Thursday, December 8, 2016

Celebrate Standing Rock, But The Struggle Continues

The following informational and analytical piece was written as a letter to members of the American Indian Movement and allies the day after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would deny the Dakota Access Pipeline's (DAPL) request for a permit to finish the pipeline on Lakota land. I am grateful to the author for his permission to print it in its entirety here.  

Any text of my own is in italics

Celebrate Standing Rock Success Today, Then Let Us Engage The Struggle Ahead

 by Glenn T. Morris

December 5th, 2016
Attached you will find the actual documents from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, not allowing the easement for Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and the requirements for the project, moving ahead.**  It is true that DAPL has received very bad news, and that these developments represent success for all of us who have organized, strategized, mobilized and acted in defense of our sacred relatives -- the water, the earth, the sacred places, and the peoples of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations. The scope and endurance of today's success remains to be determined, but it would be a mistake to diminish the enormous example that this success provides of the power of a principled/spiritual, organized and determined indigenous peoples/allies grassroots movement to defend the most essential relationships that we have with all life. 

I encourage people to view December 5th's edition of Democracy Now!, for a wide variety of perspectives from the resistance at Standing Rock, ranging from Chairman Archambault to Tara Houska (from Honor the Earth/Red Warrior Camp) to Remy (the DinĂ© veteran and musical artist) to organizers for the divestment strategy.

The interviews indicate that people are elated, and the Chairman has invited people to leave the camps prior to the arrival of the next storm. Many people are understandably suspicious, and reluctant to believe, that DAPL/North Dakota will abide by the decision of the Corps of Engineers (USACOE). Because of that, it is unclear exactly how many people will leave the camps, and dismantle what has taken eight months to construct. Once dismantled, if the resistance must reactivate, the advantage that  the current location of the camps provide might be lost. I would like to provide the following observations -- which are mine, alone -- based on a number of conversations that I have had with folks at Standing Rock, in and out of the Standing Rock government.

*First and foremost, despite the jubilation around this development, I would like to remind everyone that we have a sister, daughter, granddaughter, and niece - Red Fawn Fallis - who remains in jail in Stutsman County Detention Center in Jamestown, ND. The state charges of attempted murder, etc. have been dismissed, but a federal charge of a felon in possession of a gun has been leveled (carrying a possible ten-year mandatory sentence). So, although she is in a county detention facility, she is under the supervision of the US Marshals. Red Fawn continues to need our support, and the knowledge that we will not abandon her. I spoke with her last night, she is concerned that with this victory, people might start drifting away, and that she will no longer be of concern to folks. Please assist her with cards, letters and financial support, if possible:
   She would also love to receive your messages of support.
Red Fawn Fallis. Stutsman County Detention Facility, 205 6th St.,SE, Jamestown, ND 58401 
*Regardless of the USACOE announcements, the activities with the thousands of veterans who have traveled to Standing Rock will continue today and tomorrow, there is a march/prayer ceremony planned at Backwater Bridge this afternoon, and an honoring powwow tomorrow in Fort Yates. The tone of these events might be different than originally expected, but the message of resolve and support remains the same. As history indicates, very little is predicable at the frontline, so, although everything planned for today is designed to be peaceful, no on can predict the response by the police and DAPL forces. If something gets set off at the bridge, things could shift again, dramatically.

*If DAPL attempts to continue to drill under the Mni Sose (Missouri River), in violation of the USACE decision, the Obama folks have made statements that federal marshals will be sent to stop the work, and that DAPL will be hauled into federal court to answer for illegal drilling. I will leave it to each of you to decide how credible these assurances from the Obama administration are. I will say that if DAPL proceeds, both the feds and the Standing Rock government have the right to request that the federal courts stop the action with an injunction. There is no guarantee that the courts will issue an injunction or restraining order. I also believe that Energy Transfer (DAPL's parent company) might start panicking - their stock took a substantial hit this morning, with 3.5 million shares having been traded so far, today. In panic mode, there is no telling what ET/DAPL/Sunoco might attempt to pull off.

*Meanwhile. various camps in the resistance are concerned that if the camps disband, the pressure that has achieved today's success will become ineffective, and there will be no physical counter-presence  to confront DAPL and its mercenary security forces. Although the weather is cold and snowy now, a storm front is coming in that will bring more wind and snow, and drop temperatures to -10 to -15 by Thursday/Friday. Water protectors who decide to remain, might be doing so at their own risk, with the Standing Rock government withdrawing its infrastructure support to those who decide to stay in the camps.

*Even in the best case scenario, if DAPL is stopped for the time being, the Trump administration is scheduled to take power in forty-five days. Trump has made it clear that he supports DAPL. That said, with the USACE decision, Trump cannot simply ramrod the drilling through, without risking federal court action from the Standing Rock government. This could get dragged out for several months.

*That said, very troubling rumblings are coming from the Trump transition team, that indicate that the DAPL fight is a mere preview of very dangerous times ahead for Native nations. "Trump advisors aim to privatize oil-rich Indian reservations" ). If DAPL is stopped, the probability that other struggles will require strategy and action is high (at places like Oak Flat, Grand Canyon and Black Mesa, AZ; Dooda Rock/Chaco Canyon, NM; and the Kinder-Morgan pipeline that was just green-lighted in Canada). 

*So, if the USACE decision holds, and a breathing period is created for six-weeks, my hope is that we use this time to debrief about the successes and shortcomings of the Standing Rock mobilization, that we take stock of the political landscape ahead, and that we develop effective political, economic and legal strategies for what promises to be a challenging four years before us.

Glenn T. Morris (Shawnee) is a professor of political science at the University of Colorado--Denver, Executive Director of the Fourth World Center for the Study of Indigenous Law and Politics, and a longtime member of the Governing Council of the American Indian Movement (AIM) of Colorado. He has been actively defending indigenous peoples' rights, and those of oppressed peoples worldwide, for more than thirty years.  He can be reached at

** if you are interested in seeing the documents, contact me through the comments and I'll send them; I'm having tech difficulties including them here

Monday, November 28, 2016

Post-Election Poem by E.A. Nelson

By the way, did I shout at you on the phone last night?
A Poem for November 9, 2016
by E.A.Nelson

When the telephone rang, midway through
that held-breath, teeth-grinding evening,
I jumped up, stiff, to answer, said hello,
and heard a pause, my name?,
a pause, my name? again,
another pause, my name?,
and into each pause, with mounting vehement despair,
I hurled assurance that yes, that was my name,
demands to know who might this be, calling so late
to ask if I was I, and say no more. Only after the last pause
when I swallowed a last demand and held my breath
for a beat and let the receiver drop,
only after I was hunched again in front of images
of flickering numbers, stunned and flickering faces,
only then did I remember the frailty of the webs
that bind us, began to realize that the caller I had heard repeating
my name? so clearly might have heard no word of mine,
began to hope that this was so – that my shouts had battered not
some soul too stunned to speak more than that single word,
but only deaf, impervious ether. All next day,
in gatherings with friends here, family there, in the midst
of all there was to say, I kept repeating
the story of that phone call, waiting for someone
to say, That was me, I called you,
what happened? No one did.

Unknown caller, if someday
you read this, let these lines be my apology.
I grieve the conversation that we could not have
that night, grieve more that fear and frustration raised
my voice to a pitch I hope you never heard. There had been,
God knows, enough shouting on the way
to that night; no more was needed then,
nor needed now. If you should call
my number again, and hear, again,
once you have spoken my name?, only a silence,
know that this time I am not shouting.
I am welcoming you, thanking you for your call,
inviting you to say all that you have to say.
Yes, that is my name. Tell me who are. Tell me
what you want me to know, talk as long
as you like, and even if you never hear
me answer, I will be there. I will listen.

Copyright 2016 by the author, who may be reached at Reprinted by permission.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Farewell, Sleepy Hollow

" soul is not content to have lost her. 

Though this is the last pain she will make me suffer, 
and these are the last lines I will write for her."

Pablo Neruda, "Poem XX," Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

Dearest Sleepy Hollow,

I loved you with all my heart. You know I did. You inspired me to an entirely new expression of my craft. You made me laugh, and think, and dream. In a way, you saved my life, and you'll never even know why. I made wonderful new friends because of you. I became acquainted with, then fell in love with, some marvelous actors and writers because of you. You changed my life irrevocably for the better. Even when you disappointed me, behaved erratically, abused me with promises you had no intention of fulfilling, still I loved you. 

But it's over between us. This is good-bye. I love the show I fell in love with and always will.  But you are no longer that show, and I need to move on.

Sleepy Hollow is a show set in Sleepy Hollow, New York. It's a show about the two Witnesses foretold in the Book of the Revelation tasked with stopping the apocalypse. The Witnesses are named Grace Abigail Mills and Ichabod Crane. Through them, Sleepy Hollow is, on a deeper level, a show about two very different people who become best friends, soul-mates really, and who appear to those around them (and many viewers) to be deeply, heroically, in love. It's cast includes people of color in starring roles (at one time 3/5ths of them). At its best it's been great; at its worst, it always shown such great potential.

Abbie Mills is dead, and Nicole Beharie has moved on to other acting projects. She's not coming back. The show has moved its setting to Washington D.C., which means at the very least they should change the name to Mr. Crane Goes to Washington. He's going to have a new partner, a new Witness, whom I think has just been blessed with Abbie Mills' immortal soul, which I still don't understand. What she or he is a Witness to, I don't know, since the apocalypse from the Book of the Revelation hasn't been seen since the middle of the second season. Jenny Mills, Abbie's sister, will be around. Ichabod Crane, a revolutionary who hates the idea of a Federal police force, is going to work for the government.

Whatever you are now, Sleepy Hollow, and whatever you will be, with the exception of wonderful Jenny, you are not this. And even if you prove yourself something wonderful in this new incarnation, pardon the irony, you betrayed my trust in becoming something I don't even recognize anymore. I can't invest in a story that I can't trust, no matter how good you are.

I have nothing against the new cast members of Sleepy Hollow. More than 90% of all actors are unemployed at any given moment; it's hard for me to judge anyone for wanting a job. I expect the new cast members will acquit themselves admirably with whatever they're given.

I have nothing against Tom Mison. I adore him as an actor and I admire him as a person. I will very much miss his portrayal of Ichabod Crane and very much look forward to watching him in anything else he does. I think Lyndie Greenwood is awesome, and wish her the very best.

But I have to accept that Sleepy Hollow will never fulfill its potential. It's time to let go and move on.

I would love be able to say, as Neruda does in “Letter From the Road” that this letter ends with no sadness. But it does. A profound sadness--ridiculous, really--for the death of a relationship between a woman and a TV show. But this is not just any show. It's the show that made me want to write for television. And despite my terrible sorrow at what it has become, that is still my calling and will soon be my job.

So for that, I must thank you, Sleepy Hollow, not only for inspiring me, but for teaching me what never, ever, ever to do to a faithful audience. I will do my best, once working in the industry, to use any and all power I have to keep such a travesty from happening again.

Peace out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

After Trump's Election: What Now?

The election is over and people are hurting, scared, and wanting to do something.   This is a just a quick piece offering my suggestions, for what they're worth.  I hope they're helpful.  If not, try someone else, but don't give up.  Never, ever, ever give up.

If you want to make real social change, make a difference in your society, what's needed, and what ultimately works, is the easiest thing to say, and the most difficult thing to do: build a strong community.

Building community with people with whom you have affinity but who are different from you is difficult, but incredibly rewarding. Bear in mind that every person on the planet is different from you.

Step One: Give a shit about someone other than yourself. Not in a vague, “I'm worried about Muslims, I'm worried about immigrants, I'm worried about queer folk, I'm worried about black folk” sort of way, but in an “I'm worried about Samer" kind of way. If you don't know a specific person about whom you are concerned, find one.

Step Two: Ask that person how you can help. How can you be supportive? What can you do, physically, emotionally, spiritually, to make a positive difference in that person's life? Listen to them. Ask questions. Keep doing that till you die.

Step Three: Start with one person, build your circle of concern to include their family, their friends, their community. Get to know them. Really. Show up at their events. Not just political ones. Social ones. Family ones. Spiritual ones. Be present. Truly care. Don't fake it. I can't even begin to tell you how much repeatedly showing up counts for in building trust and affection. Trust and affection are the bedrock of strong, healthy community. Not commonality, as you might assume.

Community is the bedrock of healthy, strong social movements. It will also dramatically improve the quality of your own life. Yes, it's an investment of your time and energy, and, no, it can't be done online. Yes, it's effective. Yes, it will change you.

What are some specific things you can do?
  1. Feed people. Make a big pot of pasta and invite over your neighbors (thanks to Corina and Ben for this suggestion). Pasta's cheap, but everyone loves it unless they're gluten-free, so make a big pot of GF pasta as well. Ask folks how they're doing. Listen and care. Let them know you are listening and care. Once you find people with whom you want to build community, repeat as often as humanly possible. You want people to show up? Feed them. That said,
  2. Keep drinking/drugs to a minimum. The goal here is to get to know people for who they really are, not who they are intoxicated.
  3. Make music with people, organize a concert—in your living room, a park, a concert hall. Check out David Rovics.  Read his blog.  Listen to his stuff.  He's kind of awesome. 
  4. Create a safe space for people to have fun together, not just talk politics (but make it clear this is a political space). The Centro Sociale movement in Italy is a great example of this.
  5. Keep the lines of communication open. By this, I do not mean keep emailing, texting, and Facebooking people. Use those tools if they work for you, but ultimately you have to
  6. Get off your devices. The kind of community-building that is strong enough to change the world is not done online. I know you think I'm a dinosaur for saying this, that I just don't understand, but I do. Community requires physical human presence and contact. This requires you to (and this is the hardest part for many of us)
  7. Leave your house/bedroom. I know it's scary. I know it makes you vulnerable. That's the point. You can't connect, really connect in a way that means anything, without being vulnerable. I know it's hard. It's also the most important work of being human. You have to be brave to change the world. You are brave.
Building community is step one before building any kind of a healthy social movement. A movement built on stressful meetings can be broken by a stressful meeting, or an infiltrator. A movement built on genuine affection, mutual respect, and reciprocal NEED, can't be. This also make the whole thing a hell of a lot more fun, and people want to keep doing things that are fun. They eventually stop doing things that aren't.

Now, if you're determined to build community with folks with whom you vehemently disagree/of whom you are afraid,

Step One: Recognize that this is NOT where social change comes from. These folks are the people least likely to join you in opposing what you do not want. You're not building community with these folks to organize and mobilize them. You're doing it for much more selfish reasons.

Step Two: Recognize why you are doing this. Because A) these folks are your family, and you don't really want to be alienated from your family, B) you share a country with them, whether you like them or not, C) it's harder to hate someone you know and/or understand, and hate feels shitty and will make you weak, not strong, D) you might actually learn something that will help you do a better job building your own movement for change, and finally, sadly, E) these are the ones who are most likely going to be responsible for turning you in and/or shooting you. It's much harder to do that to someone you know and like.

Step Three: Ask the person questions and listen deeply to their answers. Do not debate. Do not try to change their minds. Just listen. If you're still not getting beyond the surface, ask other questions. Racism and other phobias fill a need. If that need is filled with something else, like love, compassion, understanding, or meaning, or confidence, it's far more difficult to exploit.    

Be patient, be kind, stay strong, and remember what Sam said to Frodo: there's some good left in this world and it's worth fighting for.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

An Open Letter to (Some) Millennials and Their Parents


First, let me just say that many of the millennials I've had the privilege to know and live with and/or work besides are, in my opinion, pretty amazing people. They're thoughtful, conscientious, hard-working, considerate, compassionate, smart, funny, brave, and capable of caring about people other than themselves to a remarkable degree. They are our hope for the future. Mad props and respect to all of you.

This screed is not directed at you.

It's directed at your friends, colleagues, comrades, enemies, and the other so-called adults who are going to populate the landscape of your life for the rest of your life, and to that end I say, good luck. You're going to need it.

Many of your generation apparently grew up being fed a smorgasbord of huge, criminally appalling lies. Those who fed them to you should taken out back and shot, stat. Since I keep having to reap the benefits of this shitty child-rearing, education, and corporate “cultural” immersion, as a favor to you and the rest of humanity, I'm taking this opportunity to disabuse you of a few of the most egregious lies from which you have built your toxic worldviews.

1. First off, just to be clear, you are entitled to jack shit. Let me rephrase that. You are entitled to fuck all. You are not entitled to anything, period. You're not entitled to love, or kindness, or sunshine and rainbows, or fun, or a job, or health care, or a nice, clean planet, or happiness.

You don't get what you want because you're entitled to it, you get it—if you get it—because you work really fucking hard for it. Or because someone in your family is rich and willing to share. You don't want to work hard? Marry someone rich or get comfortable with homelessness.

But, but, you say, life's not fair. White men with American passports, fully able-bodied, hetero-preferences, and no debt have it WAAAAAAAAY easier than the rest of us. Yep, you're right. Because life's not fair. So get off your ass and change it, like women, people of color, queer, disabled folks and immigrants have been doing for-fucking-ever.

In the real world, people struggle for what they want and need. The forty-hour work week? No one gave us that—our elders fought, were beaten, jailed and in some cases, died—for that. The right to vote? Same. The right to free speech, such as it still exists? You betcha.

You're not entitled to all the electronic bullshit you carry around with you. You get it because you live in the fucked up heart of an empire that exploits workers and the planet to give you expensive toys you don't fucking need, so the corporate moguls who thought up this scheme could buy a bunch of expensive toys they don't fucking need.

You're not entitled to electricity, particularly when it's brought to you on the back of a drowned Syrian child refugee or a beaten and jailed Lakota mother. You're not entitled to clean water, or cheap organic food, or South American coffee. All those things have a huge fucking price tag, and you're not the one paying it.

You're not entitled to be debt-free when you get out of college, or ever, unless you do a much better job destroying neo-liberal capitalism than it's currently doing.

You are not entitled to a new car or any car, a cell phone, a computer, a house, or even a safe place to live.

But, you say, some of these are basic human rights. A) Props to you for knowing that and B) a right is not an entitlement. It's a thing that a fuck-ton of people fought and died for, against oppressive bastards determined to keep them down, since long before you were fucking even born. Don't take it for fucking granted. Say “thank you,” every hour of every day for what they suffered for you, and keep fighting, goddamnit.

2. In the real world, you don't get praised and rewarded for showing up. You do not get praised and rewarded for doing what you are contractually obligated to do. You don't get praised or rewarded for doing what you said you would do. In fact, you're damned lucky if that's ever even acknowledged.

You do get criticized, corrected, yelled-at, fired, or left for failing to do what you are obligated to do. This is called reality. It's also called adulthood. Yeah, I know it fucking sucks. They lied to you about that part too.

Doing what is expected of you, because it's expected, and sometimes even doing a little bit more, is called being a responsible and decent human being, not a fucking hero. You don't get a lollipop, or a trophy, or a 3-day break for it. You get to keep your job, or your marriage, or your kid, or your relationship, or your self-respect, if you're lucky, and that's your fucking reward.

Your boss is going to get pissed off at you sometimes. Sometimes it's going to be because she has a headache, or his husband left him, or she drank too much the night before. But sometimes it's going to be because you really fucking deserve it. And how do you respond?

First let's talk about what you don't do. You don't blame your boss for your fuck-up. You don't throw your colleague under the bus and say it was her fault. You do not quit, you do not sulk, you do not stalk off in a huff, you do not take all your toys and leave the playground. Maybe you take a walk, or smoke a cigarette, or draw a picture of said boss being brutally murdered, or go to the bathroom and cry. Then, you woman-up, recognize you fucked up, own it, apologize for it, and seek to make reparation.

This is so basic and necessary to being human it blows my wee little mind that people have to be taught this. But of course you do. Because this little matter of taking responsibility for one's actions and being willing and able to be held accountable for same is rapidly dissolving into mythology in this country, especially if one looks at contemporary political and corporate discourse and behavior. Sure, black welfare moms will be held accountable if they lie, but our next potential President, Hillary Rodham Clinton? Donald Trump? Please.

You've been subjected to cognitive dissonance your entire lives, so, I get it. That's why I'm laying it down for you. When they told you life's a rose garden and the sun shines out of your ass and a college degree will get you anything but debt and work should be fun, they lied. Hear it, accept it, grieve over it, integrate into your consciousness, move the fuck on.

3. To that end, show some fucking respect to your elders, even if we are a bunch of assholes leaving you a world more fucked up than we found it. Guess what? Maybe we're not. Maybe it was even more fucked up when it was handed to us. You don't know. And you wanna know why you don't know? Because you never ask. You have your eyes buried in a screen, your ears shut off from the world by head-phones, your brain God-knows-where. You don't ask us about our life experience, or thoughts, or visions, or hopes, or ideas. You won't even ask us for a pancake recipe or directions for a place we've been to a hundred times because that's what you have Lord Google-the-Fucking-All-Knowing for.

It's possible, however, unlikely, that those of us 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years older than you might actually know things you don't, might actually have something to say worth listening to. It's even possible we might know things The-Great-and-Powerful-Google doesn't, and we don't come with ads or pop-ups.

Oh, and all those things you dream of doing we've done, so please don't teach us about them. It's fucking insulting.

4. A lot of seeming archaic skills and bits of knowledge are things you might want to actually learn at some point. All of the following are things I've actually had to teach people in their 20s, most of them white, middle-class, college graduates:
  • Basic addition. You should be able to add five single-digit numbers in your head by the time you're ten years old in this country without having an aneurysm, all the more so if you've actually graduated high school.
  • How to make change and properly count it back to a person.
  • How to wash dishes by hand.
  • How to make a bed.
  • How to cook yourself a healthy breakfast.
  • How to heat up leftovers without a microwave.
  • How to read a map. How to ask for directions from a human
  • What a tea kettle is, and how to use it to heat water.
  • How to connect a hose.
  • How to read handwriting.
  • The fact that pie pans are round, like pies.
  • The fact that the yolk of an egg can be runny but the egg is still cooked and safe to eat.
  • Who David Bowie was, who Che Guevara was, who Mao Tse-Tung was, who Ralph Nader is, and the fact that Margaret Thatcher was not an actress.

5. Finally, but perhaps most importantly, your word is your fucking bond. It means something, or nothing about you means anything. If you make a commitment
a. you fucking keep it;
b. you have an incredibly valid reason for not doing so (“I have testicular cancer” works; “I want to go hiking” does not); or
c. you negotiate equally, with the person/people to whom you are committed, a termination to the commitment. And no, this does not absolve you of responsibility for the damage done by your breaking your commitment.

Once you say you're going to do something, people count on you. Companies count on you. Governments may count on you. Animals, plants and children count on you. They need you. You fucking matter.

Maybe nobody ever told you that before, so let me say it again, a little louder.


You have to fucking show up and do what you said you would. If you don't, bad things happen, to other people and possibly also to you. If “bad things happening to other people as a result of you not keeping your word” doesn't bother you, you suffer from a psychological disorder known as narcissism. You should start therapy immediately. Or run for President. One of the two.

Keeping your word is the bedrock of integrity. Without it, no one ever can or will trust you with anything. You're not entitled to trust, or to be entrusted with anything, from a goat's well-being to a person's heart. You fucking earn that. And then you keep earning it every single day, or you lose it.

Sometimes in this life you actually have to do things you don't fucking want to do. Get over it, and welcome to Planet Earth.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Or, Maybe the Sleepy Hollow Writers Deserve Raises and Trips to Bermuda

You never know what really goes on behind the scenes of a TV show.  I'll never know, most likely, what happened with Sleepy Hollow.

But when a writer from inside the biz, not affiliated with the show, posts an informative rant like the following, it kinda makes this writer want to eat crow, at least a little.

Thanks Eric

  1. 22) So to end the hypothetical, the question: Would you still want to write for TV?
  2. 21) AND STILL, you can't say a thing. You can't speak to what goes on behind the scenes for obvious legal reasons.
  3. 20) And so, you do your job. And when episode airs, fans write fanfic about you, writer, getting murdered. Piles of "fuck off & die" msgs.
  4. 19) This is your job as writer. You have the story, likely broken by room and/or showrunners. It's like trying to steer a train.
  5. 18) Now, finally, you get called into show office. You hope it's good news. "Write episode where Lead dies." Oh, no. No no.
  6. 17) Journalists who could make a few calls and get the real scoop decide instead to get clicks by supporting fan claims.
  7. 16) Meanwhile, it's not just fandom RAGING at you for "fucking up" Lead's role, now TV critics have hopped on. Without any research.
  8. 15) And again, you CANNOT say any of this publicly or else major lawsuit due to a number of laws on confidentiality+medical health.
  9. 14) Lead is relieved, they're getting what they want after months of frustration. But the DNA of the show has mutated due to constraints.
  10. 13) The reason you, writer, signed up for this is to write Lead and Co-Lead, now you don't get to do much of each. Plus Lead must exit show.
  11. 12) (And because Network operates on fear, the next week they say: Wait, make it so Lead can come back. Flip-flops a lot.)
  12. 11) The situation is becoming untenable. Lead has to go or else everything collapses. Network says: All right, kill Lead off.
  13. 10) New twists, next: Co-Lead realizes Lead has gotten a deal, and demands the same. Now you're really screwed. Network says: Manage it.
  14. 9) So to comply with medical condition as per Lead's note, you drop Lead out of some episodes. Fans rage at you. Not network -- you.
  15. 8) This is a ridiculous task for any writer. Especially since Lead is one of the engines for your show. Yet here you have to do something.
  16. 7) This medical condition progresses, according to Lead, to where Lead's agent demands: "Lead should get every 3rd episode off."
  17. 6) If you do, you open yourself and the network to lawsuits. So now you are burdened with a SECRET problem + fewer scenes for Lead.
  18. 5) Here's where it gets VERY tricky, legally. Due to confidentiality, you can't ask the ailment. You CANNOT share it publicly either.
  19. 4) While dealing with this, possibly during shooting, Troubled Lead comes in with a doctor's note that Lead must get reduced hours.
  20. 3) Your lead then asks for reduced hours. Fewer scenes. Something to ease the wanderlust. This makes it hard in new ways, naturally.
  21. 2) You now have a cranky lead making things tough for everyone else. You try to bear it best you can.
  22. 1) HYPOTHETICAL: You write for a show. One of your leads wants to leave and try movies for a while. Network says, "Uh, no. You're a lead."