Posts Tagged ‘author’

Writing and Judging Amy

I started watching Judging Amy on youtube tonight – I directly blame my very own Amy. This show touches my heart more than most. I became acquainted with it when my Amy (whom I affectionately refer to as Rumi) was, well, my roomie. She and I were both out of work for a time at the same time and we sat in our big chairs and watched reruns a couple of days a week. Not just one a day, oh no. I have a DVR and they were showing the reruns something like 4 hours a day, so we were watching several hours at a shot. I suspect that some of my warm feelings about the show are really just mirrors of my warm feelings about Rumi. And some of my feelings are, of course, related to the kids in Amy’s courtroom – the show takes on some very realistic problems. But I think that mostly it is a well written, well acted show, with a storyline that is real enough to believe, and that is why it touches me.

If you had asked me this morning what I remembered best about the show I think I would have said that I remember Rumi and I both saying we’d like to have Amy’s mom – no disrespect to either of our moms – just something about that character that we both liked. And I remembered the cases, and how sometimes they touched too close to reality for me. I probably would have mentioned her assistant, Bruce, I think he’s hot.

And that Rumi really liked Vincent. He appears early, in the pilot, and as I watched tonight I remembered how funny he is, and how nice his relationship with Amy is. Turns out I like Vincent too! But not quite so whole-heartedly, although I remember why not.

I watched the pilot and two or three episodes (maybe 4) and I as I watched I realized what it was about Vincent that I didn’t like. He’s a writer. Or anyway that is what he is trying to be. What I mean to say is, he is a writer, but he isn’t making any money at it. I cannot remember now if he actually makes it to writerdom during the show…but I do remember that he does some other things and has some kind of sad adventures along the way. What does this have to do with me liking his character?

Well, obviously, it’s all about me. I mean, it is my blog. I only share the title with Bodhi so people don’t think I’m too self absorbed. BTW, Bodhi is doing fine and has even managed to chew some little bits of bonie in the last week without getting sick. The thing about me is that I have always wanted to be a writer. I have even called myself a writer from time to time, kind of thinking yes, well, I don’t do it for a living, but that is what I love to do, my heart’s desire. I read books sometimes and say “Yes! I want to do just that! I want to touch people’s lives the way that author touched mine!” I see gaps in the stories that are out there sometimes and think, “I could write to fill that gap.”

Not that I think that I have any particular writing talent, really. I mean, I can construct sentences in their proper order, and usually I can make myself understood. But I’m not particularly eloquent, or funny at all. Now Rumi, she is funny. And can write the such poignant prose, too. She has talent. What I can do is something different. What I think I am good at is telling a story. I like to tell stories and do it on a regular basis. In conversation, most of my statements are just mini-stories. Even as a therapist I use stories – narrative therapy and all that. Sometimes I tell people that I am going to “lecture” them – which in my mind is the psycho-education part – and even those lectures usually take the form of a story.

Way back in the old days, more than 10 years ago, now, I tried, from time to time, to write stories, but I never got much past the first ideas. Mostly I felt like I needed somewhere to go with my story and I never knew where it was headed so I just stopped. I wrote essays from time to time, attempts to get some oral story down on paper, but those never seemed as good to me once I wrote them down. Since then, life has kind of taken over and I haven’t given myself the time to write very often. I mean, I write almost every day…blogs and journals and papers and the dissertation (and facebook)…but to sit down and lend myself to the craft of writing, well, I just haven’t done it.

I have read a lot about writing over the years, picked up ideas and strategies and the like. I know all about how you have to be disciplined and make yourself write every day, but not too disciplined so your story can’t take on a life of its own. I know now that many authors start out on stories without an outline or even an idea about how it will end. I know about years of rejection letters and how pieces on their way to the trash get published. What’s more, I have seen really, really poorly written books published on a grand scale (I can do better than that!). So…what’s stopping me?

My distaste for Vincent is all the very realistic things that happen on his road to writerdom. His mother doesn’t take his work seriously and for at least some of the time neither does he. He is smart and talented but that isn’t enough, not for years and years. I don’t need all that reality! I want the dream, baby. I want to see the story about the little guy that stuck it out and WON! I want to know that anything is possible – even my dreams. I want someone to buy me that t-shirt that says “Be careful or you’ll end up in my novel.”

Maybe all this is hitting particularly close to home today because I am in the process of applying for internship. In a way, it is a little like spending years and years on your manuscript and sending it out into the netherworld of publishing. The next step is waiting, which I have been doing for more than a month, and it is nerve-wracking. The waiting is getting tighter as many of the sites I applied to expect to notify perspective interns by the 15th. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat, man, waiting for the ride to end.

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