It’s good to be back, friends.
Many people thought I stopped blogging because I got a boyfriend. Others thought maybe I was just like the endless string of webbers before me, who sport-blog and then grow bored / lazy / uninspired and move onto other things.
But the exciting truth is that I just spent the last year pouring my heart into a script.
After I moved out of my friends’ place at the end of January — for the first time, I found myself completely without any attachments. I had no furniture, no bills, just a part-time job that I could do from anywhere and the FREEDOM to do just that.
I explained to my very new, very understanding boyfriend that this was possibly the only time in my life that I could do this – no kids, no pressing job. I was giving my dreams a real shot.
And so I packed up my laptop and suitcase and moved to San Francisco for the month of February. I split the rent with a friend who had a spare bedroom there and focused soley on writing. My brother and his wife lived there so I had a built-in social circle. And suddenly I was immersed in this new city, these new experiences. And I soaked up every part of it, my life as a writer.
In March, I returned to LA with a solid outline to begin writing my script. I spent the month between my parents’ house (yes, my Mom didn’t let me forget for a second that I was 30 and I better not get too comfortable there) and living with my boyfriend in a house that he was cat-sitting for in the Hollywood Hills. We’d only been dating a few months, most of it spent with me out of town, and suddenly we were together all the time. It was interesting to watch our relationship bob and weave to the abnormal circumstances we kept subjecting it to but I loved our unusual genesis and knew this vagabond lifestyle of mine would not last forever.
…But if he would just allow me a little more time, I wasn’t ready to plant roots quite, yet.
So, I worked out a similar deal with my friend in New York for the month of April. I stayed in her room with her two Craigslist roommates and another cat while she tried out living with her boyfriend. It worked out perfectly for both of us. She got to see if she wanted to take the next step with her boyfriend officially (verdict: she didn’t), while she got to make some extra rent money, and I got to roam the streets of Manhattan, searching for inspiration, like the star of my own romantic comedy.
By May 1st, I knew it was time to settle down. My now-less-new and less-understanding boyfriend said I better get a place NOW. And I was happy to oblige. My wandering roots had had their fill. So I found a lovely little place – a tiny one bedroom – that came furnished with internet and all bills included – so I didn’t have to do anything except sit down and plug in my computer. And it even came complete with its own cat. As all these places seemed to. A one-eyed friendly Maine Coon, who I named, “Uno.” He was a very well groomed neighborhood fellow. He belonged to no one and liked it that way. He barged into my place on the first night, not wanting food – just wanting say hello and hang out for a spell. Day after day, he’d return, sitting on my lap as I typed away. At first I thought I was doing him a favor but I eventually I realized he was doing me one.
You go a little crazy – so much time alone in your head. Although, maybe I’d now just become the accidental crazy cat lady. Either way, I’m sure I drove my boyfriend nuts with my obsession, always bouncing ideas, asking his opinion, “I can’t work through this part… what if she said this? Will you read my first act for 12th time?” The months passed, and I continued to write as my literary manager pressed, “Where is this script???” And I’d say, “Almost… almost.” I was channeling every hurt, every hope that related to my concept onto the page. Living it and then writing it.
But for everyone’s sanity, it was time to finish this thing.
I’m clearly burying the lead by sharing what I’m about to say next – but the last thing I had to fix – the final part my manager said I wasn’t getting right yet – was the breakup. He didn’t think it felt authentic. So, imagine the strange timing of it all that this is when my boyfriend and I broke up. At nearly the year mark, we seemed to be the happiest couple anyone knew and suddenly we were over. And I knew… I had one helluva break-up scene coming.
I went to my parents’ house to dog-sit for them. Apparently, animals and isolation were integral to my process. I poured myself a Johnny Walker black and diet coke, or several, and I let it all out. When I turned it into my manager, delirious, emotionally exhausted, he read it and called immediately to say, “You finally got it.”
Our plan was to send it out slowly. Start with just a couple people at the top to gauge their reaction. But we found out that another script with the same title and similar premise was about to go out. And this writing team had credits. Real, actual credits. It was do or die time. We went out wide immediately.
9am yesterday. I felt like I was stripped naked, suddenly the script was gone, out of my control. I could no longer scrutinize and adjust, polish and polish and polish. I was given the other girls’ script and I could only handle reading a few pages. It was good. What if mine wasn’t? What then?
I couldn’t even allow myself to go down that path.
After a couple hours, I was immobile on my couch, rereading my own script and believing it might be the worst thing ever written – when my manager called back with an update. He was frantic, running on little sleep. The news was confusing at first. Producers were jumping over each other for the rights to bring my script into studios. My script. By noon, three studios had been taken. By the end of the day, it was being taken to every studio in town. Emails started pouring in, tracking boards, Facebook messages – executives calling it the best romantic comedy they’ve read in YEARS.
A day later, it’s continued. More calls, people quoting my script, saying they don’t know the last time they heard such a fresh, comedic voice, offering jobs, setting an endless string of meetings.
And I remain stone-faced, unsure how to process this. After so long of being unacknowledged as a writer, it feels so overwhelming to finally feel validated.
Clearly I’ve worked in this business long enough to safe guard myself from getting my hopes up about what will happen… but I do believe in enjoying the small victories in life as they come. And so here I am, on the other side of another ended-relationship with someone, and I am the living proof that the comforting thing about the lows… is it means the high is about to come.
So, welcome back to my thirty sense.