Goooood morning.

I’m early for a meeting, and there’s wireless here. Yesterday I had a 9:00 meeting on the other side of town, which meant I left at 7:30 and still was a few minutes late. This morning I have an 8:00 meeting, so I left the house at 6:30.

I’m here almost a full hour early.

I’m actually a little bit happier than this picture would have you think. I’m in the lobby of one of my favorite hotels in Los Angeles, one I used to frequent back when I lived off the Strip. It’s conveniently located near work, so it’s a good place for the early morning meetings.

And this one I’m about to have is a big one. That’s another reason I’m happier than the picture shows. I’m tired, and I’m pretty lousy at a self portrait. If you could hear inside my head right there, it would say, “I’m a little nervous.”

I have a development deal. It’s called a “blind script deal,” which Dan joked that it sounds like something horrible happened where someone stole something of mine. But what it means is that a company has hired me to develop an hour-long television show for them that we will try and sell to a network. Basically, they’re renting my brain to see what I come up with.

This is the meeting where I sit down and say all of the ideas I’ve been toying around with for the past few weeks/months/years, and he’ll tell me which ones he thinks I should work on further. At that point I’ll have a few shows that I’ll work into bigger pitches. I come back in and talk; we work some more. Eventually one is chosen. That’ll be the show I’ll work into a formal pitch, and this summer we go to different networks and try to sell the show. If it’s bought, we move on from there. If not, I write the show on spec, which means I write the pilot episode anyway and hand it in. Then they’ll try and sell it that way. Regardless, the show is theirs.

This meeting makes me a little nervous because it’s the first time I’ll be talking about my ideas. This is what they’re paying for, after all. I’m really happy about the person I’m working with, as we met about three years ago and back then we said we had to find a way to work together, and now here we are. It’s one of those things that gives you faith in this industry, that I kept his card in my wallet for years because I knew it would come in handy (and it did — on my way to the meeting about this deal I couldn’t find the building and needed to call him. Three years later that card brought me to this job, and it’s nice to know that when you’re hoping something will happen, even if you have to wait a long time, sometimes it works out even better than you could have predicted).

Last night I went to a friend’s show. He sings original songs and plays the piano. What do you call that? Is he actually a piano man? Gosh, it’s early. I’ve got to get some coffee in me really really soon. Anyway, I work with this man, so it was great getting to see someone’s true nature, when a performer is in the spotlight and gets to do what he does best. When all of your friends are performers, you end up seeing a lot of shows/plays/performances that aren’t exactly your cup of tea, or the other actors in the show are stinky or the writing is terrible. So when you go to something that’s fun and entertaining the entire time? You’re grateful for that friend, and you’re even more impressed with the talent.

In other other news, I’ve stopped eating wheat. I mentioned earlier in the year that I’m doing a lot of things to pay attention to myself this year, to take better care of myself, what with the shingles and staph and rosacea. So I’ve seen doctors and nutritionists and read books and even done some meditating. At one point on a Sunday afternoon I looked down to see a book on yoga, a book on internal medicine, and a book on mental health all on the bed in front of me and I thought, “Who am I? What the hell am I doing?”

I’m trying to find a balance. And you know when I’m not balanced because my skin looks like I shower with an SOS pad.

I read a lot about the skin problems I’ve been having, and many things hinted at nutrition. Not that I wasn’t eating correctly, but that I might have a food allergy. And then I was watching House, and he said (shut up, he’s a doctor), that one of the allergies you could develop as an adult is an allergy to wheat. I looked it up and saw many of the symptoms I regularly get but never would have thought were associated with each other (itchy eyes, skin blotches, stomach pains every time I eat). It suggested eliminating wheat for a few days to see if there was any improvement.

Unfortunately, there’s been quite a bit of improvement. Not one stomach ache. My eyes aren’t itchy and watery. My skin has cleared up enough that people have said, “I’m not sure what you’re doing, but your skin looks glowier.”

I’m not a girl who has weaknesses for cookies and cake. That’s not the hard stuff to give up. But I’d shiv someone these days for a piece of rye toast. And while it’s been a little weird eating sushi without soy sauce, I really haven’t been tempted to go back to eating gluten-filled goodies. It’s nice to finish a meal without having to jam a solid object into my solar plexus in order to keep from crying. And again, the skin stuff is nice, too.

By the way, I did this to myself. This is Karma in the biggest way. In Letters Never Sent, I wrote a letter (mocking Liz) called “Dear Friends of Ours With Food Issues.” The first two words? “Grow up.” We went on to complain about people who don’t like foods with textures, vegetables, different colors, etc. We complained about people who don’t like cheese, soy, or who need their coffee extra hot. I do believe the sentence I shouted at one point was, “And there’s no such thing as being allergic to wheat!”

So, I’m sorry, people with sensitive tummies, people who are over thirty, people who have learned that you might not be everything you eat, but everything you eat effects who you are. I apologize to those of you who realize drinking a soy latte instead of a regular one keeps you from feeling like you want to rip your stomach out with your fingernails. I’m sorry if I ever rolled my eyes in front of you when you asked if they had potato flour, or if they could make your salad without tomatoes. Now I can tell the difference when someone’s ordering their food because they’re lactose intolerant, get touches of IBS, or simply going low carb. I can tell when someone’s eating a certain way because they’re on a diet, or just hardcore OCD.

I know these things because I live in Los Angeles, where it’s not weird to ask the waiter if there’s a way your food can be prepared in a way nobody else’s food will be prepared that night, where you bring your own bottle of water to dinner and they serve coffee at the movie theater. This is the town where it’s not unheard of to have your calorie-catered meals delivered to you three times a day, where conversations about how to eat macrobiotically can go on for hours and nobody complains. This is a town where people can tell you what kind of bottled water you’re drinking as if you were sipping a rare wine (I’m one of these assholes).

Some people mock, some people understand. I’ve stopped trying to fight it and embraced it as another thing that only people out here truly get away with. There are days when I get frustrated with all this attention I’ve been giving myself this year. It feels incredibly self-indulgent — the doctors, the books, the meditation, the running — when I’m this busy it’s hard to then say, “And I’m going to take another hour for myself because I deserve it!” But by the end of last year I could tell internally that I’d been neglecting some things my body needs, and parts of me were suffering for it. Most of this has to do with stress management, with lifestyle management, and the rest of it simply has to do with getting older, something I hadn’t really been thinking about.


There’s my big conclusion.

Okay, off to eat eggs, spinach and fruit. Hold the toast.

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