Friday, October 31, 2008

Movie Night... Okay make that Movie Week Review: "Fanaa"

"Fanaa", a Bollywood hit from 2006, had been sitting on our bookshelf for just short of two years but thanks to Movie Night, hubby and I decided its time had arrived.

We're working on this Bollywood-styled Third World musical comedy and a while back hubby went into a Jackson Heights movie store and asked for recommendations. The guy brought out Parineeta which we loved and has become a focal point of the DVD collection and Fanaa which became the stepchild we never watched.

It took us two years to get in the mood for Fanaa but we put it in a couple nights ago and it was um...a revelatory movie-watching experience. I am not kidding when I say I've never seen anything like it.

"Fanaa" is about a blind Kashmiri girl, Zooni, who sets off with her friends to perform as part of a dance troupe to commemorate India's independence at a palace in Delhi. In Delhi, Zooni meets Rehan, a charming tour guide who's a Casanova. They flirt with each other openly, and their clever repartee back and forth shows what a great match these two are for each other, despite all the disapproving tut tutting of Zooni's overprotective friends.

I glanced down at my watch about forty minutes in, thinking, while this is cute, there's not exactly any conflict. Stakes don't seem all that high. Guy loves her though worried about his ability to commit but he's going along and she thinks he's the bees knees. I'm still waiting for something to happen.

It sort of does when Zooni implores Rehan to meet her for a final day of fun in Delhi before she returns home and he stands her up, unable to deal with his attachment to her. She's upset and seeks him out. He tries to give her the brush off with groaners like "Women are like cities. I spend a little time in one and then I move on" but Zooni is adamant that she's met her true love. She throws out the line her mother said she ought to save for her true love...a line that equates with the movie's title "Fanaa: Destroyed in Love"...but Rehan appears not to be taken in by it.

Heartbroken, Zooni sets out on the train back home only to have Rehan stop the train, clamber aboard and declare his love. He takes her back to Delhi and you can be forgiven for thinking they live happily ever after the way the movie's going.

But "Fanaa" has something else up it's sleeve. Rehan gets news of a new surgical operation that can bring Zooni back her sight. This is something he's always dreamed of for her. At long last she'll see the world. Zooni goes in for this operation but Rehan, on the way to the airport to pick up Zooni's parents who are to meet him for the first time, is presumed killed in a terrorist attack.

Meanwhile Zooni wakes up, and she can see! She greets her family who tell her Rehan's died in the bombing. Perversely, Zooni's first sighted act is to identify the remains of her husband...remains which turn out to be his clothing and a scarf she knitted.

At this point as a viewer I sit right up because I think... where is this movie going? It's about seventy minutes in and I just can't figure out the road map. While Zooni wails, and rescue crews descend into flames there is I think one of the coolest but weirdest reversals I've ever seen on screen. We learn that the bombing is the act of a dangerous terrorist who's targeted many other Indian sites. (We see the terrorist looking at all these other tourist sites.) We switch perspective to a "24"-style counter terrorism unit that is tracking the rogue terrorist. We tilt up from the shoes of the rogue terrorist as he strides through an airport. And we learn that the terrorist is...Rehan!

And then the slate tells us it's intermission. Now that's what I call an act break!

The second part of the movie is an entirely new film, like the directors said, we made a romantic comedy, now we feel like making a thriller. In "Fanaa part 2" as I call it, operatives try to track down Rehan and locate the dangerous trigger he wants to secure to launch some diabolical attack. However, when Rehan gets shot down in the middle of the snowy Kashmir mountains, he drags himself on the point of death, to a cabin. The door opens and it just "happens" to be the home of Zooni, who of course doesn't recognize Rehan since she was blind for all of their relationship. Further complicating matters, crowding around the door is the son Rehan never knew he adorable kid who dotes on the mysterious stranger.

The soap opera continues as Zooni and her father nurse Rehan back to health. Zooni gradually learns Rehan's identity (as her former lover) and they get married only for her to discover, as the dragnet for the terrorist tightens, that the man they're searching for, the dangerous renegade, is Rehan. Now Zooni has a totally compelling choice, except it's all so over the top and not treated in any genuine way. Scenes continue to be laughably unrealistic, especially the big finale where a woman agent in an airborne helicopter shoots a pistol into another helicopter and hits the enemy!!! Yes indeed, "Fanaa" will make you shake your head many, many times.

At a running time of 168 minutes, it took me almost a week to watch "Fanaa" but I was so fascinated by it that it made me think of the ability of other non-traditional, non-Hollywood, filmmakers to straddle genres. Is there a comparison here to Tyler Perry and the whole subgenre of gospel plays that confound straight genre types by blending comedy and melodrama so effortlessly? Is there something about us Third Worlders that makes us understand that things don't come in neat boxes? Or is such genre-bending simply amateurish?

Because at the end of the day I'd pick the straight romance of "Parineeta" over the interesting but ultimately unsuccessful hybrid of "Fanaa" any day.

One other quibble that makes me mark down "Fanaa", the music isn't memorable. There's nothing you'll go away humming...which is also a completely new experience for me, fledgling Bollywood movie watcher that I am.

"Fanaa" gets 2 and a half Oscars out of 5.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Third World Girl & The Golden Ticket

I got a call from a festival. The script for this musical comedy I have got accepted to a residency program. The festival accepts five projects into its program every year and I'll bet I was the last successful applicant to know.

My acceptance e-mail went to my spam. I had to get a call from the programming assistant who said, didn't you receive my e-mail? My first instinct when people say of e-mail....didn't you get it? is to go, yeah, never sent it, mainly because I've tried this ruse myself. But checking my spam folder and going through all the offers of penis enhancement pills and free luxury watches, there was the e-mail. All this fixation on the e-mail that changes my life and it goes directly to my spam. Of course I immediately wondered what other wonderful missives of success had got diverted to my spam, but there was nothing...though there was a very nice letter from a Nigerian prince. (I kid, I kid.)

Anyway, on my first phone call with the festival programmers, I was a little dotty. I entered the contest, but since it was so long ago, I didn't remember the prize. When the guy told me the script was accepted there was a pause before I asked... Exactly what does that mean?

Also, though I hope to win every contest I enter, I never expect to. Plus, I think of these things as marketing tools to create buzz for the script, not as offering meaningful prizes. But as I learn more about this prize and more about the festival and the residency, I can't believe my luck. It sounds like it will be awesome and exactly what I need. Advisors I will be crazy honored to meet, will be working with us, trying to make these projects happen. And luckily enough, they're about building careers which is good, because it's where I am as a writer. Build me baby. Build.

So now I got to go polish up my arsenal (and add to it with the cute, new Third World rom com), and count down the days of course. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Thing I Love About My Group A Writers Group

So another thing I love about my Group A, Monday night writers group...

When we finish our sessions, I walk past Carnegie Hall to get to the subway. And because of the time it is, more often than not, a show's letting out. The sidewalk is buzzing, mostly with young kids all dressed up in their fancy dresses and bow ties, giddily snapping loads of photos out in front.

And all I can think of is that old joke.
"How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice, practice, practice."

And I feel good about the hours I've just spent taking apart the script and bouncing ideas around with some pretty cool, very generous women.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

We're In Business

Since the bottom dropped out of the market, the documentary that we've been slaving away on has gone into a state of inertia. Oh, I'm sending out the hopeful e-mails and piling up the leads but I can't say I've been kicking down any doors in our effort to get back into production. The fundraising attempts have *that* disheartening. (We keep being teased by interested parties though. There's no shortage of folks who want to kill us with kind words without opening their wallets.)

Lately, too, there's been this weird disconnect between us and our production partners halfway across the world. For the last couple of months in our almost two year relationship we've been having communication issues. It's like how marriages get some time. One party becomes convinced they're doing all the work, and that the other party's just slacking off. This dynamic is magnified when you never see the other. You read all sorts of things into the silence. As you'll remember for example a couple months back we got word that we'd got some distribution interest but since then, a big fat nothing.

Without that money, we've been looking at what individual donors we might be able to target. We thought about having a fundraising party but decided it's too much work for too little. We've moved to identifying philanthropists who might have an interest in the documentary's subject matter and following them up. In our quest to do just this, three well-connected guys, who incidentally are producers too (who isn't, right?) have taken a shine to the project. The problem is our co-producer thinks targeting individuals for fundraising is a waste, a total cock tease. "Get the money from your distributor no matter how long it takes" is his mantra. In his mind, this is how a movie gets made.

But here in the Big City, what we've been doing in the last couple of months is pursuing folks with resources and trying to get their cash. Seemed logical. It's in Morrie's book...but our co-producer saw in this strategy of going after individual donors some sort of black mark against his own diligence. What I viewed as us trying to push our little project along by getting individual donations using the carrot of an "exec producer" title, he saw as frustration with him, our production partner. According to him, we should be in the boat together, mad about what rages around us, not pointing daggers at each other.

It was only during this conversation, our first fight I suppose, that I realized something. This really cool production company is working on this awesome doc with us. Now, that'll sound strange to you. I'm a producer. I've made TV. I'm not a total slouch. I've gone to a good film school and yet on a level, I still sort of thought that this guy was just trying to help me out, humoring me. See, I first approached him with the project because we had a friend in common and part of me always feels that the people who are working with me are doing so because they haven't figured out a way to gently let me down.

And so in the middle of this conversation that it took us two days to get to, I say to him, point blank... because we are friends, because I believe him when he says we can dissolve this business relationship and still be cool...I say, "Do you really want to do this?" I walk him to the edge of the plank and he pauses what seems like an eternity and he says..."Third World Girl, we're in business."

And I feel like a doof because it's my problem that it took me so long to get that. It's my problem that I can't believe my luck. Cause this producer isn't Paramount or anything, but he's a star to me. And there are days I look at my little company's development slate and I think, man, it's just a matter of time before we find the folks who're looking for exactly what we've got... but those days are interspersed with the weeks of waiting to hear something, anything, the brutal loop of no feedback and of self-doubt.

Once in a while, however, this funk is broken by the epiphany that there is someone else on the boat with you, pulling for you, rowing in sync, even if you can't always see them.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Backwards is Better

So my new favorite trick is the backwards write.

I've done this before with other scripts, usually to make sure scenes worked in isolation and to read them with a fresh eye. (You'll be amazed what jumps out at you when you start from the back of the script where your eye usually tires.) I'd also done this to check for excess flab and to make sure every scene had a story purpose, moving the action forward.

But it's only within the last couple of weeks that I used the backwards write to solve an ending that was just not working.

The backwards write is a method that story consultant Jeffrey Kitchen advocates. I like it because it focuses so exclusively on cause and effect.

It all starts with the ending of the movie. What is the image that dramatizes the object of the story? This question makes you zero in on the "moral" of the tale. Then working from the dramatization of that final object, you go back through the chain of cause and effect for each action until you arrive at your beginning.

What I find is that this really focuses the story. The question becomes less what preceded an event in the story, but more specifically, what happens in your script that causes the subsequent event to happen. For me, the backwards-write method took actions that arose to facilitate the plot and put them in the hands of the protagonist or the antagonist. I can't tell you how much more satisfying these new drafts feel.

Check out Kitchen's method here...

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Little Voice Speaks Up.

A couple years ago I took a short story workshop with a great, warm, no b.s. novelist. The first draft I brought in of a story that had won a contest was in his opinion way too precious, going nowhere. I got hammered at the roundtable and I went back and reworked it.

What I remember of the reception of the rewrite a couple weeks later is the workshop leader being taken aback at how I'd taken a note and ran with it. I can do this to the extreme which I've learned is both a weakness and a strength. I just don't have any sentimental attachment to how things are on the page. In fact, I never met a rewrite I didn't like. If I'm honest, I have a problem realizing the point at which I'm not making things better, only different.

After the workshop I ran into the workshop leader and his editor at a writer's festival and he sat me down and said, Third World Girl, you've got to know what you're doing. To paraphrase, he thought my voice and style was chick lit but that I kind of copped out on it by trying to be too highbrow. There's a place for your little, quirky, small stories...don't be bummed if they're not going to win a Booker Prize.

This is years ago and it's something I've been thinking about recently in light of the fact that I'd been struggling with this social drama. The story's an important one, based on a true, heartbreaking story but the other day when I started to re-outline it I thought...why am I telling this story? Why me?

On reflection, I realized I had fallen into a trap. See, to some extent film in Third World Girl's native country is an academic exercise. It must be "deep." It must say something profound about our post-colonial condition but looking at my work, the best of what I have... and what I've managed to make... is nothing like that.

Once upon a time, I had a mentor from my country who looked at a simple story I wanted to write about a group of Third World students living in a house, doing crazy things to make the rent. The mentor tore into me. "What are you doing? Write the story of your grandmother," he said. Being an impressionable, desperate for validation sophomore at the time, I felt like I had been correctly chastised. I felt like a big dumb sell-out, and cried big dumb sell out tears. Now, however, I think...screw that. You write the story of your grandmother. I'll write what I like.

I guess what I'm trying to say is last night I finally realized, my Third World film doesn't have to be like your Third World film and let the social drama go. Here, now, officially I'm setting it free to the universe to let somebody else write it.

I've got to go grapple with a small little Third World love story that I've been thinking about for a while.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How Do I Turn This Thing Off?

I keep being hit by all these ideas at 2 AM in the morning, just after I've crawled into bed after doing whatever writing I can. My mind is on fire when I'm supposed to be drifting off to dreamland. I can feel the synapses crackling, exploding while the rest of the house sleeps: the perfect line of dialogue, the great title, the best characterization, the best edit, the reason the opening doesn't work...

I wish somebody would write something in one of these writer's magazines about how to switch off the creative impulse so you can get at least five hours sleep. As a parent, there's a kind of desperation that sets in as you lie on the pillow and watch the time tick away, cause you know your very precious alarm clock is going to be up at 8 AM ready and rearing to go.

Of course I shouldn't be writing at night. I should be getting up at 5 AM and writing for three hours before the babe wakes up. But waking up early to write has never worked for me. It takes a tractor to get me out of bed in the morning and I am the original night owl. What this means is that I generally have to wait for her to fall asleep before I my work days start at 10:30 PM, after the usual decompression that consists of surfing the web and watching MSNBC.

So...anybody got any non-pharmaceutical ideas about how to fall asleep fast, other than the great advice below?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cheating Updated...Is it Still Good For You?

After an absence of two sessions, I made a return to the writer's group I'm cheating with. I had planned to go to prove to myself that I can "keep options open" but the decision was cemented thanks to an e-mail from the group leader who pretty much said, "Do you still want to be a part of this... because I've found a couple new people." It sounded to me like emotional blackmail so of course I shot off an e-mail saying "see you later tonight!"

But doggone it, this outside group is so high-maintenance, man. I kept thinking that my other writers group, Writers Group A, they of the laid-back, meet in public, "I scribbled out my synopsis during my lunchbreak" writers, don't have a fit if you miss two sessions. Also, you don't have to RSVP a day in advance...or bring snacks. Though you are welcome to share gum. There are none of those exercises and that free-write crap I loathe.

But I'm doing this thing now where I'm trying to say yes to things I would usually say no to. I mean, I don't need to be part of two writers groups but the theory behind it is that I'll write twice as much and get feedback on two scripts instead of one. Also, Writers Group B savaged the opening pages of the social drama screenplay I'm working on so although it would be easy to slink away convinced they don't get my "genius", I like to think tough criticism of something that clearly doesn't work is exactly what I'm looking for. Plus, I don't want to be that "writers group parasite" that hangs in there long enough to get their work thoroughly workshopped and then disappears off the face of the earth.

Anyway, I show up to Madame Group Leader's loft about ten minutes late and a very strange thing has happened to Writers Group B. It is an entirely new group. The only familiar face is Madame Group Leader. She explains to me that one of the regulars can't make it this week but that the other three have flaked completely. She makes a face as she says flaked, as though she can tell that I am a higher caliber of human being serious about my writing. But instead I panic...did I miss my window to flee?

However, thanks to the housecleaning, the sessions have become less social...which I like. I want my writers group to run like clockwork, allowing me to dive into work, get done and trek back to Brooklyn prontissimo. But unfortunately there's still too much stuffing in the bird. When we finish the opening exercise and go directly to reading pages I grin inwardly because I think, ah, at last they've finally dumped the sucky free-writing. However, a few minutes into the table read, Madame Group Leader says, "Oh no...I forgot the format. We'll do the free-writing after. Remind me if I skip it in the future."

Next thing you know we'll print an agenda. Yep, I chafe against all this structure. I hate writing exercises. What is this pretentious writers block thing? I don't understand people who don't know what to write about. I understand procrastination. I am the queen of that country but I'm not going to be helped by writing with an egg timer. I will be helped by the total annihilation of the internet... but that's another story.

Also, the new problem is, the group is now populated by different types of writers...two or three fiction chicks. This week, I'm just in time for a novelist to read the first two chapters of a book she's working on. It's got some charm and I suddenly hanker after the short stories currently languishing on my flash drive, but I don't want to be tempted into them right now. I want to work on screenplays. I want to learn from other screenwriters. I want a community of people struggling with exactly what I'm going through.

Still, I guess I'll return next time. I feel bad about being the last of the original generation left standing... but my heart just isn't in this anymore.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Movie Night Review: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

The weakest and longest of the J.K. Rowling books makes a pretty entertaining movie that reminds Third World Girl of this really annoying deputy headmistress who once came into her high school and wreaked havoc via totalitarian rules as does the movie's Deputy Minister of Magic Dorothy Umbridge. (Our deputy head was, however, never driven away by a herd of angry centaurs as much as our school population might have enjoyed it.)

But back to "Order of the Phoenix". The installment is directed by David Yates who must have satisfied the studio alright since they've handed off the rest of the franchise to him. (I will perhaps always be partial to the grit of Alfonso Cuaron's "Prisoner of Azkaban" with its cool magical realism though Mike Newell did a pretty bang-up job too with Goblet of Fire. I love it when producers open up novels as diverse as Rowling's to different directors though the first two done by Christopher Columbus now seem dull and slavish to the source material.)

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", like the book it's based on, is a whole lot of exposition...a bridge between the high jinx of the earlier series with its quaint Quidditch matches and house rivalries and the moody, deeper apocalypse of the later books. For that reason it's kind of hamstrung as a movie. (The entire thing, in fact, exists to deliver one really important piece of exposition.) In fact, hubby seemed distinctly unimpressed as he was measuring the movie up against Goblet of Fire.

I won't provide a synopsis here apart from saying Harry's pursued by dementors, uses magic in front of a Muggle while school's out, gets into major trouble for it, gets hauled before the Ministry of Magic who in a very unlikely scene lets him go his way after a Dumbledore speech, heads off to Hogwarts, kisses an Asian girl, gets heat from students who think he's lying about the Dark Lord's return, has really bad dreams that he realizes are Voldemort's visions and seeks to find out exactly what is the relationship between him and said Voldemort, a.k.a. He Who Must Not Be Named. (Go read it in 870 pages. I'm always amazed that people understand the movies as stand-alones.)

It's good character stuff that sets up a lot of information we'll need for the later novels--oops movies--but "Order of the Phoenix" doesn't really set any fires on its own.

Still a few largely redeeming observations...

1. J.K. Rowling has employed so many top notch seasoned British actors who are so good in these cameos she should get some major damehood.

2. Daniel Radcliffe is really short but he's a pretty decent actor as is the Ron Weasley dude. Emma Watson I just don't get.

3. Rowling's books translate so well to the screen. The dizzying visual landscapes of her carefully created worlds (the Ministry of Magic, the Hall of Prophecies, the Weasley Wizard Wheezes) are all meant to be experienced on the big screen...which is somewhat unfortunate because movie night currently takes place on a humble, old TV that hubby and I bought ten years ago.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" gets three Oscars out of five.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz

So there's this interesting article in this month's Script magazine about networking. What caught my eye is the advice on the 15-second intro that you always have to give when you meet a new contact who asks what you do. Their advice on how to cut through the clutter and connect? Use buzzwords.

I immediately turned to the profiles of new writers in the spec sale market at the front of the issue to see how those bios matched up on the buzz-o-meter and sure enough, they did. I went off obsessively reading bios for a little while and came up with a few from the copy in no particular order...

AFI film school grad
Nicholl finalist
Dreamworks scriptreader
executive producer turned writer
former model
repped by Circle of Confusion

Then I thought about what my usual stammering introductions are usually like. Short, like a ramble about my commute coupled with something embarassingly generic like "I write and produce videos." (I produce videos has earned me the occasional odd look like...did you just say you make porn?) All this happens because I haven't done the preparation. I haven't sat down and culled the buzzwords of my life.

And so I'm taking the plunge, though it's a pretty short list.

prestigious film school
romantic comedy spec
work screened at festivals
former scriptreader at Tribeca-based prodco

And then the well's pretty much dry. And when you look at the buzz list from two down, they are only quasi-buzzy.

I now understand this crazy desire I used to have to come from some place "in the news." In a sense, it gives you a free buzz word. It's a plus before your level of skill even comes in to play. "Wow. You're a filmmaker from Iran? Tell me more."

Unfortunately, Third World Girl is from a very stable little island not torn apart by war or drugs...therefore no buzz. Not even a kilowatt.

I'm toying with the idea of introducing "London-born" onto my list. If there's a foreign country people in entertainment here love it's the Brits. However, this would be a stretch for me. All told, I probably spent three years in London. Two of them before I was a cognitive being. I'd have to do that Madonna thing and cultivate the accent out of nowhere, which I think might be pretty alarming to the husband and friends...not to mention the Chicklet.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Movie Night Review: "Outsourced"

"Outsourced" seemed like my kind of movie...the kind of light charming global confection that tackles with humor a contemporary, controversial problem.

It's about a mild-mannered customer service manager, Todd (played by Josh Hamilton), whose call center department in Seattle is outsourced to India. While the rest of his team lose their jobs, Todd is hired to go there to train the new manager. (The movie does that really annoying jump cut thing when a character says, "There's no way on earth I'm going to India!" and then the next shot he's in India! Wow, hilarious right?)

A fish out of water, Todd must guide his department through the mysteries of selling Western kitsch to customers who bristle at having to deal with "foreigners" on the phone. This is all in hopes of getting the call center's "incidents per minutes" down to six minutes, a feat Todd achieves by teaching his charges how to sound more American, despite the fact that they're miles away and in a completely different time zone.

I loved the premise of this movie but watching it felt like I was seeing writ large the flaws of this immigration comedy I have that's been kicking my ass for a while. See "Outsourced" is basically a comedy of manners but once the initial humor at Todd adapting to Indian life is mined, there's not much else.

For a comedy, too, the movie lacks a comic character. The romantic sub-plot is thin and incredible and there's not enough conflict in the movie. At about sixty minutes in, Todd's seen the error of his sneering ways and begins to embrace India, and though there's a reversal at the end, it's not a genuine complication. "Outsourced" just meanders along lacking tension for almost half of the movie. As Time Out describes it it's "Office Space"... only shot in Mumbai and not funny.

It's weird though how you can sometimes learn the most from watching an unsuccessful film. "Outsourced" is like looking into a mirror and seeing a reflection of my problem script as it is now, though I can only dream of getting a lead actress as hot as Ayesha Dharker in the final product. Somebody please give her more mainstream work.

"Outsourced" gets two Oscars out of five.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Seeing Green

No, not cash for the doc...though that would be nice.

Instead I'm experiencing the lovely pangs of professional jealousy having learned that an old high school acquaintance has landed a big deal major award. I know comparison can be a motivator but right now at this very moment I'm having a mini pity-fest that consists of me moping that all of the projects I have are taking so long to gather momentum.

I always think that people aren't totally above board about the issue of writerly envy. Everyone always pretends to be so happy for their ultra-talented (and, face it, not-so-talented) friends but I think a lot of true, natural feelings get seriously repressed. Then again, perhaps I'm just a covetous person who needs to be beaten over the head with a sharing stick.

The thing I know from experience is that this feeling passes but you can't help but have a brief peek at the road map of your life and reflect on why your path hasn't led where theirs has.

Still here's a quote about the wasted emotion that puts it in perspective. It comes courtesy American sci-fi writer Bruce Sterling. He writes...

"A lot of authors I know, they're eaten up with jealousy of other writers. If they're not jealous of writers they're jealous of movie directors or they want to be more famous or get more public attention or something, more money, more whatever, hotter girls, a nicer car, I don't know - whatever their kink is - but that really wastes a lot of time, it becomes quite self-destructive.

"It's challenging enough just to do things that only you can do. It takes a long time as a writer to find your own voice, some writers never do."

So that's what I'm doing this week. Concentrating on doing the things that only I can do and I'm coming to a greater appreciation that yes, dammit, those exist.