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And to all you non-Woodites out there, a very special welcome indeed. When I write that, I'd like to think it sounds like Dumbledore, just to show you how truly nerdy I actually am. At the moment that I sit down in front of my beaten up, raged little laptop to write this, the 30th most holy Lesson of Wood, and I know that I say the same damn thing at the beginning of almost every Lesson of Wood recently, it honestly feels like only a few days ago that I sat down to write lesson 1, it is a picture perfect summer day here in Sacramento, where I've been residing for over three years now. I really have somehow found my life changing for the better these past three years and I hope to Wood that your life has changed for the better as well.
So, thirty Lessons of Wood, huh? Pretty incredible feat if I do say so myself and I do. I thought that I should write some sermons to get the whole religion going way back in 1997, a year into Woodism, but who would have thought that eight years later that I would be working on the thirtieth one of these? Wow. I hope that this new L.O.W. is a testament to the staying power of Woodism. I hope that this shows people that The Church of Ed Wood is not some fly by night joke internet religion like The Church of Spongebob or Shatnertology. We, the Woodites, are sworn to the ideals and beliefs of director Ed Wood and, in doing so, keeping his lifelong dream alive.
But more on his lifelong dream later. I want to talk a little bit about my life. Because I have somehow found happiness and I hope to Wood that all the other Woodites of the world have found their own little patch of happiness as well.
So here I am, living in Sacramento and, something I never thought I would feel when I moved here in 2002, actually enjoying the fuck out of life. I am so positive right now at this point in my life. I feel high all the time. I feel great, positive, with a spring in my step and a shit-eating grin on my face all the time, That might sound cheesy or Hallmark card-ian to some of you. I know that a large percent of Woodians come from whatever can be construed as punk culture and somehow being happy isn't looked at as being punk. I don't know. I'm not a sociologist. But the way I feel is absolutely serious. I'm happy. I have found happiness. And for me, happiness was in Sacramento, California, a long way away from Prestcott, Arizona where I was born. Wow, everything you look for is always in the last place that you look.
Work is good, my heavy corporate whore of a bookstore job. I love my job. You have to love your job. It's the worst hell on earth when you are stuck doing something that you hate, be it a relationship, a religion, or a job. I love my job. It's sad but most people would say that they hate what they do. Why do something you don't like doing? I love what I do. I love going to my job. Sure I'm just a pebble in a massive corporate ocean but I don't mind. I am the manager of the children's department of an old school bookstore with no music, movies, or cafe. As such, I have what I believe to be the greatest job in the world. I don't mind being a soulless corporate shill as long as I can read comic books, write in my crappy little journal, run my bizarre little storytimes, and sell books like Boris and Bella to six year olds unsuspecting that the person who just handsold it to them is in fact a legally ordained minister, pope, and legally cannonized saint. That cracks the shit out of me.
You'll have to forgive me. My constant happiness has made me one cussy motherfucker. So, I should have done this before the lesson even started, but this lesson contains a shitload of foul language that should not be read by little fucking crybabies who abhor bad language.
There is a subconscious sense of a seperation between church and work within me, usually. I mean, the people at my work, most of them anyway, KNOW when they walk into that store for a day's worth of work that the person who runs the children's section is Reverend Steve and that he runs The Church of Ed Wood. And most of them are fine with that, which makes me love my work even more. But when I'm reading stories to twenty two to eight year old kids, I don't whip out Rudolph Grey's "Nightmare of Extacy" and start freaking their little kid minds. So I guess that sometimes I'm a character, but I do try to instill in these children some basic Woodian ideals such as being yourself, being silly, not being afraid to be silly and loud and happy and have fun.
There's a guy at my work and his name is Michael Burns. He's Catholic or Christian, one of those C-religions. And he is very proud of his faith, as I am very proud of The Church of Ed Wood. But, in a phenominal act that if repeated the world over would end all war, Michael and I are very good friends. I don't look down on him because he kneels and prays and he doesn't look down on me because I have my own religion and my own fake wrestling federation. We talk about movies and Disneyland and video games and women and various parts of them that we find delightfull.
But I'm starting to get to him. Slowly but surely, the workings of Woodism are making their way into his life which puts another big shit-eating smile right on my face. He bought the video game "Destroy All Monsters" for the Playstation 2, a video game which puts you as an alien taking over the world. Michael is obsessed with this game recently. He is always there with a smile on his face ready to tel me about this part and that part. Which I love.
I love hearing people talk about the things they love, the things that they are passionate about. That comforts me, hearing people talk passionately about something. It could be music, books, religion, video games, sports. In fact, I hate sports but if you have emotions invested it it, then I will happily sit there are watch your eyes grow as you share this special part of your life with me.
This video game, apparently chocked full of references to Ed Wood's premiere science fiction magnum opus, has the entire Ed Wood film Plan 9 from Outer Space as an unlockable feature, Michael told me one morning. I was excited that he was excited to be able to watch Ed's vision. In a way, I was touched by his excitement over this little easter egg. And although I reserved my emotions when he repeatedly expressed his anger at the fact that the "easter egg" was only a ten minute scene from the film, I was upset for Michael. It meant a lot to me that he would get excited to watch Plan 9 and now he wasn't going to be able to see it.
A few days ago, Michael was straightening the cooking section, which is right next to the entrance to my section, where I was setting up a back to school display. And Michael reminded me of the way I used to talk about pro-wrestling with my brother. His enthusiasm for this ten minute clip, the best part by the way, the scene with the military montage and "Col. Thomas Edwards in charge of saucer field activity ... " and visits indicating visitors, reminded me of when my older brother Joe and I would be wide eyed in the living room talking about D-X and Stone Cold. We were quoting lines and he was asking me questions about the movie.
That afternoon, I helped him try to track down a copy of the dvd. He told me he was going to buy it and watch it with some friends of his. That warms my heart, forgive the Hallmark sentiment. I'm not saying that tomorrow he's going to abandon the teachings of Jesus and jump aboard the Ed Wood bandwagon. What I'm saying is that we have made a connection, something tangible, and Ed Wood's lifelong dream lives on.
Right now it's a little bit before seven in the morning. My wife is still asleep. I woke up early so that I could work on the web site. I love her so much. She is smart, funny, supportive of Woodism, and more that I ever could have hoped for. I'm sitting here soaking up positive vibes. My iPod is bringing me mellow music. Led Zeppelin, Jim's Big Ego, Ra, Pixies. Good, mellow stuff.
I love music. Ed Wood used to steal music from obscure horror movies and russian operas and use them for his films. I think that's Ed Wood's way of telling us to illegally download whatever the hell we want to, but that's just my interpretation.
My point is, I love music. I have an iPod and, being a person born at the end of the seventies, I sometimes find myself staring at my tiny little iPod and wondering how technology keeps evolving the way it is. Sometimes I'm stunned silent by technology. My iPod is a large part of my life, a gift from my wife, another wonderful reason why i love her. Music is always around me. I surround myself with music. It mellows me out, makes me happy, makes me able to show myself the way I truly am without pretenses and when we are ready to do that then we are ready to accept Ed Wood.
My lifelong dreams are as follows ... become a writer and musician, to mount a massive festival of music and Ed Wood movies, and to have a child.
I know it's not the greatest lifelong dreams list in the world. In fact it's a fairly normal list when you get right down to it. But in all reality I'm a normal person behind all the wierdness. Those are MY lifelong dreams. Let's go through them and then we'll talk about Ed Wood's lifelong dreams.
All my life I've wanted to be a singer and be in a band and rock out and when I'm not singing writing my next amazing book. I guess I've adopted that as my lifelong dream seeing as how I was born and raised in the white suburbs of Arizona, where every young white kid dreams of band fame. I don't dream of band fame. I just dream of singing and writing. And thanks to Ed Wood I have been working my way towards this goal. I have a music site which is devoted not just to strange songs I've sung alone or with my daughter but it also has Ed Wood inspired songs and general bits of lunacy which has helped me towards my singing dreams.
As for the writing, well, I'm working on two seperate books on TOP of the writings I post on my on-line diary and my neverending Lessons of Wood, of course. And I can always be found with a little journal with me. I'm constantly writing. Writing is my life. I'm usually listening to my music and writing in my journal or thinking over in my head what I should write. I am a writer by nature, just one who never finds time to write. I've been working on the Ed Wood Bible for over two years now and I would say that I'm about 1/3 of the way done. Which is a fairly awesome accomplishment as far as I'm concerned. How many people can say that they're 1/3 done with their lifelong dream?
My second lifelong dream was to mount a massive festival of live music and Ed Wood movies.
And I did that. I fucking did that. I achieved my dream.
Dreams CAN come true, forgive me yet another greeting card moment.
Edwoodstock was my lifelong dream. It started as an idea I had in my living room in 1994 and it became a reality over ten years later. In 1994 I was in high school dating three people and in 2004 I was engaged and I was a daddy. Incredible. And what an incredible time, too. I have never been more nervous in my entire life, waiting in front of the doors of Sacramento's Crest theater, waiting for the show to start, feeling my insides shake, feeling that at any second my entire body could come apart. Near tears or uncontrollable fits of laughter at any second. But somehow knowing that everything would end up alright.
We had fun, the 100 or so people who bothered to weather the rain and the ominous clouds that God supplied for little Stevie's lifelong dream. But regardless of how cold it was outside, INside it was warm with positivity and happiness. We laughed, rocked, screamed, got our skank on, made a LOT of people legally cannonized saints, had some drinks, had some more drinks, had people steady us so that we wouldn't fall over, watched some amazing bands and some incredible works of cinematic wonderment and all in all we baptized over 40 people into the Church of Ed Wood live! It was a fun, historic, life altering experience. It was life altering in that way that only having your lifelong dream realized can change you. And I feel changed, invigorated, like I now know that no matter what I want, regardless of how impossible it might seam, it is possible with grit and determination.
CLICK HERE FOR AN EXCLUSIVE FILM CLIP MONTAGE OF EDWOODSTOCK 2004!
CLICK HERE FOR A NICE LONG ARTICLE ABOUT REVEREND STEVE AND EDWOODSTOCK!
My final lifelong dream has been, since I was old enough to remember anything, one that I spent a long time being convinced would never happen, was to have a child.
I'd hate to go back to her, to HER ... but my storytelling is very around the world but it's the destination that makes the journey worthwhile. Way back when I was a teenage drunkard living in Arizona, I found myself in an extremely lengthy on again, off again, on again, off again, on again relationship with a five foot tall pothead with attitude, a ferret, and extremely huge tits. She was one of those relationships that works their way into your bloodstream and becomes your own personal weakness, your kryptonite. And she, whom we will now forever call The HER, was my kryptonite.
The HER was the first woman I ever dated who didn't want kids. I wanted kids since I knew what kids were. I guess it came from being a lonely child growing up and wishing that I had another me to play with, a miniature Steve to be my friend when nobody else would. I always wanted to have a child of my very own. But The HER, with her frighteningly small five foot frame, said that there was no way that she would ever have children and that if I was going to spend the rest of my life with her, then I would have to forget ever having children.
So I did. I'd love to kick myself because of that, but I did. Because of a woman who would end up breaking my heart, I gave up on a lifelong dream.
And now I'm expecting a child next month.
Ed Wood's dream was to make movies. That was all. He never wanted to be a singer in some crappy band or have children, although there is talk of him having some sort of daughter. All he wanted to do with his entire life, from when he was just a little kid watching Universal horror films in old, grand theaters of the forties and fifties, was to make movies and make people happy. That's all he wanted. And he got that.
He suffered for it, though. He suffered laughter, taunts, and he died an old, drunk, broken shell of a man. He died for his films, the ultimate sacrifice that is now lost in a sea of repeditive multimillion dollar motion picture monstrosities. Ed Wood died for his movies.
All he wanted was to make movies. Sure he lacked a budget, better actors, advertising, or a proper Hollywood style of screen writing. But he never let anything stand in the way of his dream, which was to makee people happy with his stories.
In that sense, perhaps the effort of filmmaking should be held in the same esteem as the actual film itself. Because Ed succeeded. Ed won. He made his films, his ultimate sacrifice, dying so that his films could live on.
Ed Wood can't be stopped.