Dreaming of 9-5's

Dreaming of 9-5's
Guido Anselmi, from Fellini's 8½

I move to San Francisco with big promises, and big plans, and announcements. Things are going great. I have a five year plan. Lily promotions take up lots of time. A commercial business is taking off.

And yet, when I close my eyes, I dream of nine to fives. It’s lonely pushing that boulder up a hill (not that I’m ready to compare myself to Sisyphus.) Sometimes I don’t want to drive.

It’s not that nothing is going on. A bunch of projects are: a TV show I’m casting, two features I’m cowriting. But for a few days here and there, I clear the deck and give myself time to write. Alone, sitting in my room, or my kitchen table, or my office, staring at a blank page and willing it into an exquisite opus of a film, it’s like the world has faded into empty white as well. All the elements that construct personality and career are rendered arbitrary by that empty page.

I’m trying not to think in terms of time. For a while I took the clock off my menu bar. It’s arbitrary, really, what time it is, and we’re not limited by the hours in a day. Instead, our lives stretch in front of us and we have all the time in the world! Thousands upon thousands of minutes stacked on top of each other.

I want to tell a story about a reality I experienced five years ago, which makes it difficult. I want to tell a story that fits together in a way that I can’t quite see. I’ve written 40 pages, then scrapped it and written 10, then 3, then 4, then 2. Five outlines. Maybe it will congeal, maybe it’s blocking me from writing in the present. Surely the idea that I have to write something incredible is stopping me from doing so. When I close my eyes and see it on a screen, it is beautiful.

Trusting in the process, maybe. Now is a time of intense creativity. I feel it simmering just beneath the unconscious Facebook tab opening, beneath the jittery left leg, beneath the cravings to do anything but sit and write. It’s electric. It’s coming. I think of having a boss, of structured days, of getting nothing done on somebody else’s time. I think of the iceberg of mind that sits below tinny awareness.