Monday, August 24, 2009


Outing - noun - the public disclosure that someone is gay. The term can also be used more broadly to mean the public disclosure of other personal characteristics, such as political affiliation or religion, that someone wishes to keep private.
Accountability – noun - The state of being accountable; the obligation to bear the consequences for failure to perform as expected”
So, I start my writing blog, “I Should Be Writing But My Dog Ate My Laptop,” and I send all my friends and acquaintances a lovely little message touting this accomplishment.  I’m all apple Now n’ Laters and grape Kool-Aid in junior high happy.  And I start getting great, encouraging messages: “You do your thing.”  “I’ve bookmarked your site.”  “Eagerly awaiting your next post.”  And that’s when it dawns on me -- I have just sent ALL my friends & acquaintances a formal public statement that I will be writing every week. I’ve come out of the accountability closet, so now I’m going to have to – for lack of a better term – put out.  I can’t just tease.  I can’t just flirt.  I’ve got to give it up big time.  And suddenly, I start getting this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.
There are those people who can be accountable to themselves - The Stephen Kings and David E. Kelley’s of the world.  They tell themselves they’re going to write three, five, eight pages a day, everyday, no matter the circumstances – and they do it.  I guess I’m just not cut from that cloth.  I used to write goals down on a calendar and put the calendar in an area I had to pass all the time.  This worked at first, but after awhile, the calendar just seemed to blend in with the rest of my surroundings – and I’d walk by without even blinking twice.  I grew up in Brooklyn, and if there’s one thing you learned at a young age (No!  Not how to knife fight!), it was that you had to speak up to get your point across.  Maybe that’s why I find there’s something to shouting things out into the universe – which seems to have ears – so by putting a goal out there, I force those ears to listen. And when it’s listening, it begins to will things into motion. 
My trip out of my “artistic closet” has outfitted me with some indispensable accessories – several AC’s.  For those in film, I’m not talking about assistant camera people.  I’m talking about Accountability Checkers.  Those are the friends and acquaintances that never let you forget your declaration to the universe. And there are all different types – and each of them as necessary as the other.  There’s the overly optimistic “got your back no matter what” AC.  That’s the person you tell you’re going to quit your job to research and write a 2000 page book on the origin of lint, and they tell you it’s the coolest idea they’ve ever heard.  Everything seems possible to them.  There’s the supportive, but realistic AC.  When you slack off, they’re there with an “everyone’s gotta take a break every now and then. But then you’ve got to get back to it.”  And then there’s what I call the “ball busting accountability checker or BBAC.  That’s the friend who never calls without asking, “How’s that script going?”  You tell them you’ve been crazy busy, haven’t had a moment to write and they pause, let out this “I’m not buying a word of this bull” sigh, then say, “You might not have had enough time to write, but you sure had enough time to go out to the club last night.”  So you say, “Yeah, but I was just trying to blow off some steam.  Besides, it was my cousin’s birthday.”  BBAC comes back with (By the way, that’s one of the characteristics with BBAC, they always have a comeback.) “mmm hmmm,” under her breath, followed by,  “But two nights before that, weren’t you down at the Arclight…and not just watching a movie, you were also hanging out at the bar.”
Well, now that I’ve outed myself and gone and broadcast my intentions to the universe about this blog and about having to network and sell my book, I know I’ll be coming up against a gang load of Accountability checkers.  Heck…they’ve already begun surfacing  And despite my anxiety, and a little fear, I’m looking forward to the challenge.!
By the way, working on the query letter – my verbal pitch.  Almost ready to start sending it out…so I’m about to polish up my protective armor…and dive in!  Cross your fingers.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

So, I just finished doing edits on my second novel - title as yet unknown - three years, three months and two days after the release of my first novel, "The Crickets' Serenade."  Now, thirty nine months between works might not seem that long to some people when you have authors like Harper Lee who, since publishing "To Kill A Mockingbird" in 1960, has yet to publish another novel, so that's like...49 years and counting?  But then again, she published "To Kill A Mockingbird."  If I had written that, I might have stopped too.  Just taken off to Bora Bora, opened a bar on a beach, and watched my residual checks floating in.  I mean, how do you top that?  That's like scoring an academy award in your first role...might as well move on to something else like oyster farming or cake decorating after that.  

But then you have people like Stephen King who seems to put out a major work in what seems like every three weeks and I'm thinking, "I'm a slacker."  Now, I could have probably finished this thing in twelve months, but that would have meant no hemming and hawing and very little of the dreaded "P" word - procrastination - involved.  and I "p'd" a lot.  I p'd whenever I got wind of a wine tasting, or a new tequila bar, a "Sex and the City" marathon, a "Planet of the Apes" marathon, any new reality show starring a not so attractive former rapper/rocker. I "p'd" whenever my friend Consuelo invited me over for a Yankees vs. Red Sox clash and stood there chugging as many Red Stripes as possible.  As if it wasn't bad enough I was taking four hours off to watch the oh so fast paced game of baseball, I needed another four to recuperate from my inebriation, guaranteeing that once again, there would be not a word written.   

But despite sporting events, drinking fests, laughably bad dates, an attempt at adapting my first novel into a script (surprisingly difficult), a good 1/2 hour comedy script, an attempt at a bad feature script...Sorry, scrap that.  I didn't attempt to write a bad feature script.  I attempted to write a good one, but I strayed and it went horribly wrong, morphing into something called "Choose," of which a friend was quick to inform me that I had somehow unwittingly managed to combine Saw I, II, III, IV & V into one script.  Nice!  I say "unwittingly" because I've never seen any of the "Saw" films.  Add to all that a terminal illness to my dad and the dreaded day job, but I somehow managed to finish novel number two.  I wish I had been blogging at the start of that process, because it was a divine comedy of errors, but I'm starting now, as I sit here poised and bursting for great success with Novel #2, my untitled masterpiece - never mind the fact I no longer have a book agent and must flee my current publishers (that story to come later).  For the moment, I've gone from procrastinating writer mode to must-network-query-sell myself and my work-mode, while still working crazy day job (more on that later), managing a slight case of adult ADD, trying to find Mr. Right...and not settle for Mr. Not Totally and Completely Wrong But Could Do Better...starting on my next project and trying to start up a business venture.  Biting off more than I can chew?  I don't know.  I am Jamaican, and we're the champions of multitasking.  I know there'll be those nail biting, what the heck am I doing, really don't wanna get out of bed, am I really a talented writer, damn - I need some tequila moments, but it's part of being a creative being, I guess, and I would never trade that part of myself for anything.