It's personal: The benefits of an emotional binge in writing a tv show (special thanks to Tom Waits)

Somewhere along the way in childhood, I made a decision to live my life as a turtle. It's nice and safe to be hidden and protected by a big thick shell. This arrangement served me well for a while, even after I decided that I wanted to be an artist, unaware that it’s counter-productive for an artist to be emotionally shut down.

In my late twenties, suffering from creative blocks, I went into therapy with the goal of becoming as productive as a machine. The therapist laughed (gently) saying: "Many people go into therapy so they can feel more. You seem to want to feel less!" I remember thinking, "What's the big deal? Who cares why you do whatever do, just do something."

Well so for the last few decades, I’ve been chipping away at the shell, trying to break out of hiding. It's still unsettling to watch actor friends IRL as they surrender to the full gamut of feelings and seem to teeter on the verge of losing control. Their frustration, anger, impulse and all the rest of it is fascinating to observe but oy, do I really want to go there without ‘deciding’ I want to?

Working on this pilot script, and wanting to do the best job I can, I’ve been thinking I do - cause I want the script to be funny but also full of the rest of life.  

And so, over this past weekend it's been pretty much of a non-stop crying jag. I'm on a modified writing retreat (not that I ever left the house, Mr. Green went away) and bingeing on music that makes me cry. Okay, maybe it’s not the ‘full range’ of emotions, but it’s a step in the right direction. And it’s nice to not have to do it the way Louise did, coping with her inner cat.  Crying apparently releases all kinds of feel-good chemicals. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Here are two Tom Waits songs which put me over the edge time and time again. The House Where Nobody Lives and, double whammy if you’re a fan of the late brilliant Alan Rickman, Take It With Me.

 I sobbed uncontrollably for hours before my wedding and apparently during it, too.

I sobbed uncontrollably for hours before my wedding and apparently during it, too.