Web Toolbar by Wibiya Shelby Rebecca: 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

A new sense of peace

I have taken solace in decorating my home. I love to collect objects, especially second-hand. This is one of my favorite groupings.

I haven't written in a while because I've been pondering what I now realize was me decompressing from the end of my graduate coursework at National University, the community organizing campaign, and my two days a week at Elise's preschool--which all ended the same month.

This realization came during a conversation with the director of the American Lung Association's Program Leadership team. I apologized for my lackluster participation of late. She assured me there was no problem and offered some advice.

"What you're going through right now probably has a lot to do with the ending of two huge projects in your life. You need to acknowledge that. It can't just be swept under the rug," she said.

I needed that.

When I was in extreme-busy-mode I was surviving on about four hours (or less) sleep a night and had developed a lump in my throat that my doctor said was a symptom of excessive stress. In fact, even after things settled down (or abruptly ended) in my life, the lump in my throat, literally, stuck around until just a few months ago.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The self scale

So, I just read my Master's research project for the first time since I turned it in back in April. Well, what I just realized is I'm not that person anymore. Somehow, between April and now I've lost, like, 50 points on the self esteem scale; most likely because I haven't been using my brain like I was when I was running an activist campaign and going to graduate school. Plus my daughter needs me less and less these days and all I can think about is how bad I suck as I watch our money dwindle and I'm not supplying any more to the pot.

John, my husband says, "you're being a victim right now…How's that workin' for ya"

I think, "it's not working but I can't see a way out right now". The self-loathing, the self-pity…it's not working for me.

But life feels like a journey too hard to take right now; as if everthing I want comes with a looming obstacle course as a prerequisite. Nothing has ever been easy for me and I don't know if I have it in me to pull off anymore great feets. I mean, ya, I've gone to school, I've earned degrees, My No More Tar Roofs campaign was successful (so far). I have a beautiful daughter but what have I done?

Friday, August 14, 2009

After the fall

Of Rome? No. Me, out of bed on Monday after my beagle harassed me with her puppy-claws and cat-wanting whines for hours in order to conspire to keep me from actually sleeping. After I'd had enough of her letting on about wanting to protect her food stored on the front patio from neighborhood cats on the prowl, I jumped out of the bed to let her out but when my foot hit the ground my leg was still asleep and collapsed under me.

Since my bed is one of those tall canopy beds, I hit the ground with the intensity of a mini-sized earthquake. I was somewhere in between a dream and a painful reality. The pain was so intense that it made me nauseated enough to nearly throw up. It was my arm that caught me, and for it's trouble, it cracked all the way through and across the bone.

I type now with a green cast kind of tapping my computer keyboard in an awkward fashion. Despite this humility, I've found some software to write my Activist Script.

If I had it my way, there'd be some Final Draft scriptwriting software all up in my hard drive (if ya know what I mean, wink, wink) but I'm a SAHM, so budgetary reasoning dictates my decisions. For this reason, I've chosen and downloaded Celtx, with the C pronounced like a K, MmmmKay.

So far, I like it but I'm at that stuck-in-the-middle position again. I'm too afraid to start writing because if I suck at it then the story I tell myself about how successful I'll become someday, and how happy I'll be when I have that glow which only comes from the serenity of financial security, will be banished out of my repertoire of comforting thoughts forever.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Dream: One step at a time

What I want more than anything in the world is to be a writer--Just throwing that out there into the universe with its infinite ability to help one find solutions to life-changing dilemmas.

One of my problems is, that I typed "how to write a script" into my browser and was subsequently told that I have no chance at being a scriptwriter because I didn't go to film school, and I don't know anyone in the business. So, I made a decision. I am going to put aside my idea for an episodic drama and try writing one of the movie scripts that I've been mulling over first. It seems that getting a movie script noticed is easier than it is getting a television spec script read for a show that is not yet in existence. (But my idea is really good so I'm not going to completely give up).

So, let's get down to business. What are my credentials? How do I know I can do this? I studied English in college, that's what my Bachelor's degree is in. I even wrote scripts for television while in college…they were just PSAs, and a documentary. They were written in the AV format, which I've found, by doing some research, is not really the norm for movie and television scripts these days. Getting an English degree requires some knowledge about drama, character development, plot, subplot, comic relief, and formatting, all of which should help guide me in the right direction.

As for my second question, how am I going to do this? I'm going to tackle writing and promoting my script with all of the drive that forced me into being a community activist this past year. In fact, my experience being an activist is what I'm going to write about. Here's me in the news fighting for clean air. I'll never forget when I was told by one of the Air District faculty that I wouldn't be able to stop it (the tar roofs). "You're just one person" he said. In fact, everyone from my Mother to my Doctor told me to give up. But I fought, hard. That's what I have to do now. I have a few months before student teaching and I'm going to give it my all.

I once saw a woman on TV who said that she had been through a horrible nanny experience. The whole ordeal was terrifying and afterwards she bought some scriptwriting software, wrote her script over a few days time (with no writing experience and I have some), and then sold her script on a website making six figures. Now, I can do that, right?? Hhhmm, Right!!!, I mean.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Script Activist

My name is Shelby. This blog is my attempt at holding myself accountable as I write my first script , find an agent, and become a successful script writer.

What I’ve only recently realized is that I’ve perpetuated a vicious cycle when it comes to my own happiness. As you’ll find out, I think I’m a great writer—in my head—in fact I know it to be true, as an unproven fact. I tell myself that all of my problems (lack of money, self esteem, and quality of life) will vanish once I sell my first script, or the novel that’s been on page 3 for the last year, or my memoires.

I tell myself this probable-truth every day in the shower while watching my dead skin cells fizzle down the drain, while folding (and not putting away) laundry, or while worrying about my student loans. But, I’ve never really tried to perfect my skills through practice and I haven’t because I’m afraid that if I fail, I’ll have absolutely no story to tell myself in consolation. I hereby declair that, “I’m done with that”. I’m done being afraid of failure or of success, and I want to pay off my student loans—in full!

So here’s the deal. For the last year and a half I’ve been working on classes to earn a teaching credential and a Master’s in Education. During that time, I also became and activist and community organizer. And most importantly of all, I was successful at staying home with my daughter, to boot. I finished my thesis and stopped a corporate polluter in my community by April of ’09. But because of a testing-block resulting in the need to retake two of my CSET subtests, I won’t be able to student-teach until February of ’10, (which is actually good news because I didn't want to put my daughter in daycare half of the day while I pay to teach anyway).

Until my student teaching begins (which, by the way, does not mean I will get a teaching job in our lovely, broke State of California) , I am going to persevere, as I’ve done in so many other times in my life, and this time I’m doing so to achieve MY dream. For, as Carl Gustave Jung says in his famous quote, “who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakes”.

As I start my journey, I have an idea for a new show that I know--if executed correctly--will work. In my personal life I have an almost-five-year-old blessing of a daughter to take care of, a husband who is ever-increasingly able of producing anxiety in me, and a hungry beagle. As for the first, I will rely on my English degree, creativity, and ability to make something out of nothing. As for my family, I will hope for support, love, and acceptance for my decision.

Along the way, I will go backwards, to my past to create characters I'm proud of, so that I can go forward, out of this stuck-in-the-center mode I've been in for a while, to find out whether I can be the writer I've built up in my mind. Will I be a success? I sure hope so! Come along, and find out!

Thank you for reading and, please do, keep in touch.