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Category Archives: Life & Death & Serious Stuff

About the tragedy in Connecticut…

 

Maybe it’s being a parent, maybe it’s because this happened a couple towns over from where I grew up, but this one is really making my stomach turn.

Part of this reaction is grief and shock. Part of it, I think, is the hopelessness of it all, the idea that no matter what we do, tragedies like this can always happen. There will always be crazy people who want to kill innocents; sometimes these people will lead nations, sometimes they will attack schools, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, they will succeed in committing evil.

But there is also anger. Anger at what we CAN control but don’t. Anger because, while we are helpless to stop all evil, we are at least capable of shaping our country so that it does not feed the darker forces within it. We can’t eradicate all crazy people, but we can make it easier and cheaper for them to get help. We can’t eliminate all potential weapons, but we can pass gun laws that are tighter and smarter. We can redefine our notion of what is obscene. Why are we more squeamish about seeing naked bodies than casual gun violence? We can think twice about what we glamorize and glorify. We can think twice about our priorities. We can spend more time demonizing hate and less time demonizing those types of love that don’t meet with our approval.

I know you can say this is politicizing a tragedy, but politics is the best mechanism through which we can actually make change. And in our helpless sorrow, it is all we can do to try and make changes, even small incremental ones, that will make similar tragedies less common.

How Would Jesus Celebrate?

Today I turn 33 years old. It has been brought to my attention that this is the age Jesus was when he died.  I have not yet decided whether I will let this fact depress me or fill me with gratitude — but I must say, I’m trying my best not to do the compare/contrast thing:

What have you done with your 33 years, Bill?  Healed the lame and the sick?  Started the world’s largest religion?  Why not?  Too “busy?”  Didn’t want to wake up that early?  Had some TV shows you just had to watch?

Yeah, that’s a game you don’t win.  And I’m told it’s bad form to compare yourself to Jesus, even for the sake of self-deprecating musing, so I’ll stop that line of thought right here.  Anyhow, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself.  I actually have a lot to be thankful for on this birthday. Between getting married and publishing my first novel, this has probably been the most eventful year of my life.  I will be hard-pressed to match this level of excitement and good fortune in my 34th year.

But then, I like to give myself lofty goals …

In the meantime, we have the day to day.  I’m still making ends meet by teaching at a wealthy private school on the west side of Los Angeles. I’ve been filling vacancies, hopping from one maternity leave to another, in an effort to avoid the complications of full-time employment such as report cards, take-home grading, and time-sucking extracurricular faculty pow-wows.  Does this allow me enough time to write?  There’s never enough time.  That said, it’s better than many other day jobs I’ve had and infinitely more fulfilling.

Up until recently, I’ve been spending my time in the kindergarten, which has been good for the soul if bad for the immune system (I was sick for the first month-and-a-half of 2009).  Now I am in the 6th grade, where I will stay for the remainder of the school year.  It’s a whole new, challenging, grade-conscious, puberty-ridden world, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it in future posts.

Speaking of future posts, I do plan on writing some.  I’m working on another book review, and I have a lot more things I plan on sharing once I get the time to do so.  Apologies for the continued blog neglect.  These next couple months should be busy ones.  I’m hoping to have this new screenplay squared away soon, which will mean starting my film agent search sometime in the next couple months.  Then, on June 2nd, the paperback version of The Scandal Plan will hit bookshelves near you.  More on these stories as they evolve.

For now, I’m 33.  Given the alternative, I’ll take it.  Jesus didn’t make it to 34.  God willing, I will. Thanks to all those who’ve sent me birthday wishes this week.  I feel the love.  It’s warm, and I dig it, and I dig all of you.

Much love,
b

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving began early this year. I found myself in a mall on Monday night, dining at a chain restaurant, and I experienced my first instance of wall-to-wall nonstop Christmas music, 2008-style. This is the part of Thanksgiving I like least: the “Thanksgiving as spring roll to the General Gau’s chicken that is Christmas” part.

The part of Thanksgiving I like best is the part I’ve been experiencing for the last couple days: the food, the family, the food, and, well, the thankfulness. This year, I’m thankful for a lot: for my wife, for my family, for my friends, for all the blessings of the past year, and for the improved play of the Patriot offense these last few weeks. I’m also thankful that our big plans for a romantic Thailand vacation in December fell through. I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on across the Pacific, but the last I heard, anti-government forces had taken over Bangkok’s airports and were demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister and the dissolution of the Parliament.  C and I were quite bummed when we decided to shelve plans for a Thailand honeymoon, but now we are thanking our lucky stars.  Can you imagine how much we’d be freaking out right now if we’d dropped $3000 on airplane tickets?  We were one server error and a good night’s sleep away from doing so.  Whew!

This is a tough Thanksgiving for many: in India, Thailand, Zimbabwe, all over.  It’s gonna be a tough Thanksgiving for retailers in the U.S. as well, if my uncrowded trip today to suburban shoppingland is any indication.  I’m thankful that my troubles pale in comparison to those of others.  And I wish the world a happier Thanksgiving in 2009.

So then I got married …

Bill & Carin\'s Wedding - sunflowers

You may have noticed it has been a while since I’ve written. Funny thing, really. I went and got myself married. Trust me, I have no shortage of opinions about everything that’s been going on in the country lately. I’ve just been too busy to write.

As for the wedding, it was perfect: truly, the best day of our lives. And let me tell you, we were not shooting for “best day of our lives.” We just wanted to make it a good day. We wanted to make sure we didn’t to get so caught up in last-minute crises or minutiae that we didn’t enjoy ourselves. We also didn’t want to spend so much time worrying about pleasing everyone else that we didn’t get to enjoy the amazing food or spend time on the dance floor. Mission accomplished.

I felt like a very lucky man on my wedding day: lucky to be marrying the girl I was, lucky to have such amazing friends, lucky to come from (and be marrying into) such a loving family. I felt very rich. The people in my life make me a wealthy man (even when my book sales do not).

But I’ll spare you any more gushing. Here is photographic evidence:

Awesome Wedding Picture

carinbill-noses-willow

To see more pics by our amazing photographers, you can check out this slideshow.

Our Car Crash, or: The Perils Of Attempted Yoga

A week ago Saturday, C and I got into a car accident while trying to drive to a yoga class. This is ironic in that “attempted yoga” ended up being the culprit that led to a week of stress for the two of us.

Totally the other driver’s fault, of course. This unfortunate woman was listening to her navigation system and rolled through a stop sign, unaware that the major avenue she was crossing did not have stop signs. We couldn’t brake in time and hit her passenger side door. Our airbag deployed, burning C’s thumbs, which were on the wheel, but otherwise having no effect. I got a small dose of whiplash which led to a backboard and a stretcher and a dramatic ambulance ride to Santa Monica hospital. Good times were had by all.

I will spare you any overwrought analysis of the car crash, but will make the following observations:

1. Contrary to popular belief, car crashes do not happen in slow motion. They do, however, provoke multiple episodes of instant replay.

2. When airbags explode open, they really explode. As in, there is an explosion. Which involves heat that burns thumbs, and a chemical reaction that has a distinct odor. My first sensory observation after the impact, a split second before the pain kicked in, was a strange burning smell.

3. It’s worse to be the driver. My injuries were perhaps more serious and dramatic than C’s, but her scars (physical and mental) will take longer to heal. After the crash, I felt angry, but that quickly subsided after 20 minutes or so. C felt guilty for a week (even though it was the other driver’s fault). Guilt is worse.

4. I continue to dislike automotive navigation systems. I still believe they cause more problems than they solve, which is why they rank right behind automatic toilets on my list of least favorite man-made contraptions.

5. I really like Vicodin. I mean, seriously, I really do. It’s–what’s the word?–ah yes: delightful. So what if it made me constipated and unproductive for much of the following week. Nobody’s perfect, right?

Now, 10 days later, I’m feeling mostly better from the whiplash, although my back and neck are still knotted up. It looks like C’s car is totaled, so we have some car shopping in our future, which thrills neither of us. We both still flinch more than usual while driving these days. That jumpiness will take a while to subside.

Nobody wants to be in a car crash, but these things happen. You just hope that, when they do, they are small enough that you can walk away, that the event can serve as a wake-up call and not a goodnight.

So here we are, wide awake, thankful, over-worked, and in need of a good stretch.