Monday, October 25, 2010

On Robots and Completion

It's so nice when everything comes together in a neat little package. I haven't felt that way in a while so I'm savoring the moment. [Mmmmm...moment...]

As I mentioned in my previous entries, I'd been having a bit of a block with the Ballads to the Buffy Big Bads. Two major factors-- one artistic and one personal -- contributed to the block. The artistic: I've been busy putting the finishing touches on my long-term short film project Lifeline (long-term short that oxymoron?). The personal: dealing with the death of my dear friend, Burning Dan (If you only click on one link, PLEASE click that one; it leads to a gorgeous video tribute that really shows the essence of who he is).

Lifeline -- at least in its current phase -- mostly involves long hours of hair-splitting scrutiny alone in front of my laptop. Not so much fun to blog about. I will, however, say a few words about Dan, which -- like all good things in life -- will eventually lead me to Buffy.

Losing Dan has been a pretty powerful experience for me. I'd known him pretty much a year to the day (met him and parted with him on a Sunday in October). I've had acquaintances and even relatives die, but he was definitely the closest person I've ever known to pass away. He was also the first person I've lost who was my peer. It was quite a shock to everyone he knew because he was one of the most vibrant and life-affirming people in the whole wide universe. But the biggest shocker to me was that I had seen him THAT VERY DAY. Not just that day, that EVENING!!! It boggles the hell out of me that I could be seeing someone and talking to them and hugging them one moment, and a few hours later... poof! No more.

Dan's death also represented something bigger in my mind: the idea that things will never be as they were. Just a month prior, I had let another relationship go. It was a decision I felt certain about at the time. Sad, but certain. Dan's passing added a whole, huge, deeper dimension to the end of that other relationship. I remember staring at Jonathan Reilly's torn-down kitchen at a party Saturday night (more on that momentarily), feeling exactly the way the kitchen looked -- raw, nonfunctional, somewhere between what it was and what it would be. All week, I'd been kicking myself over my Buffy block. But in hindsight, trying to finish a Buffy song in my condition was like trying to fry an egg in a kitchen with the stove yanked out of its socket.

Saturday was a big breakthrough for me. After a few amazing conversations with wonderful friends (and a wee bit of mood-altering facilitation), I had a subtle yet very impactful shift in perspective. Until that point, I had felt a deep sense of loss. That night, I reframed the loss as completion. I had two amazing encounters with people who enriched my life in a multitude of marvelous ways. Those experiences were all I could have hoped for and more. They were, essentially, complete. Don't get me wrong; I'm not magically "over Dan." Like anybody who shared so much as a handshake or smile with him, part of me will always be devastated by his death. He made the world a wacky, wonderful place, and we all wish we had a little more of him. But my time with him was such a gift -- especially my very last encounter with him, which I wrote about in a poem called Carpe the Awesome. And I know that all of us fortunate to still be on this planet owe to Burning Dan to live -- I mean really LIVE -- in a way that lends itself to awe-inspiring adventures of the quirkiest kind. Today was exactly that.

I was working as an extra on The Hard Times of RJ Berger, a raunchy high school scripted MTV comedy, which is going on its second season. I spent most of the day with a group of 20-somethings-playing-teenagers, running around a high school gym in my bra and underwear, pretending to be high out of my mind. It was one of my weirdest, wonderfullest workdays, which involved a surprise cameo by Paris Hilton, along with the making of some cool new friends -- including one of the crew guys who did sound mixing on Dollhouse. (He told me a fun story about how they'd break for lunch, and everyone would run to take a nap in the room where the Dolls slept. Fan girl silent squeal!) And somehow, in the process of playing a stoned, reckless teenager (which is SLIGHTLY different from my usual self, I swear!), I came up with two more lines to my Warren song. Though the song was partially written, I was missing a few big pieces, and my inability to write the remainder made me feel like I may as well not have begun. But those two lines were just enough to get me over the hump, and by the end of the day I had my song.

"If I Were a Robot": love song to Warren. Soon, you will see it in all of its geeky glory. Let me just say that, as wonderfully profound and valuable as it is to experience the concept of completion in a chapter of one's life, completing a Buffy love song FEELS FUCKING AWESOME!!!

And that completes my entry for the day.

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