Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lost in New York

Growing up I always felt a pull toward California, hoping one day to be discovered as a talented writer (yes, I realize now how ridiculous that sounds – I didn't have "writer" tattooed on my forehead after all), but lately I find myself visiting the east coast, most recently because my Marine son is stationed there.   

I was once lured to New York by someone who made me a promise – he would introduce me to writers and editors he knew – if I moved in with him in Queens. Imagine being able to start a writing career knowing writers and editors without ever having had anything published yet!

He turned out to be a temporary roommate, however, because his promise came with strings attached. I wasn't interested in pulling those strings, and, as a result of his lies, needed to save money so I could return to the midwest. 

A temp agency in Manhattan, which was not far from Queens, would prove to be my ticket home. I switched jobs several times in that 3-month-period. One of those jobs landed me at Penthouse Magazine where I worked in their research department (that's another blog), not exactly the form of entertainment I was comfortable writing, I thought, but then again, nobody hired me for my writing skills. No, I was hired to work in the Statistics Department where I would learn about advertisers and demographics (yes, Penthouse is a business).

The train ride from Queens to Manhattan was very short after my mile walk to the train. After work, I would return to Queens, but because I was unfamiliar with the New York train system, the train I thought I was supposed to board proved to be the wrong train. 

The sun fell below the horizon as the landscape outside my window became darker and darker and more and more unfamiliar. In the days before cell phones, I was helpless in reaching my 10-year-old daughter to tell her my ten minute ride had somehow become several hours long. I think I ended up somewhere near the JFK Parking lot, which was on the opposite side of the state.

In the three months it took me to save enough money to return home, I met someone from California and with sparkles in my eyes, moved to Cali – for a week. After the realization hit that I needed an automobile to get to a job, I returned to the Midwest. 

Something continued to pull me to New York, though, because years later I found myself in New York once again – to attend Robert McKee's Story Seminar. I had some screenplay ideas twirling around in my head, some of which had already made it to the page, and I wanted to learn the proper way to write a screenplay. 

Fast forward to last year. I had earlier met a woman online whose sense of humor was similar to mine, and I thought her contribution to one of my screenplays would be extraordinary. I was right. Though she had never written a screenplay, she agreed to help me with one of mine – it needed a LOT of work. 

When we completed the screenplay and were happy with the results, we entered our screenplay in a competition. I also entered, in a different competition, a teleplay I wrote myself. While I await the final results, I continue writing blogs.

Competition results won't be determined until next October, and win or lose, I will post them in this blog. Who knows, maybe my writing partner and I will end up in New York again, this time to promote our movie with actors speaking the words we put on the page. How exhilarating!

We won't have to worry about getting lost in New York though; we'll probably have a chauffeur. ;)

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