Monday, March 21, 2011

Travel, An Artist's Best Friend.

So this morning, I am blogging from a toasty fire-lit cabin in freezing, snowy, windy, gorgeous Mammoth, California.

Snow snack.
I spent the past two days traipsing through the 100 inches of snowfall with my baby in her (ridiculously adorable) marshmallow snow suit and snowboarding (read: slipping and sliding and huffing and puffing and falling a lot) down the Sesame Street Trail at Mammoth Mountain with my husband and sister in law, Rachel.  Half-time included hot chocolate at the lodge, after which we attempted an intermediate slope and then scurried back to where we were more comfortable... Sesame Street.  Ah, the irony.

This trip almost didn't happen.   Between writing and the baby and writing and the baby, it seems like it is never a good time to take a few days off.  Plus, I have deadlines, dinners, looming assignments... How can I afford time to unwind when I barely have time to get wound up?   

The truth is that escaping LA is good for me and it's great for my writing. (Side note: being "an artist" is a great excuse for so many things -- Brett: "Tara, you're so messy!"  Tara: "Honey, I'm an aaartist." 

But seriously, some of my best writing has been done in the strangest places: I re-wrote the entire third act of COUGARS on a beach in Thailand.  I finished the first draft of COVER YOUR ASSETS in a bizarely decorated apartment in Beijing.  I'm hoping that next week while in Phoenix for THE LAKE EFFECT's Phoenix Film Festival press screening (PLUG!), I'll finish my ever evolving treatment on THE CYNICS. I can not understate the importance of getting out of the city once in a while.  Not only is it good to re-charge your little Energizer bunny battery but escaping your normal surrounds and changing your scenery forces you into the moment, which as an artist is... key.  

On the road.  Seriously, we drove here.
So, this weekend in Mammoth, I am convening with these things called weather and nature... "the elements."  We don't really have these things back in LA, which most of us Angelinos justifiably cite as one of our finest features but I must say, I think "the elements" are good for you (in small, weekend-long doses).  They're humbling.  You have no choice but to keep it simple when you're confronted with an enormous gust of blowing snow (anyone else ever notice how porno sounding weather lingo can be?  If not, click here.)   The enormity of the weather here is a reminder to me that the world is big and that I am small and that is a relief.   Witnessing the intensity of these "elements" first hand also reminds me why big SUVs exist and why people the world over don't drive Priuses.  (Prii?  What's the plural of Prius?  If you comment with the answer, I'll send you a prize.)  

Really, though, getting out of your comfort zone just shakes you awake a little bit.  When you're surrounded by brand new stimuli, it makes your brain engage in a way it just doesn't do when it's sitting at your same old desk, staring at your framed THE LAKE EFFECT film poster (Send me $20 plus shipping and handling and you can have your own stunning TLE poster to stare at!) It can stimulate new ideas and crush writer's block like a tiny ant.*  So get the hell out of Dodge, Writer-Readers, it's good for you... and your Prius.  
There's a Prius under there somewhere.
*Note to Producers/Studio Execs/Financiers reading this:  I never get writer's block and I won't run off to a foreign country if you hire me. 

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