Untitled: A True Story
'America Rises' Post #20: Monday, October 30th, 2023
When people ask me what life with adult ADHD is like, I usually ask them if they’ve seen the movie ‘Adaptation,’ because there’s a scene in it that perfectly encapsulates it in my opinion. Charlie Kaufman is a screenwriter struggling to adapt a novel by New Yorker columnist/author Susan Orlean called ‘The Orchid Thief.’ He has such intense writer’s block due to his inability to put Orlean’s “sweet, sad sprawling insights” into a coherent narrative that he ultimately writes himself into his own screenplay and the movie ends up being about Kaufman’s struggle to adapt the book while trying to write the screenplay for the movie that we are watching. So the scene is Nicolas Cage (who plays Kaufman) attempting to get started on his script. We hear his words through voice-over as Cage stares at his blank screen and blinking cursor in futility:
Kaufman (Cage): “To begin… To begin… How to start…I'm hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. But I should write something first, and then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin…So I need to establish the themes…Maybe banana nut. That's a good muffin.”
The reason this came to mind was that I have been struggling with my own bout of writer’s block for the piece I’ve been trying to write for you guys that I originally wanted to post on Saturday (as I normally do for my paid subscribers), but then settled on Sunday, and now it’s Monday and pretty much my last chance to post something because tomorrow is Tuesday and I have to have another piece done by then too to post for everyone and so I decided to pull a Charlie Kaufman and write about the difficulty I am having because I think that’s more interesting than what I was originally going to write about and also a way for me to write my way out of this mess (hopefully).
So the piece I originally planned to write was going to focus on newly elected Garbage Speaker Mike Johnson. But I couldn’t. I read up on him. I looked up his voting record. I looked up his biography. I even listened to some of his Jesus-Is-The-Coolest-Way-To-Oppress-People-And-Seem-Benevolent-Despite-Being-A-Real-Life-Cartoon-Villain-And-Potential-Pedophile Podcast that he hosts with his wife (who I can only imagine refers to herself as OfMichael like the concubines in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’). And yet, I couldn’t write about him. I simply could not (and still cannot) bring myself to give a flying fuck about Mike Johnson. I fundamentally did not want to write about Mike Johnson, regardless of the fact that it was the topic I chose almost a week ago.