Deja Vu Grass

Music, TV

Have you ever heard a snippet of music and gotten an entirely different song stuck in your head because of it? That happened to me last week while watching The Diary of a Teenage Girl. (Definitely recommend, by the way.) After a scene with a bluegrass band I had another song slip into my head from somewhere deep in my subconscious. It was coming from a place way down, like something from my childhood. But I also knew that the song in my head was a cover of an old, old song. Vague, isn’t it?

After a half hour of intensely Google-searching the lyrics, I had my eureka moment. The song in my head was “There Is a Time” as performed by the Whiskey Shivers. I had the pleasure of seeing them in concert and meeting the band last spring. “There Is a Time” is on their self-titled album, released in 2015.

Beautiful isn’t it? And haunting. Hearing it again took me down another level in my subconscious and I remembered how I know this song.

A bluegrass band called the Dillards performed this song as a fictional band called the Darlings on the Andy Griffith Show.

I grew up watching Andy Griffith Show reruns. That show was practically the background of my childhood. In fact, I remember details from the show much clearer than my own childhood memories. The funny way Opie pronounce “Pa” that never sounded Southern to my ears. That time Aunt Bea made pickles that were so awful Andy said they tasted like gasoline. Otis, the town drunk who was funny but always made me sad.

Stumbling upon this song was like finding an unraveled thread and following it back to the recesses of my memory, like a little scrap of musical DNA passed down from my ancestors. That the DNA was inherited from fictional characters and passed down through televisions seems fitting for an aspiring screenwriter.

New Year Review

Personal, Podcasts, TV, Work

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New Year’s has never been my favorite holiday, though I admit I like it more as I get older. It’s refreshing to eat healthier and clean out your closets, even if the spell only lasts a few weeks. However, as December waned, I took no joy in all the year end round-ups and “best of” lists. I had a gnawing irritation in my gut. I felt like a failure for not meeting my goals, for not getting any closer to the career and life I want. And that feeling was stealing my joy.

Christmas was busy enough to keep me distracted, but the feeling of failure was still lurking around. After Christmas, I was driving and feeling dejected, listening to a rebroadcast of one of my favorite podcasts, Dinner Party Download. The episode contained an interview with Jason Segel, from back when he was promoting his critically-acclaimed movie, The End of the Tour. I listen to DPDL every week, so I had most certainly heard the interview before. Maybe I missed it last time, or maybe I forgot, but Segel dropped some wisdom that was so simple and clear that it lifted me out of my anxiety fog.

“If you are being nice to the people around you, and are trying to take care of yourself and do a little exercise, and are working as hard as you can at what you do, then you’re entitled to have a little bit of peace.”

-Jason Segel

Yes! Yes, Jason, I am entitled to some peace. You know, it’s not as if all this anxiety has propelled me forward in my “career.” It’s not some renewable energy source that I can use to fuel my life. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Anxiety kills creativity and sucks the fun out of everything. So remind me of this in a few months, when I’m still plugging away at writing, with no success, still a 32 year-old barista, still not sure what to do with myself. Just remind me that none of those things should get between me and my enjoyment of life.

A list of things that I did in 2015

  • Wrote a screenplay.
  • Signed my first option agreement. (That one kind of fell in my lap, but I’m counting it because it’s a big milestone for me.)
  • Changed jobs. Out of retail hell, hopefully for good.
  • Grappled with screenplay structure and seem to have come to terms with it. For this I have the Scriptnotes podcast to thank, as well as Craig Mazin‘s talk on structure at the Austin Screenwriter’s Conference.
  • Speaking of which, I attended the aforementioned Austin Screenwriter’s Conference and found my tribe.
  • Oddly, I finally began using two social media sites that have been ubiquitous for years: Pinterest and Instagram.

A list of things I’d like to do in 2016

  • Read more books. (I created a Books board on Pinterest (which is pretty heavily influence by NPR’s Book Concierge) to keep track of my must-read list.)
  • Make a list of classic movies and watch them.
  • Spend less time mindlessly scrolling the internet.
  • Have better posture. (Continuing the trend of “discovering” things everyone already loves, I think I may like yoga…)
  • Cook from my cookbooks more. (I have whole cookbooks from which I’ve cooked nary a recipe.)
  • Submit my work to screenplay festivals.

There. Nothing on that list is unachievable. Some of those things are actually fun.

The Year’s Best

As my New Year’s gift to you, I’m listing some of what I’ve watched, read, or listened to this year.

I’d love to hear about your favorites of 2015 and what you’re looking forward to in 2016. Happy New Year!

 

Jason Isbell on Austin City Limits

Music, TV

I was flipping through the PBS iPad app yesterday looking for something to watch and was delighted to stumble upon Jason Isbell’s ACL performance. He’s a brilliant songwriter and his album Southeastern will break your heart in all the right places. ACL’s website has a bonus performance and interview as well. 

And, if you like Isbell, check out his violinist, Amanda Shires. She’s another one of my favorites.