Hollywood talent – the ability to put herself forward in any situation with ease.  I’m trying, and improving, but frankly I don’t think I’ll ever be good at it.


Quote of the Day:

“When you’re on a show with Tim Daly and Taye Diggs, you don’t think you’ll be the one taking your clothes off.” – Paul Adelstein, actor Private Practice

Link of the Day: Circumlocution – because writers have the most to say.  I’m proud to announce the near-launch of a brand-new online literary magazine geared towards young and up-coming writers.  The site’s not up yet, but we are accepting submissions, and a page should be online within a few days with more information at

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 16, 2008 4:44 am

    i’d never read your blog until it just showed up in a google alert, but i’m enjoying it!

    i think that the the reason that “chuck” felt odd was that it’s evidently happening quite a long time after the season one finale. except that they didn’t really make that clear. if i hadn’t seen and read josh schwartz’s many explanations of that i wouldn’t have had any clue just based on what we saw. maybe i coughed or blinked and there was a two second explanation, but i didn’t get it. i enjoyed it immensely (i missed chuck far more than i realized i did) but it did feel like more than a minor reboot and that might have been changed if there was a throwaway line about how much time had passed. otoh, maybe there was and we were just all in some sort of daze at the time.

    and i’m so with you on “private practice”. i love addison. i love the entire cast. the first season just wasn’t must see tv. but, i really liked the premiere a lot. it seems like they actually paid attention to the complaints about the show and worked to fix them and tighten it all up. i’ll put it back on the season pass and actually watch it on my television instead of just picking it up whenever there’s a gap in my time.

    and add me to the list of people going “wait…what the hell?” every two seconds during “eli stone”. i was with my friend and her sister. sis and i both watch the show, friend doesn’t. she said she thought we were just making things up when we claimed to have no idea what was going on. i thought katie did a good job, though. after a few minutes i had no problem forgetting that she was katie holmes, but instead of seeing her as a whole new character i just saw her as joey potter with some serious grace issues. she’s quite good at the joey potter roles, but it is what it is. i wasn’t 100% sold on the chemistry between her and JLM, but i did see why eli would be drawn to her.

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