a day in the life

At six o'clock my son wakes me up with a yell: "Dadu!"

And then again. "DADU!" And again.

Insistent, until I answer.

Then: "I'm hungry!"

Normally I say he can get up and play legos in his room until it's breakfast/wake-up time (seven), but today his grandmother's taking him to breakfast a bit later, so I figure it's best to give him a half-bowl of oatmeal to tide him over.

I feed his bottomless stomach, then we wrestle on the bed (I get first move, Dadu -- then you get a move. Then I get three), and after an hour of that and other random games I never quite fully understand we head into the grandparent's house, where we hang out a bit before he leaves. Off for breakfast, and then to his mother's for the day.

That's when my work-day begins. I walk back to my ivy-encrusted shed, sit at my computer, and click through the tabs at the top of my firefox-window: hotmail, gmail, facebook, and then the feed-reader, where I kill about an hour watching short-films, browsing youtube, and reading a little of this-and-that... mostly philosophy & theology. This stuff counts. It's brain-food, for work.

Then, it's crunch time.

I do a browse-edit through a digital proof of my book, then make a few final changes to the text and re-submit. I decide I'm not a hundred-percent thrilled with the cover, so I open the file in photoshop, do a few more tweaks, and re-submit that, too.

I fire off an email to a couple producers, checking in to see if they've had a chance to read the script I sent them. They haven't... but both reply quickly to tell me it's in their queue and they'll get to it soon -- a good sign, I think. 


First, I'll work on the feature-length I'm writing for Austin Herring, a mini-micro-budget film we'll shoot out here, hopefully shortly after I finish the script.

I print off the notes he sent me the night before. As usual, they are very good notes: insightful, incisive, clear -- Austin makes a few suggestions, but mostly just points out the problems and leaves me room to find my own solutions. He's also getting a lot better at not insulting me personally when I commit grievous story-sins. This is a good thing for my frail writer's-ego, and bodes well for our working relationship.

I pull up the original treatment I wrote, grab a stack of note-cards, and re-write the essentials  of each scene onto the cards.

After that, I take a break to eat a snack. Procrastinating on the script, I rough out the start of a blog post about my A.D.D. writing habits. I need a new post because I haven't written anything online since Monday, and the internet is a cruel and whimsical taskmaster.

Back to the script.

I place a stack of fresh cards next to my scene cards and begin to work my way through the stack. Re-writing some. Chucking some. Writing completely new ones. Re-working the structure and periodically re-reading Austin's notes to get my brain-goo sparking. I pull my John-August "How to Write a Scene" notecard off my cork-board for inspiration. It seems to be working. I'm getting a flow.

Then, the phone rings. 

It's another director-friend, Matt Nunn. He wants to talk about our plans for moving forward with a short film I wrote called LOCKER 212, which explores (sensitively, I believe) the issue of gun violence in schools.

I'm happy for the interruption -- thrilled to be talking about actually making something. That's the goal, always -- to get things made.

Matt has some great revision-ideas for the script, and fills me in on his ideas for actors; as well as the fact that he's managed to line up a Director of Photography and a Producer. We both are getting pretty excited about the project, I think, which is great. It's easy for me to care about something I've written, but there's always a bit of a process involved in getting the material to a place where the director is enthusiastic, as well.

I adore the collaborative process. It's a fru-fru word, "adore," but apropos.

Matt hangs up and I get back to my treatment. Work on it a while longer.


After a few hours, the treatment is done. I'll leave it until the next day, type it back up afresh (with a number of revisions) and then send it back to Austin for his thoughts.

I'm a bit creatively burnt by this time, so I grab the chunk of cedar I've been working on and head outside into the sunshine with a wood-file and a little stool. This also gives my three-legged dog Charlie a chance to show off his bowling-ball-pushing skills. He requires an audience to really get into it, and it's a lot easier for me than taking him for a walk.

I get frustrated with the wood file and go borrow an extension cord and power-sander from my dad for some of the bigger stuff. I work away at it a while, then go inside.

Back to the computer, where I do some work on the website for my upcoming book. Design stuff, mostly, but I'm also trying to figure out why the custom domain I bought isn't linked to the website, yet. I get a little annoyed, because I'm uncomfortable in the world of computers.

Fortunately, Austin calls and interrupts. We catch up a bit. Then he asks if I have any questions, and I talk through a few of his notes. I tell him about the John-August Scene-Writing card-thing, and he asks me to send it to him. He hangs up. I work away at the website a little more.

Through the ivy that fingers up against my window I see my son show back up with his mother, in her car. I shut down the computer and go out to meet them.

He runs inside the house, and his mother practically giggles, lingering to tell me that "the world's coming to an end," because our little boy has met a girl in the park and has informed her that she's beautiful and he loves her.

The boy and I have dinner -- leftovers of the pizza I made from scratch, yesterday. I ask about the girl. He doesn't seem embarrassed -- which is good.

We wrestle a bunch more and watch a little something on Hulu. Bath, toothbrush, and a visit to the grandparents. I crawl with him up into his high bunk and read to him from Calvin & Hobbes, at his insistence pointing to each panel as I read it. Heady stuff, for a five-year-old. I like to think the philosophy of it is sinking in. Bill Watterson is our Guru.

After that, I grab my ukulele and play songs for him, singing him off to sleep. After three songs, he's out like a light. I pat his head and crawl down, turning his lights off as I leave.

With my son in bed, it's back to the computer for a little more work.

I finish up the blog I was writing. Edit. Edit again. Post.

I'm tired and it's nine o'clock, so after wasting a little more time online, I crawl into bed and read some Keats, before hitting the lights and nodding off.

Another good day.

A great day.


  1. Wow... Quite interesting... ... I think (I had to say that because you mentioned "I think" both times you said you were excited about what an editor said)...
    But it is quite an interesting day to say the least. ;)


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