Mrs. Ice, my 11th grade English teacher at Fountain Valley High School, told me I was a good writer. She told me more than once, in different presentational formats. Sometimes, she just said it to me, “Megan, you write very well.” Other times, she would relay the message on my writing, in red pencil, “Great job, keep writing!” Most complimentary, she would read my work out loud, as an example of what the class should be striving to create, in their own writing. On those occasions, I would put on my best 16 year old poker face, so no one would know it was my paper she was reading.
So naturally, with the mentorship and encouragement from Mrs. Ice, I went on to become a great writer. Actually, no. Nope, not me. I did the opposite. I’ve managed to stall out with my writing at every opportunity. Write a journal? Sure, for about 10 days. The Artist’s Way morning pages? You betcha, I peter out in week three. Teach high school 11th grade (ah, sweet irony) English class? No problem, sign me up for the Utah Writing Project for training. Write a dissertation (finished that one), articles, essays and of course, blog posts? Yep, I’ve been writing all along, by default.
Every time I write I think, “Oh, I liked that, it’s the ‘Writer’s Life’ for me!” But, I don’t stick with it. Ten years ago (yeah, 10 long years ago, for crying out loud!) I started writing a television series with my “writing partner”! We still talk about it and want to finish it. Meanwhile, a dear friend of mine, has gone on to actually write television series, and is now a successful writer in L.A., writing for T.V. shows that win Emmies.
What the hell?! I have to ask myself, “Is there is a recurring theme in your life here? Pay attention! Do you want to be a writer? Well, do you?” Actually, I hear Clint Eastwood’s voice asking me that question. Really, if Clint Eastwood asked me that question, I’d have to answer him honestly, because, who the hell wouldn’t be 100% honest if Clint Eastwood asked them anything?
Mr. Eastwood, the answer is yes, I want to be a writer. The kind that gets paid to write. I want writing to be the job that pays the bills and the job I do ’til I shuffle off to Buffalo. The job I do when I get up and get ready and go to work. I go write.
What, you may ask, has triggered this Sunday rant? It was Jane Fonda. I stumbled upon a TED talk she gave about “The Third Act” of life. Because I am in my “Third Act” and because the video was pretty short, I watched it. Here it is:
With the convergence of this video, the fact that I’ve been blessed with a “Third Act” and the fact that it is February 26th, seems like a sign I can’t ignore. I can no longer, not embrace myself as writer. Even if I do use the occasional double negative.
What does the date have to do with it?
Today is Sunday morning, February 26, 2012. Tonight I’m attending an “Oscar Bash” party hosted by a local movie company, Main Street Movie Company and successful independent film maker Richard Dutcher. What is exceptionally notable about this party, is that there will be awards presented. My very first, feature length screenplay, The Paradise Goat Ranch, that I wrote in a mere 10 weeks, is nominated for “Best Feature Length Screenplay Written By A Utah Screenwriter.” There were about 40 or so screenplays considered for this award and six were nominated.
I think that’s pretty cool. I also think, if I did it once (and by the way, I really enjoyed the process of writing The Paradise Goat Ranch), I can do it again and again and even finish that T.V. series pilot. I’ll probably get better at it, too.
I can just hear Mrs. Ice and Clint Eastwood. They’re saying, “Well, missy. What are you waiting for? Keep writing.”
What do you think, should I give up my day job?