9:34pm, last night:
Me: I DVR'd the new Fargo. Do you want to watch it?
Will: We can watch it....in bed.
Will: You know....IN BED.
Will: We can do it...Fargo-style.
Me: You want to have sex with me in a woodchipper?
Will: I didn't really think that one through.
April 17, 2014
My bedtime routine is like a game of Clue:
-It was Nina, at 9:30pm, in bed, on her phone, with The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Sometimes it varies (Rhoda! Taxi! A Mets game in extra innings!) but 9:30 is a hard-and-fast rule. Daisy J. Dog went through a period (of three years) where sleeping at night was more of a suggestion than a promise. Between allergies and sundowner syndrome and just plain being an asshole (her or me, you choose), the earlier we got to bed, the more chance there was of getting some unbroken sleep.
We've tried Melatonin (does nothing), Xanax (she's relaxed while she runs around), Benadryl (makes her insane), and doggy dementia meds which are supposed to straighten everything out (they do make her more alert during the day but nighttime was still problematic. And by problematic I mean jumping off the bed every hour, doing a loop around the room, chewing her butt for ten minutes and then demanding to be let up on the bed.)
This has all changed in the last week with the addition of a new anti-itch drug called Apoquel. Apoquel is a drug made of magical fairy pony poop dust and it does what no other drug has been able to do before: if helps her sleep for six hours in a row at a designated sleeping time and I will now hold up a shantytown of kittens to make sure that this magic is in our arsenal for the rest of our lives.
Last night, at about 11:30pm, it was as if an alarm went off. Jump off the bed, a loop around, a butt scoot, and then a demand to get back on. Over and over and over it went, as if we were in some Rube-Goldberg Device powered by 14-year old pit bulls and two sleep-deprived adults. After about an hour, I gave her half a Xanax and it magically worked, powering her down until 7am this morning.
I've been trucking along on various projects and yesterday I received some - well, heartbreaking seems like overkill, but some incredibly disappointing news, one of those things where the stars aligned perfectly and all signs pointed to yes and oh my god you would be perfect you were born to this-- and then, nothing. It happens. (It happens a lot.) Sometimes its soul-crushing (a lot of the time) and sometimes it makes you angry (the other lot of the time) and always that voice is ticking like a time bomb over your head while you make all of the calculations of how you're going to get through it you try to override it with the other voice (you're a writer, you have many of these) with the mantra that you are going to get through it because you are going to write your way through it because that is what writers do.
And you catch your dog, finally, and haul her up onto the bed and remind her not to be anxious because you're here and Will is here and the only thing she needs to worry about is getting some sleep.
Which magically, she does.
(With a little help from our friend Xanax.)
April 15, 2014
April 14, 2014
People always ask me how to get a job writing for television.
People only ask me this question when I am not currently writing for television.
People are weird.
Almost everyone's path is different. I went from finding a dog on the streets of Santa Barbara (where I was staying with relatives) to volunteering at the animal shelter where I brought the dog to living with rescue's founders at their house and getting a job with their daughter's agent and then being their daughter's assistant and then getting my first writing job when their daughter had a show on the air.
So my advice? Rescue dogs.
When you get that first gig, it feels like you're finally being called out of the crowd to walk beyond the velvet rope. What they don't tell you is that your career is a series of velvet ropes. Because it's not about your first job. It's about the job after that, and the one after that. Your scramble up the mountain and you slide back down. Again and again and again. I choose to look on the bright side: periods of unemployment mean I no longer have to wear pants on a daily basis.
That doesn't mean that I don't look for freelance work between gigs. They usually involve copywriting or editing or proofreading, although one job site had 328 Television Writer Jobs, with the below being the number one match:
Maybe I should keep looking.
April 11, 2014
I open this window, this compose window on a daily basis and I stare at it. I'm used to being confronted by the blank page/blank screen/blank brain but here there's pressure. I have to say something profound and deep and literary but shareable and relatable and SEOizble and viral and not really that last one but blogs are about commodity and monetization and branding or something like that because I don't attend blogging conferences and I'm not a part of blogging networks because I am like Groucho Marx that way.
If I had a kid when I started blogging (1997) it would be GETTING READY TO GO TO COLLEGE.
In 2000 I took multiple meetings about my blog, where people talked about my life as a series and me as a character and what was the throughline and tapes (tapes!) were sent to me with actresses who were blonde and pretty and I met with Executive Producers but no one really knew what the series was and no one really knew what blogging was and I was chugging along at my TV career but the idea of this being a thing sort of fizzled out.
Which is okay. What they don't tell you about Hollywood is that a lot of things fizzle out. You work on a script that everyone's hot on and then they're not. You work on a show that everyone loves until they don't. You work in virtual anonymity and then one day your script wins a contest and Steven Spielberg is producing your pilot which is going straight to series (this guy is the boyfriend of a high school classmate of mine, and it's my favorite Cinderella story this year.)
The promise is that it could always turn around. Good or bad, up or down, it's a seesaw of untold fortunes. You get used to it in that shitty your pants doesn't ever become comfortable but it becomes familiar.
I write shorter stuff on Tumblr, and jokes on Twitter, and dog photos on Instagram and here I wonder if I have any desire to write anything that requires slamming two thoughts together because that seems like work and if it's work shouldn't it, y'know, be work?
But lately I've felt like it's time to dust off the compose new post page and hope back into the fray. Sometimes they'll be short and sometimes they'll be long and sometimes they'll be whining and sometimes they'll link somewhere else because you are not the boss of me unless you are and then that's weird because I haven't been paid.
I started writing for three people on a "personal website" in 1997 and hundreds of thousands of people on the TV screen. I figure right now, my audience is there, somewhere in the middle.
And if not?
"Rejection/ is just an erection/ with an R and a J/ stowing away!" - why I'll never write for Sesame Street— Nina Bargiel (@slackmistress) April 11, 2014