I recently went through all my old posts here and actually read them. And I was kinda happy I wrote those things. It seems like a good idea to take care of your future-self.
So then I thought… I should surmise all this shit I’ve done and maybe, when I read it in five years, I’ll again go through these incredibly strong feelings of… being somewhat bemused.
Also, my other site is going through some stuff and deleted all my posts just to spite me.
I’m going to make this a long post. Write about my experiences and try to pry out some meaning. There’s gotta be something there, right?
And in the end.. maybe we’ll get some Estonian folk band parody songs out of all of this. (Oh yes. We made one and it’s.. a whole thing)
Let’s go in order.
The idea came from listening to the amazing songs by EKMA and the late Sven Kuntu who was a family friend. Theatricality has always been something I enjoy writing and this was only easier when I listened to the songs.
We shot it in my family summer home over a week. The whole cast and crew lived together, surrounded by the sea and the forest. Whoever had time to cook, did it for the whole crew. Interspersed were plenty of smoke and drink breaks. An actor shattered his thumb during a scene and we stood in the sea for a couple of hours for another one.
It was super hard and I haven’t been so tired in a while. But it was also incredibly fun and rewarding. I was happy with the movie and learned a lot from the mistakes. Writing is being alone. You bring your own pressure and you sit and stare at the rain and things feel either very, very painful or incredibly joyous. Making films, to me, is fun and collaborative. It’s quick decision making and instant gratification.
They are very different things and I’ve learned that I am definitely a writer first and foremost. But! I’ll come back to films again. Maybe something over the summer? I have this crazy Macbeth idea that could wor-…
Anyway, here is the behind the scenes video. And everybody seems happy and were happy by the end of it all, and that’s really what counts.
The Book (The First One)
I set a deadly deadline for myself. I had to write a thousand words a day and get 60k in 60 days. I really just wanted to test myself out. I had done deadlines before, writing for such amazing brands like E45 and Scholl.
Oh yeah… If you ever go to their homepage(no you wont) and read their “3 ways to avoid sunburn” article(no you won’t) you can be amazed at my talent to smash words onto paper in a timely manner.
Anyway! I had done all that stuff and felt confident to take on the challenge. Maybe I was a bit naive?
But somehow I got there. When I missed a day I wrote 2000 on the next one, etc. It was very hard. It was like marching through a swamp and every once in a while someone forces you to crouch and “KEEP WALKING”
And you say, “Why? Why are you doing this?”
But it’s just you. Alone. Knees deep in mud.
So I got through the swamp and found myself with ~60 000 words. They weren’t all in the right order and I wasn’t too keen on the subject matter. It felt too.. simple. I had basically written myself through a breakup and I doubted if anybody would find it interesting.
Plus, I didn’t really have anything to say. I was still dealing with it and it wasn’t something that was dying to get out of me. Or like Bukowski says:
if it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it.
But I learned I could push myself to get it done and that’s been very helpful.
And then I decided to go and live in Canada for a bit. Why? Because I had friends and family in Toronto, so I couldn’t possibly go there.
I wanted to be somewhere I had never been and had nobody waiting for me. So I chose Vancouver.
I met some cool people there. Photographers and poets and documentary filmmakers. And it was super fun and I was super alone at the same time. And slowly reclaimed the “poet” side of me that I had somehow given away. I started to think more like a writer there. Poems started to emerge and things took on a different hue. Rain was again romantic to me. So were graveyards and cats! This might sound odd and naive, but I needed to find that joy of discovery that I used to have in my work. I did improv for the first time and was scared out of my wits. I climbed a mountain and then got drunk with a frenchman and a ukrainan. Isn’t that what you’d expect from somebody who wants to be a writer. I think it sounds quite… writer-y.
Let me find some photos.
The Book (The Second One)
So this is still ongoing. I wrote the whole day today. Or edited really. I’m getting better at it. It’s like going to the gym and for a while you don’t feel anything and then suddenly you bind different scenes together so that they make sense.
I think I messed up that simile.
But, okay… what I learned right? I learned what people enjoy is story. Shocker, I know. But it takes a while for that simple truth to get through the skull.
You also can’t overload the page with stuff. Give the reader some space and a breather. Tie up characters that don’t work and shoot them behind the barn. Do that, also, with scenes that kinda suck. Or maybe you have too much exposition? Kill that exposition. Do it behind the barn.
And another thing, learn to enjoy writing stuff. There’s a time and a place for forcing creativity, but try you best to get excited about the idea. Go to interesting new places, find new characters and make them live. The parts that my alpha readers loved were the parts where I had fun.
Also, have no fear stretching yourself out. Focus is good, sure, but I need to write some other stuff in between the novel. Maybe I’ll work on a play. Maybe a small poem after tea? Whatever works and gets you inspired again.
I even have a fantasy novel I’m slowly working on.. but shh… fantasy isn’t real writing. Nobody will know. Nobody.
Well.. this is the most recent one. I’m performing in a dance-thing-performance and we’re currently all rehearsing for it. It’s a pretty odd move on my part, to go into dance (see what I did there?) Especially as I’m not really into dancing.
But it’s been pretty cool so far. It has helped to get more in tune with the body and other peoples bodies. At some point it turns into acting and you start responding to everything. The person next to you, your breathing, the room itself.
It opens you up and makes you aware. Like improv, it’s something I’d suggest everyone try at some point in their life. And especially for directors it’s a goldmine for insight into an actors process.
I’m still in it so maybe I’ll update this later. We’ll see.
Okay, I think this is it. I’d have more to write, but I feel this is quite long already and I don’t want to take up your whole day.
Here are some poems:
There’s a mirror next to my bed
and every night I turn
and it’s dark
and the mirror is dark
but I know it’s there
I fall asleep
in the dark there
and the mirror looks at me
and listens to me breathe
its surface gets gray from me
we do this dance
he tells me
who I am
and I listen
to him breathe
We can all play the piano sometimes
sitting here with
a raging headache
the world and me in it
and my headache in it
reflecting in my mind
a thousand times
I close my lips
shut the door
smash off the lights
inhabit the night
and the skin of the night
I get deep under it
lay against the soft wall
that plays me the piano
that plays the piano
with sideburns and glasses
and eyes and lips
and I barely ever see him
but I hear him plenty
along with Debussy and Ray Charles
I wonder if he ever has a headache
a dark night
the gas heater coughs
and the big clock tick-tocks
kicks the immortality-can farther down the street
all the lights/angles of the streets go
the sun will rise
and all the commuter people
all the working people
will go up and down
twining their thoughts
setting souls alight
to ignore the blue cut of sky
in the odd dull neon
that they never switched off
up and down
from blue, to red, to nothing
farther down the street
And a very ooooooold one, one of the first ones I ever wrote in English in fact. Just because I know I’ll read this in a couple of years and otherwise I’d forget it!
I sit backstage
and think of your voice
no, digging into me
something deep and pure
an extension of your lips
trembling in my veins
When I hear it
I hold my breath
that when I go out
to catch stars for your gaze
when I go out
trying to tremble
trying to extend
trying for the heart
I hope, but I know
that the love I have
will never reach
something so deep and pure
Okay, I think we’re done here.
Estonian folk band parodies, you say?
I think we all had a different idea how that song should be sung.
Take care and happy futures.