Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘King of Kings’

NOTE FROM LB

Going all Biblical on you today, but not sure why. Maybe because a holiday that many people treat with a sort of religious reverence is coming this week. Maybe because I’m trying to escape these troubled times. Or because I’m looking for a way to face them.

Yeah, I’d like to think that.


King of Kings
by Larry Brody

I like to fantasize that in a previous life

I was King David, the sweet singer of Israel.

You know, the slayer of Goliath,

The Lord is my shepherd guy.

Little David had everything.

He was handsome. He was talented.

He was macho.

He was a king!

Of course, everything went to shit for him,

When he got old. Hundreds of failed marriages!

Children who kept trying to kill him!

Infirmities that kept him in bed for years!

So now that I think about it,

Why do I want to have been the big “D”?

Probably it has to do with all his sins,

A ton of them. And how after each one

He would fess up and beg God for forgiveness.

This is the Old Testament, mind you,

With a God who lay waste to whole cities,

Wiped out first-born children without a qualm,

Hell, even flooded the whole world!

But old David would ask for forgiveness,

And, presto, God would say, “Sure.

You’re forgiven. All is well.

Water under the bridge, my favored son.”

As long, that is, as David took his punishment.

Oh yes, the Lord forgave, but the Lord

Always made David pay.

That’s what all those rebellions and betrayals

Were about.

So I’m out here, living my current life,

And thinking, hey, once I was David,

Forgiven and punished,

Punished and forgiven,

Time after time after time.

Only what I’m really doing is praying,

For that same forgiveness,

And the strength

To take my punishment

Like a king.

###


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: ‘My Mother’s Last Words’

NOTE FROM LB

No Navajo Dog today. No showbiz. No philosophy or religion. Just a remembrance not of but from years gone by.

Mothers! Ya gotta love ’em, right? And they’ve gotta love you.

And yet….


My Mother’s Last Words
by Larry Brody

My mother’s last words to me were,

“I love you,” over the phone. She spoke liltingly,

As though singing a song.

My mother was in Chicago, getting ready to die,

And I was in L.A., trying to live.

Both causes seemed vain. My mother had been

Whole and hearty only weeks before, with a

Suspicious spot on her lung, no more,

And I was in a city and a business and a way of life

That already had dropped me down for what I’d

Thought would be that last shovelful of earth.

But, “I love you,” she sang, and she meant goodbye.

In spite of all the motherly years, all the motherly deeds,

Good and bad, appreciated and resented, wanted and

Refused, I never had really felt loved by this

Cigarette-voiced, overwhelming woman.

No hug, no gift, no sign ever meant anything to me

But her own overpowering needs.

This musical “I love you,” though, was different.

It struck a chord that resonates within my body

Still. It bounces and swings and rocks like the

Best gospel song. It celebrates a whole world,

And gives a Mahalia Jackson soul to both the singer

And her audience of one. I didn’t know she could

Do it. I didn’t know she had that sound inside.

I didn’t know I could enjoy her music so much.

My mother died three days after singing that melody.

I live on in L.A. As I rise and scramble and

Seek my own song, I know at last that she loved me,

And as I feel the elation of the music, I know I loved her.

###


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.

LB: First Thoughts on the PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Writing Competition Entries

tv_writer_peoples_pilot_main

by Larry Brody

It’s been 5 – count ’em, 5 – days since PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017, the web’s premier TV pilot writing competition (as I sure as hell like to think) closed, and Team TVWriter™ and I have been logging in the entries and doing some preliminary analysis thereof.

As usual, I’ve enjoyed myself immensely because how can I help but be excited and happy when I’m learning as much as I am about where the entrants’ hearts, souls, and heads are and where the future of what used to be thought of as “just TV” but now is a bit more respectably referred to as “electronic media” is heading.

Haven’t done any close reading, mind you, but here’s what I’ve discovered while playing lookie-loo with all the entrants’ work:

    1. The most obvious thing is that PEOPLE’S PILOT entries were down this year by almost 25%. Sounds like a lot, yeah? But the loss in fact simply brought us back to the same number of entries – plus or minus a handful – that the PP averaged for several years until a big rise that sustained itself for 2015 and 2016. No one here at TVWriter™ was able to fully explain the rise at the time. In fact, we’d been expecting a downturn because of economic conditions and the increase in online writing contests. I admit that I’m disappointed that the new, higher number of entries didn’t last, but we’re going to study the data more thoroughly and work like demons to turn it around again.
    2. Last year, I recognized the names of about 30% of the entrants, either from previous contest entries, emails to TVWriter™ or myself, and the various classes I teach. This year, that number is up a bit, to 33%. It’s always gratifying to realize that we have a core group of repeat visitors and appreciate not only your loyalty but also our responsibility to continue giving helpful “tips and tricks” (as our homepage used to say when we first started TVWriter.Com almost 20 years ago) to TV and screenwriters both new and, well, let’s just say “more experienced” and let it go at that. Big thanks to all of you for inspiring us to double down on our efforts to give you what you need.
    3. Last year, we had three categories, one for half-hour shows, one for one-hours, and one for – surprise – longer than one-hour shows. This year we downsized back to two categories, Comedy (of any length) and Drama/Action shows (also of any length).  I was worried a bit that this might result in a decrease ion the number of longer pilots, and, yep, that’s what happened. However, this year we made an effort to reach out to writers of web series, with the result that the percentage of scripts that were either shorter than half an hour or longer than one hour went up a tad, to almost 20 %. I’m very pleased that the PP is being embraced by web series creators and believe this represents a major shift in what the biz types call content distribution. In fact, here’s a prediction: Within the next couple of years, creating and running a successful web series will be the major calling card for a wider professional career.
    4. Speaking of becoming professional, I have to admit that I’m surprised to report that the number of Drama/Action entries this year was just a couple of percentage points shy of double the number of comedy entries, a fair-sized uptick. When I mentioned that to a couple of my comedy writer friends, they nodded and looked smug. “Comedy writing is harder, Larry,” one said. “I think it scares writers off.” When I said that the numbers looked bad for the future of comedy, another friend laughed. “Fewer new writers means more work for this old warhorse,” she said. Of course, for those of you looking to make a place in showbiz, there’s another way to look at it. Fewer new comedy writers in the conveyor belt means more of a need for them. And, come to think of it, if you enter the Comedy category, less competition in the upcoming PEOPLE’S PILOT 2018.
    5. Here’s another comparison I find interesting. This time around, almost 75% of the comedy entries we’ve looked through appear to be traditional, old-school sitcoms whose purpose is to make the audience laugh rather than exercises in irony designed to impress viewers with their hipness. I’m thinking that this is a function of the way, especially over the past year, daily life in the U.S. has seemed to grow progressively more stressful on just about every level, creating a need for more humor. Looks like the current generation of new comedy writers is instinctively reacting to the situation, which I find impressively perceptive.
    6. Another trend that is showing up in this year’s entries is a rise in the percentage of science fiction and fantasy offerings. 22% of the comedies and a whopping 55% of the drama entries are genre. Putting it another way, this year we received three times as many s-f and fantasy entries as last. OTOH, a look back at PP records shows that the number of police procedural entries is down (only 10% of the total entries) while what we might call “criminal soap operas” are, you know, trending, at least in the PEOPLE’S PILOT.
    7. As usual, I’m enjoying the titles of this year’s entries. I’m especially looking forward to reading the following, just because of their names. There’s a lesson there that everyone reading this should note: A good title goes a long, long way to helping your cause. Here, in no particular order, are the ones that are grabbing me the most:
      ANDY PANSKY’S A CORPORATE LACKEY
      GFA (GREAT F’ING ADVICE)
      ADULTING
      SINGLE SEX
      FRANK FETUS, NICU
      GROVER VS. THE GALAXY
      CUTTING HEART
      INNER DEMONS
      STEALING GOD
      SECONDHAND SAINTS
      AFTER WE FALL
      BLOOD ON THE HILL
      SONS OF WITCHES
      DREAMS IN THE KEY OF C
      HELL COUNTY
      THE STRANGE REALITY OF SALLY PARKER
      2 IN THE CHAMBER
    8. Also as usual, we’ve received some fascinating one-word titles – 25% of all entries, in fact.  Here’s a random sample:
      DUMBBELZ
      SWIPE
      JETLAGGED
      ADULTING
      NORIEGA
      LUCKY
      SHADOWS
      WRECKAGE
      DRIVEN
      TURBULENCE
      SHAMAN
      SUPER
      CONNECTION
      STRUCK
      VAGABOND
      M.A.G.I.C.
      INEFFABLE

FWIW, my favorite title in the Comedy Category this year is FRANK FETUS, NICU, and in the Drama/Action Category I’m a big fan of 2 IN THE CHAMBER. No, I haven’t read either of them yet, but I will. Soon.

Our plan for announcing winners remains the same as we say on the PEOPLE’S PILOT “About” page. We’re on schedule to for announcing Semi-Finalists, Finalists, and Winners between mid-January and mid-February of next year.

And, of course, I’ll probably have a few more things to say between now and then so keep checking. Wouldn’t want anybody to be a Winner and not know it.

Which reminds me, if you entered PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 and want to keep abreast of all the further developments (and, you know, your placing, Feedback, et al), do yourself and us a favor and make sure to keep your name and email address on the TVWriter™ eMail List because that’s our go-to way of getting in touch.

Thanks again to everyone for taking part and being so talented! More to come!

LYMI

lboldwriter

 

 

LB

Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Great Spirits’

View down the Cloud Creek Institute for the Arts driveway. >sigh<

NOTE FROM LB

The image above was supposed to be of the last time I saw the Navajo Dog (although I didn’t know that’s what I was seeing) walking down the driveway. But when I looked at the file this morning, well, somehow she’d left the picture as well.

Magic is real…but that’s a song for another day.


Great Spirits
by Larry Brody

Since the Navajo dog and I stopped speaking,

Shortly after she trotted down our mountain

And vanished down the road to the next Astral Plain,

I’ve pretty much decided to hell with intermediaries,

I’ll go right to the source.

We’re talking the Great Spirit here, that’s right.

We’re talking God.

I speak to Him daily,

Usually in the shower,

Sometimes in the middle of the night

When I’ve been awakened by the insecurity and panic

That are a part of this kill-or-be-killed, law of the jungle

Situation now playing at your local theaters as life.

God’s an upright guy, as we used to say.

He always answers quickly—too quickly sometimes,

For me to comprehend.

Always, though, I believe.

God doesn’t confide in me. He doesn’t tell me His plans.

He doesn’t really answer my questions either. But

He does tell me when I’ve already gotten the answer for myself,

Whether what I’ve figured out is right or wrong,

And He laughs a lot.

Punishes, too. Just because God forgives,

Doesn’t mean He doesn’t kick ass.

They say virtue is its own reward,

And while that still isn’t something I fully

Comprehend, I know that talking to God is too.

With it comes a great feeling of peace.

Once you lose the illusion of having control over your life

You gain the ability to ride out the storms.

God is my shepherd, that I don’t doubt,

But just between you, me, and — yes — Him,

Sometimes I really want the Navajo dog.

###


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 Father-Daughter Chat’

NOTE FROM LB

All in all, I think I’ve gotten pretty good at the writer thing, although there’s still a long way for me to go. What I’m really hoping, though, is that someday I’ll get the hang of this being-a-parent business.

Someday:


A Father-Daughter Chat
by Larry Brody

“Know what I think of you, Dad, really think?”

My twenty-five year old daughter said to me.

“No, what do you think of me, sweetie, really think?” I replied.

“All you talk about is yourself,” she said.

“All you write about is you.

Your feelings, your desires, your needs,” my daughter said.

“All I know is me, my desires, my needs,” I said.

“Then I think you’re very self-centered,

Even selfish,” she said.

“My parents are dead,” I said to my daughter with a sigh.

“I didn’t know them.

Not their feelings, their desires, their needs.

And certainly not what I wanted to know more

Than anything. Their dreams.

They didn’t share,” I went on. “All they gave me

Was some ‘Mommy’ stuff, with a very few

‘Daddys’ thrown in, and those are just masks we can all wear.”

Another sigh escaped me. Still, I plunged on,

Determined to give her a real answer.

“My parents are dead,” I said again,

“And I didn’t know them, don’t know them, never will.

Because of that, I may never know me.

By not knowing their why I may never learn mine. Because of that,

I often feel very lonely, and very confused. And

I don’t want you to feel the same way.

I want you to have more.

I want to give you a gift I never received.

The gift of the man I really am.”

“There you go again,” my beautiful little girl said.

And it was her turn to sigh.

###


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 Dreamed I was the Messiah

Did you know Confucius was this cool looking?

NOTE FROM LB

Unlikely as it always has felt to me, I’ve spent a significant amount of time working with people in China. Teaching, mostly, and even being called “Maestro” by important men and women who have been my students there.

This strikes me as pretty damned mystifying, but there it is. Delusions of grandeur, do you think? So do I. But here’s one of the results of such a delusion:


I Dreamed I was the Messiah
by Larry Brody

I dreamed I was the Messiah,

Speaking to the multitudes.

The amphitheater was glorious,

Carved out of red rock that stretched upward ‘til it kissed the

Blessing we call the sun.

No television ministry for this son of God!

No electronics! Only the real—the dirt, the mud, the clay.

I heard the earth talking, calling me home, but first I had a message to give.

Direct from Our Father Who Art it came,

Rolling in like a wave, gathering a glistening sea strength

That crashed over parched desert so secretly alive.

“Repent!” I kept thinking, like all the Revivalists and

Medicine Show saints.

But, “Forgive,” is what I said.

My gaze rested on each of my listeners. Millions, there were, but

I saw them one by one. And as I looked, I understood their

Harsh lives. Their pasts, their presents, their futures revealed

Themselves in each tiny gesture, each etched line, each

Mournful sound. I knew each man’s hunger, each woman’s despair.

I lived my congregation’s fear, and its anger, and its greed,

And felt every cause, every reason, every excuse push at me

In a backwash of hope.

The pain knocked me to my knees. The red dust filled my nose and mouth.

No breathing for this son of God!

Yet still I spoke only the real.

“Forgive,” I said,

And awoke, desperate, sucking in air. I gulped it down into my

Belly, turned to look at my love still asleep.

Awakened, I knew I was no son of the Big Father,

Yet still the dream was real.

We are all Messiahs, dying for all Mankind’s sins,

Even while we struggle to rise beyond the dirt, the mud, the clay.

We are all Messiahs, who must learn:

“Forgive.”

###


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: ‘The Scientific Method’

Ah, the wonders of quantum mechanics! Gotta love entanglement theory, amiright?

NOTE FROM LB

Recently someone asked me about my wife. He wanted to know “what kind of person” she was. For me, being a writer means – among other things – always trying to use the fewest possible words, so my reply was brief. “Her hobby is quantum  mechanics.” Which immediately brought to mind this related contemplation:


The Scientific Method
by Larry Brody

“The observation of a phenomenon

Alters that phenomenon,” so say the

Ph.D.s. “Anything that can

Happen, will. Light behaves like a wave,

Or a particle, or neither, or both, and

Life flows, or spurts, or neither, or all.”

To those who say you can be all you want,

Benevolent laws of nature say, “Amen.”

To those who say to abandon all hope,

Malignant orders say, “You bet!”

In a time—all times and none—and a

Place—all places and nowhere at all—with

Nothing—and everything, lest we forget

—To believe, I find strange comfort

In this new truth: I am at the mercy of the atom.

Quantum physics reigns.

###


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.