The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What a weekend!

Wow. What a weekend for Obama fans. The four-state sweep is just amazing. Watching both candidates on “60 minutes” I was actually impressed by both. I thought Hillary held herself with grace and wit. Now, I’m not at all happy with her pressure to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida. That feels…like cheating. I suppose that the suggestions of a new caucus or primary, funded by the DNC, is the fairest way to work through this, and I can’t think of a better way to resolve it. Seems fair to both sides.

But the most remarkable thing to me is watching Obama beating the Clintons to a standstill, starting from nothing, with their 20-year head start. Amazing. He’d make a hell of a chief executive, in my book. 2008 is just too entertaining for words…
Spoke at the Sherwood Oaks Experimental College screenwriting conclave today. It’s fun: a short speech, followed by rotating through tables filled with hopeful screenwriters. I concentrated my conversation on the emotional core necessary to sustain a long, hard slog toward a career goal.

I realized again that when I was about 30, I had a premonition that I would hit my stride in my mid-fifties. That was looking at the culture as well as my own growth curve. Well, I’m there now, and I swear I look out at the culture and am finally seeing the kinds of changes I’ve been waiting my whole life for. No, Will Smith still hasn’t gotten laid, but I strongly suspect he COULD. And with “I am Legend” earning over a half-BILLION dollars worldwide the worldwide resistance to black films is slowly, slowly eroding. Which makes more money available for development stateside. Works for me.

But I had to be willing to wait for twenty-five years. Jesus Christ. If I’m right about this, how did I know? And how in the hell did I ever align myself psychologically to be willing to fight so long to be ready for an opportunity? It kind of boggles my mind, it really does.

To the degree that this situation bears deeper investigation, I think that it was a matter of very clear goals that were in alignment with my core values, having a great deal of fun along the way. And burning my bridges behind me, big-time. For most of my life, it felt as if I had nowhere to go, no line of retreat. It was writing, or nothing.

I don’t recommend a course like that to anyone who isn’t obsessive or half-nuts. Like I’ve often said, I have something of an obsessive-compulsive disorder that would be recognized much more easily if I weren’t obsessed with balance. That seems to fool people quite well.

We all have additive patterns in our personalities. The luckiest among us (I think) are addicted to things that are positive contributions to our lives and our world.

So our question for the day: what is the strongest addiction in your own life?


Daniel Keys Moran said...

Hope Obama closes out quickly. Despite having voted for Hillary, it's better to have a candidate settled upon, particularly this year when prospects look so good.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Addiction -- used to be sex. It's close, but probably basketball, these days. Aging is interesting....

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Probably information input/output. You have no idea what a kick I got out of being able to recognize an elephant shrew when it was being used for a joke about God being on crack.

Anonymous said...

The computer. I wrote my first program in 1961 for the IBM650. My first job was writing software for the Apollo/LEM onboard computers. None of the jobs I had would have been possible without them. I bought my first home computer, an Apple II plus in 1978 and now that I am retired I keep my self busy on one an average of 6-8 hours a day.

Anonymous said...

it's difficult for me to
identify "my highest priority addiction"

given the number of high piles
beside my bed it's definitely a possibility

hours logged on every day
for reading and searching
but most of all for writing

can't do without some

always on or near the forefront

all in all
I love all these addictions
find them all positive


Mike R said...

> That feels…like cheating.<

I don't know what else you'd call it. She's undermining the rule of . . . rules. Everyone, including Clinton, agreed that they would take their names off the ballot, wouldn't campaign there, and that the delegates wouldn't count. She broke the agreement, left her name on the ballot, and campaigned in Florida on the day of the primary. Remember that quote from Animal House, "You fucked up - you trusted us!" To me, that tells me a lot of what I can expect from a Clinton administration.

> If I’m right about this, how did I know? <

*shrug* Simple extrapolation of the previous trend. Comparing America's racial policies and attitudes in 1958 to America in 1983 showed a clear upward trend. If you assumed that would continue for the next 25 years, than assuming that things would be better in 2008 isn't that big of a leap.

It's like some gay guy today predicting that gay marriage will be legalized in 2033 and that he'll feel good about America then. The young are the most in favor of it and the old are the most opposed so simply waiting 25 years for every generation to "move up a notch" (childhood to young adulthood to adulthood to elderhood to dead) will result in what he wants. Same-same with you and race.

In 1983 the oldest quarter of the population had lived most of their life in a country in which racism against blacks was socially acceptable. Good luck getting most of that group to change their minds. But time eliminated them from society as it will eliminate every generation.

If you want to look at what the future leaders will be like 25 years from now, look at the 20 - 45 year olds currently around, because in 25 years that is the majority of people who will be running things.

> what is the strongest addiction in your own life?<

Procrastination or excessive down-time.

Mike R said...

Speaking of balance, which is so rare here ;), the actor who did the best portrayal of an unbalanced artist I've ever seen recently died;

Anonymous said...

Addiction - I had to think about that for a while but I think it has to be exploration. Everything I like most falls into that category somehow. The Internet - obviously a lot to explore. Classical music - maybe not so obvious to a lot of people but there is a lot to explore. History, science fiction, classic literature, art, trying new weird flavor soft drinks and teas, even shopping. Life is all about exploring.

Pagan Topologist said...

Addictions...I suspect websurfing. Spending far more time than necessary rechecking blogs, including this one, for new posts. A few years ago, this was a needed head-clearing break from mathematical work. I could always go back to what I had been doing after ten or fifteen minutes of browsing with a fresh outlook, after being overwhelmed with the complexity of whatever I was trying to prove. It has come to use up more and more time, so that it gets in the way of work too often.

Kami said...

Creation. I'm addicted to writing and art and gardening, taking something raw (or ethereal) and making it into something physical or at least able to be transmitted to another person. I'm also addicted to beauty, though in a very broad way. My husband becomes more beautiful every day, physically, spiritually, emotionally. I love landscapes, and the smell of a fall morning, a newborn's eyes, etc. Maybe it would be more accurate to say I'm addicted to a harmony of aesthetic.

Anonymous said...

As a Floridian, I very much want the votes of people in this state to count. I think we should count more than Michigan, since all the candidates' names were on the ballot. Both Clinton and Obama raised money here, so I'm still upset at the DNC for effectively disenfranchising people here. It's infuriating.

As far as addictions, I've had a few.

Books. Sex. Food. Work. I don't consider any of these to be negative addictions.

These days, it's probably naps. Seriously. I'm not sleep-deprived or depressed, but I will go to extreme lengths to make sure I get to take a daily nap, even if it's just for 15 or 20 minutes. On the best days, I get to take two naps.

Steven Barnes said...

As addictions go, naps are one of the best!