Time Out! (Our Creepshow Episode)

Last fall, Paul and I got to write a segment for CREEPSHOW on AMC’s Shudder.

We knew the Season 3 was happening, but didn’t know exactly when our segment would air, so it was fun when Paul walked in and read me an excerpt from a review at BloodyDisgusting.com. Yes—we were Episode 5, which dropped today!

Barrington Smith and Paul Seetachitt’s story is a wistful one. There are no tangible monsters here, nor is there a character covering up a misdeed. The misguided Tim simply wants to honor his father, whose own time was cut short. This tale is not hard to connect to on an emotional level; everyone knows someone who worked themselves to death and was consequently deprived of life’s joys. “Time Out” is simple and direct, but it is also incredibly effective

Kind words. BloodyDisgusting.com gave us four skulls, which is the highest rating of any of the episodes so far in the season.

HorrorObsessive.com also did a recap that was less effusive but still complimented the writing.

For those unfamiliar, Creepshow is an anthology series — kind of like Twilight Zone — but with a horror bent. Each episode is divided into two stories. Our story “Time Out,” got paired up with “The Things In Oakwood’s Past” which was cool segment because it was their first foray into animated story-telling and because it featured Mark Hamill, who not everyone realizes is gifted voice actor for animation. My first L.A. job way back in the day was on a live action video game called Wing Commander IV, and Mark Hamill was in the cast. He collecting some kind of toys that came in McDonald’s Happy Meals, and because he couldn’t leave the set, I think I got to bring him a Happy Meal with toy on a couple of occasions, and he was always incredible friendly and nice!

So this was exciting because it is our first actual produced TV credit! They say you are supposed to celebrate your victories, so I had imagined inviting a few people over, serving some snacks, etc., but the reality is that Paul and I just watched it with our housemate. It was still fun.

And lest anyone think my life is now too glamorous, the other big “happening” at our house is that I have a colonoscopy tomorrow morning, and I just started doing the prep. 🙄

Happy #TrainYourBrainDay

Did you know that pretty much every day is a social media holiday? These are basically just prompts for generating “content” for businesses. I should possibly start using them more for this blog, as the “holiday” also creates a deadline… which is something I apparently need. Once again I will share a Dr. Amy blog I wrote, because I think the topic is pretty interesting — something I would write about here if I ever got around to it. In honor of #TrainYourBrainDay, “Dr. Amy” interviews me about my Muse Brain Sensing Headband, which I use to meditate.

Ironically, as I hurriedly wrote that post about how amazing meditation is, I had also gone more than a week without meditating. How do I know? Because the Muse sent me an email telling me it had been eight days… and that might have been a couple days ago. And you know what? In that time, I’ve grown more frazzled, distracted — feeling under the gun and less able to focus. This happens gradually, then suddenly. For a few days, it doesn’t seem to matter, and then I tell myself if I can “just get this done” I’ll feel more grounded again, and then, when I’m all the way gone, I remember (not for the first time) that the to-do list is never going to stop — it’s me who has to stop myself.

Cravings and Mindfulness

Lately I seem to have a to-do list that grows faster than I can trim it, and it’s got me feeling ungrounded. In between checking items off, I just ran into the kitchen, sliced off a swath of butterscotch brownie and shoved it into my mouth as a little “reward.”

But was it a reward that I needed? Did I even take the moment to really enjoy it? In a way, I did — although it was after it was already in my mouth, mid-chew, before swallow — I did remember to slow down for a moment and appreciate the sweetness and slight graininess of the sugar.

Updating this blog is one of those things that has been on my to-do list for awhile, but it hasn’t happened yet, so I thought I’d share this blog post about our craving brains that I wrote for a client’s business blog this week!

Writing Update May/June/July 2021

Lucky me! In July, I got to write a guest post for Shuffle Synchronicities – the music/memoir newsletter on Substack, and was interviewed on a super-interesting podcast called Pivot Point with Joseph Debeasi. If you enjoy reading about anxious dads, pressure and songs that inspire you to lose your virginity—or listening to how cancer and living in Australia can lead to a career in writing, check ’em out!

WRITING

My front burner projects for May/June/July were :

THE INFLUENCER (spec feature) When the manager / best friend of a struggling social media influencer cuts a deal for her client to beta-test some new tech in order to get more followers, the results are more than she bargained for.  The first “feedback draft” is out to my manager for notes—plus two 20-somethings, and an actual bona-fide influencer for authenticity testing!

CONSENSUS (original pilot / series) Two detectives living in different worlds — one where Earth’s wealthiest people have abandoned it, the other a constructed utopia where no one remembers their past — unknowingly work a case that will lead their lives and worlds to collide. Yeah, it’s a hard one to pitch in one sentence! Which is why, after finishing the rewrite in May, I submitted it to a couple competitions where it has moved through the early stages—we’ll see where it’s at in a few months. 

GIRL, WOLF, WOODSMAN (short fiction) A contemporary retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” that imagines Little Red’s life after the woodsman dispenses with that pesky wolf.  Destined for submissions to a half-dozen lit journals, it will eventually be part of Season 2 of my fiction podcast

WATCHING and READING

Have you discovered anything you’ve loved as much as I loved PIG, the film starring Nicolas Cage as a reclusive truffle hunter who has to face his past when he returns to the city in search of his abducted truffle pig?

TV: The West Wing, This is Us, Good Trouble, (Season 3) Deep Space 9 (re-watch, final season), Couples Therapy,  Hacks, Grace & Frankie, Solos, Loki. 

MOVIES: Tenet, Alive (Korean Horror), The Ritual, Scream, The Half of It, The Thing, Night of the Living Dead, Imagine I’m Beautiful, Inez & Doug & Kira, The Sounding, A Quiet Place Part II, Cruella, Zola, Black Widow, Snake Eyes, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, The Donut King, Old, Pig.

BOOKS: Blood Child and Other Stories, Octavia Butler; The Collected Stories, Elizabeth Bowen; The Tools, Phil Stutz; Beacon 23, Hugh Howey; Performing Under Pressure, Dr. Hendrie Weisinger and J.P. Pauliw-fry,  Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression, Robin D.G. Kelley,  Short Stories by George Saunders; Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home, Natalie Goldberg; The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We’re Falling Apart, Alicia Garza; Thrill Me, Benjamin Percy; The Dead Lands, Benjamin Percy, The (Other) You, Joyce Carol Oates

Writing Update Preview

For awhile I’ve been grappling with the fact that I lack awareness of where my time — as in the collection of hours that makes up my life — goes. I know I work and write, and read stuff and watch things on screens (as well as eat, sleep and do dishes) but—perhaps especially when I’m working from home—the hours and days become one amorphous blob. At this moment, I might be able to tell you what I did yesterday, but two days ago is vanished from my memory. Also, as someone who slips in and out of “flow” in which, by definition, one doesn’t feel time, I lack an awareness of how much time things take. For instance, I have no idea what time it was when I started this paragraph.

In an attempt to mitigate this very floaty, unmoored existence, I’ve started trying — quasi-successfully — to clock in and out of my work sessions for various projects (I’m pretty good at clocking in, and pretty terrible at remembering to clock out). I then try to clump the hours together to make a summary I can use to figure out what has happened with all my “missing” time, as well as what to charge people for jobs when they ask for estimates, and how to answer questions like “whatcha been up to?” or “why haven’t you called for five months?”

When I start things, I’m definitely writing for myself, but, then, at some point in the process, I start thinking, wait, this might be interesting to an audience, and that often changes the shape of what I write. At a certain point, with these “productivity summaries” I thought – oh, maybe I could make a little newsletter/ update that I could send to people, like my reps and executives who have told me to keep in touch and to let them know what I’m working on. With an audience in mind, I’ve started thinking, okay, I need to pare this down, so I just named my top three projects instead of listing everything I worked on, and added in some loglines to provide context. But so far, when it comes to actually sending the updates to the execs, I’ve mostly chickened out. In addition to the fact I haven’t seen them for over a year, and they may not remember me at all, asking someone to sift through list of books I’m reading is kind of presumptuous!

Which is all only to say, I’m about to post some updates that are really of interest only to myself, which could be said most of this blog I guess, so maybe no explanations are in order in any case.

If you are one of the few who get these posts to your inbox, apologies for the heavy influx as I catch up by posting everything from this year — I’m sure I’ll be returning to my bi-monthly posting schedule soon!

(Edit: After publishing, I moved the first two updates to more chronologically appropriate locations. i.e. Jan/Feb is now published in March, and Mar/Apr is published in May…