Taking Tea in the Kasbah

Dear Benedict,

Hey, friend. It’s been far too long since I’ve tapped out a letter to you. Truth be told, it’s been far too long since I’ve done much typing or writing or creating of any kind. Apologies. I’ve been somewhat preoccupied as of late. With what, you ask? Darkness, sadness, grief, loss, more loss, and trying desperately to remember what the hell I’m supposed to be doing in this life.

You know, everyday musings of an existential nature. Nothing big.

I know, it's a lot to take in all at once

As an internal processor, thoughts of that nature take up a lot of real estate in my funny little brain. Also, they’re quite loud. And stubbornly persistent. They’ve been terribly successful at cultivating a crap ton of doubt that has kept me from putting my fingers on the keyboard.

To make things worse, my genius has had a helluva time finding my new writing cave, probably because I haven’t given him the new top secret location. The reason? I really dislike the new digs and don’t want him to see me wallowing in self-pity on a pile of disheveled disguises tossed on the floor. Sure, he’s seen me at my worst, but the writing cave isn’t what it’s supposed to be, what I want it to be, what I need it to be. It’s just not me. I fear he’ll take one look at it and bolt, never to be seen again.

I know what you’re thinking – that perhaps my genius, with his smooth British accent and snarky sense of humor, is just what the writing cave needs to get the fingers tapping again, that maybe he could distract me from the not-me-ness of it all long enough to get me to open my manuscript and resume editing. Honestly, I could probably use some snarktastic company. And, if on his way here he happened to accidentally divulge the location of the writing cave to a certain classy British actor (naming no names), well, I don’t think I’d mind that, either.

Crazy, I know. I’m not myself right now. Obviously.

Many thanks, though, for not telling me that I’ll get used to things, that I should just give it time, that it will all get better. Lovely sentiments and advice, no doubt. But they’re all about the future, which, at the moment, is freaking me out. Here and now is where I am, where I need to be. One inhalation, one exhalation. One word, one sentence, one awkwardly crafted, ridiculous letter sent out into the ether for no other purpose than I felt like writing it.

One part of the future I’m not freaked out about is getting to see you in all of the movies you’ve been so busy working on over the last year. The Fifth Estate. Twelve Years a Slave. August: Osage County. The Hobbit. And now you tell me you’re set to star in The Lost City of Z as the 1920’s British explorer Percy Fawcett, the guy whose story was the inspiration for the Indiana Jones movies, some of the most awesome movies of all times?


Nailed it.

You. Indiana Jones. Exploration. The 1920’s.

Excuse me while I go collect what’s left of my exploded mind. Because that’s what happens when Greatness meets Brilliance at the crossroads of Spectacular and Amazing.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying to kill me.

Or inspire me.

Well played, friend. Well played.

Conspiratorily yours,



*Editor’s note: The views, ideas, and opinions expressed in the Letters from Benedict series are works of fiction and did not come from the actor himself. Obviously. This series is just my ridiculous way of expressing adoration for Mr. Cumberbatch and his work and is not intended to be taken at face value or seen as a true collaborative writing endeavor with him.

20 thoughts on “Dear Benedict: On New Writing Caves, the Here & Now, & Indiana Jones

  1. I miss your wise words and funkalishious worldview, sweetie, and I’m sorry the last few weeks (months?) have been so hard. I light a candle for you so your muse will find his way to your new writing cave…or that a certain classy British actor will…whichever…

    • Thanks, Liv. For saying I have wise words. For saying I have a funkalishious (LOVE that word!) world view. And for lighting a candle for me, my genius, and the classy British actor. We’ll see who makes it to the cave first. πŸ˜‰

  2. Whoa – liking the sound of The lost city of Z… how exciting. He gets all the good roles!
    It is good to have you back, Tami. (Liv already got to say funkalishious – wah!)

  3. I empathize all too well (or, unwell), Tami.

    My bestie, Sherry Isaac, was originally the recipient of my habit-honed first line of defense. Fibs. Sharing helps. Tons. She’s now my first line to get me off da fence. (It’s pointy and ouchy there.)

    When you feel as if your life is temporarily on hold and it sucks to be you (me) at times, it’s difficult to get the creative writing juices going. I finally found a balance that works for me.

    My habit is to ping good vibes from the stars over Texas to the stars over your state. Drive to the Northern California coast, and turn north, right? They’re there, even when they seem obscured by clouds.

    Don’t be alarmed if you get a twitch when you look at the night sky tonight.

    • Many thanks, Gloria. I was feeling a little twitchy (the good kind) tonight as I gazed up at the starry night sky and then remembered the good vibes being sent my way were the cause of it. It made me smile.

      I’m glad for you that you’ve got a balance for those times when life isn’t quite right. I haven’t found the balance yet, though I feel like I might be turning a corner. Sharing has helped a tremendous amount. I’m not usually in the habit of dumping my problems on friends and family, but this was all too big to carry alone. Thank goodness for the wonderful people in my life and here in the kasbah. I truly don’t know how I would have made it this far without you all.

      As a tiny token of appreciation, I’ll be sending out some good vibes across the country to all my peeps, just in case you or anyone else could use a little.

  4. Well, I loved that and it was very well written and said some things that I feel too, and said them very well, and so maybe hating the cave is really making you a better writer, which is a great thing in itself. Maybe. Who the hell knows. But I do think that cocktails and a little girlfriendly furniture arranging and picture hanging and mulch raking might help? And if it would, you know where to find me. I’m kind of all about the girl power of late.

    • Thanks, Koa. If the suckiness of the writing cave does indeed make me a better writer, then I guess I can’t be too down on the place. Lemonade outta lemons and such, right?

      Cocktails and girl power might be just the thing I need. I’ll definitely be taking you up on that offer.

  5. Yes, it’s quite annoying how much brain real estate can be occupied by RL. And it’s definitely a pain when your genius disappears for a time. And it’s majorly FRUSTRATING when there is really nothing you can do about it, except w a i t i t o u t.

    Nice, though, that there will be a reincarnation of Indiana Jones πŸ™‚

    • Yes, it is totally and completely frustrating to feel like you’re stuck and unable to move out of the stuck place, literally and figuratively. I get kind of panicky when that happens, though I also get even more focused on problem solving until I get find a reasonable resolution. And until I do, everything else seems to get put on hold. I’m ready to move out of that phase and into a new creative one.

  6. I hadn’t realized how much I missed your quirky quintessential correspondence with the classy British Guy until this post. Let me just say that said Classy British Guy would nor more bother about the humbleness of your abode than he would the color of your shoes. It’s the heart and soul inside that matters, not the surrounding structure. Slugging off the *old* can be uncomfortable for a time. Until the *new* fully takes shape and you realize just how beautiful it can be. I’m sure your Classy British Guy would be all too happy to show you the way down that path. And we’re here too, whenever you need a friendly reminder. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Elizabeth. I hadn’t realized how much I missed writing these silly letters. I’d like to think my genius and a certain classy British actor would like the writing cave as is. They’re both so dignified that way, as are friends like you. It’s always comforting to know my peeps have my back. πŸ™‚

  7. Limbo can be a lonely and distressing address, the part of town that has trouble hailing cabs and having pizzas delivered. Remember, my friend, that limbo, by definition, is temporary. You are wise to recognize that here and now is not only where you are, but where you need to be. Know that I missed your voice, and I am so glad you are back, even if in pieces. Stained glass windows are crafted from many broken shards.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Sherry. I’ve missed hanging out with y’all in the kasbah. It’s good to be back, even if it’s only in the form of silly, little letters.

      Ah, Limbo. How you taunt me so. I don’t care much for him or how he’s always wanting to introduce me to his clingy cousin, Wallow. We don’t get along, me and Wallow. He tries to convince me he’s all about the here and now, but I know better.

      Love the analogy of stained glass windows.

  8. on ,
    Marcia said:

    You continue to amaze me with your insight, wisdom and wit! Most amazing is how you can be so articulate with a twist of dark humor and a pinch of the ridiculous at this challenging time of life transitions. I’m a “transition coordinator” and I can’t even begin to traverse the inner sanctums and back roads of life like you! Of course, come to think of it…you trained me….that’s why you are so good at it! (-: By the way,
    “Funkalishious”! What a great word!
    I Iove it.

    • Thanks, Marcia. If it weren’t for my “transition and design consultant team”, I don’t think I would have made it this far or be as intact as I am.

      Funkalishious is a GREAT word, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

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