#AStarForCarrie: Who Are You?

I don’t understand the term “writer’s block”. Every conscious second of the day, my mind is preoccupied with writing. Sometimes the depression keeps my writing locked inside of me, guarding the door. Even if the writing is shit, even if no one buys it, even if it hurts like hell coming out… I NEED to write. Some days it feels like no one’s reading, no one cares, no one wants to read about the abyss of depression I’m stuck in… Or maybe they do, they’re too afraid to touch me, and they don’t know how to help. I don’t know how to help either, other than writing and calling social services on myself when I’m out of food.

Back when I started #AStarForCarrie, I was curious as to how Carrie Fisher got work as a script consultant. Google provided a quote (no idea if it’s true) something to the effect of “It’s not a job I really wanted”. I want that job. I thought Carrie had to fight for people to pay for her ideas like I’m doing. I assumed she had similar struggles with slamming doors and people hanging up 10 seconds into her pitch. I misremembered or confabulated a story about her waiting outside Stephen Spielberg’s office with a script. The internet provided evidence to the contrary.

Being Princess Leia made her so self-conscious that she never took a screen credit for doctoring a script, which is absolute bullshit and makes me want to change things for the better. I need to change the tone of “Princess Leia wrote this movie?” from incredulity to happy revelation. It was easy to sell the idea of getting Carrie Fisher a star when I was dressed like her iconic character (for not enough money to survive). Selling this idea as a writer, for a writer, is WAY harder… and that sucks. I still haven’t given up hope, even though I haven’t showered in two days.

“You want a star for yourself?” More than one person asked me when I was petitioning as Princess Leia. No. I’m not Princess Leia, I’m a separate person. Carrie Fisher had to spend most of her adult life separating herself from that character while also being aware of the power her image holds. Well, George Lucas owns it, but our culture holds General Leia Organa up as a Goddess of Strength, Beauty, and Sassiness. There’s no getting away from that.

I put on that costume once and I felt possessed by the character. I felt stronger than myself, braver than I ever took the chance to be, and determined to make changes that scare the hell out of a lot of men who run Hollywood. That desire was within me all along, it just took a costume to bring it out. Taking the costume off and holding people’s attention was more difficult than I thought. From the evidence I’ve derived, I assume Carrie had similar struggles. She was either afraid to let her name turn people away from a movie title or just aware that our culture wasn’t ready to see it. I don’t care if people are ready, I want to make them take their medicine. Your favorite movies were imagined by Princess Leia. THAT SHOULD BE AWESOME TO EVERYONE!

How many more women were uncredited script doctors on our favorite movies, unable or unwilling to take credit, not because they were Princess Leia but because they were women? Since the days of McCarthyism, “ghostwriting” has been a means for writers to get work and help improve the art under someone else’s name. Dalton Trumbo had to watch someone else accept the Oscar for Roman Holiday (according to the movie Trumbo) so it’s not gender-specific, nor is it entirely a problem.

Famous names can lend their talents to less-famous names and help bolster the careers of new Artists. The problem is, in Hollywood, when you get famous for one thing, people assume it’s all you can do and they expect the same thing over and over until they’re bored with you. Imagine if Mel Brooks tried to write/direct a drama? I would see that movie, but I may be alone in the theater. Jim Carrey made the transition from comedic roles to drama and now he seems preoccupied with painting while totally depressed. I relate, but I’m no painter. I’m a writer and I’ve always been one, I always will be. No matter what happens, I’ll fight a perpetual battle with depression, but the struggle isn’t just existing in this state, it’s working to survive.

I’m going to cut this one short and take a shower.

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