Shot from Guns

21 Jun

The heat is being turned up under me. Got off the phone with Michael. He and Tom are insistent I move out to California. Michael makes the point that writing is only a third of the business – making contacts and being available for meetings constitutes the other two thirds.

We always knew that a long distance screenwriting partnership wouldn’t work – that I had to get out there sooner or later. I’ve dragged my feet longer than I should have.

If I was in my twenties and unencumbered I’d have been out there in a minute. In my fifties, with a family, it’s not that simple. The time has come to make the commitment and ask a lot of Ann and Devon. They have to understand that if I try to have things perfect on both coasts before I make a move, I’ll never make the move. One of Michael’s favorite observations is, “You have to be willing to act without complete knowledge.” If I stay at the magazine, I’ll alienate Michael, marginalize myself as a screenwriter, and slowly sink into a deep sense of failure.

Up to now, I don’t feel guilty that I haven’t done enough on my end. I will be guilty if I don’t get my ass out there as quickly as possible. Michael and Tom asked me if I’d live in Hollywood rather thanVentura- it would be a more strategic location and I’d be at the center of the action. I told them no problem, but once my family joins me we’ll be moving to Ventura. Out there alone, I don’t mind finding a cheap apartment on Western Avenue, making it into a space devoted to writing. No frills: computer, books, Blackberry, a DVD player.

When I got off the phone with Michael I immediately went in and asked our executive editor for the West Coast editor position. I also told her why, that I had sold a screenplay to Hollywood. Our editor-in-chief – the idiot – heard us and popped his head in. He didn’t seem at all surprised that I sold a screenplay.  I’m pretty sure one of my co-workers told him – probably someone trying to make points by delivering inside information.

The editor in chief asked me how I was going to juggle two careers and I said, “I’ve been doing that for ten years.” By the end of the conversation, both editors were in agreement that I should be given the position. They also agreed that I could work out of my apartment in Hollywood, which means the end of my five-hour daily commute. Once I’m in California, I’ll turn five wasted hours into writing time.

My editors still need to clear it with their bosses, but if it flies, I’m on the road in two months, in August, driving cross-country with Devon. He’ll hang with me for a few weeks until he starts school in September. It will give him a chance to get a real taste of Southern California, getting a good dose of the beach culture and maybe even taking a quick trip into Mexico.

(2005)

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