Monday, December 12, 2005

death of a writing career

I don’t know if I actually quit “writing.” Obviously I have this blog, which sometimes feels like the bloody viscera a butchered writing career. It’s somewhat gross, and gamey, but there’s a lot of flavor. In terms of writing for Hollywood, I’ve turned a corner. As the nursery rhyme says, “the cheese stands alone.”

Things I accomplished in Hollywood: I did get an MFA in screenwriting from a prestigious screenwriting program at UCLA. However, that and some “Geri Curl,” will only get you a greasy neck. I did make a “short” that did win awards and did star: Ed Asner, Maynard Keenan, and the Drummer from Audioslave. I did meet those dudes, on the set. But then, that was that. Not really that big of deal. I did win an award for Best Screenplay of the year, at UCLA. Again, good, but not life changing. I’ve taken a ton of meetings with people from the Partridge Family to Ron Howard’s company, still no dice. Not even Andrew DICE, Clay. And then that’s the end. Kaput. There have been so many close calls, so many almost’s that you could change my name to Edward James Almost. But now, I have to go to Law School. Why am I going to Law School? Because I don’t want to be “That Guy.” That guy, with one good suit that’s ten years old, that has a corduroy sports jacket with patches on the elbow, that hasn’t started his family yet because he’s waiting for the big score. Chasing the big score. The Big One. There are those who would say that this is proof that I wasn’t really “passionate” about writing. A true writer would have stayed the course bad credit or not. Perhaps. Maybe this is true, if so, then it really is positive that I came to my senses. The only thing worse than an unpaid talented writer, is an unpaid untalented writer.

Some years ago a bizarre thing happened to me. When I first started at UCLA, I went to a fellow writer’s house for a party. His girlfriend was a real gypsy. No shit. She didn’t have a bandana on her head like that ass from the E Street band, but her parents probably did. She was also hot. Way too hot for her boyfriend. He was a total writer nerd, no style, just a grumpy attitude, but then he had this bazooka of girlfriend. He was a little sore about it too, kind of like one of those guys that was real sorry he got what he wished for. She was a lightening rod for Alpha-male attention, which only sent this throbbing current of weird tension in the room. Everyone knew this kid was in the deep end without water wings.

Anyways, of course, we mobbed his hot gypsy girlfriend to read our palms…guys are such vultures. Anyways, she looked at my palm and said, “You have improved a skill beyond your natural talent.” I laughed and said, “really?” and the rest of the night, I operated on automatic pilot, so that I could gnaw on her evil, little gypsy insight, in my isolation booth I call a brain. I felt that she knew that I had pushed my writing abilities further than they were meant to go. I was crushed. I even thought she had cursed me. After that, I’d lay awake at night telling myself that gypsies didn’t know shit, and that I was mentally weak to let some woman infect me with a thought. But she did. Was it a self-fulfilling prophecy or was it a prophecy? Don’t know. I guess it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.

My dad says I never sold a script because my dark side is too dark. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe there’s a lot of dark fiction out there. Maybe that’s a fiction my dad made up because it’s too hard for a father to see his son surrender.

Does this mean I’ll never write? Time only knows.

I don’t spellcheck.