It's personal: The benefits of an emotional binge in writing a tv show (special thanks to Tom Waits)

Somewhere along the way in childhood, I made a decision to live my life as a turtle. It's nice and safe to be hidden and protected by a big thick shell. This arrangement served me well for a while, even after I decided that I wanted to be an artist, unaware that it’s counter-productive for an artist to be emotionally shut down.

In my late twenties, suffering from creative blocks, I went into therapy with the goal of becoming as productive as a machine. The therapist laughed (gently) saying: "Many people go into therapy so they can feel more. You seem to want to feel less!" I remember thinking, "What's the big deal? Who cares why you do whatever do, just do something."

Well so for the last few decades, I’ve been chipping away at the shell, trying to break out of hiding. It's still unsettling to watch actor friends IRL as they surrender to the full gamut of feelings and seem to teeter on the verge of losing control. Their frustration, anger, impulse and all the rest of it is fascinating to observe but oy, do I really want to go there without ‘deciding’ I want to?

Working on this pilot script, and wanting to do the best job I can, I’ve been thinking I do - cause I want the script to be funny but also full of the rest of life.  

And so, over this past weekend it's been pretty much of a non-stop crying jag. I'm on a modified writing retreat (not that I ever left the house, Mr. Green went away) and bingeing on music that makes me cry. Okay, maybe it’s not the ‘full range’ of emotions, but it’s a step in the right direction. And it’s nice to not have to do it the way Louise did, coping with her inner cat.  Crying apparently releases all kinds of feel-good chemicals. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Here are two Tom Waits songs which put me over the edge time and time again. The House Where Nobody Lives and, double whammy if you’re a fan of the late brilliant Alan Rickman, Take It With Me.

I sobbed uncontrollably for hours before my wedding and apparently during it, too.

I sobbed uncontrollably for hours before my wedding and apparently during it, too.

This one's personal - and all about change (Part 1)

When I told Mr. Green about what had happened the other night, his reaction was:

“Annie, it’s unbelievable. I’ve never heard of anything like this happening, especially not overnight.”  

I reminded him that it hadn’t happened ‘overnight’, that it had happened instantaneously. He choked out a dry little cough of the inexpressible:  

“I know. I heard you. I was trying to give you the benefit of ‘overnight’. Instantaneous is … incomprehensible.”

To keep this blog going, I’ve had to write about pretty much whatever’s going on in my life. It’s a special bonus if it’s related to my effort to get The Louise Log out to a wider audience but I don’t always have something newsworthy.

What happened the other night was so personal that I’ve been hesitating to write about it here. Thinking that maybe it’ll be worthwhile for someone else, I’m forging ahead.

As anyone who’s ever watched an episode of The Louise Log might imagine, a lack of self-confidence, has been the bane of my existence. I’ve tried ignoring it and acting as if I feel sure of myself, I’ve tried affirmations, I’ve read every self-help book that ever caught my eye, I’ve gone to psychics, I’ve gone to therapy, I consult the I Ching and The Runes. It all helps.

But it’s all felt like band-aids: I’m a broken person pretending to be okay.

(Trying to keep this blog to 250 words so please check back on Wednesday. And please don't hesitate to click on the 'Like' button under the photograph for something instant and delicious ...  If you want to Share, please hit the 'Share' button right next to the 'Like'. Thank you!  \o/ )

Me at about five years old.

Me at about five years old.

Go Big or Go Bust: Day 168 (this is hard being naked (figuratively))

I sat down to lunch with Mr. Green this afternoon and announced "GAME OVER." 

I feel like I'm not doing this right.  I want to pull it off.  I want to do a bang-up job of being naked in front of the world.  (figuratively)   I want to keep up my end of things on social media.  And in fact, this attempt to be open is probably exactly the therapy I need to counteract my childhood.  But--

Mudd keeps pointing out to me that all the stuff in Louise's head, in her voiceovers, is what has to come out of my head and onto the page.   "THAT'S the stuff!" 

Yeah yeah yeah fine.  Easy for you to say, Miss Mudd. 

Maybe today is especially hard because one of the psychics specifically pointed out: "JULY 6: YEAH.  All great"  

And?  I've been in tears, I've wasted time.  And I hurt someone's feelings. 

Tomorrow is another day.  In the meantime, there's tonight. 

Go Big or Go Bust: Day 114 (on Siri, Ex Machina and my longing to be robotic)

Not being especially techy, I don't think much about robots.  But last weekend I saw the Alex Garland film Ex Machina (all about robots)And recently I've been having my own problems with Siri, the robot in my phone.  Asking for 'directions' has become a high stakes ordeal.  Instead of giving incredibly precise GPS directions (as she used to), Siri now tears, at the speed of light, through my address book and randomly requests FaceTime with inappropriate people.  SORRY if you've been among those.

And then I had a blinding flash: once upon a time, and maybe even up until right now, I've had a yearning to be robotic. 

looking my robotic best in the Berlin Intl Film Festival catalogue

looking my robotic best in the Berlin Intl Film Festival catalogue

Soon after I moved to New York in 1978, I went into therapy with a kind and very quiet man on the Upper West Side.  Wearing a friend's, ex-husband's, leather motorcycle jacket, I'd ride my bicycle from my job in midtown up to 90th or 91st Street and Central Park West, take the elevator up and lie on Dr. T's couch for an hour, covering my eyes when details were difficult to talk about. 

For probably months of sessions, I rattled on and on (and on).  And then one night, the good doctor cut me off: "I've heard a lot about a fair number of people in your life, but I think you came here to find out more about you, to get in touch with your feelings."  Like it was yesterday, I remember practically shouting at the guy: "What?  No!  I came here so I could get through my creative blocks ... so I can do my work!  I don't want to waste one minute on 'feelings'."  Dr. T. chuckled in his shy and non-judgmental way:  "Really!  Most people come into therapeutic analytic psychotherapy so they can feel more!"  (Pretty sure that's what he called it.)  Shaking my head: "Nope.  I don't want to feel anything.  I just want to be like a machine and work work work.  Efficiently. "

So it's with some surprise that, through a chain of events which seemed to lead me in spite of myself, I went yesterday to see a practitioner of Rubenfeld Synergy.  Two new friends had gone and talked about almost mystical experiences of being connected to themselves and liberated from long-held blocks.  After one session, it's looking likely that 'feelings' are the pathway to this liberation.  And I'm wondering if 'feeling' is also the key to 'self-confidence', that ideal on the hill which has so effectively eluded me. 

Hmmph.  If only I'd taken Dr. T's bait offered so many decades ago.  I'll keep you posted.


Go Big or Go Bust: Day 42 (hilarious no-budget therapy with Bob Newhart)

I've been getting such encouragement from you and it means the world to me. "Keep at it!"  Eric DM'd me.  "It's good!" Max said. "Keep going on" Véro emailed. "You're going to explode!" Bill wrote (and, from the context, I could tell he meant in a good way). 

But even with this kind of frankly amazing support, sometimes you need a professional to give you a boost. Many of us have been in therapy to try and keep at it. Cathy Crosky, a coach whose specialty is leadership and organizational transformation, also coaches regular people who just need to get organized or to get a little more assertive. She recommended this video which addresses the pandemic of dis-ease we all suffer from. And it's HILARIOUS.  Enjoy.