Life as a Writer = Suffering

Maybe it isn’t like this for all writers. Maybe I just do things the hard way, but I’ll admit that I hate writing close to 100% of the time. The process is laborious and I’m too slow at it. I hate that my fingers and my mind can’t keep up with the essence of what I want to communicate. Then, of course, there are the times that I have to look up the spelling, definition and/or exciting synonym of a word, which only slows the process down even more. And who can forget the rewriting process that can sometimes be longer than the initial writing? That’s not to say that I always hate writing. On the rare occasion, the planets align just as the Moon’s gravity waxes or wanes to the perfect complement and I’m able to string together a phrase that hits all the right notes and, more importantly, says exactly what I wanted to say.

On the other hand, I love having written. I imagine that it’s similar, but not equal to, the joy new mothers feel the moment after having given birth. A moment ago, she wanted to die. Now, she only wants to live for her child. When I’m under deadline and my words are failing me, I hate life. It is, however, one of my rare treats to re-read something I’m proud of. With that said, the only way I can be proud of something I wrote is knowing that I did the best I could on it, and I try to be proud of everything I write. That’s why I’m up until three in the morning editing my work, trimming or shoring up passages until I’m satisfied.

The following morning is usually hell as I drag myself to work with inhuman willpower, but the satisfaction from the previous evening carries through in an ironic way. Yes, I’m tired, but it’s only a physical reminder that I’ve used my evening constructively and have taken strides in my career — or at least in the career I hope to have. I’ve come to regard the familiar morning grogginess as the muscle soreness that follows a workout the next day.

Whatever you want to call this ethereal masochistic place for writers that I’m in, it’s good to be back here. 😉

The Howling Dogs

A very big part of endurance is being able to shut out the pain. When I was younger, I was a long-distance runner. I have no doubt in my mind that if I had pursued it through adulthood, I would be a remarkable marathon runner now. I never minded the physical strain of long lines at amusement parks. Later in life, I consistently worked upstairs in a two-storey restaurant with no elevator. I prefer standing to sitting. This is all to say that I am accustomed to punishing my feet. it’s a good thing too, since standing around seems to be a big part in entertainment journalism.

My first assignment with Buzzine was to cover a Hollywood event called The Zodiac Show held at the Avalon Hollywood theater and nightclub. The show was scheduled to start at 10:30, celebrities to arrive at 9:30 and Press to be there at 9:00. I showed up at 8:00. I didn’t plan on being there that early, but coming from the Inland Empire, you can never tell how treacherous the freeways are going to be. As my first gig, I thought it best to be extremely early than a little late. It worked out since they didn’t have me on the list and I had to call Richard — the owner of Buzzine — to come out and smooth things over. He did and we went for sushi to kill some time. When we came back, his wife, Lauren — also the magazine’s photographer — was waiting for us at the red carpet.

This was my first red carpet event, so I was a little excited, but only insofar as it was a new experience, and not in any kind of starstruck way. There weren’t any celebrities I recognized anyway. Furthermore, I’m sure red carpet events are a dime a dozen in Hollywood. I don’t even really know what the criteria is in order to have one. I think all you need is a red carpet. If you have some sponsors, put up a couple of backdrops with their logos and you’re set. One interesting thing I learned about red carpet events is regarding the logistics
that make them work. I sometimes see the pictorials of these kinds of events in lifestyle and entertainment magazines and I’m often left to wonder who half the people in the pictures are and how the journalists know them. I’ve always just assumed that career entertainment writers had such a wide breadth of star knowledge that they knew every obscure entertainer in the industry. In reality, what happens is there’s a person that stands just out of frame, holding a makeshift cardboard sign with the talent’s name and current project. The photographers take a snap of the sign as a marker in their roll.

“That must be a little ego-bruising,” I said to Richard.

“What is?” He stood on the curb with me, holding Lauren’s bag.

“Having to be introduced by a sign so that people know who you are, but I guess it works.”

Behind us, cars slowed down or did U-turns and stopped to see what was going on. A bystander shot footage of Christina Milian on his phone when it was her turn to walk down the red carpet. After she moved on, he stepped away to cap his footage with a little outro of himself, no doubt to further his career as a YouTube personality.

A little after 10:30, Press was allowed into the club, which couldn’t have happened any sooner for me, since the pumpkin spice latte I had earlier was catching up to me with a vengeance. The place was packed and all of the tables had been reserved for guests of the performers and VIPs so it was SRO — standing room only. While Richard made his way to the bar, I headed to the restroom. When I came back, I couldn’t find him, so I hung out by the DJ and texted Richard my location. He fought his way through the crowd a few minutes later, brandishing a Jack & Coke.

The show ran late and started at 11:30 instead of 10:30. It was also an hour-long. The moral of the story here: Always wear comfortable shoes.

On a parting note: I really like Lauren, the photographer. Not only does she have that spunky beauty I’m attracted to, but she also suffers from similar foot ailments. Ever since I was young, my feet would spasm and contract painfully, like making a fist with only your ring finger and pinky, but with your foot instead. The only relief I found was to bend my foot in the opposite direction until the contraction passed. Usually, doing so made me look like a moron since my leg was bent in odd directions. While I talked with Lauren about her foot pains, I looked down to find her standing on one leg with the other foot bent deliberately to force the toes upward. I clapped my hands and laughed.

“I thought I was the only one!”