Saturday, November 15, 2003

A Strange Influenza

I am still so sick, I can barely move. I walk around the house all hunched over, moaning involuntarily. I had to cancel performing at the opening of CFI West tonight. I am just so sick. I feel awful about canceling, but it's really out of my hands -- I simply cannot leave the house. This means I will also be missing the lecture at Cal Tech tomorrow, which I was really looking forward to. Damn.

The hardest time to be a single mom is when you're sick. Obviously my daughter has no idea why I'm laying around moaning and sweating and then alternately freezing. Last night was tough. It's easy to feel sorry for yourself in this situation. I have only been this sick around my daughter once before. It was really difficult. But today the babysitter arrived and now I can take a nap. My daughter and I spent the morning playing with this Maisy doll cutout game. Sometimes, I would just have to lay my head on the dining room table and breathe slowly. I told her I had a bug and her eyes were like saucers when I told her that. She wanted to know how the bug got into my body and if he was eating my lunch in my stomach and when he was going to come out.

I heard a line once -- that to have a child is to have your heart walking around in someone else's body. That is so true.

Friday, November 14, 2003

My Very First Blog Entry

Okay. This is my first blog entry. I'm not sure how personal this is going to get. I am still unsure how revealing I feel I want to be, but I figure I'll start out more personal and then move into more discreet writing if it's suddenly weird and egotistical to me.

I am right now sitting in my bed, sick with the flu. I have been working like a mad woman on two pilots that I'm writing. A pilot is a "first episode" script for a TV series and I am lucky enough to be writing two. This may be a great thing or a stupid thing.

One I'm writing alone and the other with two other writers. I think I like writing with others better than writing alone. Plus, I am better committing to writing schedules with other people than I am keeping to my own schedule. This huge writing crunch has kept me over-occupied for the last three weeks and will continue to for the next four weeks, I imagine. One pilot is for NBC and Warner Bros. and it's based on my "In The Family Way" monologue. The other one is for ABC and Touchstone and it's about a family dealing with cancer. It's obviously a drama, but there's going to be funny scenes in it. I have written one other pilot and been in several pilots as an actress and they almost never get picked up for a series. So you have to do this tricky dance where you build up your enthusiasm to write it, fall in love with it, and constantly remind yourself that the chances of them getting made into an actual pilot or an actual series is very, very small.

Anyway, I got sick starting yesterday and tried to write with my co-writers today but had to call it quits after one hour. I think it's the flu. My daughter, who is four, is off with the babysitter getting dinner and I am lying in bed writing this blog. Wow, that sounds so dilettante-y writing it. Well, please know that I have been sick a few times without a babysitter and it was very difficult. Does that make me sound better? Hmmm...I am already second-guessing this blog thing.

OKAY, the main thing I wanted to write about is that while I've been sick, I watched two things on TV. One I TiVo'ed, and one was on TV. The first one was Nova's Brian Greene show called "The Elegant Universe" (after reading his wonderful, but for me, way over my head -- ha! -- book) all about string theory. It's a two-parter. If you don't have a TiVo -- please, I urge you to get one immediately. $500 will change your life. My TV watching is entirely up to me, I never watch any commercials and I can get the TiVo to search for things I like (it actually does this automatically) and even though it's a little big brother-y, it's changed my TV watching habits entirely, all for the better.

Anyway, I watched both parts and will definitely watch them again. That night, I was so blown away by the ideas of quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity that I couldn't sleep. I mean, of course I knew something about these theories before -- even gone to seminars on them, but the way Brian Greene and Nova presented it -- it was much more understandable to me than ever before. I couldn't sleep all night, waking up trying to come up with my Theory Of Everything -- which is completely absurd since I never took any math above algebra in high school and some statistics classes that I basically failed in college. I woke up laughing at myself. Yeah, me, Albert Einstein and all these amazing physicists, trying to come up with a Theory Of Everything. I tried to tell a few friends why I hadn't slept the night before and all I got were blank stares -- like, "Y'mean a 'theory of everything…in your life?' Like a 'theme to your life?'" Which is actually also pretty funny if I was up in the night doing that and calling it a "Theory of Everything."

Okay, anyway. Nova's The Elegant Universe is really, really great. (Wow, I'm so articulate...) It made me want to stop everything and work for Nova for the rest of my life. Hmmm...I wonder where the Nova headquarters are? It seems like it would be Washington, DC for some reason.

The next thing I watched was so upsetting and disgusting that I was really glad I watched it before my daughter came home from preschool. It's called "Hell House". It's a documentary just out on DVD that chronicles a church in Texas who makes a Hell House every year near Halloween time at their Church -- called Trinity Church. It basically scares teenagers and kids into accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior by depicting scenes of people who have made, in their opinion, wrong choices, and, in their opinion, suffer eternal punishment. It's really, really creepy. (There I go with the really, really's again -- I'm sick! I'm sick!)

In the documentary they recreate scenes, like in one, there's a man dying of aids in a hospital bed, and a "grim reaper" stands over him in a skeleton mask saying that he shouldn't have "chosen" the gay "lifestyle."

There's another really upsetting scene reenacted where a young girl, who has been sexually abused by her father as a child, goes to a "rave" and is forced to take a drug that seems to be a muscle relaxant. She passes out and then is gang-raped by several boys. Later in her room, when she wakes up horrified, the grim reaper tells her that she is going to hell because she made a bad choice -- I'm not sure if it was for going to the party in the first place or for drinking the drink that the boy put the drug in -- and then the "devil" encourages her to kill herself, which she then does. They also insinuate that her father abusing her was her own fault. Oh, there are so many horrifying parts, it's too much to tell here. Okay, here's one. They reenact the Columbine murders because the perpetrators were supposedly angry at god.

I think the part that bothered me just as much as all the reenactments was the decor in the church and the people's houses that were in the documentary. It's like Walmart has taken over people's lives. It's so sad looking; cheap wooden furniture with fake gold edges and bad knick-knacks. There's a little boy with epilepsy whose father thinks that his seizures are stopped when Jesus is asked for it to stop. The very saddest moment for me was in the extra-features part of the DVD where they interview some of the congregants who participate in this, and one young girl goes on and on about how ugly and evil this world is, but that it's okay because she's going to go to heaven.

You must by this DVD. I think it might be my Christmas gift this year. Is that bad?

Okay, here's what I'm reading right now. It's called "The Ape And The Sushi Master" by Frans De Waal. I'm only about a hundred pages in. It's says "Cultural Reflections Of A Primatologist" on the spine. It came out in 2001.

My favorite line in it so far is, "I often get the impression of being surrounded by two distinct categories of people: those who do and those who don't mind being compared with animals." Obviously, I like the book very much so far.

One of the astounding results of me losing my faith, (which was a beautiful experience and the subject of my next monologue), was that I suddenly saw how alike we are to our fellow animals. And how different. But different in ways I had not previously considered. I saw my own behavior being influenced by millions of years of evolutionary history, but I also gained a new respect for ethics and the ability of the human race to make informed choices. Much more informed choices than many other animal species. After I lost my faith, I stopped anthropomorphizing in a childlike way and started anthropomorphizing in an informed way. This book seems to deal with this subject.

All right, I must go to sleep. My shoulders are cramping up from writing on a computer in bed.