To ho or not to ho . . .
That has never been the question.

As a script writer, I'd ho in a heartbeat if it meant pulling down a sizable enough haul of scratch to move my wife and 11-month old baby boy out of this two bedroom in Capitol Hill, Seattle, snugly situated on what we affectionately refer to as Crack Alley. But the said fact is, after ten or so produced—- and occasionally award-winning-- plays, several produced documentary scripts and one produced independent feature-length film, Hollywood still ain't exactly beating a path to my door. Sure, I've gotten offers, but without exception they've been of the "write-us-something-on-spec-and-we'll-see-what-we-can-do-with-it" sort. In Hollywood, talk is cheaper than free.

So it's not so much that I don't want to ho, it's that I don't want to be some sad skank giving it away for years and years on the happy hopes that some day someone will actually want to finally pay me to hike my skirt. This way madness lies, and I've seen it swallow many a good earnest writer. Frankly, if the theatre I'm doing is just so much masturbation, I still prefer it to the lot of an unpaid ho.

So it's with mixed feelings that I'm mulling over the phone tag I played with my good friend Bill's L.A. agent this Friday. Bill's an actor, but he also recently directed a play of mine down there. Bill's agent is a board member of Bill's nascent theatre company, as am I; and encouragingly enough, Bill's agent really likes my work and believes I should take a stab at writing for television. All well and good, except for a few niggling details:

  1. With the exception of a documentary series for PBS and a documentary film, I've never written for television. Studios tend not to favor newcomers to this cut-throat multi-million dollar core component of their business.

  2. As I have no rep in the TV world, I'd have to write a full pilot episode and then sketch out an entire 22-episode season. I've never done this. And I only have the vaguest inkling of an idea of how to begin. Surely it'll take months, if not close to a year. And all this work would be "on spec"-- see the above re: ho'in' for free in the hopes of maybe some day ho'in' for real.
  3. Bill's agent is a talent agent, not a literary agent, i.e. he represents actors, not writers. And franky, he's not even a top tier talent agent. Part of the reason he'd like to have someone like me writing for TV is that he'd then have direct access to the writing/producing end of the business where the final casting decisions are made, instead of being cut out by the middle-men casting agents. In the argot of the biz, he wants me to create "packaging" opportunities for him by writing roles that would be especially appropriate for his actors, who tend to be excellent in their craft, but not necessarily the cookie-cutter Hollywood ingénue stereotypes. Think William H. Macy as opposed to Johnny Dep.
  4. I wanted to stop writing, or at least see if I could control what I've come to see at times as an addictive habit.
  5. Who has the time?

Now on the other hand, there are some positive considerations:

  1. Money! Or at least the potential to make money, and gobs of it. Make no mistake, TV is where the money is in Hollywood, not film. Especially for writers. I've known folks who've made more money writing one episode of a soon-to-be-cancelled series than they've made in their entire careers as playwrights. And these were successful playwrights, if I can be allowed such an egregious oxymoron.
  2. Not only is TV where the money is, for writers, it's definitely where the power is. (e.g., the old joke about the Hollywood bimbo who was so stupid she slept with the screenwriter to get ahead? I wish it were only a joke, but in 1996 my independent film Hitting the Ground was in the Seattle International Film Festival. Back then, as now, I was living in Seattle and I went to the Festival's hospitality suite to get my complementary free pass to all the movies. There was some confusion. No pass existed under my name. The supervisor was called over and she asked me how I was associated with the film. I told her I wrote it. Upon which, she turned to her subordinate and said, "Oh, I see. That's the problem. He's just the screenwriter." Just like I wasn't even standing there.) In TV, the head writer is usually the producer. They call the shots. The director is just some schmo that jobs on for an episode or two to tell the cameras where to point and constantly stroke the actors' egos.
  3. Money!
  4. I'm itching to expand my story writing abilities beyond what can be contained in a couple hours of theatre. Writing for movies wouldn't scratch this itch, since the time constraints are even slightly more stingy. I don't want to write fiction-- too intimidated, frankly-- so only TV would allow me to breathe the wide open air of epic.
  5. Money!
  6. I got some good ideas.
  7. Money!
  8. Even though Bill's agent is a talent and not a lit rep, he knows lit reps and he knows studio people and he genuinely seems eager to push something of mine in front of their noses. I haven't had someone of his ilk so much in my corner on past pipe dreams. It might not make a difference, but then it just might.
  9. Money!
  10. Even if I don't wind up actually getting some series I wrote made, at least maybe I can make a little cash and gain a little headway by getting some studio to buy an idea for development. Sometimes they'll buy your idea just to shelve it ‘cuz it's too much like an idea they already have in the pipeline. I know of several writers who have made very good livings without ever getting anything actually produced. If you're savvy, you can play the devo game until you're dead. Me, I'd be happy just to play it till I'm off Crack Alley.

And that's the point really. I know Money! has popped up a lot here, but I don't really care to be rich. It's just that with that beautiful hard-working wife and baby boy I mentioned earlier, I really feel the onus is on me to take yet another chance on seeing if I can't scratch a little scratch outta my ability to put a few words together.

So the question isn't "to ho or not to ho", it's "to not ho or to ho for free on the hopes of ho'in' for real"

I'm not completely decided. But I must confess, I am mentally trying on my zipper-slit mini-skirt and red-sequined tube top.

It was one of those moments where all things in the universe align and you feel a complete lack of control. The only thing you can do when that happens is resist as little as possible and hope that it all turns out alright. Thankfully, this time it did.

I was riding home in the van with Anthony, after dropping Jasper off at the airport. Anthony is on parole and could go to jail for a year and a half for driving at any time, let alone past curfew - and I don't know how to drive.

As we near a tollbooth, Anthony tells me about a dream that he had last night. In the dream, he and I are smoking cigarettes as we go through a toll, and he's approached by cops who tell him it's illegal to smoke at a tollbooth, and ask for his ID. In real life, he shouts at me out of the blue to "Get this away from me!!!" I have no idea what he's talking about, but after a second or two he kicks a water bottle out from under the brake. Too late; we're in an EZPass lane, and we have to switch to the cash one.

Anthony beats his hands against the steering wheel, swears, and shouts as he attempts to make the complicated merge into the next lane. But before we get very far, two police officers, who've watched the whole thing, approach the van and stand at our windows. One cop asks for Anthony's driver's license. He "left his wallet at home." There is hesitation on the cop's part. There is another casual platitude from the driver's seat.

Like I said, it turned out alright, but it very easily could've gone the other way, especially with a rookie cop who didn't look like he could grow a beard. Our reality could have undergone a seismic shift in a moment, but it didn't.

I like to think that one of the reasons it didn't is that the cop took us for father and son, and didn't want to embarrass the father.

Tonight I got to live out one of my dreams.

My coworker, Linda, and I flew into Chicago this afternoon for a training class we will be attending this week. We were shooting to make it in time to see Blue Man Group's show tonight, but it just was too hectic to make it out there in time. So we decided to check out some of the local pizza places. As we were walking down, we passed Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar that we happen to have one of in Tampa. After dinner we stopped back in to Howl at the Moon. We were about 45 minutes early but waited it out.

As the musicians started playing, I told Linda that one of my fantasies was to be in a place like this, and have their drummer not show up and them ask me to play. It turns out that on Sundays they only have three piano players and a MC, and after talking to them they invited me up on stage. We started off with Enter Sandman by Metallica, and ended with Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. It was probably the best 8-song set I have ever had the privilege of playing, and with some amazing musicians. They invited me back anytime, but I explained that we were only here until Thursday, then heading home.

Now hopefully the rest of the trip will be as smooth. We are staying at the House of Blues and tomorrow we are going to see some goth band that is playing here called Tapping the Vein, so we'll see. And in the midst of all this we *do* have training to attend.

Me smiles and heads to bed.

Best quote of the evening:
Allen:All piano players secretly want to be drummers
Cory: Well, all drummers secretly want to be piano players as well. The problem is that it is much cheaper to replace the drum heads than piano keyboards when we drool on them

BuhDuhDoom *crash*

According to my homenode I joined E2 on Sunday December 9, 2001 at 06:03:58 server time. I had lurked and read for several months, initially finding the site after a link to it had been posted in a story on Slashdot. I never really stuck around until the node Less Than Jake: A Play was the top hit on a Google search that I did and I realized that this place was more than just a site for dry definitions about technology. So I probed and I surfed and eventually came across references to someone called Hermetic. When I went back a few months and read the daylogs following his death and the events of September 11, it finally hit me over the head that behind each author was a person that people around here cared about and that E2 was a mass of interesting human beings all working and having fun together.

It was at this moment that I realized I had to join. I guess this was in no small part due to the fact that I had attempted to kill myself almost exactly one year before Hermetic (having never met the man, it seems a bit presumptuous for me to refer to him as Adam) did. This place that seemed to care so much about its members felt like something I needed to belong to.

I drove to Ohio this weekend and had a ball hanging with the cool Columbus people and helping Chad and Jen move. As the emptying of the garage and packing of the truck was occurring, I plopped down a box a little too hard and heard the sound that every mover dreads: the crunch of an item being broken.


Jen reached in and pulled out the broken corner of a checkered piece of wood.

“Oh, this was Adam’s chess set.”


Copious apologies followed and they were met with understanding and requests not to worry about it. There was only one break, it could be glued back together. Things need to be gotten rid of sometime. It’s OK.

But it wasn’t.

When I got home today I felt the compelling urge to sit down and read through many of Hermetic’s nodes. I sat and read about falling in love, about a marriage and a family and looking for a second chance, about break-ups and a downward spiral, all with the sickening sense of knowing how it ends.

I sat and thought about life and how things turn out sometimes. My life didn’t slide down to a painful conclusion, it was a bumpy road that suddenly ended at a massive cliff that I barely managed not to fall off of. How many therapists and psychologists had tried to fix me? How many times did I feel like it all wasn’t worth it? How many times did I lay in bed at night, my mind wracked with thoughts of just ending it all quickly? Adam and I weren’t all that different in some respects.

I thought about a life that now exists only in the memories of loved ones. A life that exists in a bunch of brown boxes sitting in a garage somewhere in Ohio. I thought about how close that had been to becoming my life.

And I fucking wept.

I recently spend a bunch of time trying to make a friend realize that he was essentially stalking some poor girl who worked at Wal-Mart. I gave him the following advice about persistance (which he proceeded to ignore, last time he got in her line she called for a replacement cashier as soon as she saw him, and he still didn't get the picture, he just thinks that persistance pays off).

Being persistant with a woman outside your social circle does not work, it does not work so much that it isn't even funny. That "He is a nice guy, but not for me" thought they might be thinking now will quickly change into much, much darker thoughts.

Here’s just another little tidbit about Borgette that kinda made my weekend….

For those of you folks who know me, you know how I feel about my kid, for those of you who don’t, I can refer you to almost any of my past daylogs or you could go to her home node and see some of her stuff yourself.

Anyway, this was soccer Saturday and my-ex was kind enough (or maybe she came to her senses?) to let me take Anna until this coming Wednesday. Never one to miss out on a opportunity to see her, I jumped at the chance to meet them at the soccer field and watch her play. It was a little chilly in the morning but by the time the game got started it had turned into one of those kinda crisp, breezy days that typify the onset of Spring here in good ol’ Columbus, OH.

Her coach this year seems to have everybody on track and manages to keep the kids interested while learning the basics of the game. They have fun, they learn respect, they learn the building blocks of teamwork and even, in these days of video game overkill, manage to get some exercise and some fresh air. My kid has worked hard at the practices and always plays her best no matter what the circumstances.

It paid off this weekend. It was about 5 minutes into the game when she cut across the goal, went to her left foot (a rarity in one so young or so I’m told) and drilled a shot into the corner past the goalie. It was her first.

As a parent, I know this image will be burned into my head forever. It wasn’t so much the goal, (she had come close before), as it was her reaction. No trash talking, no upraised arms, no whoops of joy. She had acted like she had been there and done it before and put her head down and jogged back to her position. Score one for the good guys I guess – her team was up 1-0 (They eventually lost 3-1) I don’t how she felt inside (I’m asking her to make that a noding assignment over the next couple of days) but I’m sure the thrill she felt is one she will remember for a long, long time.

As the game moved on, she kept trying harder and harder to make some plays. She came close to another goal late in the game but was stopped by a pretty decent save by the opposing goalie.

I dunno, it’s kinda weird being a parent and overhearing other parents saying something to the effect of “Who’s that number 9 kid? She sure is good.” All the while I sat back and watched in a sorta quiet contentment, knowing full well who number 9 is. As a parent, I don’t know who was more excited about the goal, her or me. She prefers not too say too much about it but me on the other hand, well, you’d think she just scored the winning goal in the World Cup.

After that, it was off to help out some friends on the beginning of what we hope is a long and happy stay at their new abode. We couldn’t stay as long as I’d of liked since she was getting hungry and I think she wanted some alone time with her dad. We wound up the day by practicing a little softball, grilling out some barbecue chicken and settling in to watch Forrest Gump. All in all, a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Adam Bottomley RIP

I'm not a daylogger.

Never have been really.

Today, however, I feel should be recorded in the database.

Today I watched my cousin get buried. Why on earth should I node such an event? I can't answer your question. I'm quite drunk. Drunk on alcohol bought for me from wellwishers.

We arrived at my auntie's house, around about 12:30pm. I hadn't seen her since October, when my eldest brother had got married. And likewise, I hadn't seen my cousin, Adam, since then either.

Adam Bottomley was diagnosed with Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy when he was 4 years old. Last week, aged only 18, he died, due to respiratory problems.

Adam had a slightly younger brother, named Thomas. Together we used to spend those long summer days. Them and the next door neighhbour, Wendy. Wendy was a couple of years younger than me, and Adam was about 5 years younger than me. Wendy and I used to mess about, we even acted out silly scenes from Home & Away (including my first Kiss).

I arrived at his house at about 12:30pm. It was hard, seeing so many new faces, all mourning Adam's loss. I spoke too Adam's next door neighbour. Unique because she is exactly 70 years older than me. Her husband was in World War I. Amazing, that she was middle aged during The Beatles.

Adam. He never complained, sometimes he got angry that people treated him differently, but he never complained. DAMN IT. I would trade places with him, it isn't fair that he should be gone now. He was an inspiration to so many.

When we got to the church (after the 10mph procession through Thornton), I was at the front. It was a Baptist church... I don't know what they are like in America, but they are very Happy Clappy in England. The minister was very good (the organist was a little too rock 'n' roll for my liking).

The minister told us all that Adam was leant to us, and that we should be thankful for the time we had. I'm not Christian, but I agree with him in principal. Adam knew he had only a short time available...when we first realize that we have 'only' 80 years or so, we panic. I bet Adam did too when he knew he was going to die before he was in his mid-twenties. Because he knew he was going to die early, Adam never complained about being effectively paralized from the neck down. He was incredibaly brave.

When he was about 6 years old, he went to Sweden, to see Santa Claus. On the way back, Adam was hungry and kept asking his mum, "Where's me dinner?". Judith, his mother, kept saying,
"The sick children are getting their food, you'll get yours soon"
And Adam would jump up and say "Where are the sick kids?"

Adam, you were one of the sickest kids there...and I'm so very sorry you aren't here anymore. I wish I had the courage to tell you how I really felt. Instead, I had to wait until you stopped breathing to make my feelings known. That is not good.

Your mum, Adam, was very surprised that I valued her so highly. And value her I do. She is one of the most important people I know. That she was surprised upset me. Had I not made my feelings clear?

Your funeral was attended by about 500 people. That's probably more people than will atend my own funeral. I hope you know (if you can, from beyond the grave), that we will never forget your bravery and your strength.

Also today, I spoke to Adam's brother. We talked about how we had grown apart, and how being a teenager sucked, and how it had driven a wedge between us. Despite our differences, I hope this can help solidify a bond between Thomas and I.

I also said hello to my grandfather, who rests in the same graveyard. For the first time in a long time I sobbed.

Why am I telling you? I don't know. I'm just letting it pour out...this rant is unedited, and comes from me, straight from the funeral itself. I know nothing witty or plith was said here. I'm sorry for wasting your time. But today, a very special young man was buried in the Earth. Although that really means nothing to you people. To me it is everything.

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