written by…

Last Friday was a big day.

I arrived at the office early to write email. My phone rang. “Pam, you have a delivery.”

At the front desk, there’s a delivery of roses in all different colors. It’s beautiful. Suzanne says, “Now, I’ve had some experience with this. I really want these to be from your husband, but I know they’re from your agent.”

She’s right.

My first episode is airing that night. There are emails wishing me good luck.

We’re also in production on my second episode. On Friday we do run-throughs for the network and studio. This means the cast and crew work all day rehearsing the show, incorporating the changes we made to the script the night before after the run through for the producers (that means the writers). The run-through is in the afternoon, and based off of how that goes, you determine whether you’ll be seeing the outside of that building anytime soon.

There was an issue down at the stage. A question about the script, about a couple of lines. Suzanne asks if I want to handle it. (Do I?) I hopped in a cart with my script and a cup of coffee. I was not only in my element, I was giddy. I got to do that a couple of times that day, and the run-through went well. I was working with the producers, the actors, the director, answering notes, changing the script.

Meanwhile the phone was ringing and emails were coming in. “Good luck tonight.”

At 6:30 I said to someone, “It’s 9:30 in Connecticut right now. In four minutes, my mom and sister are going to see my name on their television screen. I really wish I could be there to see their faces.”

At 6:34 my cell phone rang. My mom was in tears. “My baby’s name is on television! I’m so proud of you. We’re both jumping up and down. This is really neat.” (That’s also the word my dad apparently used when I was born. He called his mother and said, “Ma, she’s really neat.”) Through my tears I thanked her for calling. “I really needed you to call, Ma.”

On my way out the door I talk with Jay about the day, about tonight’s episode, and thank him again for everything, for trusting me with this much responsibility. I tell him about my mom calling. Ken at the desk asks where in Connecticut Mom lives. Turns out he is from my parents’ hometown. It is possible that his mother and my father grew up in the same neighborhood. I tell him I’ve still got a cousin out there.

Then on my drive home I get a text from my cousin. “Not to be a bummer, but your dad would be real proud of you.” I’m crying again as I call him. We talk as I drive through the dark to my house. I miss him, and can’t wait to see him over the holidays.

stee goes to get the celebratory Zankou Chicken. See, I thought I’d be working late, so there were no invitations to my big television debut. We live less than a mile from delicious Zankou Chicken, but I think stee’s always been afraid of the Z in the name. But it was my night. And luckily for me, he liked it. Dan joins us when he’s done with his television job for the night.

This is where three television writers eat six-dollar Zankou chicken and watch a 17-inch television as the words “Written By Pamela Ribon” flash across the screen. And we say, “Yay.” And then we go back to the chicken.

But I got so many phone calls and wonderful emails. Thanks to those of you who took the time to let me know you watched the show. I’ve printed out many of them and taken them to the writer’s room (Thank you, reader from Venezuela).

It wasn’t until someone pointed this out to me on Saturday morning, using the word “Millions,” that I realized: about five thousand people come to pamie.com on any given day. Based off of sales and the way a book gets passed around, maybe fifty thousand to eighty thousand people have read my novel. But millions of people watched Hot Properties last Friday night. I got one email from someone who hadn’t read me “since [I] left Austin,” but saw my name on the screen and was like, “I used to read her webpage!” (I’m flattered to be that memorable, by the way).

We tape my second episode tonight, this time in front of an audience. I’m so glad it’s tonight, because tomorrow we find out if we get the back nine. This means our show’s fate apparently rests on the ratings from tonight’s (Tuesday) episode. We’re on after According to Jim, to see how we’d do on a non-Friday night. Unfortunately, we’re up against the Country Music Awards. But if we do well tonight, they should pick up the rest of our season.

So please watch Hot Properties tonight, because I really like my job. And you like me when I’m happy, right?