Archive | February, 2012

As Promised

25 Feb

And now, because I’m sure you were just vexed in your waiting (you can only revisit whitewhine so many times in a day whilst waiting for an installment here), I bring for your consideration Kim’s Purity Ball – my first whole sketch!  Like a puppy trying to walk for the first time… but you know, it’s a start, and I’m no stranger to being bad at things.  If the future resembles the past, this is the start of me getting better.  So here’s to it!

CAST

Kim – 21

Paul – 50’s

(Kim’s bedroom)

PAUL

Wow, honey.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been in your room.  It’s, uh, different.  No matter where I look, a Jesus is looking at me.  Or a unicorn.  It’s quite a combo.

KIM

(serenely)

Isn’t it?

PAUL

(looks around perplexed and dismayed)

Well, you know, I’m sure you need your privacy and everything.

(startles as he finds another Jesus looking at him, gives a small wave)

KIM

I do cherish uninterrupted time with the Lord.

PAUL

(shifts uncomfortably)

Right.  Okay.  So, your mom and I have been talking and we wanted to, you know, check in about your birthday.  21!  It’s a big deal, right?

KIM

What a blessing.  I can hardly believe I’m drawing closer and closer on the road to sacred womanhood.

PAUL

Right.  I guess so. But wait, you got your period, like, 6 years ago, right?  Whatever, I mean, you can tell me anything you want, sweetheart, you know that.  But, just, you know, I want to be cool, and like, give you your space and everything.  I’m sure it’s not easy living at home with your folks at your age.

(more quietly to himself)

For any of us.

KIM

This is what I keep telling you, Dad – I don’t want space.  I want you to protect me and guard my heart as a man of God.  I want to serve you as a stay-at-home daughter!

PAUL

(horrified)

Is that a thing?  Christ, honey, we’ve talked about this.  You’re a grown woman.  And I’m not a – how did you say that? – man of God.  You know I’m trying to be supportive, and I know everyone experiments in their twenties, but I’ve told you how creepy I think this stuff is.

KIM

Well, Dad, you asked me what I want for my birthday, and that’s what I want – a godly father who will take me to the purity ball.

PAUL

Why do I feel like that’s going to make your mom drink whisky and donate the grocery money to Planned Parenthood again?

KIM

No, Dad, it’s wonderful!  It’s just, like, a party!

PAUL

Oh, okay.  That’s not so bad.  That’s great actually!

KIM

(winsomely)

There’s dinner, and dancing.  The daughters wear beautiful white gowns, and then the dads sign a pledge to be in charge of their daughters’ sexual purity, and cherish them, and complement their blossoming womanly bodies and stuff, and then they promise to find their daughters worthy husbands to give them to like presents, and each daughter lays a white rose at the foot of a huge cross and then does a special dance of sexual purity just for her dad, and…

PAUL

…And then we slaughter a goat and get arrested.  Honey, this sounds like an insane cult ritual.  Or a three-way father-daughter-Jesus wedding.  I can’t decide which one I’d be more on-board with.

KIM

Dad, don’t you want to be sure I don’t give my special flower away to a man who isn’t worthy?  Don’t you want to celebrate my sexual purity in public, with other fathers?

PAUL

Oh god.  I just threw up in my mouth.  And the taste makes me feel like I have to do it again.

KIM

Dad, it really would mean so much to me. Just think how amazing it would be if you chose a husband for me and then gave me to him, like your best mare in her season, or a magazine you already read, to love just like you have loved me!  Who knows me better than you do, Dad?

PAUL

KIM!  You!  You know yourself!  I imagine it’s terrifying.

KIM

I just, I know that the only gift I want on this special birthday is the blessing of knowing that on my wedding night, I’ll be thinking only of you and all you did to prepare me for it.

PAUL

AHHHHHHH!  Kim, honey, I love you but this is my absolute threshold of gross.  Can you hear the words that are coming out of your own mouth and that were somehow not stopped by your brain?  I’m putting my foot down.

KIM

(passionately)

Oh good, we’re starting!  Of course I’ll obey, you Dad – my wise keeper.

PAUL

NO!  Kim!  Listen to me!  If you insist on living this unhealthy lifestyle, your mom and I are going to have to ask you to move out.  We can’t take it anymore.

KIM

(elated)

You’ve already found someone?

PAUL

(exasperated)

NO!  That’s it Kim, you need to be on your own.  Maybe then you can sort some of this out.  I’ve tried to help you and have only proven myself to be a colossal failure of a father.  God!  I’m a middle class white guy – how is patriarchy failing me here?!

KIM

Dad!  Don’t say that!  Patriarchy isn’t failing!  You’ve just got to really lean into it!

PAUL

I’ve got to get out of here and you need to start looking for a place of your own.

(turns back to Kim on his way out the door)

My answer is no.  No fucking way am I going to any purity ball.

KIM

Where are you going?

PAUL

To the liquor store for your mother.

(Blackout.)

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Cinderella Re-write

13 Feb

And now for some more sharing of my homework!  Last week during my (super-fun, seriously – I cannot shut up about it) writing class at The Second City, one of our homework assignments was generated by us each choosing a well-known fairy tale and suggesting 3 peripheral characters that might have been involved but weren’t mentioned in the original story (ex. the 3 little pigs’ neighbor).  Then the class voted on which character they’d like to hear more from, and we each wrote a monologue from the perspective of that character.

I chose Cinderella.  The three characters I pitched were:

  • Cinderella’s living grandmother (why wasn’t C living with her?!)
  • The wicked stepmother’s boyfriend
  • Cinderella’s feminist best friend

My class voted overwhelmingly to hear more from the perspective of the wicked stepmother’s boyfriend (side note of sadness – the class voted overwhelmingly to hear from male characters in 7 out of 8 instances.  Sigh.  Rage.  Mandate to be part of fixing this).

Anyway, below is what I came up with.  I was trying to do a few things here in addition to just completing the assignment:

  • Give the character a specific voice that wasn’t my own (so here I tried to create a white, late 20s, washed-up frat boy).
  • Transform some aspect of the story
  • Crack some jokes that are specific to the story.
  • Write something with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Push some aspect of my own agenda/point of view

Again, admittedly not the greatest thing ever, but I think I’m learning how to do some stuff (and no matter what, I’m having so much fun in a space where I am not in charge of managing whining – my teacher does that).  So here-a we go:

 

I mean, I knew she wasn’t, like, a good person.  So, you know, I’m-a be straight about that.  But you get to be a certain age, and you’re still cleaning moats, and like, whatever, a man does what he’s gotta do.  And for me, bro, that was, like, I gotta do Karen.  You probably know her as Cinderella’s stepmother, but to me, she’s just, like, a nasty cougar with a dead rich husband that I bagged on the job to get at that cushy life.  I’m not bitter – it’s not so bad.

Now that you’re asking me though, actually Cinderella and I have some stuff in common.  I don’t want to ruin the fairy tale or whatever for you, but, like, I know a fellow hustler when I see one.  We’re both just doing what we do to keep our meal tickets happy and off our backs (in my case like, for seriously because that hag is into some weird dirty shit.  (shiver))  Life pushed us into a corner and we’re, like, scrapping like whoa to work it.  Bob and weave, baby.

She had the short end of the stick, though if I’m being real. Like, I know it’s the 17th century and everyone is all, like, “equality” and shit, but I mean, I still know on the real that stuff is easier for me because I’m-a dude.  I mean, I was basically all “buy me a fucking lute” and Karen was all (low gravely voice) “oh, here’s your lute, baby.”  But the Prince – there’s no way he would be cool with that.  Cinderella had to play it smart, er, dumb, er, fuck man, even just talking about it, –  that shit’s complex!  Cinderella was all like (wispy, space-y, girlish voice) “I’m shy, oh, my shoe fell off and I can see it, and like, I have time to longingly make sexy eyes at you but I don’t have time to bend over for my shoe, because I’m late for my pumpkin car – it has limited magic, oh, oh”  Like I don’t even understand the reasons behind her weird-ass decisions, but whatever – that girl knew exactly what she was doing.  Tough as fucking nails – wearing that insane dress that was covered in mouse poop.

She did it though – bagged her a comfortable life.  In a different, like, circumstance or whatever, we could have really been something maybe – two star-crossed hustlers selling fake tonics on a cart or whatever….  Cinderella, wherever you are, I wanna say that I hope that prince is gone a lot, and that you get some time to yourself to just, like, read magazines, or eat breast cancer research yogurt, or just, like, do whatever regular girls like to do.  And Cinderella, more than anything, I hope you don’t have to do weird sex stuff with your lute.

 

For next week, I pitched several sketches and the one that was chosen is about a rebellious Christian fundamentalist daughter trying to talk her liberal agnostic dad into throwing her a purity ball for her 16th birthday.  I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes.

Have a great week!

On Motherhood – an excerpt

11 Feb

Behold!  An excerpt of a larger/longer piece I’m working on concerning motherhood that I hope will be advice and jokes and most of all telling the truth:

The hard thing that I just couldn’t bring myself to say in the moment, because you were crying, is that the answer is “no one.”  No one will take care of you anymore.  Or maybe more accurate is to say that being taken care of will never be the same – will never be quite right.  You will always be the end of the line.  There is support, there is help, there is partnership, but there is never the same sense that it could ultimately fall to someone else.  It will always be yours and you will always be alone in this way.

This is devastating until one day you wake up and realize that you’ve become so strong, so capable, with a sky-high threshold so that you are able to sustain yourself from your own stores.  You have become smarter, more flexible, to be able to find whatever rest you need in the 4 minutes you’ve got without even a glancing thought to the 4 days you probably need.  Need?  No.  Could use.  If those 4 days, or 4 hours come, you will be shocked at what you can do.  Anything.  You can rebuild a career, shop for all of the necessary supplies, rest the deepest parts of you.  You will be beautifully pragmatic.  You will be fresh air.

In your work you will find fresh intolerance for bullshit.  The tyranny of the blank page?  Are you fucking kidding?  You will come to find that most of the problems your colleagues imagine are unspeakable luxuries which they just cannot shut their festering face holes about.  It’s not their fault – it wasn’t yours either.  But you are on the other side of knowing now, so allow yourself a wry smile at their charming idiocy and get down to tearing your projects a new one in half the time.  With one arm.  With someone sucking on whatever part of you (and not in a fun college kind of way).  By saying over and over again “just a minute.”  You’ll be vicious.  You’ll be smart.  You’ll be steely sure in your choices.  You will come to discover the great gift that having no option is.  Your work will thrive.  Don’t give up.  Do everything you want to do with everything you’ve got.  You can’t afford bullshit anymore and your audience, whoever they are, will thank you for that.

You won’t be “stressed” anymore.  You won’t be tired.  You’ll find that what other people lazily use these words for are stagnant, binary states.  You’ll come to discover the gradation and pinpoint your range of and in these feelings.  As your threshold expands, you’ll notice that you can function beautifully, even thrive in heightened states of these feelings.  It’s not sad, it’s amazing.  You can adapt.  You’re already doing it.  Give yourself every credit and notice your incredible impossible transformation.  You’re doing it.  You’re it.  You are an artist and your state of being is your work – magnificent.  Nobody sees quite right, but you’re beyond even that – transcendent.