October 1, 2000





I'm in a bit of a mood tonight -- kind of cranky, kind of depressed, kind of blah. So of course I thought I'd share it with all of you. Aren't I nice? But rather than dive right in with a litany of "here's what's wrong now" as some journalers seem to do daily (no names, please), I'll start by going in a different direction. Aren't I nice?

Beth and I have been married for more than five years now. We've talked daily and slept in the same bed together nearly every night of those five years. We've gone through a menagerie of two dogs, three cats, one turtle named Bob, and countless fish together. We've had a child together. We've bought two houses together. We even share a joint checking account. That's evidence of commitment, I think. We're in this for the long haul. We've probably passed whatever probationary period there may be on marriages. In short, we stick.

So why, then, don't we have our frigging wedding pictures yet? We've got the proofs, two big books of them, sitting atop a roll-top desk in the den. I know they're there because I glance at them every time I go in there to watch TV or let the cat out or help Zoe with a project or ... go in there for whatever reason. I know they're there because I wrote "Is it time yet?" in the dust covering them so long ago that the letters in the dust are filling in with more dust. We definitely have the proofs, so why don't we have the actual wedding photos -- that are already friggin' paid for, fer chrissakes!?

Ya got me. I have no idea. Procrastination. Inertia. Laziness. Ennui. "Whatever." The forces that drive everything in this household, apparently. We haven't done it yet because ... we haven't done it yet. That's all. The thing of it is, we've already gone through the proofs and picked the shots we like -- what's holding us up is sending the books out to the parents so they can make their picks. My mom and Beth's dad are here in LA, my dad is in Colorado, Beth's mom is in Florida. You try making an orderly process of reaching consensus out of that.

This has gone on for so long that I like to joke that we'll finally get our wedding pictures after we get divorced, which goes over really, really well with Beth. So well, in fact, that I'm sort of barred from making that particular joke any more on pain of its coming true. What talking about it here is going to do for me, I'm afraid to imagine. (Help me.)

Meanwhile, the only wedding photo we have displayed in the entire house is a little 5 X 7 on Beth's nightstand that someone shot with one of the disposable cameras we had set out on the tables at the reception. It's out of focus, the colors are off, it's small, and it's a lousy pose. And it's the only picture we've got, so we framed it.

So... What's bugging me? Writing. Career. Contacts. Stuff.

We went to Zoe's school's potluck today. Beth made tiramisu and some sort of pasta dish, we had a very nice time, we met some of the other parents, we made a play-date for Zoe, and I came home mired deep in depression. It's a "so close, yet so far" kind of thing.

One of the dads I was talking to turned out to be the creator and executive producer of an award-winning sitcom. Another dad is also very big in TV. One of the moms turned out to be the executive producer of another sitcom no longer on the air. All of them are exactly the people I asked my agent -- back in the days when I had an agent -- to send my work to, people I don't think he ever did send it to and/or didn't have the clout to get it read. And there I was today, sharing a potluck with them. It hurt.

It hurt because I've become so disillusioned about writing for TV. My agent did so little for me, and was so blasé about it and so fatalistic about me making it, that it ground me down, made me feel like giving up. My confidence was shaken. I think I did give up for awhile. The last thing I wrote was my Everybody Loves Raymond spec back in January of last year, just before I cut the agent loose. I dropped it by his office for him to read and never -- ever -- heard from him again. To this day, I don't know if anyone besides Beth has read it. And that was kind of the last straw, at least at that point. I cut the agent loose and didn't write anything new and watched my six specs get stale.

And there I was today, right there with all these people I would have killed to get a script to just a year ago. And there I was with nothing new and fresh to hand them. And here I am, not sure I would have handed them anything if I'd had anything anyway. Nice guys finish last and all that. I know that you're supposed to fuck your friends and eat your young and be ruthless out here in Hollyweird, but I can't be that way very much of the time, if at all.

I haven't fully thought this through, but capitalizing on this proximity just feels wrong. Using Zoe's school as a contact breeding ground puts a bad taste in my mouth. And it could make things really uncomfortable for everyone if I did: them if I hit them up for a read, me if they agree to read and don't like my stuff. It could be a beautiful thing if they love me and hire me and etc, etc, but if not... After the flurry of disappointing business, life will go on at the school, there will be more potlucks and fundraisers and school events, and it will be uncomfortable for them and me to see each other. I don't want that; school should be about the kids, not the parents.

And so I sat there and had pleasant, normal conversations with people who are living the life I want to live, people who hold the power to make me a part of all that, and I dealt with them strictly as fellow parents. And so Zoe will have her play-date at the executive producer's house tomorrow, and maybe we'll talk about the weather when I pick her up. But we won't talk about me or my scripts.