Monday, May 12, 2008

Totally Random

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Briefly Checking In

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

I haven't posted in forever. Nothing going on in my head that I can find words for other than a kind of low-grade lament about the state of work things with occasional waves of determination ruffling the glassy sullen waters. I ran across this stupid where-have-you-been map thing and thought I would post it for no particularly good reason whatsoever.

I trust you are all well?

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Next Indicated Step

This is something a very wise person I know speaks of: taking the next indicated step. A godsend of an idea for people who feel overwhelmed. Don't climb the mountain or fight the army of ten thousand, just take the next indicated step.

Right now I'm not sure what that is.

My agents and managers (yes I signed with managers in a moment of panic and we'll see how that turns out beyond costing me another 10% of my income) are out there drumming up staffing meetings for new series. I have meetings scheduled. Having hired people to staff my own shows I know what a crapshoot those meetings are. But at any rate that's out of my hands right now--the sales team is at work and I'm just the merchandise.

And so, for the first time in a long time, my days are completely my own to do with whatever I want.

What do I want?

Here are the choices:

1. I can work on the screen adaptation of a play I optioned. I got a two year free option which I am one year into. So to really have a go at trying to get it made I need a script in three months. I'm 24 pages into the adaptation and to be honest I just can't see this thing actually being in a theater. I've pretty much fallen out of love with the play while in the process of adapting it. It's neither a really deep meaningful indie like sex, lies and videotape, nor a fantastically fun indie like Little Miss Sunshine, nor a big studio pic. It's just sort of...there. But I'm afraid to drop it. I'm afraid that's just fear winning. I don't know what I feel.

2. I can start writing a spec pilot which is different in tone from all the writing samples I now have to show. One way or another everything in my arsenal is a family show, more emotion than big plot stuff, no thrillers or procedurals, nothing really hard and edgy. This cuts me off from a lot of shows I'd actually like to write for. I have no ideas in my head so this one fills me with even more panic than adapting the play.

3. I can work on my novel. Oh God what a cliche that sounds like. I'm about 40 pages into a novel I've been working on for decades. Yes decades. I write it a couple of pages at a time between paying jobs. I tell myself that's all the time I have. Even as I tell myself that I know it's bullshit. I just read through what I have after not seeing it for a few months and I will tell you cautiously and yet with some confidence that it is publishable. That it is entertaining. That it is good by my true personal standards of what makes writing good. I don't know that I've ever felt that to this degree about one of my screenplays. All I have to do us keep up the quality I've got for another couple of hundred pages. The shape of the story, if not the details, is before me. I believe that I have the goods to do it.

Truth is, the next indicated step is 3. But I have to earn a living. I have to stay in the game. Many times I have resolved to keep working on the novel every day even if all I do is a little editing and fixing. Just to keep the fire burning under it. I'm resolving that right now. Will I stick to my resolve? Every time I say it I believe that I will. And now?

Drop the play? Not drop the play? Am I working hard enough to get rich? Is rich the point? It's certainly the point of the game I'm in. My whole life I've skiied and I've never gotten past intermediate, with a few brief powder runs where I felt like I was flying and everything fell into place--and then was gone again. That's fine with me. I like the view, I like the pine trees, I like eating chocolate on the lift. My whole career I've been intermediate, with a few brief powder runs where I felt like I was flying and everything fell into place--and then was gone again. Why can't that be okay?

Ah for the carefree days of elephant polo...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Be It Ever So Humble

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

Well and it does seem rather humble after all the pleasures and palaces through which I have roamed in the last two weeks. In fact I have succumbed to the worst kind of brooding gloom over my work prospects, my house and my self. Maybe I'm gearing up for some kind of big change. Or maybe it's just jet lag. Either way, it's time to post some photos, which I couldn't do on the ultra-slow connections over there, so here goes.

This is a picture of a shelf at a bookstore in Jaipur. Note the titles on the upper left and the lower right. It appears that the books of Mr. Hitler are very popular in areas of India with large Muslim populations. I'm not commenting. I'm just reporting what I was told by the bookseller.

What do you see we all take up a collection and buy the Palace of the Maharajah of Udaipur? There's bound to be room enough in there for all of us.

This is the door to the dwelling of a holy man in a temple in Udaipur.

A couple of my new friends lounging at cocktail hour. Note the pervasive air of langour and indolence.

This is the second hotel we stayed in, and my favorite. The lower picture is the view upward from my bed. When I checked into the room I noted a heavily padlocked double door with wooden carvings of what looked like maidens or goddesses on it. I asked the guy who brought my bags what it was and he just shook his head and waved his hand as if to say: don't ask. The next morning I was sitting in the little patio outside the room reading and one of the staff guys came up and said in rocky and heavily accented English, "Excuse please, may I have keys to your room?" I asked him why and he answered "God. God in your room." When I looked puzzled he kept repeating "God. In your room. God." I figured I couldn't have been hearing him right, but nevertheless giving him the keys seemed to be the only thing to do. We went into the room where he unlocked those double wooden doors to reveal a beautiful shrine, three carved idols and lots of intricate painting on the wall of the alcove. He explained in his rough English that here resided the household god, and every day at 10 A.M. they gave him flowers and lit candles, and that's what they did, they all took off their shoes--as did I--and lit the candles, and scattered the flower petals, and made homage to the household god, and told me how fortunate I was that this was my room. And I certainly was very fortunate to have god in my room.

More to come.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How The Other .00000001 Percent Live

I won't bother telling you about the 17th century palace we're staying in, or how last night we were driven in a fleet of cars out to the desert where dozens of children bearing torches and men playing horns and drums led us in a procession to the camels harnessed to velvet-tented many-cushioned carriages, or how the camels carried us to the top of a torchlit hill, or the bagpipers and whirling dancers and sitar players that met us there, or the lambs roasting on spits, or the tables set with china and crystal, or the floodlit castles atop the mountains that rose all around us against the star-filled sky. I won't bother telling you about playing polo on elephants the night before that--yes, Tom scored a goal!--and I won't tell you about the banquet in the torchlit 15th century moghul garden and the fountains and the marble pathway lined by geometric patterns of rose petals and marigold petals, and I won't tell you about the formal gala tonight, the birthday celebration itself, and the greatest firework show I have ever seen, and the birthday boy's name bursting out in letters of fire on the mountainside across from the palace, and I won't tell you how I walked down into the village before dinner and ended up playing cricket with the locals on the cobble-stoned main street--yes, Tom actually hit the ball with the funny flat-ended bat! I won't tell you about any of it, because how could you possibly believe it?
The internet is slow here, so only one picture tonight, but more promised as soon as I get back to broadband.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Exotic London

London is many things. London is glamorous and grungy, cosmpolitan and stodgy, imperial and workaday, futuristic and ancient, exhilarating and oppressive. But one thing London is not is exotic.
Highlights so for: stopping on a country road to go into a stone church where one wall and window date from 800 A.D., and where I stroked my hand over the smooth alabaster effigy of the sister of Richard the Third that sleeps in peaceful eternity on top of the stone sarcophagus which conceals her bones; walking among the ten thousand daffodils in a friend's garden; lively dinners with a variety of hyper-articulate, enthusiastic and most of all very funny British friends; trudging through rainy London byways under my black umbrella with the Beatles blasting on the iPod; hearing the bells peel from the spire of a 15th century church late one evening and following the sound up a narrow stone spiral staircase to the bellringers loft, where for a happy hour I watched the motley collection of parish bellringers--grandmothers, hipsters with piercings, slick attorneys--pulling on the ropes and ringing the changes as they have been rung in that church for 500 years.
Today is laundry, maybe a little work, and my flight to Jaipur, India at 5 P.M.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tom Hits The Road

One year ago this week, the invitation in the picture arrived in the mail. It began: "Our dearest and most auspicious friends..." and proceeded to invite the wife and me to join a college friend of mine and his relatively new second wife, along with a party of their "dearest and most auspicious friends", for eight days in India, in celebration of our friend's 50th birthday. At their expense. We knew that our friend's second wife was wealthy. We thought maybe sixty, seventy million dollars. But after we got the invitation we googled her and discovered that no, it isn't sixty or seventy million dollars, it's five billion.

Yes. She has five billion dollars.

And here's the switch. She was raised going to the local public school, her father drove an old sensible Volvo, she got her Phd in history, is a university professor, writes serious scholarly books, donates hundreds of millions of dollars to various environmental and educational charities, and has an irresistable, uninhibited laugh. All of which is to say that, believe it or not, my friend didn't marry her for the money.

And she is taking me and one hundred of her closest friends on a chartered jet from London to Rajasthan for a week. And you, dear readers, are coming along for the ride, because where there are upscale hotels there is internet. I've got my typhoid shots, my malaria pills, my sunscreen and my Lonely Planet guidebook, and I leave Wednesday morning.

More news from London.

P.S. The wife, unfortunately, is on that job in Louisiana, so I'm doing this one alone.

P.P. S. Because I'm using frequent flyer miles to get to London, and staying with a friend there, the whole thing will end up costing me a little bit less than staying home.

P.P.P.S. What did I do to deserve this?

P.P.P.P.S. Or, perhaps more to the point, what's the catch?