Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tugging on the Old Heart Strings

So: Work is going alright, I'm loving my SNL writing class and I'm starting to take steps that might lead to staging my newest play. All good things. (Oh, and I've resumed applying for other jobs for when my current temp position expires.)

The economy is circling the drain; but as I'm in no position to do anything about it, I can't really worry about it. What on earth would be the point.

I'd like to date more. It's been two months now since Shawna and I stopped seeing each other. I had a lunch date two weekends ago with a nice girl named Debbie but she hasn't gotten back to me about a second date, yet. She was going on vacation...

And tonight I asked out a fellow student in the writing class. She's smart, she thinks I'm funny and oh yes, has some nice legs. I asked her to join me for coffee some time, she said 'Sure'.

I want to put myself out there. Meet people-- invigorate my social life by actually having one. It would be nice. First dates are so awkward. The muddling back and forth with conversation, the pleasant surprises and little appraisals we give each other and don't speak of.

I had an idea once for a story in which, thanks to some powerful satellite connections and globally issued implants, everyone knew everyone. Not on a deep, personal level; more like they automatically knew the type of person you were, simply by laying eyes on you. Job interviews would consist of a handshake. War would stop (or get much nastier) once folks knew who they were up against.

Ugh. First dates. I've had some truly wonderful experiences as well as evenings so tepid and/or mediocre as to make one want to scrub the brain vigorously with a Brillo pad. A necessary evil-- how else am I going to meet anyone...

Things are okay. I'm writing, I'm working, and I have a well-stocked schedule. Let's hope for more of the same in the days to come.

Ciao for now.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

~Twenty-Something Manifesto~

My name is Casey Jones. It has been my name most of my life. All my closest friends, my family call me thus. It is not my name. My name is Kenneth Christopher Jones. It’s who was born, it’s who graduated from college, it’s who exists on every stamped piece of paper and such. It’s who’s in my wallet.

Every so often there grows a certain crisis of identity. Like a leak in the basement; it starts off small and drips until there’s three inches of water on the floor. I forget things that are important.

Life in New York has been by no means easy. For someone of intelligence, I have made some remarkably stupid choices. While striving to succeed (or get by, even); small victories have been all the more dwarfed by more consistent reminders of things yet undone, debts yet unpaid, trails yet unforged. It is hard.

The success of my role models inspires me. The success of my peers fosters envy. My own success intoxicates me—brief and rare though it’s been.

Left to my own devices in a city where the nearest relation or long-standing friend is several hundred miles away; my bearings have been difficult to keep in focus. I lose perspective and thus momentum. I believe I have found it again.

Lately, the ego has taken considerable blows. Asking family for money is never fun; quite the opposite. Needing it, even less so. And the instinct to measure myself against my peers is a master technique in self-defeat. Seeking such a comparison accomplishes nothing but to create a feeling of helplessness. No-one can fix this but me—it’s no one else’s responsibility. I am not a machine. My value, my worth shouldn’t be measured by my accomplishments or capabilities. I strive for excellence for its own sake, for mine.

And what proof is there, so far? An unfinished book, an un-produced script. A career evidenced not so much by its presence but rather the vacuum in its place. Sunny and inspiring, isn’t it?

The truth is that with perspective; everything changes. I will be published. The contracts have been signed. I’m developing a story that has interested most people I’ve mentioned it to. That I want it to be great will help it to be at least good. I can live with that.

After nearly two years in the city, I am still only beginning to cultivate any kind of garden of contacts. Networking is a skill my brother has, as well as my best friend. Rather than accept that I don’t have it, I am trying to change that. I have a script that I want to see produced. There are people in this city that can make that happen if so inclined; so I will find them and convince them.

A career in writing, a job with Saturday Night Live is something I’ve wanted for a long time. It’s shaped my efforts for years: Becoming a sketch writer, honing my comic skills; learning how to work an audience-- all good things to master. My work as an actor has dwindled to virtually nothing (a somewhat different skill set than that of an improvising comedian); especially since moving to New York. My writing, on the other hand, has bloomed. I’m more sure of myself. I’ve finished two full-length scripts. I’ve had articles published in magazines.

Last year, I went about producing my own show in Times Square. It was expensive, and finished at a loss. I consider the cost to be cheap for the experience I earned. Well worth it.

Have I been happy? No. Miserable would be closer to the truth. Such feelings were the result of an almost crippling loss of perspective. I have a roof over my head. I am employed. I can eat what I like, when I like. I have a few creature comforts. I will strive not to lose sight of this again.

One of the worst habits I brought to New York was the indulgence of remembering someone; a woman I was convinced was the love of my life. We haven’t spoken in over a year… and that well after she married someone else. Clinging to the past and thoughts of her has been like alcohol: distracting, familiar and ultimately bad for me. If I am ever to create a genuine relationship in the present or future, I must leave her where she is: behind me. I’m finally at the point where that’s possible. Shame that it took so long.

Writing this (let alone publishing it to the web) benefits no-one but myself. The same can be said of any amateur blog in existence. Still. I’m glad to have done it, and just as glad to share.