Anxiety DOES Come in Waves

I can’t believe I’ve never noticed that before. Every morning this week, I rise from slumber when Paul’s phone rings–or his alarm goes off. (Not because he needs to get up, just because…but that’s another rant.) And I have about ten seconds of blissful forgetfulness, and then I remember First Pitch–the speed pitching event to various managers, agents and producers at the end of the school year. Which, is this coming Monday. I have spent umpteen hours reducing my hundred page scripts to three minute pitch summaries. I’ve rehearsed, and memorized, and been given notes, and tweaked, and been given other notes and tweaked again. And then last night I ran one by my brother-in-law, a working screenwriter, who said it was too plotty and not enough pizzazz.

He wrote me an alternate version, where my story is a thriller set in the “cutting edge world of reproductive science.” It sounds really good and professional–but it doesn’t sound like my movie. I went home and really looked at it, and thought about it, and ended up rewriting it yet again. I had to do a lot of soul-searching, because I don’t want to be stupidly resistant to making my work sound exciting and good–and yet, in the end, I’ve also been repeatedly told, I’m not selling the script so much as selling myself as a writer. And I write character, and real world situations with just a few fantastical elements. It’s just who I am, and what I can do. I feel I need to be honest about that, but I get a lot of responses questioning the wisdom of that, which also serves to make me very insecure.

His draft did help me pull out some plot elements, so it is improved from what it was–but I’m sad that I’m going to have to recite it for him and so much of his time and work I didn’t use. And I’m sad I have to memorize it again. I have real problems with performing memorized material. To this day I have dreams about plays where it’s opening night and a realize I haven’t memorized my lines. I love to read aloud, no problems, but the standard for this kind of thing is memorization.

On top of this, I found out on Tuesday, that I need to do a TEN minute pitch this coming Tuesday, the night after the two three minute pitches. I know for a working professional, this would be nothing, but it’s enough to reduce me to tears…and frankly, has, every day this week. Along with other things–the three or four must-do-now administrative tasks that magically appear in my inbox each day, the personal obligations that I WANT to fulfill. And it doesn’t help that Paul gave me his script to read on Wednesday night. I turned it around inside twenty-four hours and was feeling pretty good about that–having put off things like showering, practicing pitches etc. He’s an inspired writer, but a lazy writer, so it took me almost six hours to get through it and make suggestions. only to find out last night that he was actually annoyed I hadn’t gotten to it faster because I’d gone to class and went to see my mom because she’s in tow. I can’t even go there right now. It makes me angry.

And then there’s the anxiety. As I was saying. I wake, and after ten seconds, it hits, like a little wave of adrenaline washing over my heart, and then it washes back down to my rib cage, then up to my through, until that whole area is kind of numb, and then my arms get numb-ish too. i can see how stress gives people heart attacks.

In the past weeks, I have managed to meditate consistently–just ten or fifteen minutes morning and night. But it seems a small and puny adversary to the big, bad anxious.

One thought on “Anxiety DOES Come in Waves

  1. I haven't heard your First Pitch pitch, but I would say err on the side of being yourself. And don't stress out too much, because at the end of the night, they are more likely to remember you as a person than what the end of your first act was. And, as people go, you're already awesome.

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