The Laziness of Malcolm & Marie

Spoilers ahead.

Here's the context: Malcolm & Marie is a movie that came out on Netflix maybe a couple weeks ago. The official description from Google: "A filmmaker on the brink of Hollywood glory and his girlfriend, whose story made his career, find themselves pushed towards a reckoning as a single tumultuous night decides the fate of their relationship."

Marie starts the reckoning with a warning to Malcolm: don't do it. But he pushes. And then she shares that the issue betwixt them is he did not publicly thank her for using her story to prop up his work. She was a drug addict and struggled with suicide, and the main character he wrote for his movie goes through this as well. And yet, they fight. Malcolm goes really mean for some reason in trying to prove the role wasn't based on her life. And then maybe halfway through the movie (I'm not going to watch it again to make sure), he admits he wrote the role for her.

Maybe it was the weed, but I was like, what? You wrote the role for her, didn't end up casting her in it, and then... Want to fight with her because she thought you based the role on her life and wanted a 'thank you'? You deign to say you didn't write the role based on her life... But you wrote the role? For her?

It just did not track for me. I was not able to see how this character could write a role with stuff that was directly lifted from his girlfriend’s life for her, as an actor, and then deny it. Please, if I'm not seeing something, @ me.

It felt like the writers just wanted to set up whatever they wanted to set up, and then sure he reveals he wrote the role for her, and it is heavily based on her life, but whatever story the writers wanted to tell came first. I'm curious as to what that story was. Did they just want to show a couple eviscerating each other?

Thing is, we could have had Malcolm admit where he was wrong and apologize at the beginning of the movie.

If the point of this project was to just show a toxic couple being toxic, the same thing could have been accomplished multiple ways. Malcolm says: You're right, I wrote this role for you and based it on your life. I didn't thank you.

And then, because Marie had a small but heavy list of resentments, she goes in, he goes in (this is what the movie is anyway. Literally), drama ensues.

This kind of thing in a story really gets me going. When a character reveals something that shows them to be a little too obtuse. I’m making an assumption with ‘lazy writing’ in the title, but it felt like Malcolm had to be fully toxic and have all of the cognitive dissonance in order for whatever story the writers wanted to tell.

Would it have been so wrong if he admitted, with some quickness, that he was wrong from the start?

Would the story be less impactful if Malcom had been given the ability to connect two dots and show a little growth?

I don’t think so. As in real life, a little growth can provide all the drama on its own, just fine.

Need a friend who has answers? Try a YouTube tarot reader.

A little therapy, a little spirituality, a little fantasy.

Ah, before I launch into this ted talk, I wanted to share a thing that’s been on my mind lately. Last summer I went on a small social-distanced trip to the beach with a friend and along the way I saw a huge sign that said something like: ”This is tough. You’re doing really well.” If you get nothing else from this, I am passing that message on to you. This is tough. We are doing really well.

Let's talk about my obsession with YouTube tarot readers. (Do not) Type your sun sign into YouTube, get your moon and rising signs if you want to really go off, and be ready to have your recommendations changed forever.

I arrived at YouTube tarot readings in my early thirties, confused, questioning, and struggling. My mind was a tennis ball going back and forth between confusion about love and confusion about money. I'm 37 as of Jan 6 (yes 🎉), which means I have been looking up tarot readers on YouTube for you do the math. And I have no shame.

I went in already open to ideas about spirit guides, guardians, angels and astrological concepts such as rahu and ketu, and with my birth chart handy. Oh yes, and I accepted the idea someone on a screen who doesn’t know me from a can of paint can accurately read my situation.

The person on the screen can't be speaking directly to me, obviously, they're speaking to hundreds, maybe thousands of people. But every once in a while the odds land in your favour because everything they say seems to resonate.

Now I realize a lot of the content is the same stuff repeated over and over again. And there is a mix of nonsense thrown in.

It's like spiritual ASMR therapy. Sure, these are "general" readings, for "entertainment" purposes and all that. But these disclaimers are like accepting terms and conditions, please.

Once the whispers and shuffling and cleansing is complete, the cards are laid out with the promise of an answer; clarity and peace. Hopefully. If not, just scroll down to the suggestions because there was (and is) always another tarot reader whose message could be the answer.

And the one thing I noticed about these other readings: the diversity. A 'YouTube tarot reader type' does not exist. There are the young readers, old, every race and with every type of style you could imagine.

What do you want, just astrology? There's Barbara Goldsmith, Kelley Rosano, Lada Duncheva.

Coffee ground readings? How about stones? Check out Cognitive Universe.

There's Rune Scopes.

Charmed Intuition Tarot, who uses charms. Think lucky, but not edible.

Shonetta's Divine Tarot does spirit guide readings.

QueenCup channels messages and she's from Scarborough.

My og Sal at Eat Read Love, WaterBaby Tarot by Bomispirit, Tarot by Bronx, The Quietest Revolution, She Doo, Ray of Light Tarot, Rich Lopp, Spiritual OG, Heidi Symoens, Natalie of Bay of Fundy Fortunes, 4 Your Inner Voice, Jai Michelle Swords Tarot, ALI's Tarot, Halo Moon Tarot, Universal Intuition, Ariel Gatoga, Ramblin Mike's Tarot, Little Girl Lost Tarot, The Birthday Gift, Star Lourdess Tarot / Hope for Humanity, High Vibrations, CancerMoons Tarot. The list goes on, but we have other things to do. And these are just some of the readers who just speak English.

As with anything, there is also a dark side and I found it. It is the Internet. Content is still king. This is just as true for people who claim they are channeling messages from the Universe as it is for whatever corner of the world you're into. The marketing objective is the same: send the audience down a funnel to watching more videos, or purchasing a reading, subscribing, commenting, engaging, clicking, liking, sharing.

No matter how many videos I watched, I never seemed to find what I was looking for. This is how I discovered a dangerous spiral. I was fed the same messages over and over again, and yes, "entertainment", but I still wanted answers.

I learned what it meant to ‘cross watch', for example. More dangerous than it sounds: in addition to watching videos for your signs, if you know the birthday of the person you’re concerned about (which I did, because we all do) you watch videos for them too.

Then there's the audience. Tyler from his popular, eponymous channel does live sessions, that could last an hour or more, where they translate messages for each sign one after the other. Live chatters, while waiting for their sign reading, can shout out to the reader, other viewers, the "notification gang", or send in a donation with their thanks. Sometimes the reader will shout out viewers, especially the ones who leave a funny or infuriating comment, or make a donation. Tyler, in particular, is kind of legendary for clapping back at people who would dare to disagree with what he says.

Aside from the drama, what’s more obvious is the number of real people out there looking for connection and support.

In the comments and chats viewers share their personal experiences and get advice from others who are going through—or have gone through—similar situations; common confusions and disappointments.

Every once in a while, a triumph, a commitment, a declaration to never go back. The comment section becomes a snapshot of other people’s epiphanies and realizations. It is a brief look at the moment when someone felt like they were able to move on with their lives, a moment that conveys hope. What is unseen or misunderstand can become clear. Change is possible. The bad times won’t last forever.

When you know a YouTube video isn't going to be relevant in a week, I think it is a little easier to share your temporary truth in a comment section or live chat. At least there you can find some support from others who know what it's like to be you… Astrologically.

Until next time, friends.

🖤


Time for a patreon shout out.

Check out Christina's shop, Tee Thang: T-shirts and swag for the culture.

Patroning starts at $2 / month. Posts go deep on things, like art, self-sabotage, and how the writing process happens.

How are you doing?

Yeah, I'm figuring it out too.

What do you need? Are you getting it? If not, are you doing anything about it? Do you need some help?

I am alone a lot and need face-to-face interaction with people I care for and who care for me in healthy ways. I know I am not alone.

In a way, I think this time alone is exactly what I need to get what I ... need. To take an idea from The Midnight Gospel (I am a little obsessed with that show), I had a lot of stuff in my brain; a lot of thoughts and painful, angry scenarios I would play out, lots of thinking.

What I wanted was to avoid silence because (and excuse the dramatics, but) silence felt dangerous. Being an asshole was a cheap way to do that.

The only thing it cost was <sarcasm> peace of mind </sarcasm>. And there no space in my mind for me to just be me. I became an asshole who tolerated assholes. Time alone has forced me to figure out how to de-asshole as much as possible.

So I found a therapist and a daily practice, which includes learning to be patient. To be fair, everything became easier once I was honest with myself about what I needed. It is both difficult and getting easier. I know I’m getting better when doing lots of thinking does not feel right and silence isn’t so bad. At least it’s consistent.

Avoiding silence is another way to say I was afraid of being “alone”. And that is kind of hilarious. I made up this idea of what it means to be alone, and then no matter how many people were around, “aloneness” was there. It was everywhere, if I chose to look. A manufactured fear that was constantly at my heel.

(Check out Kelly Stamps on YouTube. She has turned being alone into an art.)

We know and see people who seem alone every day. Us singles are by ourselves inside of our apartments; I spent the holidays by myself last year. We’re alone when we’re with people who don’t get us. If being ‘alone’ was that bad, for the few seconds, minutes, hours, days or months that we are by ourselves or in silence, the big scary thing would happen. And yet...

We're still here, laughing at things on the CIA’s Internet, playing games, fartin' and watching Netflix.

Until next time, friends.

🖤


Some good news: I got patrons! And am grateful for the support!

Check out Christina's shop, Tee Thang: T-shirts and swag for the culture.

Patroning starts at $2 / month. Posts go deep on things, like art, self-sabotage, and how my writing process happens.

The novel I can't write {yet}.

And launching my Patreon!

Do you feel like you can breathe a sigh of relief? Even if just a small one? I do. Also, I realized yesterday we may have had a Halloween without any blackface and… Well, who cares.

Anyway, I had a dream last year that has inspired a story idea and is taking up a lot of space in my head.

The story is about a woman who leads a team of scientists that have developed a way to restore the earth's environment.

Despite winning hundreds of awards and getting billions of dollars to build and test, the system gets no traction.

The Climb Ahead

The story has been growing for over a year. Like the baby, who becomes a sarcastic, angry little girl (this, I'm comfortable with writing, ha) and really just wants her mommy.

I flinch at the idea because I don't know how I am going to write this. And because I have this question, I know I have work to do. There are authors like N.K. Jemisin and Nalo Hopkinson who I can study. But I am out of my depth and I know it. I’m also thinking about other possibilities; maybe this isn’t a book at all, or maybe I’ll have to find a co-writer.

An Announcement

This is one of the reasons I started a Patreon, which is officially launching today (🎉). Before Girl Tracy, I completed a novel about a woman who kidnaps her younger siblings. The plan is to get this book out next, it deserves to be finished. Then, work on the new idea, the… creative thing I’m calling Project 3.

I’m on Patreon to hopefully replace the income I’m getting from the full-time job with my writing-work, and to give myself time to figure out Project 3.

What I'm Serving

I am committed-committed to This. To put it plainly, by ‘This’ I mean getting creative impulses and acting on them. I am committed to whittling my barriers down so I can create with others and a healthy level of hesitation.

You don’t need to be a writer to understand what it means to stifle your own creativity. If you have an idea that is sitting with you, you know what it’s like to stop yourself from making the thing or putting it out into the world.

Patreon is where I want to document how I get from where I am to where I want to be, creatively. I want my Patreon to be a place where I can get weird and talk about real shit, like following the thread, pinpointing exactly where inspiration comes from, and creating the lives we want to live.

My first Patreon post (which you can see for free) is about how I found focus again. There’s a story about 'post-publish cringe' and how it can be a good thing (locked), and a “secret” file, a chapter from the first draft of Girl Tracy (also free).

Hopefully you’ll like what you read and become a patron. For $2 a month, I’ll shout you out in this newsletter and you can have your alter ego’s name in something I’m working on.

Check Out My Patreon

Fin

These days I’m comfort-watching 30 Rock and listening to the most calming album in the world (IMO!). I still feel like I’m in the unknown, but I’m okay with it.

If you're also on Patreon or wondering about the platform for your own work, reach out. We can trade tactics, tips, and tricks.

Ok, that’s it. See you next month!

*Ahem* Hey.

Being in the unknown: resources, practices + aggressive dancing

I have been silent for months.

Last year, I used my childless privilege to leave a full-time job and pursue writing. A smart or stupid decision, depending on how you look at it, but back then I had a bunch of money in the bank and was eager to just do what I'd been dreaming of my whole life. I got busy writing and cracked open the Girl Tracy file.

(An aside, if reading books featuring strong women as the lead is how you get through, I got a giveaway for you. Check it out.)

Fast forward to now and, well, I am still here.

These are the words I've found. For a while I didn't have them, and that is why I was so quiet. I want people to stop asking me how I am because no one who asks seems ready to talk about life falling apart and being in the unknown. I imagine you might feel the same way. It's not easy to describe this with people you aren't sure will understand. Some will immediately go to fear, or feeling sorry for you, or wanting to do something to fix it.

I was so tired and afraid of being misunderstood, that for a long time I stayed silent. No matter how long you've felt like an alien or like you don't belong Here, it still hurts to be told you're weird (which is where my mind goes when I go through the trouble of trying to explain how I feel to someone only to get a 'huh?' in response).

I simply do not care anymore. If you get me, you get me.

There's no need to fear, pity or fix anything for anyone, really. The unknown is what it is. It's dark and empty. But I've found some places where I can feel secure, like in daily practices and a spiritual connection.

How I'm Getting Through

Being in the unknown feels like starting all over again, and this is one of the reasons I've decided to feel good. For me it’s also meant 'going back' and taking care of the basics.

There's something about building a practice that is healing. Aligning daily actions with your will, but still allowing room for mistakes, experimentation, rest. So the more I make everyday choices that are aligned with what I want, the better equipped I am to deal with the space and darkness.

Finding support is the one place where I've had to do some real work. Therapy or consulting an energy healer is not always accessible, so I've gone to searching for resources that are free or relatively cheap. This is where I'm at. When I'm ready for therapy, I know where to find it, but sometimes all I need is some understanding (🗣 Xscape), to know that there is another side. Sometimes I just need to be reminded to not take life so seriously. Other times I need to dance until my feet can’t hold me up anymore.

There's this rhythm that life has where the more questions I ask, the more answers seem to just come to from all over, sometimes in books, sometimes videos, sometimes The Comments. I just have to be open and pay attention.

Books

Videos + TV

The Midnight Gospel on Netflix.

MintFaery has an incredibly positive and strong presence, so at first it surprised me to hear how she talked about feeling alone and depressed. She sounded like me. And she's opened my mind to possibilities.

Witch, Please. Odin does a regular series where they talk about life and the bigger questions.

Bresi-Ando Tools for Living. I met Simone Bresi-Ando at Afropunk last year. She does some great video chats on YouTube and Insta on getting through.

Finding purpose, creating a vision, and planning how I want to live (instead of reacting).

This episode of TheLoveHour podcast helped me tap into gratitude.

Where I'm Going

My mission is to be as clear a channel as I can be for whatever Spirit wants me to do. For now and the foreseeable future that is writing. I can decide how focused I want to be on this. The more I just sit and think, the more susceptible I am to lose focus, to go into the past or to wallow about things I can't change, which leads to feeling like shit.

The more I focus on where I'm going and staying true to myself, the more free I am. So my work these days is doing what I can to stay on mission.

💃🏾 Let's have some fun, let's rock around… Ehh-very-one!


Thank you to my patrons! Patron levels start at $1.

  • (whoops, there's no one here 😢. Probably because I haven't launched my Patreon yet.)

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