The Mallory Project

"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." – Julia Child

Amaranth

I’m a writer. Obviously. My ultimate goal is to be a novelist/screenwriter, though I enjoy some nonfiction writing as well.

So far on my journey to become a “real” writer, I have completed three screenplays (one is still in its draft stage though), five spec scripts for existing TV shows (for those of you who don’t know, “spec” means speculative, which means you’re writing something without the promise of getting paid. They are usually used to find agents) and one novel. I have several other projects in the works. And I have so far not been lucky enough to sell anything, though I have had some interest from people in Hollywood.

One of my completed screenplays is a sci-fi/adventure titled “Amaranth”. I created a trailer for the script, which I will link to below. It’s basically just a slide show of images from the script and my dream cast (the people I envision playing the characters.) I’m hoping to drum up a little interest in my project.

Amaranth
In 1942, the United States military built a top secret research facility 100 miles outside Sydney, Australia. They called it “The Amaranth Project”. Commander William Chamberlain, a decorated soldier and devoted family man, was put in charge. But the high casualty rate forced the military to close the facility in 1967. And the land has been empty… until today.

Joey DiGardi, mourning her fiance, quits her medical residency and moves to Australia with her best friend, Alys. Alys’s boyfriend, Nick, is helping to open an animal sanctuary…100 miles outside Sydney.

Nick’s childhood friend Zane Chamberlain is part owner of the sanctuary, along with his sister Gwen. The other owner is William Chamberlain (no relation to Zane and Gwen, as he likes to say. Often).

But things are weird at the animal sanctuary. William is mysterious, and Joey is sure Zane and Gwen are hiding something.

One day, Joey finds a dilapidated building with an old-fashioned laboratory inside. After exploring the lab, Alys gets really sick and is sent to the hospital. The doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with her.

But Joey does. This same disease is what killed her fiance and her father. Zane recognizes it, too. It’s what killed his grandfather, a decorated U.S. soldier named William. And William knows how to cure it…
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And I can’t tell you any more without giving away spoilers!!

If I get ten likes on the Youtube video, I’ll post the first ten pages of the script.

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Prop 8

So the Supreme Court will soon be deciding whether or not 4% of the American population will be legally allowed to marry or not. That 4% (which is approximately 9 million) is made up of the people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Why is this argument in front of the Supreme Court? Or any court for that matter? Because, according to Cornell law school, “In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”

Marriage, as we currently see it (a union of love) is a purely cultural idea. In many other cultures, marriages are used as a way to trade goods or to join families. These are called “arranged marriages”, wherein the parents choose the bride and/or groom. And marriage for love was uncommon even 100 years ago. And what about all the royal marriages from several hundred years ago? The partners may have fallen in love over time, but they were married to unite the kingdoms or Britain and France (for example.)

So why is the American government so obsessed with gay marriage? Did you know that in 26 states (including Hawaii and California), it is legal to marry your first cousin? How does that make sense?

Sorry for going off on several different tangents there. This issue is just so crazy. Doesn’t the constitution guarantee “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to “all men” who are “created equal”? Of course, we needed to add an amendment in order to stop people from legally purchasing another human being. And then it took another 100 years to get them Civil Rights.

And women weren’t allowed to vote until the early 20th century…

Damn, our country is messed up, isn’t it?

Anyway.

That one little phrase, “created equal” is obviously different for different people. Some of us see that as meaning everybody, no matter what gender, what color skin, what orientation, what political ideology. And others see it as only meaning everybody who agrees with them.

Saxby Chambliss, a Congressman from Georgia, recently said “I’m not gay, so I’m not going to marry one.” So he’s against gay marriage because he’s not gay. If you use this argument for other controversial issues, you can see how ridiculous it is.
-I’m against the death penalty because I’m not dead
-I’m against giving women the right to vote because I’m not a woman
-I’m against immigration reform because I’m not Mexican.

I’m not just for gay marriage because I’m a Democrat, or because I believe in equal rights. I am for gay marriage because I identify as a bisexual woman. I am currently in a relationship with a man, but that doesn’t change my identity. I would love him if he was a woman. I don’t love him just because he’s a man, I love him because of who he is. If we wanted to get married, there would be no issues. We could go to the local City Hall and be married by the end of the business day. But if he was a woman, or I was a man, and we still wanted to get married, we couldn’t. We’d have to go to Massachusetts or one of the other 8 states (or Washington DC) that allow gay marriage.

Now, because we are a heterosexual couple, we could get married but decide to get it annulled tomorrow. Or get divorced 72 days later. Or 30 years later. We could cheat on each other. We could pull a Newt Gingrich and file divorce papers while the other is on his/her death bed. Doesn’t that seem like it’s more of a threat to “traditional” marriage? I’m not saying gay couples never divorce. Look at Melissa Ethridge and her partner. They had a very messy breakup. But shouldn’t they at least be allowed the right to try?

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Writer’s Block

I’ve been stuck for over a week on my screenplay. I was hoping to get 4 pages a day in order to finish by the end of the month. It’s March 23 and I have 28 pages written.
Now it’s not like I haven’t been doing anything. I’ve written 8 chapters of my novel B since the beginning of February, and I’ve revised 8 chapters of novel A since March 1. I also worked a couple weeks at a temp job.
But I just feel stuck. I’m not properly motivated to write this script.
I have a theory. All the other projects I’ve finished in the past year have had a musical inspiration. My period drama Aloha Oe was inspired by West Side Story. My novel A, Blue Bayou was inspired by Les Mis and my other period drama Constant Craving was inspired by the k.d. lang song of the same name. (One exception: I wrote an adventure screenplay without a musical inspiration, but it took me 5 years to finish.)
I started my current screenplay because I wanted to write a romantic comedy. That was my only inspiration. It evolved into something with meat on its bones, but I just can’t get myself to keep writing it. I wonder if maybe I should put it aside and work on something else until proper inspiration hits. It’s not like I’m getting paid for it or anything. I’m the only one who will know that I’m not working on it…

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Articles

Hey, everybody. Help me out and read my articles on Suite 101, an online magazine. I’ve been a contributing writer since 2009, but it’s dried up a little since I started my blog. If I get more readers on that site, I can write more articles. It would be really awesome if you could read some of my articles, and comment on one or two (or however many you want.)

Thanks guys!

P.S. If you’re into video games or random Youtube videos, check out my boyfriend’s Youtube channel. Click here for some fun gaming videos and more.

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“It’s Back”: HBO’s “Girls” and OCD (and more)

I am sending out a HUGE thank you to Lena Dunham for her spot-on depiction of OCD in this season of her HBO show Girls. Dunham herself suffers from the disorder, and we learned in episode 8, aptly titled “It’s Back”, that her character Hannah also has OCD.

It seems like the revelation came out of left field, but looking back on the previous 17 episodes (including the 10 in season 1) there are subtle signs. Hannah also explains that she used to be on medicine. And she is in a very stressful point in her life (her ex boyfriend is trying to get together with her though she wants nothing to do with him, and she finally signed a book deal..And she has to write the entire book in 30 days) so it makes perfect sense that it would start manifesting itself.

Dunham’s portrayal of the disorder is one of the most accurate I’ve seen in the media. Robert de Niro’s character in Silver Linings Playbook is also true to life. But for some reason, people have a huge misunderstanding of what OCD actually is.

Ask any random person on the street (or online) what OCD is. Most likely, they will equate it with washing your hands a lot and keeping things super clean. Like Monica on Friends. They never said, on the show, that she has this disorder, but people often refer to her as “the OCD one.”

OCD is so much more than that.

I’ve been suffering from OCD since I was at least 12. Probably before then, too, but I don’t have many clear memories of incidents before then. But when I was 12, two of my main compulsions manifested, and they continue to this day. One rarely causes problems for me. I have to eat two of everything, or four, or six. I can never eat just one of something. This is easy when it comes to chips or crackers or candy, things that are small. But when it comes to something like steak or a hamburger, it gets a little more difficult. But generally I’m okay if I take two bites at a time. And I get to the bottom of the bag and there’s only 1 M&M left, I can’t eat it. I hate Smarties because they come in packs of 15. So I have to eat two packets each time. 2 M&Ms. 2 Skittles. 2 pretzels. 2 green beans. 2 French fries. 2 bites of steak. 2 spoonfuls of soup. This usually doesn’t cause any problems for me, except for when I end up eating so much I start to feel sick. That usually only happens with fatty or sugary foods. But it has happened. Why do I do this, you might ask. Because I will be thinking about that second bite until I take it. And not just thinking about it. It will literally consume my thoughts. I won’t be able to think about anything else, let alone do anything.

I also have compulsion to count things in groups of five. It wouldn’t say it’s an obsession with the number 5, just with counting to 5. There is a continuous stream of thoughts in my head, just “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…” over and over and over again, every waking minute. I try to match it up with things I’m seeing, like the license plates with 5 numbers in a row. Usually I count with my fingers, sometimes with my toes. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

I never have to wash my hands a certain number of times, but I do have to wash them until they’re clean. If I use enough soap (usually about the size of a nickel, depending on the soap) I’m with one wash. Sometimes I need two washes. Sometimes I’ll wash once with soap and water then use anti-bacterial hand gel. Sometimes I need to scrub with a nail brush. I have made my hands bleed several times because I scrubbed them so hard. Why? Again, it consumes my thoughts until I do it.

I keep my books and DVDs in alphabetical order, and I have a database of all that, as well. There are things in my room that I have to keep in a certain place. In my car, too. I hate specs and dots and other blemishes on my paper. I usually draw little hearts or smiley faces on them. When I step on a crack, I need to step on a crack with the other book. Otherwise I’ll feel off-balance.

And those are just a few of my issues.

And Lena Dunham is helping people understand this disorder. I wish I could buy her fruit basket or something. In multiples of 8, of course.

There is one thing I’d like request. Stop saying “I’m a little OCD”. No, you’re not. You can have OCD. You can say “I’m a little obsessive-compulsive” or even “I’m a little OC”. But you can’t be a little bit of a disease. Would you say “I’m a little diabetes”? Or “I’m a little cancer”? No, no you wouldn’t. So don’t say you’re a little OCD. It’s unfair to all of us who have it. It’s almost like you’re demeaning us. You’re not taking us seriously. So please, realize this is a disease and it’s not easy to live with. Thanks.

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