Last night on the New Adventures of Old Christine, the aforementioned Christine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) took her Prius into the dealer for a tune-up and was informed that her five-year lease was up. Since she got the car when she got divorced, this realization made her contemplate just what she was doing with her time for the last five years (you know, other than starring in her own sitcom, I guess :D). After all, her ex got engaged to someone else and got her pregnant; her brother went through medical school and became a psychologist; and her best friend became a U.S. citizen. Naturally, this all got me thinking because at a job interview this week I was reminded that next month it will officially be five years since I graduated from college. And just what do I have to show for it??
Right after college I was still pretty swept up in the "cloud of L.A.," so to speak (see my still unpublished pop culture memoir for further clarification) and focusing on trying to "get ahead" by producing. I was working on some pretty sh*tastic projects, admittedly, if I was working at all. I joined a union and then never worked within it. It really wasn't until the writers strike hit in 2007 that I was forced to re-evaluate-- you know, with all my epic time off-- what I really wanted and actually began writing again. So let's forget the first three years out of school; let's chalk them up to that time in everybody's life when they are hit with first freedom and don't really do anything productive with it. Let's only consider the last two then. I'm still not quite sure what the hell I've been doing!
Sure, I have been writing. This blog is going stronger than ever after two years, even though it has deviated somewhat from its original purpose about learning life lessons through pop culture (though I'm trying to get it back there little by little, with posts like this one!). It has taken off in new ways-- through interviews and more event coverage than I imagined and even with giveaways!! It's small steps forward toward feeling like a professional. I have completed three complete fiction manuscripts and the memoir based on this blog. I have even self-published one, albeit probably the one that could have most strongly used an editor. I still even write original scripts on occasion.
Sure, I quit my dead-end, miserable-making corporate gig, but the fact that I ever took it in the first place is still something of a misnomer. I was always more comfortable freelancing, in part because I greatly cherish my spare time, but more so because I hate to be told I have to do something that I feel strongly against. My time at The Corporation was one big compromise, and through that it's one giant leap backwards! More than anything, I feel my time there set me back yards at a time when I was finally remembering all I really wanted to do and to be. Taking that position was a personal struggle, but leaving it has been one, too. In doing so, the window in which I always thought I'd buy a house and adopt a child was closed on me, due to lack of financial security-- even if temporarily.
I still don't have a book deal. I fired my lit agent because I didn't think she was working fast enough but I can't seem to find a new one. I'm still not writing for a major publication-- internet or otherwise. I still can't get in the door at networks for pitch meetings. Hell, I'm living in the same apartment I inhabited while I was in college! I still measure the last five years-- or, let's still say, by the last two-- by the milestones of television and pop culture. And when we look at things that way, they don't seem so bad. After all, we now have the musical lexicon of glee, the throwback to old-school storytelling in Life Unexpected, the hotness of boys with rock-salt filled guns on Supernatural, and oh so many "Real" Housewives with their collagen-injected faces and extravagant shopping trips with black cards (or cash-- if you're in New Jersey!).
When I stopped doing production, it was because I was tired of the "hustle." It wasn't even that I thought-- or hoped-- I would have been somewhere bigger and better than I actually was. Although that probably weighed on the decision subconsciously, too. But I left because I was sick of having to scrounge for another job while I was still working the current one. Unfortunately, freelance writing seems to offer the same pitfalls, and I just don't have the drive to "sell myself" the way I may have once.
Maybe I'm just getting too old for this sh*t.