burnout

The Starbucks nearest to my apartment is recently outfitted with these wooden chairs, thinly padded, that look minimalist and elegant but are way less comfortable than they look—and yet, I’m here, and I’ve been sitting on one for almost an hour, staring, checking my phone now and again and telling myself I oughta do something productive, read or write or edit. But instead I’ve just been sitting, zoning out.

            I spent the whole week in a kind of convulsive panic about the book proposal, which is finally basically done, and I’ve queried six agents now about Thousand Movie Project (italics cuz it’s the book version) and all six say on their website that, given the volume of submissions, they can’t respond to everybody. If they don’t respond in four to six weeks, the silence is to be interpreted as a rejection (a rejection, they’re kind enough to stress, onto which no author is encouraged to project any kind of statement about their talent, intelligence, worth).

            It’s not you it’s me.


I’ve mentioned a few times here that I was working on the proposal and that it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever worked on. That stands true. When I finished it (more or less) on Thursday afternoon, and then sent out the query before going with K. to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the Kendall Regal, a movie whose production I’ve been tracking obsessively for two years, the experience was kind of emotional. I started tearing up as the movie started.

            Just this confluence of releases.

            The proposal is done.

            The proposal is out the door.

            Thousand Movie Project is on a path toward legitimacy.

            My most anticipated movie of the past two years is finally unfolding in front of me.

            It was pretty heavy.


That the proposal is done and out the door is nice. I feel accomplished. But there are no guarantees that an agent will express interest. As the disclaimers say, there’s no guarantee they’ll even answer respond.

Colossus, Goya

I’ve been thinking about Martin Scorsese’s Silence, which I only saw once, in theaters, at 9:30 p.m. after a ten-hour Sunday shift at Cheesecake Factory.

            Not the best time to see a long cerebral movie.

            I remember thinking it was beautiful and very strong, but not entertaining, and given that I’m not religious, and never had a religious upbringing, I was in the dark about lots of its themes. Couldn’t relate to everyone’s stress about the eponymous Silence.

            God’s Silence.

            I think I’d understand it better now.


Kevin Smith said on a podcast recently that the reason his movies got worse as he got older, or the reason they lost their emotional edge, is because he got happy. He said that, for him, this was the trade: happiness for artistry.

            I’m happy, and I like where I am in life and what I’m doing, but I think a lot of this past week’s stress, as I inched my way through the final stages of the book proposal, had to do with the idea of my future depending on it. My finances.

            The other day I posted a video to Instagram. It’s an excerpt of a Mario Puzo interview with Charlie Rose from the early ‘90s. Puzo, who at that point was being paid a million dollars just to edit screenplays, talked about the years of poverty before he hit it big with The Godfather. Talks about busting a tire on his car, and how it would become this financial calamity that kept him up all night, wondering how he was gonna pay for these tires.

            Today, walking along Brickell, I tripped a little on my shoe. Lost my balance for a minute. It felt like my sneaker had torn and the bottom had curled down like a tongue.

            I regained my balance but then immediately started panicking, lifting my leg and inspecting my shoe, wondering what I was gonna do if the shoe was torn. How would I afford another pair?

            Turns out my shoe’s fine. I just walk like a stick figure.

            But a point was made.


I’m normally write the first draft of these posts in a notebook but right now, in this uncomfortable Starbucks chair, I’m typing it on my laptop. I’m not gonna print and revise it.

            I’m tired. I don’t normally acknowledge this as grounds for going a day without doing any kinda work for the Project. But for some reason I feel drained and terrible. That I’ve finally got this proposal on the backburner, that I can finally move on to focus on Philicio Nightly and the Project, this should be cause for celebration.

            But I just feel totally drained and unhappy.

            Gonna wrap this up and maybe do some reading. Don’t feel like talking to anybody or going anywhere.

            Probably just a kind of post-partum thing.

            I’m drained and bummed but also—and it’s the thing that feels most poignant—dreading something I can’t even name.  

One comment

  • You will get a response. And your entire financial future is not at stake here. Your only 28. Thousand Movie Project book is an idea that I have never heard anybody else have ,so you have a good shot. There are many publishers out there, these are your first six. Don’t stress…You can always get a higher paying job, and write at night. Good luck with Philicio Nightly….

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