You and I.
How should I put this? I’ve been thinking about this conversation for a while now. I want to know the best way to put it to you. Let me try and make it as simple as possible.
When I first started this website, I worked for a computer company. Then I worked for a software company. I rarely wrote about those jobs. I know enough about writing on the internet, under you own name, to know that it’s not so smart to talk about your job, your co-workers, your boss, or anything having to do with your feelings of inadequacy at the place that pays your bills.
Instead I wrote about comedy, about the freelance jobs I was picking up, how I was hustling from one place to another, trying to become a working writer. There was nothing to lose in writing about those places. It wasn’t my job, it was the career I was aspiring to grab.
Then I got a book published, and got paid to write the screenplay, and there couldn’t have been anything more boring than coming here and talking about how many pages I wrote a day. And while the more interesting parts of this Hollywood story have to do with the meetings I take and the interesting, fascinating, crazy-ass people I meet or almost meet in this town every day, I can’t come here and write about them. It’s my job now, and I can’t bad-mouth the bosses.
It’s part of the reason why I don’t recap Gilmore Girls anymore. I am meeting people who have read essays where I tear apart their organizations. And then I expect to get hired?
I’ve been working on a television show for a few weeks now, and I’m about to transition into another. I have learned so much about myself and my writing in the past month, but I know this isn’t the place, nor the time to write about it all. I am very lucky to have met the people I’ve been working with, and I’m incredibly grateful for what’s up ahead. And while I could write about it all here, I shouldn’t. It isn’t right. It’s my job now, and it’s more than just a confidentiality agreement that I signed — it’s the fact that I don’t have perspective on this crazy time. I’m in an office sometimes from eight in the morning until ten at night, and there’s no time to write here, and everything that I have to say already belongs in either a script or a book.
I will say that there are some simple lessons I’ve learned over the past few weeks that I’ll share with you. I’m sure most of you already know these things, but I didn’t really have to think about them until recently.
— The only job you have is the one you have right now.
— There is an enormous difference between “tone” and “voice.” “Tone” is the genre. “Voice” is you. You can learn tone. You can only trust your voice.
— When you’re confident everyone is going to be disappointed in you, it’s sometimes the moment when they’re the proudest.
— When you walk in the door at close to midnight and the first thing your husband says is, “Here’s a glass of wine. Tell me all about your day,” you have married the best man on the planet.
— If you don’t remember to eat, nobody is going to remind you.
— There is nothing better than the sound of cracking up a room full of people you think are funnier than you are.
What does all of this mean for you and I? It means I’m probably going to be vague about where I work now. Eventually these things will be found on the IMDB, I assume, even though jobs like the Oxygen pilot will never appear, and the job I’m finishing up might not because I’m leaving before the first taping. If there’s an understanding between us that I can tell you what I worked on, but not necessarily what I’m working on, then this will feel a lot less like I’m lying.
That way I know I can come here and talk about the non-job parts of my life without feeling like I’m keeping a secret from all of you. I’m working. I’m working very hard. I’m working more than I’ve ever worked before in my life. One month ago I had no work, a book that wasn’t working, and a feeling that I would never write something good ever again. Things change pretty quickly around here, and as the workload picks up, I no longer have time to doubt myself. I just have to keep making everyone happy, and every day I learn something about myself because of these people around me who are making me a better writer.
Less stories about writing, more about the navel-gazing, mundane minutae of my life? Sounds like an old school journal to me!