Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Art/Life Imitation Dance

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Sometimes I wish I had the balls to share some of the stories about the people I come across and the conversations that we have about politics, social media, and relationships. I do write about the important snippets in my journal, but never publish any of that fodder on the web for public consumption. I actually have a semblance of respect for the parties involved and they trust me enough to know that I exhibit an amazing amount of restraint when it comes to people's dirty secrets, which is why I'm welcomed in my friends' inner circles. I'm sure most of them breathe a sigh of relief the morning after when they see their names absent from my Twitter feed or a rambling post here.

I take notes on my daily encounters and eventually will weave some of the more bizarre instances into fiction pieces, either on Truckin' or in a future novel. I keep having all of these urges to write this novel about LA that I have kicking around my head. It's tough because I have a tight schedule to stick to with current and future projects. Maybe these urges are a sign to get this stuff down now and postpone other projects? While I grapple with the decision about the next project after Lost Vegas, I have been taking notes. I'm not writing a pre-draft, rather just taking notes on scenes, jagged pieces of dialogue, character bios and backgrounds. It's a portfolio of ideas that I'll flip through when I finally sit down to write this fucker.

Here's the thing... LA has some really fucked up people.

I know what you're thinking, there's fucked up people everywhere, especially in your hometown, but not to the intense level that I have experienced in the City of Angels. The general theme is about tweaked perception due to the desire to escape reality via inebriation, and God knows that LA has plenty of avenues to fulfill those needs. The main character is constantly fucked up in a city of fucked up citizens. Everywhere else he had lived, he was an obvious outcast and easy to pick out of the crowd as the burner, drunk, and wastoids. But after relocating to LA, he's quickly overlooked, dismissed as somewhat of a square because he's clearly not as mentally unstable as the people in his life, and nowhere close to being the most wasted person in the room in a city where the self-conscious denizens have a sushi delivery number, their personal trainer, and psychotherapist all on speed dial.

What's the difference between shrinks and drug dealers? Drug dealers don't take insurance.

It goes without saying that the town is flooded with pill poppers. It's my little secret, how I get ahead. So that's essentially the outline of the LA novel. Now I just have to get Lost Vegas published and then I can tackle this epic story.

In case you were wondering what Lost Vegas is about... well it's about a search for purity in an impure city.

A friend recently told me a story about being in a psych ward for a brief stint where he encounter a 7-foot tall patient who wore his boxers on his head. I could only imagine seeing someone as big as Shaq wandering through a hospital in pajamas jacked up on Thorazine with his skivvies on his head and shouting out random things.

I told him to write his story up for Truckin'. He wondered if it would be too much like Girl, Interrupted. I told him to write it up and we'll see. That's the problem with most writers and non-writers encounter -- already declaring the story a failure before they sit down to write it. How the hell will you know if you don't sit down to write it? And if it sucks on the first draft, well then it sucks on the first draft. That's writing. The good shit doesn't reveal itself until the third or fourth pass. The stellar writers can bang out a first draft and hand that in.

Anyway, sometimes people are worried about telling stories that are too similar to other stories, or they feel it's not as exciting or cool. It doesn't matter. It's important because it's your story. You will have no idea what people will think is cool, mundane, or exciting until they sit down and read it.

That Girl, Interrupted flick about the crazy teenage girls in a mental institution was captivating when it first came out. It was well written and had a couple of standout performances. I recall that Winona Ryder was wicked pissed when she was passed over for an Oscar by Angelina Jolie. Winona had been developing that script (based on a book) for years and researching the role for just as long. Alas, Angelina waltzed in and stole the show with those yummy breasts and delicious lips. She got all the attention in the media and everyone overlooked Winona's performance.

Angelina is damaged goods these days, but at the time the flick was released, she was prime spank material. Poor Winona never recovered for her one shot at acting immortality. Soon after that fiasco, she ended up whacked out on pain pills and shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.

Pill popping starlets are a dime a dozen in LA, which makes my future novel a cliche-ridden affair, or a true glimpse into postmodern LA.


  1. i hope you'll find time to write that.big fan of your writing.thanks.

  2. Nicky1:46 PM

    Girl Interrupted also included a standout performance from the late, great Brittany Murphy as Chicken Girl. Nearly upstaged Angelina, IMO. 

  3. Irongirl012:32 PM

    Winona had other great career moments. Heathers, beetlejuice, Mermaids Edward Scissorhands. I could always relate to her characters.  I dont think it was pills or her kleptomania that took her out of the public eye, she got older and other PYTS moved in on her turf.

  4. Noni fan2:20 PM

    Not to mention Martin Scorsese's Age of Innocence where Winona won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar and Little Women where she was again nominated for an Oscar. As executive director of Girl, Interrupted, she also had a say in the casting of Angelina Jolie and knew Angelina's role was Oscar material from the start. 
    From Empire Magazine (June 09) -

    Winona Ryder says she has no ill-will toward Angelina Jolie, who received most of the praise for their 1999 mental hospital drama Girl, Interrupted.
    Although Ryder was the film’s lead (and executive producer), Jolie’s performance garnered more buzz and landed her a 1999 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
    “I knew from the outset that whoever played Lisa was going to get all the attention,” Ryder tells the July issue of Empire Magazine. “At one point they asked if I wanted to play Lisa and I said, ‘No, I want to be Susanna.’”
    “But there was no resentment,” Ryder went on. “When it came out, people almost felt bad for me. But I expected it all along. I was really happy with the film, and really proud of it.”
    If anything, Ryder said she felt bad for Jolie.
    “At the time I worked with her, she was battling her looks because she’s so beautiful,” she said. “She wanted very much to be taken seriously and not just judged on her looks. And she conquered that.”