Tag Archives: Writing

#sixseasonsandamovie

I probably told you last year, but I’m a huge fan of Community. And like most fans of this show, I was very excited when news of Dan Harmon’s return to the show broke.

Dan who? Well, for the uninitiated, Dan Harmon is the creator of Community.  After the 3rd season of the show, however, he was fired by the network, apparently (I think) because they felt where he was taking the show would not bring in better ratings for the network. So a 4th season sans Dan Harmon appeared and, well, it was…questionable.

Okay, it sucked.

I mean it had its moments, and some of the ideas started out great, but it pretty much was a bunch of ups and downs on the lamest roller coaster you could ride. I found myself struggling to watch a lot of the last half of the season, only doing so because I’m a habitual completionist. (I have to finish things, whether its watching series, collecting comics, collecting Heroclix –more on that later — etc.) The characters felt like alternate versions of who they were. The relationships and plot lines felt forced, to say the least. And while each episode had the potential to save the sinking ship that was season 4, apparently not having Dan Harmon in the room prevented that potential from being released. Just imagine what he could have done with Muppets (mild season 4 spoiler).  This was becoming a show looking more and more like they would never reach their inside-joke-of-a-goal of six seasons and a movie. In fact, the season was so below the bar set by previous seasons that apparently (I think, again…I should really read up on these facts more thoroughly) the actors refused to do another season unless Dan Harmon was brought back into picture.

And thus, Dan Harmon returned. And after last night’s dual-episode season premiere, it’s clear that his return is good. The characters feel like themselves again. The jokes and quips are back to their natural rhythm that made me fall in love with the show in the first place. And the writing. Oh, the writing. Welcome back to being good. Welcome back to not feeling forced.

I’m not big on being a reviewer or a critic, I just know what I like and I like to celebrate what I like when it makes a big comeback and does so successfully. Community, you are SO back. Dan Harmon, you just Jesus’d the show. No. You Abed’d it. Or something. Whatever. I’m excited.

COMMUNITY IS BACK.

-Mickey

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When life gets living.

Still here. I don’t expect that you’ve missed me annoying you every day with my random thoughts? 😉

Since my last post, a lot has happened in this amusement park that is my 2013. I’m not going to recap it all here, and I do still plan to do posts for every day of the year, including the ones that I have yet to publish, but I thought I’d drop by and drop a line to get back into the swing of writing.

I’m very tempted to just use everything that has gone down these last few months in this one post to get a jump start on things, but with so much material running through my head, I’ve got to ration it all out. But maybe I can hit you with some previews?

Let’s see. There’s been a lot of shows involved, both with me as a spectator and as a performer. I’ve seen a couple of outstanding concerts, a lot of indie theatre shows, one particularly hilarious big-stage musical, and a whole lot of Star Trek: Voyager on Netflix lately. I travel around the city mostly by bicycle these days. My car gets dusty in my garage and I’ve probably driven it twice in the last two weeks.

I’ve made a lot of amazing new friends, and turned some current friends into some of my closest friends, by the sheer power of hanging out and having fun. I’ve turned into somewhat of a fitness coach among my friends at work, who have humbled me greatly by letting me know that my P90X journey has inspired them to start their own healthy journeys. And yes, I’m almost done my second round of P90X, which was surprisingly more difficult the second time around, not in terms of the intensity of the workouts, but in terms of consistent workout scheduling.

I booked my first solo flight. I’ll be heading to Calgary in a couple of weeks to visit one of my favourites. And since just buying that ticket, my head has been in total wanderlust mode. Peru might be happening in April 2014, just saying.

I’m starting to give it all away, but we’ll just call this a list of things for me to expand upon in the posts that I’ll be filling in along the way.

If you’re reading this, thanks for re-joining my writing journey. Let’s get living.

Oh yeah, and this little dude is my new roommate. But more on Sawyer later.

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– Mickey

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Oh, right. Thank you, again!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I sometimes like to write about my day somewhat cryptically, talking about things like moving, or creating things, or staying motivated and positive seemingly for no reason. The truth is, what I write is most of the time because of something that happened during the day that made me think. I don’t always mention that as the reason behind each post because I try not to just make this exclusively a daily online journal, so I’ll usually just jump right into my thoughts about the event without going into the specifics of the actual event that inspired the post.

That being said, with yesterday’s post being exactly that situation, I totally forgot to stick my pattern of monthly gratitude to you, the reader! So here we go!

Thank you again for following along on this journey with me. I truly believe that taking this third attempt at a 365 blog seriously has helped me to also stick to my fitness goals, and because of my dedication to writing here everyday has caught the attention of many people I had never known before, it has kept me motivated and accountable to get to where I am now. It all ties in together: my vision board, the habit of daily writing turning into the habit of daily exercise, the encouragement of friends and strangers enjoying my writing becoming a visible, growing (but still humbly small) community of fellow writers, fitness-minded people, and people also starting their own journeys have made this blog become one of the farthest reaching things I’ve ever done on the internet and has helped me to become the healthiest and most fit I’ve ever been.

So once again, with all my heart and soul, I thank you for stopping by once in a while to see what pops out of this unpredictable mind of mine. I’m humbled and extremely grateful whenever someone comes up to me at work, or when I’m out with friends and family, and says that they’ve read my blog and it has inspired them to make changes in their lives. I never would have thought that my simple goal of writing anything, really, would turn into something worth reading, let alone inspiring or even remotely life-changing. But as I started to give those little messages of push and inspiration at the end of a lot of my posts, I realized that this is now part of what this blog does. This is a reading place meant to keep me motivated by sharing that motivation with you. It just so happens that the result of that might mean you may feel motivated too. And I love that.

It’s hard to believe that, sometime next month, I’ll have reached the halfway-point of my first successful 365. Yes, that’s right, I’m calling it. There’s no going back now. I’m seeing this baby all the way to the sweet, sweet end (and most likely beyond.) So thank you for keeping me motivated, inspired, and accountable. This wouldn’t be what it is, and I wouldn’t be who I am, without your support, no matter how small.

You rock.

Image by ~hailthekid.

– Mickey

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I’ve made it this far thanks to you.

So we’ve reached March in the journey to 365 blog posts this year and, just like last month, I want to thank you for coming along. It’s hard to believe that we’re already done with 1/6th of 2013, and it’s even harder to believe that I was able to write 59 different (and often random) posts about, well, nothing and everything. Again, I call it the “Mind Dump” for a reason, and that reason being that it’s a place for me to just write whatever comes across my brain. There’s no censorship, no judgment, no need to tie everything together — though, as I read my previous posts, I realize that I definitely follow a structure when I write in this blog — just a complete dump-out of my mind.

It just so happens that, as this is a very inspirational year for me, I’ve been trying to inspire you, all of you wonderful readers with what I write. I don’t purposefully try to find a lesson out of my posts, they just happen to be inherent in what I decide to type. It’s not nonsense (most of the time), but just a way for me to share with you what keeps me motivated and what helps me get through life. In the two months this has been going, I’ve covered different ways to handle stress, many ways to stay on the course of whatever your goal may be, different ways that the mind works, and a lot of ways to just perceive what’s around you and to be more open to the universe. That’s where I get my inspiration and my “zooming-out” perspective, and it’s definitely big enough for you too, so don’t hesitate to join me.

But really, this is another thank you post. It really lights up my day when I see a notification that someone new has decided to follow my ramblings, or that someone who already follows pushes that like button. I know it may seem like such a little thing, but to have even just 30+ followers, most of whom I’ve never met before in my life (but I have read, and I’ve gotta say, I really like reading your stuff, too!) is just more than I could ever ask for with this blog.

At first I thought this blog was for me. Then, I thought it was also to share my mind with my friends and family. But I realize that it’s definitely just for everybody. It’s just for you and me. And as I continue through this journey to 365 consecutive posts and grow as a writer (or blabberer), I want to invite you to reach out to me with any comments, questions, suggestions, or complaints, either through the comment section at the top-left (and if you’re on the singular-post page, at the bottom) of each post, or through any means with which you know to contact me. I’m very open to feedback — it’s really the only thing that makes us grow intellectually and in our different skill sets — and I’m always open to discussing anything and everything.

Thank you, again, for being a part of this with me. It’s nice to have you on board.

This one’s for you:

– Mickey

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The wonders of pressure.

Some people produce their best work under pressure. I don’t mean under stress, I mean under pressure and in my mind there’s a big difference. Stress is something that you let happen to you. In fact, it’s you doing it to yourself. With the exception of extraordinary situations, stress is all in your mind. It’s you telling yourself that it can’t be done and being so caught up in that thought that you worry and worry and thus create more stress. (Remember that post about being your own friend? I should’ve also mentioned that it can probably lower stress.)

Pressure is an outside force. It’s a deadline. It’s someone pushing you, in any sense of the word. It’s something that you can stress about, but again that choice is yours. In the physical, scientific sense, it can (as motivational posters will tell you) turn coal into diamonds. For me and for others, it can produce some of the best work and best results.

In the creative world, being under the pressure of a deadline helps to focus on the important stuff. It stifles the inner-critic that tells you that your ideas won’t work and that you shouldn’t even give them a second thought. You have no choice but to go for it and commit to your choices. You may have a little bit of time to tweak some small things, but ultimately, you’re jumping in the deep end, ready to swim. I know that when I’m close to a deadline, my best work is coming out, whether I want it to or not.

Now that’s not to say that it’s not important to be organized and to try to hit your deadlines by spreading out the work over time. But you’d be surprised what a little — or in my case far too often, a lot — of procrastination can do to get your brain into gear for the final stretch.

So I suppose pressure is also a choice if you’re an avid procrastinator like me. But don’t let it stress you out. Diamonds don’t, you shouldn’t either.

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– Mickey

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Being stuck. (Or, the fight against writer’s block.)

So, cards on the table, I have no idea what to write about today. I was thinking of going towards a discussion about the power of our pets and how fulfilling taking care of an animal companion can be. And especially since it’s Family Day up here and I get to spend time with my dog who doesn’t live with me regularly, it would have been an apt post, but I’m going to save that for later because I couldn’t come up with a title that I liked. (No, seriously, that’s the reason. Take it for what it is.)

Then I started thinking about other things that may inspire or provoke thought, but really, all I was doing was getting stuck. And that leads us to where we are right now: being stuck. Am I stalling for time? Yes, a little bit, but I think I’ve got my train of thought in motion.

We all get stuck. We get stuck in many different ways, at many different points throughout our lives. Taking design classes in theatre school, I was taught different methods in trying to get unstuck when faced with such a dilemma. Looking at different sources for inspiration, listening to music to evoke a thought or an emotion, or not thinking at all and just letting some sort of stream-of-consciousness output to flow. The scariest thing to many designers, visual artists, and writers is putting that first mark on the page. A blank page can be a terrifying thing.

My favourite method of getting unstuck, is a simple one. Just start. Write a word. Write a sentence. Who cares what it is, just write it down. Draw a line. Dab some paint. Scribble. Doodle. Just get something on that paper or that screen. Nothing you create is perfect, nor should it be. Everything is just a draft, a work-in-progress, and whatever it is that you end up as a “final” product, will ultimately show you ways to make it better in its next stages, if it’s necessary. You may get the result you want in one shot. I know that I’m guilty of rarely proofreading, and I’m sure I’ve made mistakes in many of my posts here. But I also know that many pieces of work that I’ve done throughout school — especially in high-school, where I was consistently a high-achiever — were submitted as first drafts, despite advice to edit and re-draft. I’ll proofread for mistakes and flow, but the only time that I went through the “proper” way of essay-writing was the lowest grade I received for an essay. (It’s a blessing and a curse.) But in the end, even if it was a very procrastinated-upon end, I just had to start.

So just start. Just write. Just draw. Just go. You’d be surprised how quickly your brain starts flowing. You want proof? You’ve already read it.

 

– Mickey

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Day 10: Sharing from the Kitchen…

Last year, I submitted to be a part of Fu-Gen’s 9th Playwriting Kitchen — a writer’s workshop in an Asian-Canadian theatre company — to which, surprisingly, I was offered a spot. Every month, for one Sunday session, 8 participants get to learn about and practice the art of the playwright with the help of an amazing dramaturge, Andrew Cheng, and the equally amazing theatre-creator/administrator/playwright/awesome person, Jenna Rodgers. Together, we explore the ins and outs, and ups and downs of playwriting, from how to generate material, to how to ask for and submit feedback, to how to edit, and so forth.

Now, I’ve always thought that writing was one of the weaker points of my craft as a theatre-deviser, which is why I applied to be a part of this in the first place. And I think I’m really starting to find some sense of ease and less intimidation when it comes to staring at a blank page.

Last session, we were given 15 minutes to write something, anything — in script form — with our only starting words being “I’m shocked”. This is what I came up with and will end with for today:

PEARSON
I’m shocked.

LEN
Yeah.

PEARSON
Did you–

LEN
Yeah. I did. I saw it all.

PEARSON
How can one person just walk into a bank–

LEN
Yeah, I know. I’m asking myself the same thing.

PEARSON
No warning, no yelling, no real demands.

LEN
And those pants.

PEARSON
Yeah– wait, no. Pants?

LEN
Yeah, who wears lime green pants?

PEARSON
Are you serious right now? A dude just walks into a bank and kind of robs it, but doesn’t, and you’re thinking of his pants?

LEN
Yeah, well, they were bright you know? I mean, come on, he didn’t really do anything except scare and confuse the crap out of everybody. So, you know…those pants.

PEARSON
Right. Those pants.

LEN
Yeah.

(Awkward silence)

LEN
I mean, at least we’re okay, right?

PEARSON
Yeah, there’s that. I’m okay. Are you okay?

LEN
Yeah, I’m great.

PEARSON
Great?

LEN
Yeah. Well, no, I mean I’m fine.

PEARSON
Okay. Because you know you had a gun to your face because he wanted your socks.

LEN
Well, you know, they had holes in them anyway, so it’s not like a big loss.

PEARSON
(Beat) Len, what is wrong with you? You could’ve gotten killed! And you’re great, it’s no big deal that your missing socks, and all you can think about are bright green pants on a guy who held a gun to your face?

LEN
What do you want me to say, Pearson? I’m shocked too, okay? Maybe I’m even in shock? Who knows?

PEARSON
Dude, you wouldn’t be speaking right now if you were in–

LEN
I don’t care! I don’t care what you have to say about that right now! For once, can you just accept the fact that, even in unusual, life-threatening situations, I can’t help but stay fixated on strange things no one else would probably notice? It’s just how I am! Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe the reason I have to react to situations like this in the way that I do is because I’m trying to balance out your constant need to worry and over protect?

PEARSON
Over protect?

LEN
Yeah! Look at you, Pearson. You’re just ready to judge me for not reacting the way you think I should, and you’re not even really listening to me right now, you’re just getting ready to correct the next thing I state wrong or at least wrong in your view.

PEARSON
Well, actually–

LEN
SHUT UP. I swear to the universe that if you say anything right now to correct me while I’m in this state, I will point a gun at your face and demand you give me your socks AND your wallet, all right?

PEARSON
Fine, fine. (Beat) You wanna get some ice cream?

LEN
What? (Beat) Yeah, it’s too hot.

15 minutes. I’d say that’s not that bad for 15 minutes.

Ok, I lied, we’ll end with this:

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-Mickey

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