Teenage Dirtbag: The Movie

Okay, it’s movie review time.  Teenage Dirtbag. I figure since I’ve watched this movie four times in the past month, I might want to expound upon it.  After the second viewing, I asked myself, “Self…why have you become obsessed with a PG-14 movie about teenagers?”  There are only a handful of movies I’ll watch more than once.  Those being:

* Hustle and Flow

* Napoleon Dynamite

* Muriel’s Wedding

* Twilight

* Teenage Dirtbag

Anyway, I think I figured out my “Dirtbag” intrigue.  It’s the angst.  This movie won’t win an Oscar…and the acting isn’t exactly stellar…but there’s something about the character “Thayer” (played by the dreamy Scott Michael Foster) that hits me in the sternum.  The plot is old as sin….good girl befriends bad boy.  As a teenager, I was always drawn to the guys who reeked of passion.  Not a physical passion…but an emotional passion.  (I will interject that I was also drawn to a few doo-doo heads as well).  I never seemed to have the guts to approach the passionate dudes though.  Probably a good thing…because the ones with passion were always the ones in trouble.

As we grow older, we seem to become more and more detached from our center.  The center that is raw, innocent and morally unpolluted.  Remember that first guy/girl you fell head over heels for?  How just the sight of them made your chest tighten up like a drum and the rest of the world melted away?

In the movie, Thayer was able to voice his raw emotions in a creative writing class.  About a year ago, I got some soul-searching advice.  That being, if you remember the books or movies you loved as a child…the subject matter was close to your soul’s essence.  I’ve racked my brains for the past year, trying to think of a particular book or movie that touched my soul.  But I’ve only recently realized that there wasn’t a specific title that defined me….it was anything with raw angst and passion.  It was Romeo, Man From Snowy River, James Dean in Giant, Spartacus,  Rhett Butler, Ducky in Pretty in Pink.

That realization stripped away the calcium and lime build-up that surrounded my soul and made it abundantly clear that my writing should reflect this.  Hold nothing back.  Create characters that make you want to read about them over and over.  To passionately love them or hate them.  Characters who embed themselves into your brain and stay lodged there for all eternity.  Characters and stories that don’t require nudity and foul language to invoke passionate interest.

I guess that’s what Teenage Dirtbag (based on true events, btw) has done for me.  Embedded itself and inspired me.  One of the first poems Thayer wrote and read in his creative writing class blew open the floodgates of emotion.  It reminded me of the power of words and their ability to re-light your pilot burner.

I am One of Them

A squirrel, two sparrows.
A crippled dog.
Hit. Grasp, save, grasp, hit, miss.
Miss. Miss again.
And I see your eyes.
Fur, feathers. Blood. And that noise.
Tree, fence, sunshine. Miss. Save.
Hit. Hit again. And that noise.
Sparrow.
I’d pick you up from the grass.
But there’s nowhere to take you…
I am one of them.
Sister of mine, don’t worry.
Hit, miss, save.
Skin, bruises, blood.
And I see your eyes too, Sister.
I say don’t worry, but what am I going to do?
I’d pick you up, but where would I take you?
I am one of them.


The Infamous New Yorker Smack-Down

Okay.  I’m finally publicly announcing that The New Yorker smacked down my latest submission.  Smacked it DOWN, ya’ll!  But hey…you’re not a “real” writer until you get rejected, eh?  My first two official rejections….Disney and The New Yorker.  I realize that I’m going about things in reverse order.  Start small and work up to the Big Dawgs….but that’s not how I roll.  I want top shelf rejection.

Here was the official notice:

Dear April A. Trice,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider your work. We regret that we are unable to carry it in the magazine.

Warmest regards,

The Editors

Ahhh….warmest!  Do you think they really read it?  How do I know some pimply faced cretin didn’t sneak onto the Editor’s computer and started mass-mailing rejections whilst snickering?  Who’s to say?!  A bitter employee who can barely write his name…much less a manuscript!  Eh.

I figure that if I’m getting rejected, then that means I’m writing.  And isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?  The process?  I’ve already got my next New Yorker submission wrapped up and ready to roll.  The squeaky wheel gets the oil….or something like that.

Altered Book Challenge

I’m loving me some altered books.  LOVING THEM!  I wish I could find a workshop or something to learn a bit more about them….but alas.  The town I live in sucks rotten eggs and wouldn’t know alternative art education if it bit ’em in the hiney like a rattle snake.  So…self-taught it is.

Instead of random alterations, I’ve decided to use a theme:  The Book of Me.  A horror novel, to be sure.  Actually I plan on taking Journal excerpts and creating pages from those entries.  Should be interesting considering my Journals date back 30 years.

There will no doubt be a great many  “I hate my parents!  I want to run away!” and “I love (enter random boy’s name).  Does he know I’m alive?”

This is where I’ve started.  I’m using an ancient law-book from the Oxford Institute.  I found a whole set of them a few years back for like 75 cents.

And here are some seriously accomplished books.  What I love is that it’s quickly becoming a highly respected art-form.  The International Society of Altered Book Artists (ISABA)is proof-positive of that.

Eau Du Stinky

Hope all the Mamas out there had a swell Mother’s Day.  Mine was spectacular.  I may quite possibly be the luckiest Mom on the planet!

I wrote this in one of my Journals a couple of years ago….and things really haven’t changed much since then:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She smells like slobber and a runny nose.  Sweaty hair plastered to her forehead and stuck to ears, no doubt hardening to crust throughout the night.  That little bump on her ear worries me.  But such perfectly shaped ears!  Her purple footy jammies smell like feet, even after I wash them.  She’s getting so big.  Less baby…more toddler.

“You dont touch me, it’s MINE!”, she let me know today.

OKAY!

She smeared hot-pink toothpaste all over the guest room comforter.

She found a blue pencil and drew circles all over the laundry room door.

She crammed stickers in her mouth and almost choked to death on the letter “R”.

She washed my hair in the bath tonight and covered me up when I laid beside her.

She tried to feed her foot corn at supper and demanded to watch Max & Ruby long after bedtime.

She danced away the day to “Rockin’ Robbin” and lined her rocks up in various locations thru the house.

This room smells like her.  A heady combination of Sweet Pea, Motrin, slobber and baby wipes.

I wish I could bottle this.

The essence of my daughter.

Eau Du Stinky.

New Yorker Submission

What I have been doing you ask?  I’ve been holed up in the Birdcage painting, writing, thinking, reviewing, punching canvases in anger.  It’s really not as bad as it sounds.

I decided it was time to start making a Mandala.  So after about 3 hours of working on it…I decided I hated. it.  So I tore everything off, began berating myself as an artist and tried to punch a hole in the canvas.

( Note to fellow angry artists:  You gotta be one strong SOB to punch a hole in there.  Maybe I’m just a puny weakling.  Whatever…I busted my knuckles up pretty good and the canvas doesn’t have a scratch on it.  Go punch one and see for yourself.)

I’m one of those people who tear down their creations when they start going or looking bad.  If I still had every single piece I’ve ever done, it’s no doubt fill up a small art museum.  Or garage.  So I’ve made a pretty strong commitment to cut myself a little slack and not destroy something if it doesn’t meet my obscenely high expectations.  Writing included.  No wadding up half-finished essays and poems.  I now have a special box they go in.  I don’t know why.  Maybe for future ideas if I get stuck…something to laugh at in my elder years.

The point is…I refuse to look back in ten years and say..”Dang.  I wish I would’ve kept painting….I could’ve written that book…” So.  A few days ago I submitted my first manuscript to The New Yorker.  It’s no secret that I have “A Plan” when it comes to The New Yorker.  I plan on submitting every time they open the door and start accepting.  Maybe in 15 years, one of the older editors will look at one of the younger editors and say, “Ya know, Hank.  Let’s give this broad a chance.  If anything, it’ll keep her out of our hair for the next 25 years.”

I got my formal reply saying they’d received my manuscript and I’d hear back from them within three months.  I’m trying to think positive here.  I’ve got just as much chance as anyone else, right?  Anyway, in order to be rejected, SOMEONE has to sit up in there and read my work.  And isn’t that what writing is all about?  Letting other people read your work?   Even if you spray paint it on an over-pass.  Put your stuff out there.

I posted a pic of my favorite New Yorker cover….it’s titled “Missed Connections”.  I know, right?  Hold your heart and say “Ahhh….the tragedy of it!”  I wonder how often this type of thing goes down?  Two souls randomly bumping into one another…feeling some type of spiritual and unexplainable connection….then the train doors shut and you watch them fade away like mist.  I wonder if that connection stays with them for the rest of their lives?  I’d like to think it does.  I guess I’m a hard-core softie like that. So stay tuned on the whole New Yorker thing.  I’m just about finished with another manuscript to shoot off to The Sun here within a month or so.

Hmm…how to tie up this post….why, with a thought-provoking quote, of course!

“Our soul-mate is the one who makes life come to life.” ~ Richard Bach

The Strong Willed Child

The Strong Willed Child

I came here

Mouthy.

Angry.

Ready to fight.

Hush! You say.

There’s no lullaby.

Where’s the lullaby?

I speak,

You become nervous.

Uncomfortable truths?

Would the whole world shun you

If they knew the real you?

I came here

Knowing.

A blessing and a curse.

I see through the fog

And swallow the hurt.

Love one another!

You preach, testify.

Then damn me to hell

Without telling me why.

Because I asked questions?

Questioned your truth?

Should I have to accept

What holds true for you?

It’s all so damn ludicrous

And petty

And dry.

If God were right here

Do you think he’d ask why?

He’s love, remember?

Unfiltered and pure.

Uncondtional, even.

I know!

How absurd!

What gaul on his part

To even suggest

That we open our minds

To what once we did jest.

The whole point is this.

The details are pointless.

I’m not going to hell.

Even with your finger-pointing.

A reminder

Again.

In case you forgot.

I came here with a purpose

Be silenced I will not.

I will speak my truth

The dark and the sick.

And I won’t hang my head

Or

Be ashamed

Of

It.

(written by April Trice)

Canker

Canker

I am unaware of the rot and corrosion

Within my brain.

My mouth.

My insides.

I smell chemical.

I smell

Dead.

I haven’t peed in 4 days.

I seem to have acquired a nervous twitch.

My skin is falling off.

I hate this place.

I hate these people.

Their eyes are void.

Their souls

Diseased.

Perfume and make-up won’t help you.

Go ahead.

Scrub yourself raw with lye soap.

You’re still

Dirty.

You’re still

Ugly.

Your house is still filthy.

The trash hasn’t been taken out for days.

Maybe weeks.

You might want to check on your kid.

I heard her crying in her room last night.

I haven’t seen her eat since last week.

They shut your phone

Off.

The lights don’t turn on anymore.

Something rotten is seeping out of the refrigerator.

Maybe that ground beef you bought two years ago.

Maggots have replaced the freezer burn.

You might want to check on that.

Don’t look now.

Everyone is laughing at

You.

You’re a joke.

A clown.

They avoid you.

Maybe because you beg.

Lie.

Cheat.

Steal.

Use.

Abuse.

Demean.

Demoralize.

Neglect.

Blight.

You’re a confused soul

Stuck

In a defective body.

Trapped.

No way out.

Someone should put you out of your misery.

Which would put people out of THEIR

Misery.

You ARE stupid.

You ARE a whore.

Noone is fooled.

You’re last week’s conversation

In a bathroom stall

At some seedy bar.

Go away.

I’m going to clean my

Brain.

Brush my

Teeth.

Take a shower.

I’ll step on your head as I

Walk

Out

The

Door.

(written by April Trice)