What Happens Is…

…you have a board at the front of the room. It’s a corkboard, and on it are about forty notecards in different colors, each with a quirky title on it like “Make Up/ Make Out.” (Hmm. There’s another idea…)

See, everything during this process is an idea. Reaching into your purse for more than a minute, searching for the one lipstick out of the six different ones in your bag — that’s an idea. (“Purse Olympics.”) You wonder if that’s so stupid that if you tell the other girls they’ll figure out some way to get you fired. Then you mull it over for a while, searching the Internet, looking for someone else who might have written about it. You try and find a way you’ve never seen that before on television. What if it’s guys trying to find something in the purse? What if the purse is on a moving conveyor belt and about to fall off something tall and… What if it’s not a purse but a… What if it’s… What if… What… How the hell did I get this job?

You tell the others, and you work on it together, and someone says something perfect, and someone else tweaks it, and then you write it on a purple index card and tack it on the corkboard with the other hopefuls, the comedy embryos at the front of the room.

And then the producer enters the room. She sits down and listens. You pitch your fifty notecards, each one you’re sure is as brilliant as the last. The producer asks questions, makes faces, and says words like: “Schticky.” “Overdone.” Or, “Too easy.”

And then, right when you need to hear it, right when you feel the blood starting to rush to your face when you’re sure you will never be funny again, you pitch something and she says, “That’s fucking funny. I love it.” And you love it too. And you love her. And you’re the funniest person in the world because you thought of it and you knew it was funny. Fuck that “Purse Olympics” shit. You’re way funnier than that.

Two hours later you’re left with fifteen index cards at the front of the room. You lost the fight, the good fight, on one of your ideas you were sure was brilliant. You rip “Purse Olympics” in half and toss it in the trash. You sit in front of your computer and think. You stare out the window. You get a cup of coffee. You think and you stare. You will never have another idea again. Your brain feels like oatmeal. You are dry. You are nothing. You are wasting everyone’s time. You are hungry. You wonder if you have time to post on your blog.

You reach into your purse for your lip gloss, the one that’s not too shiny, and not too sticky. You search without looking for over a minute before you find it. You think, “I can’t believe I just did that. Is there something funny in looking for a lip gloss? What if we…”

And it’s only Monday.