Of our bodies entangled
But now, I’m alone
Craving a touch
Anything to live up to
the massacre you created in my heart
I walk the streets
Laying with the nearest attractive
To live the dream you created
Into a reality
It won’t work
No one can be you
No arms can clutch me
The way yours did
No lips can utter my name
The way the whisper of it clung to your tongue
So I am left in this upside
down topsy turvy world
craving something simplistically beautiful
lying in your bed
the times I wondered
which leg was mine
which finger was yours
and never really minded.
When I think of what it was like to grow up in North Carolina, the first thing I remember was the tortuous nature of being the new kid. From day one, I blindly hoped that one day there would be a home for me among all those around me. They seemed so normal in comparison to the world I had grown up in. They didn’t ride their bikes to school the long way to avoid riding past the skinny, slimy pedophile two doors down, or buy their clothes on sale at Old Navy outlets on Black Friday because the neon orange capris were suddenly discounted to four dollars.
If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud. — Emile Zola
Written my sophomore year of college as a pitch. Please note that this is only influenced by truth. I’ve changed the names of the people involved and all of the circumstances have been heightened for drama. This is not true, only a reflection of truth.
The liar. By the end of my sophomore year that’s what I was called. I would wake up in the morning, climb onto the bus, and dread the time when I would have to get off and see my peers giving me their judging looks. They never understood that all I wanted was their approval. All I wanted was to fit in. I had been their leader and suddenly in the blink of an eye the world I had known came crashing around me.
All I ever wanted was for people to see me as a confident, strong young woman.I wanted to reflect well.I cared so much of what people thought of me, but I only ever wanted approval. And each year, I hoped that Prom would finally be that time.
Once upon a time, not so long ago really, ten years more or less if we’re being picky, a girl, very much like any other girl, stood in a school yard, very much like any other school yard, and decided that day would be the day that would live in elementary school infamy. Already this girl, who was very much like any other girl, had accomplished things that would stand the test of time. She had raced from one end of the island to the other on a Schwinn bike against one of the trickiest speedsters around, and won the competition by at the very end slamming her front tire into her opponents and flying over her handrail to land chin first on the finish line. She had finished her first grade course-load earlier than everyone else, and decided not only to ride her bike every day to school toting a gym-bag containing the complete works of William Shakespeare, but she had the brain power to stage a one-woman reading of Romeo and Juliet at recess.
Oh, the nerves, the nerves; the mysteries of this machine called Man! Oh, the little that unhinges it: poor creatures that we are! — Charles Dickens
At night, when the objective world has slunk back into its cavern and left dreamers to their own, there come inspirations and capabilities impossible at any less magical and quiet hour. No one knows whether or not he is a writer unless he has tried writing at night. — H.P. Lovecraft
Lampposts create brilliant cones of light as fog filters through the damp streets of Los Angeles. As dawn comes the lampposts diminish, leaving their work for another night. Rain drips, leaving an ominous sadness over the usually cheerful city. The world is quiet here. Amid this sad stillness of a city that was once so alive a murmur small voices trapped in a janitor’s closet arises, 26 small voices to be exact. What kind of person goes on strike when there are minds to feed?”
“There’s no honorable work anymore these days.”
“I feel cheap.”
“I feel used.”
“How did we stoop to this?”
“We could be doing Shakespeare but NO!”
Anger and frustration permeates the dark cave of uncomfortable solitude. The air is so thick with worries that one could cut it with a knife.
“I just want to have my pride back!”
“You want your pride back? I barely can find a place to work.”
“At least they haven’t perverted your nature.”
“You’re still gold.”
Amongst all this sadness one voice rises above the rest crying out, “Well what are we gonna do about it?” Silence follows as all attention is drawn to the one voice. Pins drop. And these entities all are astonished at the idea that someone would try and route out the problem.
“Well, if they are going to strike, why shouldn’t we strike?”
“That’s preposterous! No one has ever heard of—“
But as the voice is cut off, the rest of the group realizes the brilliance of the idea that has just been presented. Suddenly the group breaks open the closet and comes into the world knowing how important their job really is. Posters are made, chants are originated, and revolution is in the air. Terrorist groups hide in the underbelly of society, waiting to see if the problem will need more to spark the change that this world needs. They lie with paint to spray and words to spell.
Weeks later, the news is told in gibberish with Greek letters for subtitles. Watching TV is simply watching the fuzzy lines on a screen hoping that there will be speech once more. Once in a while another episode of American Gladiator appears reminding the world of the wreckage that came once the strike started, reminding the world of when the strife began.
Children cry with nothing to say, no words on the tips of their tongues, no thoughts that they can express verbally. The world is in chaos. Communication has become defunct and humans have resorted back to pounding on their chests and moaning to try and get their points across. The stock market crashes because a certain amount of men in suits jumping up and down like chimpanzees could not effectively interpret the NASDAQ to their clients.
War breaks out amongst the humans, as words cannot be found to express things like peace and love. The world is stricken of caring, and any other sentiment that can be spelled. One day, by accident, due to a lack of understanding, the buttons on several nuclear warheads are pushed. As the world implodes to a cleansing of the chaos, a time capsule from 2007 is left, packed with a bag of Doritos Cool Ranch Chips and a note with shaky handwriting that has simply inscribed, “Don’t you wish those writers never went on strike?”
As the rubbish and dust settles, the sun cuts through the particles making a cone shaped prism of light. The world is quiet here. And amongst this sad stillness a murmur of small voices arises from the bottom of the ruins, 26 small voices to be exact.
Amid the debris these voices spot a young boy pulling himself out of the remains of the world that used to be, and yards away from him a girl. The girl and the boy look at one another and stumble closer. And as the voices realize what needs to happen, the boy and the girl find the words again.
While their small conversation goes on, the letters of the alphabet remember what they were meant to do.
To think that a mere four years ago I was waiting to hear back from the USC screenwriting program astounds me. And now, after four years of struggling and sweat, of way too many cans of beer and handle pulls, of crying and laughing, of making new friends and making new stories, it’s time for First Pitch.
For those of you unaware of the way the University of Southern California helps us, and perhaps makes our school better than yours, let me shed some light. First Pitch, for our once 24 and now 20 person class of screenwriters, is the night where we are given the opportunity to pitch to 9 executives from the industry. We get to share our work from four years and finally make our introduction into entertainment society. This is our debutante ball, our coming out party, and we are scared shitless.