One of my friends starts chemo today (that’s yesterday in your world dear friends, readers and voyeurs). In order to combat the mounting dread of the procedure and perhaps to sidestep the potential side effects, she decided to put together a meditation board of funny pictures to keep her occupied. How touched was I when she asked me to contribute? Can’t stop the tears from racing over my lashes as I type.
The request came in. Who me? Tonight? Sure. Wait a minute. Funny? Humor is not my default, especially when it comes to selfies, which only came into my life a year ago. Selfies throw me into actor-mode— one of the alter egos I’m wrestling to shed in therapy. But the clock was ticking, as is the case in any compelling story, and since life is not a dress rehearsal, I took action rather than act. I donned a Shako Parade Helmet, slapped on my I Love Lucy face, clicked and hit send. I don’t know how much impact my Lucy love will deliver, but it walloped me with inspiration.
Jump to my second round of revisions, which began two weeks ago. In spite of the enormity of the task, I’m psyched because this thirteenth draft feels like a novel, and regardless of how it fares when it gets out in the world, I’m proud of it. But rather than plunge into manuscript excavation on the computer, I decided to first journal by hand to fill in the emotional gaps in my protagonist’s backstory. This free writing has unlocked so many key moments from the past, which are significant to Kaitlyn’s present, I’ve wanted to plunge into the computer manuscript ASAP. But I knew shifting to the computer would pull me away from the emotional landscape the journal was exposing. So, head down and pen moving I carried on.
Each writing session fueled my enthusiasm because every day I became a recipient of unexpected necessary puzzle pieces. Until Tuesday— the day of my friend’s funny picture request. I woke up eager. So eager, I postponed my weekly chat with my son in Taiwan. Jumped to the page while the last morsels of scrambled eggs nestled into my tummy and wrote page after page of blah, blah, blah. It was so boring I stopped to clean the house. A glimpse of something sparkly took hold, and I jumped back to the page only to encounter the worst case of blah yet.
But this is writing. Some days you have it and some days you don’t. That’s why it’s crucial to show up and have your catcher’s mitt ready.
Flash to helmet, Lucy, click, send. I could’ve come up with something funnier. Maybe. But probably not. The worse nights on stage or in the audition room were always the ones where I tried too hard. My best moments arrive when I’m not scouring with a Brillo pad— Cue fairy dust.
I gazed at my Lucy-self and realized the lightness of funny is vital for this second round of revision, otherwise the entire story may end up in a sinkhole. It’s impossible to keep days like Tuesday from barging into the writing room. But now I know the blahs are a hint that my writing is becoming much too serious. Remedy— stop, slap on a Lucy face, and write on.
Thank you, dear Stephanie, and may the light of Lucy remain with you.