Topanga Seed (Serial)

Topanga Seed is a daily writing project intended to run for three months, detailing the misadventures of a bipolar, drug addicted cult member in Los Angeles. Installments are written daily, in under two hours, and posted immediately thereafter with just one glance-over.  I follow a simple rule: Write, do not edit. So what you see here is a very rough first-draft.  Apologies to you wonderful readers for any typos and badly-phrased sentences.  

Chapter 1: Hello, Cult Member!  Levi has a visitor from the Braunstein Center  

Chapter 2: Cuddles and Pills  Levi gets a booty text from Barry on his first night as a pill-taking pill-puking, bipolar person.

Chapter 3: Once More Into the Beachwood   Levi has lunch with a friend and suicidal thoughts for desert.  

Chapter 4: Always Assume the Worst Levi learns that the Braunstein Way is pretty damned nosy–and negative. But there’s always a star in the dark. . .. 

Chapter 5: “Now With Klonopin!”   Levi has a manic episode and gets some new pills.

Chapter 6: Enter, Store Right   Levi meets a man who will become a big part of his life. 

Chapter 7: Cuddly Stuff and Cult Indoctrinations    Prestigious actor Damien Lanchester’s child makes an unanticipated request at the Fab Friend Factory, but Levi saves the day. Barry and Levi have a not-so-cuddly call. And Levi learns some of the batshit crazy beliefs of The Braunstein Center.

Chapter 8: Thirsty for Publicity   Levi volunteers at a press event for the Braunstein Center’s latest merchandising of their god, and has a run-in with an awestruck fan. . .of his own.

Chapter 9: A Brief Moment in Time   Levi and Damien are bulging with laughter over the Braunstein Center’s Sacred Skivvies and Damien indicates that Levi will be seeing him again. Soon. 

Chapter 10: Genesis   Levi unknowingly begins to chemically correct his chemical imbalance’s corrected chemical balance back into a chemical imbalance.

Chapter 11: Bipolarability   To Levi’s surprise, while applying for a job at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s Academy Museum, he finds he’s classified as “disabled”. 

Chapter 12: Secrets and Smoke Secret smoker Levi learns a few secrets that may not be so secret after all. . .and a secret admirer starts stalking him.

Chapter 13: Let’s Go  Someone gives Levi a reason to scream.  Thankfully, his shriek is manly.  Somewhat.

Chapter 14: Hi Ho. . .”Hi, Ho!”  An unanticipated, romantic date takes place at a legendary Hollywood hole-in-the-wall where, at last, Levi gets to leave behind his love life’s career as a silent actor and finally. . . speak.

Chapter 15: World Widening a Bit Bigger    The unlikely Hollywood date moves on to the Hollywood Hills and then fades to black. . .

Chapter 16: After (The Nasty) Glow  Levi realizes he can’t sleep without the pills prescribed to knock him out, gets knocked a few kisses, and has his world rocked by a text message.

Chapter 17: Pills, Pills, and Poison  Levi’s psychiatrist gets a little star-struck, his pharmacist a little concerned, and his latest Braunstein Center instructor a little poisonous. 

Chapter 18: Dick Pics   Damien returns from the East Coast press tour for his Christmas movie and finds a few more reasons to fall for that koo-koo cutie.

Chapter 19: Blinded by the Christmas Lights  Levi gets a holiday greeting from narcis-sexuals, Brad and Chad, which fills him with holiday shame, and Kyle proves he may be blind but he can see the Braunstein Center for what it is.

Chapter 20: Caretaker    Damien’s move for a  big-screen blockbuster debuts and he turns to Levi for a pick-me-up after the feature presentation.

Chapter 21: Pauline Kael is Greatly Missed  Damien’s movie gets reviewed by the critics, whose opinions are at odds with those of the public.  Levi continues to lift Damien’s mood via some powerful PowerPoint skills.

Chapter 22: Breakfast at Damien’s  Damien invites Levi to have breakfast with him and Track.  And, just as everything seems to be going well, Levi receives a text message from Relationships Past. . .

Chapter 23: Teaching Moments Levi rebuffs an advance, finds he may be part of a family, and receives some encouragement from an unlikely place.

Chapter 24: Papa Gay  Continuing to play the part of Candle Conduit via the role of Papa Gay, Levi finds himself in the position of explaining to a direct report why Instagram is not his friend.  He then gets an unanticipated, possibly life-changing, phone call. 

Chapter 25: Conversations from the Edge of a Twin Bed  In Colorado to visit his family, Damien extends that endless first date with a phone call to Levi.

Chapter 26: The Sanest Person in the Room is Bipolar   Levi has an encounter with a patient in his psychiatrist’s waiting room and it sends him into a dark downturn.

Chapter 27: Tombstones Increasingly fearful  he may not be able to hold onto Damien, won’t secure the job he wants with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will die alone, Levi spirals down and begins to fall for one of the Braunstein Center’s fear tactics.

Chapter 28: The Story of X    En route o the Braunstein Center, and fearful of costing himself Damien, Levi reflects on some of what happened between he and the man now known  as X.

Chapter 29: The Purple String    The Braunstein Center successfully converts a non-believer into a sort-of-hoping-this-will-work consumer in their spirituality and accessories bookstore.

Chapter 30: And the Candidate Is. . .    Levi has the first interview for the Academy Museum position–and starts feeling the effects of his pharmaceutical abuse.  

Chapter 31: Between Garland and Monroe    Levi collapses at work.  (And then from boredom when Barry attempts a rescue via long-winded recollections.)  

Chapter 32: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Levi Hastings?      Damien and Track return and a recovering Levi works his family-making magic.  

Chapter 33: Piedmont   Levi has a final interview for the Academy Museum and has to answer a most unexpected question about why he left Atlanta.

Chapter 34: Sharing of Scars    As Levi’s long-suppressed trauma begins to reveal itself, his way of dealing with it threatens to push Damien away. 

Chapter 35: Meditation Medication     Levi turns to the Braunstein Center to calm his mind–but unintentionally jeopardizes his relationship.  Someone else reaches out to an unlikely source for help.

Chapter 36: Adrift      Levi’s mind tunes into The Paranoia Network amid a day of frantic moodswings made all the worse by  the ups-and-downs of a relationship he fears is ending.

Chapter 37: Buoy Bobbing      Levi learns that he and Damien are about to be separated yet again.  And that his past in Atlanta will play a part in his future.

Chapter 38: What He Really Wants To Do Is Direct   Levi meets film director Alicia Clare and has to ask a favor and, over breakfast, finds himself in an awkward spot.

Chapter 39: Busting Seams    Chapter 39:  Kyle and Levi annoy the hell out of each other, Damien and Alicia have a heart-to-heart about Damien’s latest object of affection–and an old flame.  And the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences makes a phone call.

Chapter 40: Double Wedding    A film screening at Grauman’s Egyptian gives Levi an idea and soon, Damien is talking about making him a co-producer on a remake of an Old Hollywood classic. . . 

Chapter 41: Beverly Chills     Levi gets a chilly reception on a Beverly Hills rooftop when he meets two friends of the man he loves.

Chapter 42: A Piece of Yarn     Levi’s membership in the Braunstein Center causes a relationship to break apart after Levi is accused of trying to recruit and convert someone into the cult. 

Chapter 43: Shoe Fly, Shoo!     Levi teaches a Beverly Hills Fashionista the difference between “shoo” and “shoe” and has to, for the moment, set aside his atheism for a romantic notion involving Fate, as well as his personal feelings for the sake of Damien’s friendships.

Chapter 44: Shrink and a Movie    Damien takes Levi on a most unusual date: to his psychiatrist’s office.  Levi learns Damien has bad taste in bad after shaves.  And Damien bestows a gift upon Levi. . . 

Chapter 45: In the Mess    A proposal is made.  And a village quieted.

Chapter 46: Sidewalk Serenade    Barry asks Levi a question about marriage, Levi hears the name “Federico” one time too many, and nearly contracts a social diseases on Hollywood Boulevard.

Chapter 47: Mooditation   Levi hates Damien’s assistant and, to avoid the house’s cleaning crew attends a seminar at the Braunstein Center, where a certain star treats Levi to a celebrity-level meditation session which leaves him more shaken than stilled.

Chapter 48: “There’s Rats in the Attic”   Levi visits Damien on-location in Atlanta, prepared to battle his demons.

Chapter 49: Back to Peachtree   Levi begins to share with Damien the horrors of the attack. . .and the kindness of a priest who helped him in its aftermath.

Chapter 50: Mem Hey Shin   Damien and Levi visit the site of the attack where Levi was shot in an attempt to confront and heal the damage still lingering within him.

Chapter 51: Notifications  A series of news alerts turns an afternoon art festival into something nightmarish.

Chapter 52: The Day That Won’t Go Away   A mass shooting changes a city forever and shatters the mind of a survivor.

Chapter 53: Never  Damien and Levi, bonded ever more deeply by their shared journey into Levi’s past, travel from love to the deeper love of worshipping. . .one another.

Chapter 54: I’ll Tumble 4 Ya  Back home in Hollywood, the side effects of Levi’s prescriptions start having dangerous side effects in Beachwood canyon and a Beverly Hills movie house.

Chapter 55: Baking Bad Attending another high-brow Braunstein Center class in which baking is a step toward God, Levi is approached by a rabbi who has learned more about Levi’s life than Levi wants known.