Opening weekend, I saw Avengers: End Game with my son, Avery.
THERE ARE SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.
READ NO FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN AVENGERS: END GAME.
A few days after seeing the film, I saw the following meme courtesy of someone named ‘kaz.’ , and loved it, and immediately reposted it on my Facebook page (above).
Above the meme, I said something about how much I loved this message in the movie… but how “Fat Thor” is just WRONG. (Because…. ABS.) Then, a young friend of mine responded with something like this:
"I don't mind Fat Thor. I mind them (Marvel) making his weight a joke."
I felt in my bones that seeing Thor as the butt of a "fat joke” was wrong, but I didn't have time or energy to get into it with her... but, now, I do!
Look, Marvel didn’t make Thor’s weight a joke.
They gave us THE FACTS:
Thor is now fat.
He drinks too much.
He plays video games all day.
Thor is depressed…
…because Thor has been through a gigantic, life-altering tragedy.
And he feels responsible.
In the audience I was in, sure, some people were laughing. But initially, the audience was in shock, and the laughter was reflective of this. I was in shock, too; I couldn’t believe they’d done it. They took that Greek God and made him into a fat drunk? How could they? How dare they! How bold. This is crazy, CRAZY, but also, GIVE ME BACK MY THOR!!
Some of the laughter was uncomfortable laughter. Why so uncomfortable, everyone? Does Thor, God of Thunder, suddenly remind you of someone you know, maybe? An uncle, a dad, an older brother... me? you?
Quickly, though, the audience (my son and I included) felt for Thor. My son is 11, and a number of times he leaned over and said, “Poor Thor!!” He’s so sad!!” and then I let the tears come. Because for me, as a parent, it’s really important that my son cares about other people’s feelings. So we felt this huge sadness for Thor, and then in the very next moment, we were laughing again... because that's life. It is sad, and sublime, and absurd, all at once.
Look, Marvel did get some cheap laughs at Thor's expense, because that's what those particular characters (Tony Stark, Rocket Racoon) would do. Honestly, are those two characters NOT gonna say something, with Thor in that shape? They're jerks, they're gonna say something.
But Marvel's aim was not to laugh at fat folks... no. It was to show us someone who's gone through something extremely painful, and come out the other side changed. And I’m here to tell you, this is a harsh truth of life.
Sometimes we need a laugh in order to interrupt the eerie feeling ...that maybe life is going to change us, too. Or, that it already has.
Those of us who’ve been through a thing or two, like Thor, laughed because… yep, that’s life! Whatcha gonna do? That’s me. That’s my spouse. That’s my dad, my sister or brother, my best friend. That’s us.
OH, and quick PSA about seeing a film:
We go into a theater for one reason, and one reason only:
to be shown a MIRROR.
WHEN YOU GO INTO A THEATER
AND THE STORY MAKES YOU LAUGH
YOU ARE NOT LAUGHING “AT” SOMEONE’S EXPENSE, BECAUSE THAT “PERSON” IS IMAGINARY!
TO LAUGH “AT” SOMEONE ON THE SCREEN OR ON THE STAGE
IS TO LAUGH AT ONE’S SELF.
I kinda can’t believe I have to explain this - that Thor isn’t real? But… yeah. Sorry, movie fans, he’s not. When we laugh at Thor, we’re not laughing at a real, live fat person!
To laugh at Thor is to laugh at ourselves.
And not for nothing, his body did not automatically go back to being perfect when he got his ‘mojo’ back! Because life isn’t like that, either! Someone over at Marvel should get a metal for this idea, quite honestly. Because sometimes, yes, you’re just rockin’ an extra 50 pounds, for a while. One the greatest takeaways, as the meme suggested, is that being depressed and in pain does not make Thor (you) any less worthy. In the end, he still had the stuff! Because he still had his gigantic, god-like HEART.
AGAIN: we sit inside a theater to be shown a mirror.
Thor isn't real.
To laugh at Thor is to laugh at myself.
To feel bad for Thor is to feel bad for myself.
To love Thor - no matter what - is to love myself.
As someone who's been through tremendous pain, myself, and changed in many ways (physically, emotionally, spiritually, and all the rest)... I was relieved. I am someone who, despite any changes to my appearance, is still worthy of love. And so are you.
For those of you non-storyteller people reading this, here's a secret:
are taking ya'll to CHURCH!
LOVE THYSELF, we keep whispering to you, YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE MAGIC. YOU ARE GODS.
Depressed, anxious, and in pain…it’s OK.
You are still worthy, because you’re made of stardust, and Love is your birthright.
Storytellers don’t make jokes.
If an audience laughs, it's because you need to laugh, and the storyteller has somehow earned that laugh.
What we're really doing, whenever possible, is telling the truth.
How you interpret that… is up to you.
Recently, I saw a Facebook Watch video about regret by Richard Mulloland, and thought it was all very good, sound advice. The up-shot? "Don't die filled with regrets about all the stuff you didn't do!" Here's the link if you're curious.
The message seems like a no-brainer to me: try new things, even scary or difficult things. Do what you want, and have fun. Love. Live.
This video has something like 10 million views. I wonder, percentage-wise, how many view this talk and actually heed his advice? How many will actually go out there and try something new, or try something hard, or try something big? People (in my experience) tend to stay super, super close to what is easy and known. So much so, I have to wonder if it's biologically hard-wired; maybe sticking with what you know helps you not get eaten by a saber-toothed tiger.
This staying-where-it's-safe thing seems to go hand-in-hand with another animal kingdom altruism: Stay with the herd. It's safer than being outside of it.
That's when it hit me. Maybe this message is a no-brainer to me, because I've never had a herd.
When you grow up feeling like an outsider in almost every arena of your life (as I did), the herd mentality doesn't even compute. To an outsider, a herd is a threatening group; a group that would feel better if you didn't exist. The up-side is, when you're living on the outskirts, you not only learn to rely on yourself, you also learn to stop being afraid of fitting in. Because you were never, ever going to.
For me, probably starting as early as 3rd or 4th Grade, doing weird or odd things (outside the norm) was a normal, daily activity. In the 5th Grade, alone, I was really into reading books that had specifically been banned by the Nazis (even if I didn't really understand them), I spent long hours painting abstract landscapes, I adapted and directed a cross-cultural and gender-bent productions of Alice in Wonderland, and I spent copious hours memorizing passages from Macbeth. It was weird. I was weird. To others. To me, it felt normal. And it still does. In fact, trying to act 'normal' around normal people is the only time I don't feel like I fit in. Because when I do that, I don't fit in with me.
For most people, stepping into the unknown isn't just about trying something new, it's about the hard, scary, vulnerable feeling that if you do so, your herd might not approve. Such daring requires not only a willingness to fail, and a level of comfortability with vulnerability, it requires you to be willing to fall, face-first, in front of a large crowd of your 'peers'. And your herd, should they disapprove, might just kick you out.
So, as I see it, most people die having regrets not only because they had a fear of doing new things. It's because they had a pathological fear of looking bad in front, and ultimately losing, their herd. Think about that: most people would rather have a ton of regrets about stuff they never tried, than look less-than "cool" for a single, solitary minute.
And yeah, you know what? I'm sure I've looked stupid, more than once. I'm sure some have laughed at me, behind my back. But guess what? I don't care. Those people are not my people. And trying stuff has never cost me a thing.
I do honestly hope that Mr. Mulloland's speech inspires people. If just .01% of the 10 million viewers actually made a point to step outside their comfort zone, tomorrow -make a friend who's a different color than you, make a piece of art, investigate a new religion, or hike a trail even though you've never hiked, and hate nature- just imagine the ripple effects from that! Wouldn't that be something? What would a world, with that many intentional non-conformists, with that many adventuresome people in it, even look like? Kinda staggering to think about.
If you're thinking about following Mr. Mullholland's advice, stepping out of your comfort zone and being brave, take it from an outsider: you have nothing to lose. Fitting in with the herd is an illusion. Anyone who'd kick you out, or laugh at you for trying? They were never your people to begin with.
At this point in my life, I can honestly say, I have no regrets. I've done, seen, and loved plenty, and I fully intend to keep trying, and falling flat on my face (sometimes, spectacularly!) for the rest of my life. Because that's the fun stuff. Everything else is just a waste of time.
CARPE DIEM, FRIENDS.
The truth is, no class can make you a writer. No seminar can, either. No guru. No text. They can inspire you to do better, but they cannot make you a writer.
Okay, maybe knowing Aristotle's poetics can help. Maybe reading "Save the Cat" taught me some things.
But what really improves writing... is thinking about doing it, and then doing it. Over, and over, and over.
How do I know this?
Because I cannot look back at any particular class or seminar I've ever taken and say, "Wow, that really took my writing to the next level." No. The repetition of writing, and the study of other things I like (and why I like them), and then more writing... these things have improved my writing. Period.
A word about being on a "creative journey": this is a nonsense phrase, and I reject it, entirely. This is a phrase somebody make up to sell you something. You're not on a journey. There is no end-of-the-rainbow. If you're writing, you're on a life-long slog. It's not a race, or a marathon, because again, those things have an end. When you're a writer, The End is when you die.
If writing comes flowing out of you, ideas come kicking and screaming out of you, and you can't stop them from coming, and they come out insisting for an audience in the larger world... then you are a writer.
If you think you might 'try it out' for a while and 'see what happens' and then 'move on to something else' if it 'doesn't work out'... NO. Just, no. I'm sorry, but you are not a writer. You are wasting your time, and you should probably go find something else to do with your time. Like bungie jumping. Or gardening. Or helping out at your local soup kitchen.
Because frankly it take a long time to get going. It takes a long, long time of writing into the void before 'something happens'. You cannot know this, of course, until you get going, and you see how impossibly long of a slog it is! So I'm writing this to save you some valuable time. Like people always say to actors, "If you can imagine yourself doing anything else... go do it." It's like that.
BUT.... if you spend weeks hating yourself because you can't seem to sit down and put any of your thoughts down, or you haven't had a decent idea in weeks and you're tempted to drown this hateful sorrow in a bottle of Jameson... then you are a writer. A frustrated one, perhaps, but a writer, nonetheless. If you can go whole years without a great idea, and then have a great idea, and then execute it... you are a writer.
If you spend time practicing when you're not inspired -- writing dumb stuff like blog posts and perfectly crafted work emails, in-between bursts of lucid creativity -- that also makes you a writer. If you spend days, also, procrastinating about this practicing, but then eventually you do sit down to practice, that also makes you a writer.
Basically, if the primary goal of your brain is to make things out of words, things that yesterday did not exist, and you are sullen and frustrated when you're not doing that... then you are a writer. If the primary goal of your brain is to 'work on something that will make me rich and famous like J.K. Rowling' ... stop. Just stop, and go into hedge funds.
And it doesn't matter if you write every day, or not. I used to; now, not so much. I'm still productive, all the same. What actually matters is that you can't stop thinking about it, and when you're not doing it you wish you were doing it, and that then eventually you do find time to do it. And there must always be some writing - and editing- that happens whether or not you feel inspired. And those things must happen without perfection. Especially once you've begun something, but the bloom of inspiration is off the rose; you must finish it. Otherwise, what are you doing?
Lots of writers wonder: how do you find the time? If you're not independently wealthy, and you have a job and kids and shit? You just do. You dig it up; you unearth it. You beg, borrow and steal that time. You turn off the internet, or go someplace where you don't know the wifi password and it's not written on the wall. And then you make something with that time. Not another angry FB post addressed to someone you don't know, not a meme (unless that's your thang), not giving up to go make the beds or do the dishes; but making a real THING with words that wan't there before you began.
Do not let anyone tell you that there is a such thing as a "creative journey". That phrase is an empty platitude meant to sell you something (a seminar, or a book), and it means nothing. There is no field of wildflowers for you to go running through as your stories come effortlessly forth from a magical fairy pen; that is bullshit. There is no beginning, middle, or end of this process, like there is on a hero's journey. It's not a journey because it never ends. Or, forgive me, it ends when you die.
"But what about when I get an agent?"
"But what about when I sell my first thing?"
"But what about when I win my first Emmy?"
"Isn't that the 'end' of my creative journey?"
No. NO. Unless somehow miraculously your words dry up after you win that Emmy, and all you want to do is sit in a rocking chair and pet cats or dogs from then on, NO. There is no end to it. It is not a hero's journey. You write hero's journeys, but as a writer, you do not live them.
Look. Writing is like living on a rollercoaster you can't get off of, and you didn't choose to get onto, in the first place. Most of the rollercoaster is that flat, boring part. And nobody's going to stop it, and let you off. So you ride through the flat, boring part, over and over and over... but if you can sit down at a computer, or with a pen and paper, when you're at the crest of the enormous hill, the almost-falling part, and write, when you're afraid and shaking, begging to be released, a childish, crying mess... then you've got something. And then, you also have to write when you're on that flat, boring part, too. And edit while you're down there, too. You have to learn to do both. Because if you only doing one, and not the other, your audience can tell. It's inside the writing, and they won't want to read it if you haven't written during both, during the whole ride, and during the next one that's coming, and the next, and the next.
And here's another "perk": If you're doing it right, if you are creating stories with an aim towards giving people purpose and hope, you must be able to see that MAYBE there might not be a point to life, in the first place. You are instilling people with purpose and hope. Which means they might not have it, to begin with. And they might not have it, because there might not be any inherent purpose, to life. Which means, as a writer, you sometimes will walk around knowing in your bones that none of it matters. This, friends, is a heavy burden, and if you can walk away now and do something else, go do it. Because walking around trying to instill hope and purpose is tough enough, without knowing, deep down, if there is a purpose? Oy. That's a dichotomy that's hard to live with.
Look. If there is a Kingdom of God, and I automatically get to go there when I die because I didn't murder or rape anybody, I'll beg to be forgiven for the sin of not thinking that life was all about getting to Heaven. And then I'll probably be forgiven, because that seems Godly. Though, I think that probably this isn't the way it works. At all. The way it probably works is that tiny nugget of hope inside me that clings to the childish idea that there is a heaven, is the heaven I'm thinking of. That the tiny piece of me that still writes to instill hope and purpose, despite that nagging feeling that it's all for nothing, that feeling is God. And the only way to live in the Kingdom of God is to live in it, now, when there is energy in my veins and stories in my heart. And the only way to live in that Kingdom of God forever, is to live in it NOW, so strongly, and use my gifts so vehemently, that my energy becomes immortal. And when the ashes of my body are spread out over the Pacific Ocean, the fish will take a nibble, and the man who catches and eats that fish will get a taste, and hope and purpose will be in the fish, and the man, and the ocean, and my life's work will be more than just words on the page, but the work of life and living that never ends.
For the past couple years, I've had lots of irons in the fire. I've won some awards for my writing, I've written short film scripts, teleplays, stage plays, screenplays, and an entire novel. I've written for blogs and created text for published books, and I now have a manager shopping around one of my TV projects (EVOLUTION). And I haven't stopped creating, for longer than a few days at a stretch; in fact, a new TV project (TWIRL) is up for a spot at Table Read My Screenplay at Sundance. Right now, I'm gearing up to write a short film with a director-friend of mine, to be shot in 2018; amazingly, funding is already in place.
But, in many ways, I am still nowhere. I have yet to turn any of these 'irons' into ... whatever blacksmiths make. Horse shoes? Axes? All of the things that iron can be made into. I've made nothing, contributed nothing to the national conversation. I'm still in the shop, pounding away, sweating profusely, with "nothing" to show for it.
It begs the question... why do I keep doing this?
Much like every other human being I've ever met, I feel certain at times that no one cares about what I have to say, or what I think is cool, yet I keep writing and talking, anyways. I feel lonely, so I reach out with words in an effort to connect. I'm afraid of embarrassing myself, but equally afraid to be boring, or plain, or obscure. And I'm constantly asking myself, Why? Why do I feel like telling stories, in the first place? Why do I have characters and situations rolling though my brain, all day long? Isn't that crazy? And how come I keep subjecting myself to disappointment? I've been writing seriously for the better part of a decade, and I'm still not making my living from all of this. What on earth makes me keep going?
The answer, for any of you who might be struggling with the same, is... I have no idea. I have no idea why I keep going. I enjoy the characters in my head; is that so wrong? I feel a deep sense that I'm not 'seen' in our media, so I push characters out there who I relate to; isn't that what writers (and other artists and creators) do? I feel a sense of duty to talk bout the things I think are real, and true, (spiritually) in this life... is there really any difference between me, and a priest, a rabbit, or a guru? (Those guys aren't considered crazy; yet... I mean... they are totally believing in something no one can explain, or prove!) Spielberg and Abrams, they aren't crazy. So, neither am I. I'm in the game, but still on the verge. Maybe I'll always be on the verge? Sure, that's a risk. It continues to feel like a tightrope walk. But stopping doesn't feel like something I could do, either. So, I soldier on. Stopping, at this point, would feel like defeat. Which, frankly, scares me more than the reality: that while I may fall down, falling down means I'm in the arena, which means I can always get back up again, and keep fighting. (BTW, here's a great Medium piece on fear of failure, and why it keeps most people from having what they truly want.)
Every beginner creates with a healthy balance of self-doubt, inner drive, enthusiasm, and resolve. You'd think that established creators simply drop the self-doubt piece, but from what I've heard, some do, but some don't. So for an intermediate like myself, the question isn't about why I keep doing it, or should I keep doing it. At this point, it's simply a question of stamina. Do I have the stamina to keep creating, until something comes of it?
At this stage, friends, I gotta tell you: it's day-to-day. But I still feel I'm the most myself when I'm reaching out with my feelings, and words. When I'm engaged, and trying to be heard, seen and understood. When I'm trying to connect.
Perhaps nothing ever has to come from any of this... so long as I'm doing my best to connect. To reaching out with my feelings, and saying, "Don't you feel like this, too?"
You know what? I'm bored with this shit. Being a good person, BS. It's just so ... dull!
Yeah, I hink I'monna start acting like DT and HW and BC, over here. Just, go up to people and start grabbin 'em by their privates, demanding sex, tellin' em how good lookin' they are while in the next breath how I'll ruin their careers and lives if they tell anyone how I acted, then maybe rape a handful of 'em, just to prove I can. And I'll be very rich and very powerful, so I'll be able to buy off anybody who wants to tell the public. It'll be awesome. It'll be an awesome cycle of conquest and power, conquest and power, and more conquests and more power.
Course... in some tiny corner of my brain, I will be silently weeping for the young child - one born with goodness, love, beauty, and promise - I once was. Because now, this is all I can do. This is what I am, now: my whole life is assault and cover-up, assault and cover-up, assault and cover-up. And, deep down, I know this means that I am a criminal. I do not belong in society. I belong in prison, probably in solitary confinement. I should be stoned by my victims, and I know it. None of the people around me could ever dream of being as disgusting and terrible and hateful and small as I am; and if they really knew how I was inside, and if they did not need me for something (money, power) ...they would turn their backs on me, and shun me forever.
But after dozens and dozens of victims, I am so small, by this point, in my own mind so insignificant, so full of nothing, that I *must* continue to seek out victims because it temporarily shuts off that part of my mind that tells me that I am nothing. And most other people don't hate themselves like I do, they can't imagine living as I do, that anyone would, or could... and so they are trusting. So it won't be hard to find one after another, after another; each one will present themselves to me like a lamb at the doors of the slaughterhouse.
And, sure, each victim comes with a potential price tag. But I can afford it. So there I remain, trapped inside my own worthlessness and nothingness, forever, because now that tiny corner of my mind (where I used to simply weep for the small child I once was, full of promise and dignity) has become Trump Tower-sized, Weinstein Company-sized, and Cosby Show-ized. And now inside there, I no longer even have any pity for that small child. I hate that child, too; for it was me, but is no longer. I killed it. And it's too late to go back; there is no mythical offspring who will take off my mask, and tell me I am loved, and beg me to come back from the darkness. The light inside is as faint a memory as the dodo, or the horse-and-buggy, or the rotary phone. I have spiraled down inside my own dark loathing so far, I can no longer even remember what it felt to be a human being. I have destroyed my own consciousness, the one and only gift that makes me not like an orangutan, or a cockroach. I have destroyed my human-ness, obliterated my whole self, and I have no nameable emotions except a never-ending cycle of panic and rage. For I know that, without money and power, I am nothing to those around me, and I am completely and utterly alone.
Which is what I feared -- and felt, deep down -- all along. That I am disgusting and horrible and hateful and unlovable, and that I will forever live in a cage, because that's the only place I belong. A child's nightmare, self-taught, made real. I am a self-fulfilling prophesy. My mind is a prison of it's own making, and if I could pray, if I believed in an all-knowing being outside myself who would lower themselves so much as to even listen to any of my prayers, I would pray for the sweet release of death.
This Day in Autistic Homeschooling:
Took the morning off to go pick up our new bike. Favorite color n' everything.
Took it to the park, getting the hang of it... feelin' good!
On the way home, we stop at alleys and crosswalks (like a BOSS), because (and I quote) "We don't wanna get in an accident with THIS baby!
We talk about what to name the bike. Feel like maybe bike is our new best (inanimate) friend.
50 feet from home, we wipe out... good feeling, gone.
...now we HATE the bike, as we feel it has betrayed us.
Avery, reviewing my bedside reading last night:
own a BOOK!!!!
about how to
Today was really good day. It was the kind of day you want to tell your best friend all about, just like when you were in high school, and you just got that really cute boy to look back at you... but you and your friend have different classes all afternoon, so you end up writing her a really long note (that you're going to pass her, later) instead of paying attention in Algebra... because you just can't wait to tell her all about it.
So buckle up. I'm writing you a note. And here's me, passing it to you in the hallway...
So, first of all: I got up ON TIME. I know. Even though it snowed overnight (wha?!) and honestly I felt like I could have stayed in bed til NOON... I didn't, I got up, and I made the coffee, and then I did my Qigong (like, the whole thing, even the foot-thing, the one I hate and sometimes skip).
And while I was doing my Qigong (and drinking my coffee), Warren did Math class with Avery. LOVE IT. Then I grabbed some breakfast (the Dragon's Way Special: green juice and cashews), made Avery some breakfast, and then Rowan came over for our usual Monday morning classes. They played, and worked on Art and Science, all while I wrote!
By Noon, I was almost finished with the main narrative of the book, so I did a little happy dance on my way downstairs. And then, drum roll please... after I fed Avery lunch, I sat down and finished the rest of the book. It's just the first draft, but it's DONE. It's all in one place, all (or most of) my ideas, down, on paper. Literally, too, not just metaphorically, because I printed it all out (for editing purposes; not because I hate trees).
Yes, it's done. And yes, it's a thing to celebrate. I've always wanted to write a book, ever since I fell in love with Romancing the Stone as a kid. In fact, I wanted to be a writer, largely because of that stupid movie. Because it looked like so much fun to be (pre-Columbian-drug-lord-kidnapped-my-sister) Joan Wilder, blubbering away and forgetting to buy toilet paper. I always wanted to know how it felt to neglect your personal hygiene for weeks, until finally you type out those final words -- "The End" -- and then feed your cat some tuna fish, pop open a bottle of wine, and celebrate by throwing the dishes into the fireplace. This is the livin'!
But it was only 1PM, and we didn't have any tuna fish. So instead I just threw some clothes in the washing machine... which, shit, I just realized, I forgot all about them.
But that's part of what made today so awesome! Because not everything got done, except the most important parts.
Anyways, in the afternoon Avery worked on his comic book for Language Arts, and we talked about what to do when you get stuck with your plot (duh, make something bad happen to the protagonist, of course!), followed by a lesson on Vikings for Social Studies. And all afternoon he did great during his lessons, and was a great listener and a great worker, and I just love having him home on days like this, when he's a little mini-me, writing his book while I write mine...
Then he played while I did some jobby-job work, and then I took him to swimming class, and while he swam (which wasn't 100% awesome b/c the substitute swim teacher was sorta mean to him, but he did basically OK) I started reading said book... and I realized that it honestly doesn't suck. At least the first 40 pages are OK.
Then after swimming, I took him out to dinner at the Golden Nugget because we had no food in the house for dinner. And it was very delicious, and only $21 plus tip because he ate off the kid's menu. Then we hopped on the bus, got home quickly, and he ran downstairs to watch TV, which was awesome because it gave me a chance to finish binge-watching Season 2 of "LOVE" on Netflix. SCORE. Then Warren came home, and the boys hung out, and then I hung out with Warren for a bit, and now I'm getting Avery ready for bed. Kind of ...because he sorta does it all by himself, now. Because he's almost 10.
And I'm exhausted... but I'm also happy. Everybody did what everybody needed to do today, but... I didn't have to do it ALL. I did PLENTY, but not everything.
And, yeah, sure, Avery's going to bed a tiny bit late. And no, I didn't get much jobby-job work done, but there's always tomorrow, and none of it was urgent. Except my book. Today, my book was the "work" that had to get done; it wasn't going to wait to be finished, anymore. I was going to sit down and complete the main arc, and write THE END.
So... that's what happened, and there you go. Sometimes your creative life actually, more or less, comes first.
I'm off to bed. Thanks for reading this really super long note, friend. I hope Mrs. B didn't catch you reading it and take it away. Because ...it was just a really good day, and I felt like sharing it with you.
by Cara Winter
Inspired by the play MISTER FUGUE, by Liliane Atlan
Fugue State (definition): "... a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality, and other identifying characteristics of individuality." ~ Wikipedia
LIGHTS UP ON:
The Make America Great Again Detention Centers of America (Now Great Again)
a desert outside Las Vegas, NV in the not-too-distant future
The Detention Center is empty, save for four children who have been hiding in the sewers and surrounding desert. They have been on their own for so long, they are now like wild animals in almost every way, except they are human children:
SARAI (a different brown)
OLIVIA (sort of white but not really)
A man (BEN, white, 30-45) walks into view. He is carrying a Nintendo 3DS, and a brown paper sack.
Another man (JOHN, white, 25-30) in a uniform enters behind him, tapping him on the shoulder. They whisper to each other.
BEN: John, I told you to fucking stay out of sight!
JOHN: Yeah, dude, but I forgot to give you this.
John hands him a gun, concealed in a bag.
BEN: A gun?! They’re kids; I won’t need this.
JOHN: Dude, their parents were illegals, Muslims, blacks… you can never be too careful.
Ben takes the gun.
BEN: Fine, Jesus Christ. Now get lost, alright?
Ben sits down on an overturned garbage can, and begins to play his Nintendo, with the volume all the way up. After a few moments, we see a child’s head (JUAN) popping up out of a nearby sewer cover. Ben pretends not to notice it, absent-mindedly grabs a potato chip out of the bag with one hand, trying to beat the game with only one hand. Juan approaches him.
JUAN: You’ve gotta keep both hands on that thing. You gotta, you're gonna miss the-- you've gotta catch those, dude, and you're running out of power, so -- watch out! Watch out, you're gonna ---
The game 'bleep-bleeps' indicating Ben has lost.
JUAN: --lose. Moron.
Ben glances at Juan, and then puts both hands back on the Nintendo. He plays again, more feverishly, and Juan becomes involved in the outcome, jumping up and down, pumping his fist, etc.
Two other children (KEVIN and OLIVIA) emerge from their hiding places, drawn by the sounds of the game, and/or the food.
KEVIN: Can I see? Lemmie see.
OLIVIA: There are no grownups. Should be no grownups. Only kids. Grownups hung and shot, fucking hung and shot, or just raped and shot and then taken away. Or just taken away, maybe raped there. Wait, is there food in there?
Olivia peers into the bag beside Ben.
OLIVIA: Chips! O.M.G., shit, can I have some?
Ben nods absent-mindedly. Olivia begins to eat as though she's never seen food before.
KEVIN: Lemmie have some!
Kevin grabs the bag away; Olivia and Kevin fight over the food.
Ben has now allowed Juan to play his Nintendo. The children are in heaven.
Finally, SARAI emerges. She wears a tattered headscarf; she is the most elder of the children.
SARAI: Stop! All of you! Olivia! Kevin! Juan! Go back to into hiding, you idiots, this could be a trap!
From out of nowhere, John and a second soldier (DAVID) grab the children, pointing guns at them. Ben also grabs one of the children, and brandishes his gun.
DAVID: Hands up, kids. You’re illegal and you're coming with us.
This play is derivative of a copyrrighted work by the late playwright Liliane Atlan. Please email me directly if you are interested in staging this play, so that we may discuss rights & fees with the copyright holder of the original piece.