Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Defines A Life?...

Bonnie Hunt was on The View recently (like sometime last week-- do a YouTube search for the clip; I'm sure it's on there somewhere), and Barbara Walter's cracker-jack interview skills had her asking Bonnie about the fact that Bonnie's own producer called her out for "not having enough of a life" to have a talk show. Okay, first things first, Barbara: not everyone gets invited to the White House for parties and dinners and horseshoe matches, okay?? And second of all, Bonnie hit the nail on the head when she snapped back: "Well, what kind of life?" It is one thing to be a funny and interesting low-key woman like Bonnie appears to be, and it is quite another to be a crotch-flashing, falling-down-drunk, paparazzi-calling-on-themselves attention wh*re (...perhaps like a certain Real Housewife of Atlanta that Bonnie often portrays?). The comment didn't anger me, but Barbara's callous and accusatory tone did because I, too, often find myself wondering if my readers wonder if I truly have a life.

When my ex-literary agent (I am now looking for new representation and a publisher, in case any of y'all are connected and can refer me) was having trouble selling my second novel, she suggested I begin working on a book of autobiographical essays, not unlike the vein of Sloane Crosby, Cindy Guidry, or even Chelsea Handler. After all, she knew I kept this blog and figured I could parlay my pop culture knowledge into some cautionary (hopefully comical) tales. With the advent of web series and Twitter, attention spans have truly dwindled and no one seems to want to invest too much time in reading a three hundred-page book in one shot anymore. But collections of essays, each of which can stand on its own, are thriving, perhaps mostly because someone can pick it up, read eight or nine pages (the average length of one "chapter), and then come back to it weeks later without worrying he or she has forgotten pivotal plot points needed to continue on in the work. I took her advice and quickly started drafting what I hoped would be my first Best Seller. However, after drafting eight such essays, I just as quickly ran out of things to say.

I'm single. I am in my early twenties. I live in Los Angeles (well, just over the hill anyway), one of the busiest, brightest, most-thriving cities in the country. I work in the entertainment industry. I have friends who are actors, producers, musicians. I get home from my office at 5:15 at the latest every weeknight, leaving me ample time to attend screenings, networking events, dinners, and parties. I'm a confident, out-going (oh okay, loud) girl. I recognize even the D-List celebrities when they are strolling around the Galleria, in the checkout line at Ralphs, or in their cars on the 101. The typical assumption, then, is that my life would provide tons of fun and funny stories, anecdotes, and experiences. I have all of the makings for it! But I am nothing but atypical.

I don't really drink. I don't do drugs (nope, not even pot...not even once in awhile...not even when I'm writing...seriously...why don't people accept it when I say it the first time??). I don't dance. Therefore, I don't go out to clubs or bars or any of the stereotypical hotspots for Young Hollywood-- not even if I call it "research" for a piece I'm writing. I don't believe in one-night stands (for me; I don't care what other people do). You're probably already raising your eyebrows, wondering what the hell I'm doing in this town, in this business. I don't even really casually date. I'm extremely opinionated, but I don't set out to change anyone else's by sharing my own. I don't have kids. I don't own a home, so I don't have any tales of renovation woes or maintenance emergencies in my bank.

I love to spend quiet weekends on the beach with my dog and a good book. I love to spend quiet nights at home, in a warm bubble bath, with some TV on DVDs. I prefer hanging out with my friends one on one or in small clusters at lunch or while shopping, rather than at large parties where I feel obligated to wander around the room, mingling even with those friends of friends I barely know and perhaps don't even like. But let's face it, even I can admit that translating those onto the page does not a quippy, exciting story often make!

Do I think that all of these factors mean I do not have a life, though? Not at all, though Barbara might disagree. I have a life that I consider quite unique to fit my own personality (quirks), desires, and goals. I am quite comfortable and content because I am always true to who I am and I never do anything I don't want to do simply to give myself something more "interesting" about which to write (because let's face it, even if it drove traffic up for that one post, it would be like false advertising). I don't want to ever fit a mold of what people think I "should" be. Just because the average attention span now wanders without something flashy, glitzy, or glam (or even equally trainwreck) doesn't mean I'm going to cater to it if it's not really "me."

This blog is not equivalent to the opening monologue in a talk show. I never set out to give you five to six minutes a day of my daily happenings; I have always been very honest with myself that what I find most interesting about my life is completely subjective. I write primarily about television for a reason: it is in the stories I find within that medium that have made me into the person I am today and had a greater influence over my life than anyone I hang out with on the weekends or call or Facebook chat with after a (not-so) hard day at work. It is not just a throwaway (though catchy!) line, flippantly typed into a pre-made template field because eBlogger told me I needed a heading for my page: my life (good or bad; boring or not!) truly has been made possible by pop culture. Maybe to some it sounds like a passive way to go through life, but quite frankly, in a post-Sex and the City world where everyone and their sister still feels compelled to be the “real” Carrie Bradshaw, spilling all of their (and their friends’!) sordid secrets to strangers online, I think my life of restraint seems even more special!

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