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About the scriptwriting

As many of you know, I am trying to write a screenplay. A screenplay for television. No one says teleplay anymore according to a book I read called Read This Book If You Want To Feel Like You’re Actually Doing Something Productive on the Screenwriting Front However You Still Haven’t Written Shit, Asshole. When I saw it on the shelf I was like, “Now that’s a saucy title I can really get behind!” Then I gave myself a high five and tightened my side pony (it’s a side ponytail, not some other kind of adjunct equine creature or appliance or dance move. Although actually you could work on tightening your side pony and mean the dance move, I suppose. Maybe I’ll put that into one of my scripts!)

So but how is the script writing going, you ask, because you care. I’ll tell you, I respond, because I’m procrastinating.


Turns out I’m experiencing all those things that amateur writers—ones I scoff and roll my eyes at and look down upon and use to mop my brow from the sweat that builds up while I toil away on real writing assignments and whose fingers I often borrow to open the envelopes containing checks I receive from actual published magazine articles—experience. Or at least I think they experience it since it seems there’s a lot of literature out there about the fear of the blank page and blah blah blah writer’s room blah blah retreat blah discipline blah get up early blah I havent’ showered in three weeks.

I showered today actually, but spiritually I have dreadlocks.

Um, so where was I? Oh yes. Granted I’ve felt writer’s block before and there’s always a point when I’m facing a deadline where I want to cry and feel that life is unfair and feel that I’m probably the only soul who is awake on the planet and feel lonely and woe is me-ish and stuff, but I’m used to that. And it sucks. And if you happen to be a professional writer I’m wondering if you also go through that? I exchanged a couple emails with Louis Menand of The New Yorker once because he went to my college many years before I and he wrote something in The New Yorker about having to reread old articles he’d written before starting a new one to remind himself that he knows how to do that. I related, since I often do the same thing. Anyway, what was my point? Oh yes. I once exchanged emails with someone from The New Yorker.

But the discomfort I’m feeling trying to write a script is something new and horrendous. And the self-doubt is beyond description. Yesterday I ate my hand just for fun, that’s how nervous I was. I’m typing this whole thing with one hand. Just tapping away at the keys, one by one, embarrassed that I ate my whole hand in one sitting. Not only impractical but SO unladylike!

So now I have myriad first pages of scripts sitting on my computer and I’m thinking I should just write a book instead since that’s something I’m more comfortable with. But who knows. But I thought I might regale you with the first line of each of my scripts. Won’t that be fun? I THINK SO! Here we go. No context or character names. Just first lines. And please note, these are all separate scripts:

Coochie coochie coo. Coochie coo.

Welcome back to Omyra.

How was the audition?

Hi, I’m Amanda.

You know what we need?

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Identity Crisis, part 413

So yet again I’m wondering how I should be labeling myself. I’m wondering this specifically because I’m on Red Eye tonight and they’ve taken to referring to me as a self-professed pop culture expert and contributing editor to Page Six Magazine. And I am both those things but I’m also a blogger, writer and sort of comedian. I mean, I’m funny. Like really fucking funny. Sometimes I look at myself and just laugh and laugh. Sometimes I drink milk and think of something I said and then shoot milk out my nose. Then I drink coke and think about the milk and the coke comes out my nose! Seriously, you should never sit across from me. I’m like Gallagher but with beverages. Also, I’ve never really shot drinks out of my nose. Who does that? So should I be introduced as a blogger and comedian? A writer, blogger and comedian? And fake body language expert.

While in Canada, DJ from Roseanne (ok fine, his name is Michael Fishman) said “so, what are you?” and I hemmed and hawed (note: I’ve never written hawed before. It looks wrong somehow. It looks wrawng) and then Amelie Gillette whose name I’m likely misspelling suggested I be a “fun-dit.”

I liked it until my brain started hearing fun-dip and then I got distracted.

Anyway, yesterday I ran into an editor-in-chief in the bathroom, which is truly my favorite place to run into people I’m slightly intimidated by and she asked me what my plans are for 2009. “Was thinking I’d put on some lip gloss and get the fuck out of here!” I didn’t say. Instead I hemmed and hawed (TWICE in one blog post!)

Maybe I should just put it out there to the universe? That I’d like to one day host my own funny late night talk show that doesn’t have to be late at night and I’d also like to write more cover stories for well-paying national magazines and I’d like to finally master these splenda meringues because sometimes the egg whites aren’t as voluminous as I’d like?

Do I dare say all this?

Oh, also, I’d like to write a book, write comedy and nail the Russian shuffle. (so-called because one card is “rushin‘” right after the other. TRULY! I KID YOU NOT! I WOULD NOT LIE TO YOU!)

I’ve spent more time today on the shuffle than on the book. See, the other night I was watching Red Eye, the one with the BEST OF 2008 segment, which is essentially like googling yourself except less instant feedback and more fast forwarding and I had to put up with the first half which had real guests and stuff. I think the topic was New Year’s resolutions and Clayton Morris mentioned that he wanted to shuffle cards in a cool way and I think Bill maybe said he did too and that reminded me that that was once MY dream. And yet I abandoned it like a newborn in a dumpster. See this blog post for what happened.

But in the years since, the internet has improved when it comes to card shuffling and now I don’t have to settle for magic tricks. So I’m teaching myself how to do this stuff. I’m at about 55 percent at this point, meaning I can shoot cards all around the room and then roll over them with a computer chair.

Also, who can almost do the ribbon spread? I so almost can! And the one-handed fan. But the Russian shuffle is really the piece de resistance. I mean, once you master that bad boy you won’t even mind that you don’t have any dates.

The Ribbon Spread

Between this, raising each of my eyebrows individually and blowing spit bubbles off the end of my tongue, how can I fail?

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Please recognize me

So it’s come to my attention that my ex-boyfriend who has been featured in some of those A&E Bios that I’ve also been in was recognized by a waiter over the weekend. How do I feel about this? I’m glad I asked. You might think I would be slightly disgruntled that he was recognized and I never am when I’ve literally been on TV 8 million times (no, literally! I counted!) but see, that’s not how I am. I don’t do it for the recognition. I do it for the adulation. Also, all the sex. I can count how many times I’ve been recognized on one hand and not just any hand but a hand that is missing all its fingers and also its thumb. I can count the times on a stump. Does this bother me? Again, you are getting the wrong idea there pal about what’s important to me. The children are important. My hair is important. People thinking highly of me, especially people I don’t know, is important. Being treated slightly better than a regular person. All that is important to me. But having someone lavish praise on me in public? Only some kind of asshole would enjoy that. It’s for this reason that the times that I’ve been standing next to Red Eye guys and they’ll get recognized by someone who goes on to say that they watch the show ALL THE TIME and then I’ll kind of preen and stand there waiting for them to notice me and then it doesn’t happen, and sometimes they’ll actually tell me how great the show is, like informing me about the show in case I don’t know, like I am one of them, instead of one of not them, well I find it incredibly humbling that I can pass for just a regular person. It’s very satisfying.

And just in case you’re thinking that in real life maybe I look different than I do on TV… the above has happened on nights when I’ve done the show. Meaning I look exactly like I do on TV, minus the TV screen around my head which I’m totally going to start wearing. But that’s not the only change I’m going to make:

1) I’m going to don recognizable glasses.
2) I’m going to print up this blog and hand it out at concerts and stick it on windshields under wiper blades
3) I’m going to begin hanging out on Long Island, where people watch A&E Bios and recognize you
4) I’m going to be the best me I can be
5) If it will somehow help me get stuff I want
6) I’m going to try to pretend more that I’m really listening when other people talk but GOD, so hard!
7) I’m going to buy Alleve because I’m almost out
8) I’m going to get to the bottom of the difference between sugar free cherry jello and sugar free black cherry jello because it’s keeping me up at night
9) I’m going to quit lying
10) I never lie
11) shit!
12) I’m going to think more about puppies and ducklings because they’re my favorite

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Need a resolution?

If you’re like me then you’re already perfect so New Year’s Eve proves troublesome when it comes to choosing a resolution. How can you fix what isn’t broken? How can you improve on perfection? How do you solve a problem like Maria?

And yet you know someone is going to ask you about your resolution and you’re going to have to come up with something. Below are some trusty standbys. Choose one or choose a few. Mix and match! Or don’t. But if you need one in a pinch, here you go:

I resolve to:

stop biting my nails
start biting my nails
stop swearing in front of children
have some children and not swear in front of them
stop exposing myself to the neighbors
expose myself to the neighbors
stop eating my feelings
stop eating your feelings
stop doing drugs
only do fun drugs
stop setting fires

start journaling
start exercising
start living life to the fullest
start reading (i.e. learn how to read)
start not being such as asshole
start paying for stuff instead of just putting it in my pocket and running out of the store

lose ten pounds
lose the ‘tude
lose my keys and find them in the outstretched hand of an attractive gentleman who caught them when I threw them at him really hard, accidentally
lose half my savings in a Ponzi scheme
lose my shirt in a poker game
lose my cool in a high pressure situation
lose the weave, girlfriend

talk to a physician
talk to a professional
talk to my boss
talk to the hand
leave a message at the wrist

send thank you notes
send warm wishes
send bills on time
send balls of yarn
send emails from the computer at home instead of while you’re telling me a story which I’m pretending to listen to but really not because I’m sending email
send a letter it would get there faster

update my facebook status
update my marital status
update my style
update my steez
update my showering schedule
update my linked in page because I’m only 70% done

wash my makeup brushes
wash my dog
wash my hair
wash that man right out of my life (plus, send him on his way)
wash off the clown makeup
wash off the blood
wash off the meringue residue

write down all my brilliant ideas
write down computer passwords so I don’t forget them
learn to juggle

change computer passwords because I wrote them down and lost the papers
change underwear
change my bad habits
change, be the

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I heard puppies

I heard puppies and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. It was on my computer! I’d left this window open:

You’ll probably want to go there now.

And now, an important question that’s unrelated to puppies: Let’s say you have two important meetings coming up and you’ve noticed that your hair is really frayed at the ends and so you could really use a trim. But let’s say you are also someone who walks away from many haircuts feeling upset and like your tender follicular rights have been violated? Do you make an appointment ahead of time so your hair will look better however you’re risking being unhappy with it? Or do you just go to your important meetings with in-need-of-a-trim hair?

It’s more rhetorical, since I tried to make an appointment to get a haircut and they can’t see me until after the meetings. But, you know, just wondering what you would have done.

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I need to write a book

I just do. I am too delightful and I know too many words to not have my delightfullness represented in an author photo and my words tucked between dust covers. I don’t even need my words to be alphabetical. Or real!

But really, I am tired of going to Barnes & Noble and seeing all these books by all these people and not seeing any by me.

At the same time, I hate paper in general and yesterday I got this crazy papercut when I opened up an envelope containing fabric swatches and then I had to go hunting around my apartment for bandaids and it took forever to find one. That’s what paper will do to you. It will cut you. In fact, if I drew cartoons for the New Yorker I would show an envelope saying to a woman who is about to open it, “I’ll cut you, bitch.” The envelope would be somehow made to look like it’s in prison by the way. It would be a tough menacing envelope.

But anyway, what should I write about? I need something fun and easy that doesn’t involve that much time or energy or hard work. You know, like a book I could write in the shower.

I’m joking. Kind of!

But really. Ideas? I mean, I could collect all my funny essays and some blog posts, that would be a damn good book, but it seems like a new idea would be better. I should probably clear that path to my door so more publishers can beat a path to it. Maybe I should also get a doormat that says “Welcome, publishers!”

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The reading, the dream, the concourse, the chair

I went to Wendy‘s book reading last night but sadly got there after she’d already read because that’s the kind of friend I am. It’s the job, I tell you, I had to work late! I ran into another college friend who’s just given notice to go freelance. “So you can watch TV, sleep and get a puppy?” I asked. He said YES in a way that is more affirmative than just a simple YES would imply. More like YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “It’s the freelance dream,” I said, but up to that point I didn’t quite realize how much the dog is part of everyone’s freelance dream. And no, I’m not living that dream, but that’s okay too because I have a jade plant named Fred and am working on a chest infection. Not really! Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this, I feel a little hoarse and my throat hurts but chest infection really is going too far.

Today I discovered the labrynthian shopping concourse beneath the building I’m now working in which connects to the subway! I thought this would be a way to avoid the elements but it’s pretty cold down there. Still, if it had been snowing I would have avoided the snow—except I left after the subway entrance closed. But I went to the underground Duane Reade earlier in the day and enjoyed the frigid covered access. On my way out of the building I stopped by the Red Eye green room, making my evening rounds, to say hello to my favorite makeup and hair people and anyone else I might know in there. I think I actually walked in and said “hi, I came to brighten your evening with the joy that is my presence.” Then I complained for about 15 minutes and left. Not really. 12 minutes. Thursday I’ll be in the hot girl chair I think, which is good except it means I can’t wear my usual waist-down attire of hotpants and thigh high boots, which is what I’m always wearing in the newsroom when you just see me from chest up. Dang!

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It's like

I don’t even know what color my parachute is anymore!

But anyway I’ve been peering around all three walls of my new cubicle (or, if you’re pressed for time you can refer to it as my newbicle) and thinking that it’s totally bare. I even have lots of drawers which are also bare except in one I have a tape recorder, in case I need to blackmail people, and in another I have a matching tank top and sweater set, in case I need to go to a debutante function. Okay fine, the tape recorder is for interviews and the change of clothes is in case I get called for a sudden TV thing and I’m wearing a hoodie or something. So but the newbicle is very free of personal detail, save for the coffee smell I accidentally imparted to the papers sitting on the desk when I spilled some vanilla flavored coffee yesterday. The whole thing got me thinking about things I won’t be decorating the area with, hence:

Things I Won’t Be Decorating My Cubicle With:

1. Guns or any sort of gun rack
2. Gum or any sort of gum rack
3. A clock which counts down the hours until the next Burning Man
4. A Grandfather clock
5. My Grandfather (R.I.P.)
6. Sports team pennants
7. The box I think outside of
8. Okay so it’s a tampon box
9. Kettle drums

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Fred will be so jealous

Because I agreed to do Red Eye on Valentine’s Day. I plan to wear red. Or just a diaper while holding love’s bow and arrow. Take the high road on that one please.

Also, speaking of Fred, despite my plans to stay home hanging with my houseplant while working on new moves to fold in (seamlessly, of course) to my competitive ice dancing routine, I just put in a full day at Page Six Magazine, where I’m acting as senior editor for a bit. I worry the ice dancing will suffer, is the thing.

Also, I felt that moment where I realized the lobby, which has always been about Red Eye for me, is about to become about Page Six for me. Does that make sense? And then some day I’ll go to do Red Eye and it’ll be like going to do a show in the building where I work or once worked, as opposed to now, where I’m still flummoxed by the elevators. “I’m going to one, are you going to one?” a man asked me today, by the elevator bank. I just stared at him, dumbfounded, as if he were speaking a foreign language which I once knew. Then I began drooling. The thing is that I’ve always prided myself on my ability to discern up from down—left and right not so much—and so if I lose that one I will be directionally challenged in 360 degrees, which is really going to suck. Some other sense will just have to overcompensate. Hopefully a useful one, like my sense of humor. Or my sense of which peppers are spicy. Or my sense of which movies are going to suck, except I really made a judgment error when I dragged my mom and sister to see Out to Sea.

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So you wanna quit your job?

You should try to do it near the beginning of the month because you’ll get extended health insurance coverage and possibly more vacation day pay. Does everyone else know this? I found out on my last day: 1/31. Dismayed, I walked out of the building, fell twelve floors down an elevator shaft and then rolled into oncoming traffic. Now I’m dead.

You might not be so lucky though, and you could be facing astronomical medical bills and you won’t be able to turn to your trusty HMO for substandard medical care.

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