Chaos, Kindness & The Flood of Garlic

LB’s NOTE: I don’t like to analyze other people’s writing. I read it – or watch it – and I feel it and that’s that. But when I read this poem I felt something new.

I felt like I was reading and watching our entire world. Volume after volume after episode after episode of human life, in just a shade over a thousand words.

What does it say to you?

by Leslie Coff

To write this, I wrote it five times — and then a sixth. It was still a mess.

I printed it out and with my green pen.

I scratched out everything.

Well, almost everything — so I could start again.

I haven’t been able to think straight – too much on my mind. I needed a little something.

Then I woke this morning thinking of garlic.

If you use a little garlic it is amazing. It adds that special something to everything you eat. It is almost magical the way it transforms a dish.

For some, garlic is their favorite thing. Like water, they can’t live without it. It gives our food – depth. It makes things interesting.

But too much – indigestible. It keeps vampires, friends and even lovers at a distance.

(although, I read once that it’s okay if you both have it….)

If you use too much garlic it masks the flavors of everything else. It tastes like chaos. Your senses became flooded – they are only aware of the garlic.

I haven’t been able to write because my brain is flooded. I have a lot of worries – like my father and his mother before him, I am a worrier.

There, I said it.

You will probably tell me that I am irrational —

— but it is my birthright.

I could make a list.

In no particular order…

my broken pipe

my patients.

the coming winter.

The Middle East

School shootings.

I have a bathtub in my doorway. Don’t ask.

I worry that my house will not be organized.

That my house will not be clean.

That I won’t have time and energy to do it all.

That I will forget my Italian

That I will forget Hebrew.

That I will forget what I just said.

That I will forget what I just said.

Er…that I will forget what I just said.

That I will use too much garlic.

But I worry that I am eating too much salt — too much sugar.

I worry about gluten.

I worry that I will say something to offend someone.

Yes, it seems that I am very self-involved. In fact, I worry that I am too self-involved.

But I do worry about hunger.

I worry about homelessness.

I worry that I am worrying too much.

Sometimes it is all – too much.

I used to be a super straight thinker. Now, it’s all a mess.

I am too much garlic. Chaos.

I need whiskey.

There was another time when everything became a bit too much.

God told Noah – build an ark. Something big is coming. A flood – a Mabul – is coming.

Mabul – chaos, confusion, cataclysm. Deluge.


Way Back when God created the world, everything was in chaos.

When it was time to start to make a world, God made a list –

(God was awesome at creating — lists.)

one: separate order from chaos.

two: separate dark from light.

three: more garlic.

Now, Chaos is returning.

Winter is coming.

Back In the time of Noah, God gave blessings freely.

Blessings come down from heaven – in the same way that water is a blessing because it rains down from heaven.

Oh how the blessings flowed!: kosher dill pickles, pesto, hummus, moussaka, baba ganoush, chicken with 40 cloves of…garlic.)

The blessings gave life depth. Made life good.

But people took advantage. They became selfish. They gorged themselves.

They became violent – fighting over the pastrami.

And they didn’t even bother brushing their teeth.

God was horrified at their behavior.

You like my blessings? You like my garlic? You like depth?

Sure, I’ll give you depthGo ahead and drown in it.

When it began, it was too much, Flooding, chaos, confusion.


The very same thing which had nourished us was now killing us.

Like the dish of an overambitious cook, everything was too much.

The world was drowning.

It was as though God took out a big green pen and scratched out everything — well, almost everything – to start again.

Chaos, Noah. There will be Chaos.

And before those fragrant cloves begin to fall from the sky,

Come into the ark. Bring the animals, bring your family.

Bring Tums.

Build me this ark, Noah, this teyva – this boat, this box.

It will be, God says, almost magical in the way it will transform you. It will protect you. I will protect you. I will give you a taste of Utopia.

I will give you whiskey.

You will see how a lamb will be safe from a lion…

Where there will be no predators.

Where even people will not prey on each other — for a corned beef sandwich –

Or even if only for the pickle.

When there is chaos, when there is deluge, when there is too much worry, when things fall apart, when it is all much too much and when you are drowning — it can house your souls and keep you safe.

When the world falls apart I will keep you safe.

I will keep you safe.

Chaos and flood are not just about marinara sauce.

It feels like chaos and flood when the waves of trouble in your life are rising – when you lose your job, your health, your safety and your home.

Grace, shelter, the ark are about saving us from the storm that will always come – no matter who you are and your place in life.

There is too much out there.

There is too much to taste.

Too much to stomach,

There is too much to feel.

Man, we are under water.

Our senses are flooded. Our hearts are flooded.

We have too much to think about.

Too much to do.

Too much to feel.

Too much worry.

I could make a list!

You know what I need?

I need an ark.

I need a place which can shield me from the chaos.

I need protection from confusion.

I need protection from myself.

I need a place where I can begin again.

I need a place where I can think straight.

I need a place where I can be with my family.

Where no one fights over the food.

Into every life a little rain will fall.

Most of the time a lot more than a little rain.

And sometimes a lot more than a little garlic.

Sometimes there will be heartburn.

Sometimes there will be fire.

There will always be illness & there will always be death.

But it is ok – not to be ok.

We will need shelter.

We will need alka-seltzer.

We will need an ark.

We may need the Divine….

We will need a little whiskey.

We may also need a green pen to scratch things out and start again.

We will need kindness.

And we will need each other.

This post first appeared on one of the most honest places on the interwebs – Leslie’s blog

Your Screenplay has Problems? Guess What – You Aren’t Alone

Just about every screenplay ever has the same basic problems when you sit down and start working on it. Here’s a very handy and helpful video guide to recognizing those problems and, more importantly, dealing with them:

From FAST Screenplay

As TV Seeks Diverse Writing Ranks, Rising Demand Meets Short Supply

Life is just one damn thing after another. Take diversity and the problems that it – and its solutions – can cause:

by Cara Buckley

Dailyn Rodriguez, a veteran writer and producer, said she wasn’t necessarily looking to work on a new show for the coming season. But she suddenly found herself in high demand, her agents constantly fielding calls about her availability.

She was what one Hollywood executive called a “unicorn” — not just a Latina, but one who had risen through the television ranks.

“They told me, ‘We’re scrambling, because there’s like five of you, and they’re all working,’” said Ms. Rodriguez, who turned down other offers to remain a producer of “Queen of the South.”

With dozens of shows now in production, television executives are hustling to diversify their writers’ rooms, the hidden nuclei of Hollywood where stories, dialogue and characters are born, and where the showrunners of tomorrow are created.

In more than three dozen interviews, writers, producers, and studio and network executives said heightened scrutiny in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite and other controversies has led to the concerted push, particularly for women of color in senior positions.

A deluge of shows in this age of peak TV, with Netflix, Amazon, HBO and other services greenlighting new offerings almost daily, has also stoked demand. Many of these new series have people of color and women as lead characters, in turn pushing minorities and women to the center of the writing staff, a major step forward for writers who say they have long felt like window dressing.

There is also a hunger to replicate the success of shows like “Empire,” “Jane the Virgin” and “Power”; to discover the next Lee DanielsAva DuVernay or Shonda Rhimes; or to cultivate critical darlings like Issa Rae and Donald Glover.

“Everyone is eager to find that person,” said Christy Haubegger, an agent at Creative Artists Agency who focuses on diversity. Ms. Haubegger has fielded so many requests for experienced writers of color that she recently created an online database, so networks and producers could look for themselves. “The demand has been that high,” she said. “I can’t service everybody in town.”

But a major reason these seasoned writers are suddenly batting away job offers is that relatively few are in the supply chain. It is a problem of Hollywood’s own making.

Plenty of minority and female writers are looking for jobs, but may be unknown to or overlooked by showrunners, unrepresented by agencies, or seen as lacking in experience. “The pool is wide but not deep” is a common refrain….

Read it all at The New York Times

Motion Picture Academy Names Nicholl Fellowship Winners

by TVWriter™ Press Service

Three individuals and one writing team have been selected as winners of the 2018 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. The fellows will each receive a $35,000 prize, the first installment of which will be distributed at the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Awards Presentation & Live Read on Thursday, November 8, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. For the sixth consecutive year, an ensemble of actors will read selected scenes from the winning scripts.

The 2018 winners are (listed alphabetically by author):

  • Allison Buckmelter and Nicolas Buckmelter, “American Refugee”
  • Joey Clarke, Jr., “Miles”
  • Grace Sherman, “Numbers and Words”
  • Wenonah Wilms, “Horsehead Girls”

A total of 6,895 scripts were submitted for this year’s competition. Nine individual screenwriters and one writing team were selected as finalists. Their scripts were then read and judged by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee, who ultimately voted the winners.

The 2018 finalists are (listed alphabetically by author):

  • Avi Glick, “A Yacht in the Apache Junction”
  • Ernestina Juárez, “Labyrinth of Destiny”
  • Neal McLaughlin, “The Sunshine Ward”
  • Daniel Miska, “The Soldier That Wagged Her Tail”
  • Gabriel Mizrahi, “Beside Ourselves”
  • Jordan Trippeer, “Air”

The Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee is chaired by Academy Writers Branch Governor Robin Swicord. The members of the committee are Eva Marie Saint (Actors Branch); Steven Poster (Cinematographers Branch); Marcus Hu and William Mechanic (Executives Branch); James Plannette and Stephen Ujlaki (Members-at-Large); Stephanie Allain, Albert Berger, Julia Chasman, Julie Lynn, Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro (Producers Branch); Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Short Films and Feature Animation Branch); Bobbi Banks (Sound Branch); and Tina Gordon Chism, Eric Heisserer, Larry Karaszewski, Dan Petrie Jr., Misan Sagay, Kirsten Smith, Dana Stevens and Tyger Williams (Writers Branch).

The global competition, which aims to identify and encourage talented new screenwriters, has awarded 156 fellowships since it began in 1986.

17 Network Chiefs Predict Their Hits, Reveal Guilty Pleasures, and Admit Which Rival Show They’d Steal

Time now for this fall’s short con – TV network executives, who never seem able to predict their own job futures let alone anything else, are at it again, looking into their glazed over crystal balls to tell us all about how next season’s going to go.

And we, of course, are falling for it. Because…we’re fans, don’tcha know?

by Michael Schneider

Many of TV’s top execs aren’t just suits — they’re also fans. And although they have to spend a big chunk of their day reading scripts, watching dailies and giving notes on their own shows, they’re also consuming a lot of what the competition has to offer. It’s not easy, but when IndieWire asked TV’s top bosses to list how they watch TV at home, they all subscribed to everything: Cable or satellite with the works, plus the major streaming services. Several of them even copped to using the Apple TV device to watch their programming, which is sure to make the folks in Cupertino happy.

As an annual fall ritual, IndieWire once again asked execs for picks on which of their new shows might surprise, as well as what their recent binge or guilty pleasure was, and what show they’d like to steal from other networks. Among the series that the people who make your favorite TV shows watch themselves: BBC America’s “Killing Eve,” and HBO’s “Succession” and “Barry.” IndieWire also asked what questions the execs are asked the most, and what’s keeping them up at night as the business changes at a rapid pace. Here’s the latest insight into what TV’s top executives are thinking, and what’s concerning them most.

Channing Dungey, ABC entertainment president

What will be your network’s next sleeper hit? I don’t think there has been as much buzz as of yet for “The Kids Are Alright.” So if you’re asking me about the sleeper, I think that could be the one. Tim Doyle is telling the story of his own crazy family and it feels real and heartwarming and emotional, in a way that reminds me of a lot of comedies that I grew up watching. It’s going to be a great co-viewing opportunity for families.

Name one of your recent TV guilty pleasures. “Succession.” That was really good. I thought the performances were great, the cast was incredible. It’s also one of those shows where every moment there’s an “OMG, I can’t believe this is happening!” moment. Which is fun, and it was something my husband and I watched together.

What show would you love to steal from a rival? I have said for a while that it’s “This Is Us,” and I’m still a fan of “This Is Us,” so I’d probably go with that. I’m hoping “A Million Little Things” is going to scratch that itch for our audience.

What’s the question you’re asked the most? It’s a toss-up between anything that has the word “Roseanne” in it, and what I think about the pending merger and acquisition [between Disney and Fox’s production entities].

What keeps you up at night? I’ve talked before about ratings measurements, which are endlessly frustrating for me. But I think it’s a talent question too. It’s about talent retention in an age of extreme competition.

What do you subscribe to at home? We have Spectrum and an Apple TV, which is how I watch Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. I’ve got everything. In my job you have to have everything, because I don’t want to hear about a show that you suddenly can’t access. But I would have Amazon anyway because I’m a mom and I need diapers to come via Amazon Prime….

Read it all at IndieWire