Friday, May 13, 2011

Stay Tooned

At four o’clock this morning – after hours of hoping Blogger had resolved its maintenance issues – I decided to reward myself with a little TV time. This AM’s lineup?  Batman Beyond and Daria. I’ve always loved cartoons. One of my animator friends thinks I know more about them than he does. (Or maybe he’s just trying to be nice.)

From the original Transformers to Looney Tunes to a few new shows, I can barely contain my childlike enthusiasm. I’ve always been a sucker for colorful or shiny things. Some of my favorite animated films – Finding Nemo (Dory drove my mother crazy.), The Incredibles, The Iron Giant, Tangled – make me feel as much as their live-action counterparts (and sometimes more). 

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of sports in my free time. But, my Sixers are out. And my Flyers are also done for the season. There’s always the French Open. But, that won’t start for almost two weeks. I’ll have to prepare for the schedule by staying up really late. (Okay, there we go. Done. On to the next challenge.)

Cartoons transport me to a place where the impossible’s possible. Good usually conquers evil. Characters survive fatal falls and explosions. And laughter is almost guaranteed – depending on the show or film, of course. (See: Animal Farm or Watership Down for non-laughing examples. Don't let the box covers fool you.)

I resist the urge to quote all the lines and sing the songs. No matter how much fun it would be for me, I know how annoying that would probably be for my company. Luckily, I have none this morning. Along with the part of my brain that registers embarrassment and dictates acceptable/mature behavior, they’re both nowhere in sight.

I’ve only been a toon once. (Check under Voice-overs.) And it was glorious – hearing my voice come from a little girl who looked nothing like me. Finally, my inner nine-year-old was released. And her cartwheels invited praise instead of inducing impatience and nausea. I’ll have to do it again. (Note to self: next time, demand the character look just like me and also do somersaults.)

So, in a way I wish real life were more like the animated world – safe, where everyone gets along or problems can be easily cleared up with laughter or a sigh of appreciation for whatever heartwarming message was shared. (I'm talking Pixar not anime. Drama - jokes/fun - peril/adventure - resolution/more fun. Give or take. Not that those stories are ever predictable.)

I love happy endings. (Not the TV show or the kind that can land you in jail.) I tend to write them – realistically, in my opinion – when I can. But, I guess all’s not truly hunky-dory in a world where an artist can suddenly drop an anvil on your head for kicks. 

Luckily, the recovery time seems pretty quick. And when I can get the script in advance, I won't waste time flat-ironing my hair.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mamma Mia!

I write a lot – in my fiction and scripts – about my imaginary families. Both good and bad. The mean-spirited, loving and loyal… the manipulative and jealous, the helpful and supportive. They come in all shapes, sizes, temperaments and motivations (and occasionally more than one gender).

I think when my brothers told me I was adopted, I started dreaming about the people they’d hoodwinked at the hospital when I’d been switched at birth – the poor, disappointed couple. If I hadn’t looked so much like my mother when she was a kid, I would’ve happily believed them – and later switched places with the impostor who’d unknowingly stolen my throne.

It wasn’t always this way, but I talk to my mom every week. I’ve forgiven many spit-covered thumbs outstretched to remove crafty smudges only mothers can see – while I squirmed and screamed. (Okay, I screamed on the inside.) If I didn’t want a hot comb in an angry woman’s hands come the next straightening day, it was best not to ruffle the self-proclaimed stylist-for-a-day’s feathers. I’m sure those burnt ears were merely accidents.

No matter what I suffered, my mother tolerated months of “the sun will come out tomorrow” and whatever other musical lyrics were stuck in my head that day – or year. She didn’t complain during a decade of violin practice – that I remember. I was going to be a concert violinist like my grandfather! There’s nothing like fingernails clipped to the skin and flat, calloused fingertips for a hand modeling career. It was either that or a professional baton twirler. (Sorry about the furniture.)

Growing up, I blamed my mom for a lot of things – including my so-called “thunder thighs.” And today, I’d gladly accuse her of genetically twisting my sense of humor and sleep habits. But, judging by the awkward silences which assault my ears when I’m cracking jokes on the phone, I don’t think we always land on the same funny page. And she’s usually waking up before I go to bed. (Maybe I will ask her to release my long-form birth certificate.)

So, instead of pointing a finger, I give thanks and sing a song (not one from Annie). I try to make her smile and give me an unsolicited “you’re too funny.” I have no idea what it would be like to be a mother. The joy. The pressure. The love. The worries. The long, thankless nights of rearranging my child’s genetic code until he/she turned out just right.

...I usually black out during the imaginary delivery.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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