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The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Writer

05Oct

I’m in Los Angeles, some 3000 miles away from home and sometimes it feels like the moon is touchibly closer than my native New York. Add to that the pull of the tides that seems to tug at my heart even when I’m nowhere near the shore and that all adds up to feelings of emptiness

I’m in Los Angeles, some 3000 miles away from home and sometimes it feels like the moon is touchibly closer than my native New York. Add to that the pull of the tides that seems to tug at my heart even when I’m nowhere near the shore and that all adds up to feelings of emptiness.

I lived here for over 25 years so this place is not foreign to me. In fact in many ways it’s eerily familiar. I find myself circumnavigating my way through the city without thought, guided by landscapes and gas stations that have remained stoically intact.

Even the general population seems the same. Sure it’s got a different and predominantly young and over eager cast but the production is very SNL-like in that the franchise hasn’t really changed all that much since the seventies.

Ah, but I have. And there lies the rub.

When I first got here, once upon a time a man ago, I was drawn to the Hollywood sparkle that seemed to drench all the pretty people like lawn sprinklers. You could get high and heady from the scent of your own sweet smell of success potential and the pure excitement of things to come was intoxicating.

Dreams were the vaping of the seventies and eighties for me.

I wound up doing really well in the world of TV and film and yet at the end I still felt like soil streaked Oliver saying, “I would like more please.” And the response was pure Fagin. And I don’t mean Donald.

The thing is, Hollywood is for the most part, in the candy making and distribution business and working here, certainly during your peak years, is like going trick or treating 364 days a year. You get a day off for the actual Halloween.

If you watch any face stuffing kid on Halloween, after they have made their appointed rounds, then you know the opium-like trance that comes over them right before they keel over from their last bite of a Kit Kat bar.

That fall from candy grace in LA life comes when you suddenly realize that, just like in professional sports, you have suddenly reached your mandatory retirement forty-something age and there is going to be no Schindler to rescue you.

Now for some reason I have defied and continue to defy the odds and have continued to work. I’m in fact here to launch a new series that I co-created with Mr. Famous Person Wonderful Guy Face and so far everyone that I have worked with has taken courses Pure Delight.

But, still, the human, deeper side of me feels the sting of the benign neglect of the truly homely prom date. I just don’t seem to fit into the equation here. It’s like the city and I just don’t add up. Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting would throw up if he tried to solve this.

After leaving LA I allowed, not without a bit of feisty resistance, New York to lovingly hammer me in a barrel and age me for ten years like that whiskey like in those casks that Mila Kunis keeps breaking open in those commercials.

Based on my current output of play, TV and film writing plus having directed two hilarious comedy films, I can say with a Jim Beaming face that I have developed all kinds of deep notes and fragrances.

But all that seems to get lost in the 405 smog of LA. My depth feels like a kind of foreign currency that has no rate of exchange.

Now the show that I am working on does have all kinds of nutritious emotions and challenging ideas which delights me. But my writing partner, Mr. Fabulous and I have already written the entire season of scripts and I now find myself in a holding pattern until we go into production in mid-January.

Is it any surprise that the airport here is called lax?

What I’m searching for, I suppose, is a kind of ex-lax not in the pursuit of happiness. I mean you can buy that here on any street corner. No, I’m in search of the deep end of the pool that doesn’t require floaties or a subscription to the Hollywood Reporter.

So the immediate pre-script-ion for me is to return to my play and to avoid the cackling sunlight at all costs.

There is plenty of heat here…just not a whole lot of day to day warmth, which is something that you trip over wherever you wander in my quaint, full of real, every day folks, by the Hudson River, town where sunlight dances like a million and one fairies who have nothing better to do than periodically explode from too much joy.

The best I can do, for now, I suppose, is to be the finest ambassador that I can be from my enchanted little universe.

Thankfully, the one single foreign currency that I can exchange is my smile, my eye twinkle and the hope that someone will see me for not who I hope or pretend to be, but for who I genuinely am, warts, words and all.

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The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Writer

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