Sunday, July 29, 2012

Look, up in the sky!

"We're going to see wild turkeys any second now."

The feeling had come over me all of a sudden, entirely out of the blue. Corb and I were driving down a winding road that led to The Homestead, on the way to pick up Ashes. It wasn't exactly a country road, per se, but it was lush and green and there was a horse farm off to one side. It was a pretty road in a somewhat rural area, which is why I enjoy going down it to pick up the kids.

Five seconds later, something caught Corb's eye, to the right. He whistled. "Ted, how did you do that?"

I smiled. He kept staring. "Seriously, Ted, we just passed about a dozen wild turkeys! How in the hell did you know?"

I shrugged, pleased with my new-found powers. "I'm not sure, really. It's just kind of come upon me. I felt the same way about a week ago. All of a sudden, I just know that wild turkeys are going to appear."

Corb shook his head. "But how?"

"I think it has something to do with the time I hit that wild turkey going to set construction. Ever since then, I just get this feeling whenever wild turkeys are in the area. I know it sounds crazy, but I think I somehow formed a bond with the dead wild turkey when I hit it, and he warns me whenever his turkey friends are nearby."

So there you have it, folks. I'm the turkey whisperer. If you ever need me for children's birthday parties or bar mitzvahs, just let me know. You know how to reach me!

What I wonder is, how can I put this newly-acquired skill to good use? When Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, he decided to devote his life to being SpiderMan. When the Fantastic Four were doused in gamma radiation, they used their newfound powers to defeat evil. What can I do to help humanity as the Turkey Whisperer? Could I summon my wild turkey friends, the way that Aquaman can summon salmon? Can I actually communicate with them? Talk their language? Would my new-found powers be helpful during Thanksgiving?

Also, this is important. I've got to think of a costume. Quite honestly, brown is not really my color. I think I'd look like a big giant turd, frankly. I guess I'd have to throw in some orange and yellow, frankly, just to add a splash of color. Or maybe just put a giant T on my chest? But no...then people just might think I'm Ted-man. Should I add feathers? No, then I'd just look like the Indian who sang with the Village People. And also, wouldn't skin tight spandex make me look fat? I might seriously need to think about joining the gym. Then again, maybe that wouldn't be an issue, as the Turkey Whisperer...

Sigh. So many thinks to consider. This may take a few months to sort out. But don't be surprised if somehow, the middle of a bank robbery, hear somebody cry out, sometime soon:

"This looks like a job for...the Turkey Whisperer!"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In Which Ted offers opinions about THINGS.

A dear friend of mine posted a blog entry recently that was essentially a political vent. I won't get into the whys and wherefores, except to say that my response (I was on the opposite side of the fence) prompted her to say, in essence, (and insightfully, as usual) "The thing is, when I get all "atither" I say so. Usually in writing. Usually in public. It's my opinion and not the way I expect other people to behave. I'm good once I've vented, and I've vented. I feel better. Don't you?"

It got me to thinking. Because honestly, for a few years now, I haven't vented publicly in that manner. And when I have, it hasn't always made me feel better, which is why I stopped venting publicly to begin with. Or at least, toned things down.

I remember when I stopped V on my journal. I posted a story making fun of Sarah Palin's daughter being named an "Ambassador of Abstinance" and wrote a piece about her being inducted into the Justice League. One of my Journal "buddies" at the time went apeshit and started really laying into me. He even went so far as to say that I had no right to talk, because my daughter had a child as a teenager, so I was a hypocrite for making fun of Bristol Palin. In truth, none of my girls has ever been a teen mom...the guy totally misread my life story. But rather than apologize, he just went off on some crazy new right wing tangent, and rather than deal with it, I simply deleted him as a friend and banned him for life.

I remember when I stopped V on Facebook. It was the day that Teddy Kennedy died, and I simply posted that he did good things and hoped he would rest in peace. This prompted the ire of one of my more fanatical conservative friends, who used this simple post to ram down my throat five thousand reasons why he was evil and deserved to rot in hell.

Look, the guy just died. Lay off on the hyperbole for just one day, okay? At least on my time.

It just becomes too exhausting. Anything you post on a blog or in the social media realm is subject to discussion, of course, and that's fine, but so many people are incapable of simple respectful discourse. All they want to do is to lecture and goad and throw a bunch of bullshit "facts" your way, not realizing that there are just as many "facts" that move in the opposite direction...and usually, none of them are really facts at all.

It just gets too tiring, after a while. Especially if you're feeling down about things and dont really have the urge to fight too much. Or, if you're in the middle of work and have a hundred and one things and don't have the time to research and carefully craft a thoughtful response that hands them their ass in a sling. (PS: It never does.)

Well, funny thing that. This past month, I have been feeling a bit better about things (call it my coming out party) and I have been more in the mood to hold my own about things. So, that being said, here are the things that are on my mind about things right now. Have at it, all you want!

--I don't think Obama is half as good a President as Clinton, but he's certainly not half as bad a President as Bush Jr. He is not a radical, he does not have any hidden agenda designed to unravel the fabric of our precious American society. I've heard all this bullshit for years now: I have one friend who swore to me before he was elected that he was going to force America to erect a giant gold metal shield in the air designed to purify the air. For some reason, I haven't seen that happen yet. Maybe it's just the price of gold that's stopped him. The same will be said four years from now about all the other dark secret Obama plans I keep hearing about.
--The recent tragedy in Aurora has caused me to rethink my stance on the death penalty. Clearly this guy is at fault for what occurred, and I tend to believe that the death penalty is the appropriate punishment. I do think that the court system is fallible, and innocent people have been put to death due to errors in the system. However, when it's as clear cut as this one sems to be, I say, let the guy fry.
--I also don't think that what happened is a reason for there to be any additional prohibitions put in place regarding violent films. Art did influence life in this case, but that's just the nature of art. And life. I don't believe in prohibitions against violence or sex when it comes to any artistic medium. In a free society, we should be free to express ourselves as we wish.
--I do think that the gun laws in this country need to be looked at. No one should be able to buy all that crap on the internet the way he did. It's unnecessary, and I'm not sure how can justify the purchase of 6,000 rounds of ammunition. Also, if someone had had a gun in that theater I doubt that would have helped anything. It would have made things far worse, frankly. Yeah yeah yeah, people kill people, guns don't kill people. Not really: people with guns kill people. I mean, come on, be real, I'm so sick of that shit.
--I'm kind of torn about the Chil Fil A thing. Should people who have views that are the polar opposite of mine be able to express them, even if they own a company that's trying to suck money out of my wallet? Yes, absolutely, but I don't need to eat there. That said, the response by the Jim Henson Company and mayor Menino was absolutely marvelous. Because other companies and elected officials too absolutely have the right to voice their opinion.
--As much as I am lukewarm about Obama, I am totally ice cold about Romney. Maybe it's the fact that he used to be my governor, maybe it's the fact that I view him as a right wing version of Al Gore in the way he sounds so robotic. Either way, he doesn't have a lick of sincerity in him, from what I can see, and changes his mind depending on the day and what his pollsters tell him to say. I could not possibly see myself voting for that man in November.

That's it! That's all I have right now! More opinions to come. Now that I've started spewing, maybe I won't be able to stop.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Writing about writing

With the play over, and the next chapter of the life of Tedwords finally under way, one of things I've been determined to do is to focus more on my writing. This week, I made great progress in editing my Late Night manuscript, which my agent had asked me to update back in January. this week, I edited 200 pages, and the good news is, the technology didn't need to be updated half as much as I was fearing.

I have plans on where to go with Late Night, but possibly that's better left unsaid. Let's just say I have a rough outline of what I'd like to do with my life, and leave it at that.

In the meantime, one other writing goal was to spend more time writing letters. Yes, writing. My friend fixnwrtr has been maintaining a steady correspondence with me for over a year now, but during the course of directing the play, that correspondence became entirely one-sided.

In fact, I have to confess, by the time the play was over, I had a small stack of letters from her, unopened. They would stare at me at nights, making me feel guilty.

One of the first things I did after the play ended was to go through them, one after the other. And then, I made it a point to actually write to her in response. In the past month, I've managed to send out three letters. Actual letters, too, with actual pages attached.

I have to admit, when I first started, my letter writing skills were nothing to (pardon the pun) write home about. My handwriting had deteriorated terribly through the years, through disuse. I mean, who actually writes any more? Aside for the first drafts of my manuscripts (and let's face it, there haven't been any of those in a few years) and a few attempts at morning journaling, not this guy.

As a result, my first few letters were cramped, messy. I can only imagine poor J. trying to struggle through them. I have a weird enough handwriting style as it is, a helpless hodgepodge of lower case mixed with upper case. Throw in sloppiness as a result of disuse and it's a wonder poor J. didn't just rip them up and scatter them to the winds.

I've been seeing progress. The letter that I just finished was actually legible, I think. The letters were large, the o's and the g's perfectly formed (for the most part.) I even attempted my favorite signature at the end of my letter, along with a tiny Ted cartoon.

The truth is, letter writing feels good. Like journaling, but in a different way. It's different than electronic journaling (like Live Journal) because it's all by hand, and that feels more personal, for some reason. It's different than personal journals because it's not simply one sided, which has been one of the problems with personal journals I've had over the years. I don't WANT to just write stories to myself. I want other people to read them, comment upon them. I like the two-way discourse (even if I'm not always so great on keeping up my side of the conversation.)

And I like the process of letter writing. The smell of the ink. The feel of the pen in the hand, The struggle to fill the page, the process of addressing a letter. Yes, even the licking of stamp. Definitely the satisfying feeling of placing the letter in the mailbox. It's like sex, only it lingers longer.

What I do find, however, is that life only hands you so much time, and it's hard to keep up with everything. Between editing the book, letter writing, Facebook, Live Journal, Blogspot, not to mention email, there are just too many ways to communicate these days. Forget Twitter. Something has to give, and I find Twitter to be way too limiting. The only time I actually use it is to promote a story, if I feel I have a good one worth telling. That hasn't happened in a month or so, frankly.

Am I the only one who feels that there's too much of a good thing out there? How do other people do it? When I'm at work, I find it practically impossible to keep up with everything.

Maybe my retirement from theater will help things. At least, that's one of the goals. In the meantime, I'm just grateful that this week has given me some ability to feel a bit more least, on the writing side of things.