Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘What About Mrs. God?’

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 by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

For reasons I don’t know, I’ve been dreaming about my high school days lately, and this has put me in mind of all the wonderful discussions only teenagers nearing their twenties can acceptably have. Which in turn reminds me of two elements pretty much missing from my life these days – my mother and God. Which of course leads to the probably-not-anywhere-near-immortal question:


What About Mrs. God?

When I was in high school, in the days before
Anything was P.C., Tiersky the tenor sax man
And I would throw around our ideas about God.

One day, Tiersky said, “What about Mrs. God?
What’s the story on her? I mean, if we’re made
In God’s image, and marriage is part of our lives,
Shouldn’t God be married too? And what’s
She like? Our fathers’ wives? Our mothers?
My Aunt Dorothy? Well? What do you think?”

At the time, I didn’t think much. I was too busy
Feeling God’s new teenage chemistry surging
Inside. I was too busy suffering the slings and
Arrows of adults, too busy wondering not about
Women but girls, and why I had to chase
Them when in the Beach Party movies they were
Always throwing themselves at the guys. So Mrs. God
Meant no more to me than, say, Mrs. S. Claus, living in a
Heaven no nearer—and no father—than the
North Pole.

Recently, though, while counting my misfortunes
(It took a math co-processor, an equation editor,
And an Intel Inside with a Pentium chip)
I found myself considering not only God,
But the whole God family: God’s Son, of whom
We all know; His daughter, of whom we do not;
God’s dog, and cat, and maybe His turtle or
Goldfish. (God’s goldfish, what a life!)

And, of course, God’s wife. If she is like the
Wives of our fathers, then I understand Him a
Pretty well and assume He is constantly assailed
Not by unbelievers but by homey talk, and that
To keep the peace he pretends to listen now and again.

If she is like the wives of our fathers, then God
Makes no decisions (perhaps never did)
Once he leaves His Tabernacle, and in all
Likelihood harbors strange, indecent urges and
Needs. Hey, let’s face it: If God’s wife is the
Inspiration for the wives of our fathers,
Then God probably is thinking
Divorce.

Hmm, the more I consider, the more
I understand. And the more I understand, the more
I too can forgive.

Nevertheless, if there is a Mrs. God,
And she is like all the Mrs. of my parents’ generation,
Why isn’t she doing her job? We’ve all
Seen God’s handiwork lately, right?

So why isn’t she being a good little woman
And secretly saving the world, screwing new bulbs

In the Old Man’s
Burned-out Logos of a Light?


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody on “When Do We Decide We Did Our Best & Give Up On Writing?”

Evolution of a Writer
by Larry Brody

Nothing and No One Stays the Same

Don’t believe me? Have a look at…sigh…a certain Beloved (or not) Leader over the past 25 years:

Hmm…that latest version looks kind of shellshocked, huh? And that’s the retired me. The earlier three are all writin’ fools, oh yeah.

Careers start, grow, wane (and if you’re lucky grow again), finally – ulp – die. Some version of this happens not only to those of us who leave our homes and come out to Hollywood to roll the dice but to all of us, no matter what we do and where we are.

I, however, don’t get a lot of questions from chiropractors in, say, Butte, or architects in Iowa City. Mostly, this page is visited by men and women preparing to embark on, or embarking on, careers in TV and film writing. Young, old, anywhere in between, working their buns off and hoping to become the next Aaron Sorkin, Shonda Rhimes, Judd Apatow, Tina Fey, whatever.

Some succeed – in fact, a startlingly large number (see this for some shows they’re working or have worked on). Some get tantalizingly close. Others…fill in the blank.

Which brings me to the point of this post, a question I received last week, which I’ve been thinking about long and hard.

DP asks:

LB–

I’ve watched this clip of you many times: https://youtu.be/TjfkuN73EtM

And I feel as though you’re speaking about/to me. As I approach the one year mark in Los Angeles, I feel my ambition to break into writing is making me focus so much on the goal that I’ve forgotten to live.

The obsession has gotten to the point where I hate writing when I’m writing, and all I want to do is write when I’m not writing. Perhaps I’m just chasing validation in the one area I’ve felt myself best suited for so many years, but I feel trapped: Do I keep chasing a dream that may no longer be my passion, or do I leave, always wondering if I was just a day away from breaking into the big time and finding my purpose.

Seeing my work on the screen sounds amazing. Millions of dollars sound amazing. Hearing how my work has affected others sounds amazing. But when do we decide that we did our best and move on to new things? And once we’ve made that decision, how do we follow it?

Do you or the Navajo Dog have any wisdom to impart?

Dear DP,

The Navajo Dog never really saw herself as imparting wisdom. Like all good medicine people, she simply spoke the truth. She was the first one to let me know how pointless allowing ambition to guide me was because even if I achieved my goal I would still be only a partial human being. To the Navajo Dog, being was what life was all about. It was an end in itself, with the doing thing merely a part of it.

In other words, long before “being in the moment” was popular, D’neh was seeing our individual human awareness as more than merely individual at all because it exists within the context of the wholeness of life.

Which helps you not a bit, so while you mull over the philosophy of it all, I’m going to completely blow off any attempt at being wise and try to give you some more practical advice.

Anyone pursuing a showbiz writing career in L.A. needs to be aware of a couple of Basic Truths.

Basic Truth 1: No one in the biz feels an affirmative duty to discover or help new talent. Their major duty is keeping their jobs, which more often than not conflicts with the use of new talent because new obviously means “untested,” and if the new talent fails the test of any new job whomever hired him/her is one big step closer to a big slide down their own career ladder.

Basic Truth 2: The absolutely most important part of starting a showbiz career is networking. Yes, in spite of the fact that you can’t count on anyone to help you. Because you have to do everything you can to help yourself, it’s an absolute must to get yourself out there and interact with every human being who can take you from being an outsider to a member of the creative community we call showbiz.

I’m not talking about using people but about making them genuine friends. Because friends do hire friends, especially those they have learned can deliver – not necessarily to help them but to make their own lives more enjoyable and their jobs easier.

Bottom line: If you’re as shy as most writers are, you need to blast through that or things probably won’t go well. More writers are hired to be on TV staffs because they’re “good in the room” (meaning they’re fun to hang with and sometimes come up with good ideas) than because they can write the hell out of anything. Being able to do both is, of course, a great career bonus.

The above advice is predicated on the idea that you’re searching for a BigMedia career. That you want to do national/international broadcast work, have films you’ve written be made or distributed by major companies, etc. Which means I have to give you another tip you might not expect.

The big successes in BigMedia I’ve known have pretty much all been assholes, and becoming a major success often means that you too have to be an asshole. It’s likely that any employer you deal with will be at least as difficult to be around as Donald Trump. Trump, in fact, is actually at the low end of the showbiz asshole spectrum that I was part of for so long.

Is devoting your entire life to making it given what I’ve told you so far worthwhile? While I was doing it, it seemed worth it to me. But as I got older I more and more realized something was missing – a genuine home life with genuine love, a relationship with someone who demonstrated true tenderness toward me and life in general, an ability to face reality and allow both my emotions and my intellect to react to it, et al.

In the early ’90s, guided my desire to find these things, I severed all ties with my showbiz life and went off with the Navajo Dog to search for what I jokingly called magic but which was, I think, a deeper reality. A reality that didn’t involve sacrificing everything on the altar of writing.

It all worked out for me. I’ve been happy and content and easy in my own skin. I realize, though, that I’ve always been an extremist, and over the last couple of decades, I’ve learned that I probably didn’t need to make such a clean break. There was at least one other direction I could have gone in that eschews many of the pitfalls of narcissistic bosses (and coworkers) and financially based creative decisions that usually end up not being creative at all.

If I had it to do all over again, knowing what I know, I most likely would avoid BigMedia from the get-go and instead plunge into Indie Prod.

Shocking, yeah?

See, here’s the thing. Over the last 20 years I’ve helped hundreds of people start BigMedia careers and careers as indie creatives. I’ve watched them climb their ladders and been part of many of their lives as well as their work, and generally speaking it seems to me that in the long run filmmakers who concentrate on indie production are happier with their lives than those doing the H’wood thing, no matter how much or how little success those in either group attain.

More students, friends, and even family members than I ever expected have made fortunes writing and producing TV shows, running major and minor studios, being A-listers or just a notch or two below, and so many of them in shared moments of reflection have ranted and raved and even cried about how totally unfulfilled they feel, how unfaithful to their original talent and purpose they see themselves as having been.

Know what their daydreams are? They’re of chucking it all and doing web series and what used to be called “art films.” To a man and woman, they don’t care if anyone ever sees the films they daydream about but express the hope that if they at least make them they will be putting their talent and skills to genuinely good use.

Meanwhile, students, friends, and you guessed it, family members who have avoided BigMedia and gone indie instead seem in large part to lead lives of genuine joy. Some took that route from the beginning, others headed that way later (some much later). Instead of daydreaming, they now are making shows and films (and museum installations!) that they find meaningful and exciting.

Almost all of those in the indie group are far from household names and don’t have many fans. Many of them, to their frustration, haven’t made a penny through their oeuvres. But most seem to have more time for living “real,” grounded lives and are proud of the intrinsic value of what they’re doing. If having to work day jobs is what gets them to this point, “Well, hell,” they’ve told me time and time again, “it’s worth it.”

This reply is taking forever so I’ll cut to the Big-City-Destroying-Superhero-Fight-That-Ends-this-Career-Discussion. Take it from a guy who thoroughly enjoyed every moment – every argument and knock-down-drag-out creative difference – of a very successful TV career but has enjoyed my current lifestyle of being with my family and working with talented newbies and rooting from the sidelines even more: Making my definition of success “doing what I love, with those I love, instead of throwing myself away in search for fame, fortune, and a couple of interviews at TheWrap.Com has given me a far better life than any I could have imagined before.

So here’s my overall answer to your questions. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you do it. Commit yourself to a process that fulfills you and makes you proud…and enables the rest of your life instead of crippling or even destroying it.

EDITED TO ADD: One final thought. I’m glad you’ve seen that We, The Screenwriter clip. It was 50-year-old me, a few years after returning from various adventures, and misadventures, tracking the magic with D’neh and my wonderful and magical wife. I don’t fully recall what that version of me said, but you’re getting the absolute, most recent update right here, right now.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘I Don’t Know My Father’

Couldn’t find a pic of my father and me, so here’s one of my furry son Decker and his late biological father, The Big Red Chow Dude.

 by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

Speaking of Fathers Day, and fathers, this poem was written when my father was alive. My mother was upset because “you’ve written about other people’s fathers, why not your own?” I don’t think she or my father ever saw this. If one of them had, I would have heard about it. Wouldn’t ?


I Don’t Know My Father

I don’t know my father, never did.

In fact, my earliest memory of him

Is wondering who he was. I was four,

And my mother was talking to a

Neighbor. When she mentioned my father,

I tried to picture him, and couldn’t. I tried

To think of a time he and I had been together,

Had played, or talked, or had a snack.

Nothing. Yet I was no child of divorce. My

Father came home from work every evening,

And we were part of a family together—somehow.

My second memory of my father has me all of five,

Lying in bed beside him, proudly spelling “Y-E-S,”

And “N-O,” and “Cat” and “Dog” for good measure.

What did he say? I don’t know.

I can see him, young, dark,

Muscular, and I can feel his body against mine,

And smell his breath, but there’s nothing to hear. He didn’t

Speak much, and still doesn’t. It’s as though

He’s all tied up inside himself, a man who has found

The effort of coming out into the world simply

Too much. So he holds back, keeps who he is

Private, snug, and safe. No gain, but no

Pain either, I suppose you could say.

When I was a teenager, my father took me

To ballgames. We watched the Cubs, and

The White Sox, and the Bears. He rooted

Silently, smiling, perfectly comfortable with

His continuing retreat. Often, I would watch him

Instead of the game, and wonder what he was

Thinking. I wondered what he expected from

Life, if he had gotten it, if he thought it still could be,

And one day, as we drove home from Wrigley Field,

I asked. Surprisingly, my father didn’t hesitate.

I never expected anything,” he said. “Then what,”

I asked, “did you want?” Again, the answer was

Swift. “A job,” my father said. “All I ever wanted

Was a job.”

When I think of my father now, I think about hopes,

Aspirations, and dreams. I think of a dark,

Muscular man who never speaks, and wonder

Why he never reached, why he didn’t try.

Dad,” I want to say to him, “it’s not so bad

Here. Why haven’t you ever come outside?

Dad,” I want to say, “you have a beautiful voice.”


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘I Have Lived Many Lives’

image via pixabay.com

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

The past is always prolog. I believe that what I love most about existence is the wonderful inefficiency of the eternal recurrence so many of us do our best to ignore. What am I talking about? Well, the last time I wrote about it, I said this:


I Have Lived Many Lives

I have lived many lives.

My past is a glorious array.

 

Bang the drum,

Hit it hard,

Kick the big bass!

 

Once I was a child, reading and dreaming,

Alone and afraid.

 

Bang the drum!

 

Once I was a young man, struggling and striving,

Fearlessly foolish, and paying the price.

 

Hit it hard!

 

Once a lover, forever lusting,

Loved more by others than I could return.

 

 

Kick that big bass

 

Once I was a fighter, a leader of men.

Once a dead man, cold and unaware,

And a victim, crying out to God in my pain.

Then a teacher, a master from the

School of lies.

A cowboy,

A killer,

A high flying hawk,

A rover,

A pirate,

A bear that could talk!

 

Ah, go ahead now,

Bang the drum,

Hit it hard,

Kick that big bass!

Celebrate each costume,

Cheer the form and the figure,

Applaud the apparel,

Admire my fine show!

Come on, come on, where’s that drum?

Why can’t I hear the big bass?

 

I have lived many lives,

A wonderful and glorious array,

Filled with mystery and pleasure,

And Horror and shame.

Chosen they were, bought and

Paid for, the highest of style.

Wanted they were, and needed,

For how else was my soul to survive?

Now I am a poet, living with my feelings,

And my words,

The feelings and words of a child,

Alone and afraid.

 

So come on now,

Bang the drum,

Hit it hard,

Kick the big bass!

Now, more than ever, I need the acclaim!


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Opens Today!

tv_writer_peoples_pilot_smby Larry Brody

TVWriter™ and I are proud to announce that PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017, one of the oldest and most highly regarded writing competitions on the interweb is now open!

The PEOPLE’S PILOT first appeared way back in the summer of 2000, as a semi-annual competition intended to help both new writers and the TV Industry itself. Over the years it has evolved into an annual contest and its categories have changed to match its extended purpose. Yes, we’re all about helping new writers get the acknowledgement they deserve, but we’ve expanded beyond broadcast television. Since last year, the PEOPLE’S PILOT has been doing all it can to improve all electronic entertainment media.

The future of entertainment and those who create it is open and varied. Whether the series you are creating is intended for broadcast TV, cable and satellite TV, home entertainment/video game consoles, Big Media interweb outlets like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, or indie web channels and venues like YouTube, Vimeo, Funny or Die, or the show’s own website, it is eligible for the PEOPLE’S PILOT.

CATEGORIES

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 is divided into 2 prize-giving categories plus a Special Bonus Category with its own unique award – a paying development deal starting with an option. To be more specific, the categories are:

  • Scripted Comedy Series – intended for any electronic platform (including broadcast and premium cable series, internet series, cell phone series et al) of any length of any length required for telling your story
  • Scripted Drama & Action Series – intended for any electronic platform (including broadcast and premium cable series, internet series, cell phone series et al) of any length required for telling your story
  • Special Bonus Category – Thanks to Manner Movie Limited, a longtime PEOPLE’S PILOT co-sponsor, and Global Saga Media Entertainment, both of Hong Kong, all entries in this year’s competition automatically will be considered for the Special International Production Award, which will be given to the entry or entries that the judges deem especially suitable for the global television market.

Episode length, script length, number of episodes constituting the series – all that is entirely up to the creator. Genre too is entirely up to the entrant. In other words, you can write whatever you want, any way you want, featuring human actors, animated actors, animal actors, puppets, you name it, for any audience you want as long as your script is in the English language and standard teleplay/screenplay format (so our judges can read it).

PRIZES

Prizes and bonuses for each of the two regular categories, worth over $20,000, are:

FIRST PRIZE:

SECOND PRIZE:

THIRD PRIZE:

BONUS PRIZE:

  • All entries will be considered for the Special International Production Award, a script development deal with Global Saga Media Entertainment beginning with a $500 option for a qualifying script or scripts. And when we say all entries we mean that even an entry that doesn’t finish in the Top 3 – or isn’t a Finalist or even a Semi-Finalist – will be eligible.

ENTRY BONUSES

FREE FEEDBACK 

After the Winners are announced, all entrants will receive an e-mail containing the actual score given by the judges, an explanation of what its point value means, and the judges’ general reaction to the entry. ($125 value)

FREE STORYTELLING PATTERNS E-BOOK

All entrants will receive a PDF file of Larry Brody’s Storytelling Patterns in Genre Films booklet, a guide to outlining screenplays and teleplays by using established story patterns and essential scenes that is available literally nowhere else on or off the web. (priceless)

ENTRY FEES

PEOPLE’S PILOT EARLY BIRD ENTRY $35

  • June 1 – August 1

PEOPLE’S PILOT SINGLE ENTRY $50

  • August 2 – November 1

PEOPLE’S PILOT DUO DISCOUNT ENTRY $85

  • August 2 – November 1

CLOSING DATE

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 closes at midnight November 1, 2017. You can enter and upload your entries any time until closing. As in past years, we urge you to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount even if your entry or entries won’t be ready until after the discount period ends. Once you have paid, you can upload your submissions at any time until the contest closes.

More PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 info is HERE

The Enter Page is HERE

Email me personally with any questions HERE

LYMI LB

LYMI
LB

 

 

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘The Poet Beseeches His Lord’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

No better demonstration of how history repeats itself than this poem, written at a turning point in my life long ago. The specifics are different, but at this turning point in world history, on this particular holiday, the need and the question remain the same.


The Poet Beseeches His Lord

I speak to God now,

As I never have before.

I speak straight, no jokes or

Snide comments, Only a heart that still

Cries for more. “Our Father,

Who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name…”

Are you listening, Lord?

Can you feel my ache, my despair?

Once I demanded significant answers, seeking

Truth, and the knowledge of why life was unfair.

Now I move to more immediate things,

No heavenly meanings, not one cosmic concern.

I beg you not for the basis of

Universal injustice, but simply—

Christ!—simply, oh mighty Elohim,

Can’t you stop what you are doing to us now?


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘A Will Of Its Own’

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB

The following poem, which I just reread for the first time in almost as many years as I’d lived when I wrote it, surprises me. I don’t want to do spoilers (God forbid!), but when these words first came poring out of me I read them as meaning something completely different from what they mean to me now. Wondering – Who was I then? Who am I now?


A Will Of Its Own

Having read Don Quixote, and the works of Nietzsche,

And Sartre, having seen Long Day’s Journey Into Night,

And the paintings of Picasso and Miro,

I became convinced at eighteen that my

Purpose was the search. It wasn’t the

Discovery of life’s meaning that meant a

Damn thing, but rather the hunt. This was my

Credo, my beacon, my purpose, and for

Thirty years I kept it before my dimming eyes.

Sometimes I lost my way, and several times

My self, but the search continued

Regardless, as though with a will of

Its own.

A will of its own.

A will of its own.

Now Don Quixote has lost its power over me,

And Nietzsche and Sartre appear far away.

Eugene O’Neil’s dramatic voice seems both

Stilted and shrill, and I can’t separate the

Imitators from Picasso and Miro. Yet the search

Goes on, even without strong conviction, my

Will having become my

Must.

Few lessons are as painful as those that

Teach that freedom has been not true.

For years I roamed under the illusion

Of wanting, but with the desire gone still I have

The need.

Credo, beacon, and purpose have left me,

But the act continues, and my legs grow

As weak as my belief. The search

For something I no longer believe in

Continues, with

A will of its own.

A will of its own.

It continues with a will of its own.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. He is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.