In my last post, I talked in general about my study plan, what I planned to go back and cover in content review, and sort of the thinking behind certain aspects of the plan. Here, I want to detail the plan, partly because I’m hoping that making it public will help make me accountable. And also, if anyone reading this who is also taking the test wants to chime in or use a similar plan, that would be awesome.
So, I’ve spent a lot of time since signing up for the test trying to make a (somewhat) realistic, doable and foolproof study plan, as if such a thing could exist.
I took stock of all my old study materials, all the resources out there now, and of how I did on the Sample Test, as well as a half-diagnostic from a company called Next Step. That was interesting, sorta reflective of the official Sample Test except I did a bit lower on everything, and somehow did worse on CARS (verbal reasoning) than I did on psych/soc (which is just so weird to me because I haven’t taken those classes in over a decade and really don’t remember anything so it was mostly guessing, funny how that worked better for me than actually trying to think through the CARS section). From those two samples, I made a list of what my weaker areas are.
Here it is, the final installment in this trilogy of posts about a recent crazy creative journey (Read Part 1 – The High and Part 2 – Coming Down here) of writing a crazy screenplay called (for now anyway) Sweet Acid. Not that the journey of writing this screenplay is over–I still have tons of editing to do, and then need to figure out what I want to do with it–but that the crazy emotional creativity roller coaster has subsided.
And as for what got me back to normal? It’s nothing shocking. I think just about every working writer or artist or creative person in any field has said this. The cure for all that insane intensity–the good, the bad, the swinging between the extremes–is to keep doing the work.
And in a certain way, it’s still there. I’m still excited about the project and had a great time talking about it yesterday with the friend who my character Lenne is based on. But I also experienced the other side of the creative process, the doubt and self-loathing, the coming down off the drug-like high of creating.
The crash came along with writing the end of the first draft of the screenplay. Maybe it was just the fact that the initial mad dash creative side of the project was over. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel excited about this project so much as terrified.
Holy fucking roller coaster, Batman. And the ride isn’t over.
The last two weeks have been a completely new kind of writing experience for me. It feels a little weird to be able to say that at 33 years old, especially considering I was writing little stories since, like, first grade. But it’s true.
It was so intense. It felt kinda like how I imagine being manic might feel. It felt like being in love. It felt like being on reeeeeeeally good drugs. It was all rushing and inspiration and not being able to sleep and waking up early with ideas and thoughts of how to work parts of it together. And it was a lot, lot, lot of writing.
Here’s what happened. For my university, there is a requirement called a senior capstone. I’ve resisted it as long as I could, putting it off term after term, imagining the anonymous diatribes I wanted to write against the requirement in the school paper as if that could somehow exempt me from having to take a capstone class. But this winter, I had to sign up, so I picked Research Experience for Science Majors, hoping to, you know, get some research experience.
So many things have me revisiting my musical past as of late. It’s really kind of odd how so many things converged at once. Sometimes I feel like, for whatever reason, I just really let music slip away for awhile, and over the last month, a switch has flipped and all of a sudden, I’m back.
I think I’m a little too embarrassed to admit one of the things that started all this. I’ll just say this: it was a TV show. And it wasn’t that I loved the music on the show so much as one of the characters reminded me of how I used to feel about music, and that got me listening to CDs again, and trying to rebuild my old music collection by buying a bunch of used CDs, and looking into concerts and shows again. Okay, I’ll give a hint, since it sort of relates to the remainder of the post, this TV show I don’t quite want to name is named after a song.
“We’re not literally going to die,” I reminded Natalie as I gathered up my things to leave her apartment and walk back across the street to mine. “I mean, no one’s going to shoot us or anything. The worst that will happen is that we fail–”
“I kinda feel like I might actually fail,” Natalie said, sort of laughing the way people laugh when they’re trying not to cry. I knew that laugh so well by now, had laughed it myself so many times.
I grabbed my huge eight-pound book with the fluorescent green cover and shoved it into my backpack. “Me too,” I admitted. I looked around her living room, to all of our practice tests and answer keys scattered over her couch, chair and coffee table; the erasers bloody with pencil shavings, my pink and purple mechanical pencils and Natalie’s straight-up golden #2s; our notecards in several haphazard piles; our identical molecular models of cyclohexane with their carbons and hydrogens in the most stable chair conformations. Natalie sat on her couch, pulling a plush brown blanket around her shoulders. Her apartment looked like a warzone. “That practice test was brutal,” I said. “I’m the one who couldn’t even finish it.” I had given up early into the second practice test, as per usual, feeling I just didn’t know enough to go forward, every question making me feel more like a failure than the last.
So, I think there may be something seriously wrong with me because after finishing this episode, which is brutal and hopeless, I went about my day but couldn’t shake it. And I didn’t want to; I almost wanted to just live in this world and not my own a little longer, stay in that superlab with our guys. Disturbing, huh? I mean, of all episodes to feel this way about, this one’s a little…traumatic.
This episode may break some records for characters going the longest time without speaking. These long stretches without dialogue allow for other sounds, especially the creaking of the chairs in the superlab, Gus’s footsteps, Gus changing clothes, putting on his glasses, but mostly it’s the chairs.
So Saul got himself a bodyguard, Huell. He’s always glided over things before but not now. He’s terrified, looking around his office for bugs (hilarious detail that the columns move), speaking on a payphone, asking Huell if he has a passport. And I gotta say, I usually love Saul’s ridiculous outfits, usually find something aesthetically redeeming about his crazy color combinations, but this time? No way. Worst Saul get-up ever. Gross.
I love when Skyler says to Saul, “He carpools…to his job…at a meth lab?”
This is the episode in which the mess from the last one is cleaned and covered up. Even before he gets out of the hospital, Walt establishes that he wants to go back to cooking (he has extra hospital bills now, yo), and this surprises Jesse. In just a few days’ time they’ve watched a guy getting beaten to death, were kidnapped and kept in a trunk and were almost killed by Tuco. It might make some people want to take pause, but Walt wants to get back on that crystal blue horse. I think this is another turning point for Walt. It’s the second time where he really could’ve gotten out of the game but chooses instead to get back in. They have no distributor; they’ve just barely escaped their last distributor alive, but he’s itching to get back at it.
But of course, first, both Walt and Jesse have to account for their absences. This teaser is the first one this season that doesn’t play with time. One thing I like about this teaser is how it takes its time. That’s something this show does really well. Things aren’t rushed. Walt and Jesse’s desert trek takes up time on screen, and there are a variety of shots of them walking from different angles and perspectives. The time and the varied shots evoke the feeling of a lot of time passing for Walt and Jesse. Another cool thing is that when Walt gets in the truck, and when Jesse questions if he really wants to follow through with his plan, the actual plan isn’t revealed. Walt never reveals it. Instead we see it through the eyes of the bewildered woman who finds Walt’s shoes and clothes strewn around the drugstore. We get to discover Walt’s plan along with her. And Jesse was right, it’s a bold plan.
Before I even start this post, I want to give a shout out to @Jesus Jr (Gonzo) and @Steven Michael Quesada (Gomez), who are both in this episode, and who have both followed me on Twitter – thanks guys! Click on the links to follow them.
So, Season Two. Visually, it starts out really differently from anything we’ve seen so far, setting this season distinctly apart from the previous one. The teaser is a total mystery. Black and white. Water, and more water. The sound of sirens. A floating plastic eyeball. A pink stuffed bear that slowly turns to reveal it’s singed side. What the hell is going on here? I won’t say, in case anyone reads this before getting to the part in the show where it’s all revealed. I will say I find this teaser artistically pleasing. I like the mystery, the starkness. And I totally want a pink bear like that, but not burnt.
Another thing that sets Season Two apart from the others is that this one was planned out in exquisite detail before it started. So there’s a lot of advanced planning going on this season. And there is so much that actually comes back, from this episode and others in this season, in future seasons. Lots of reverberation.