I believe she was referring to the line: “Seems to me some fine things, have been laid upon your table, but you only want the ones you can’t get.”
The truth is, “some fine things have been laid upon my table”. But I chose the hard road. Apparently I chose the hard road before I even knew what the hard road was.
The image that I have always presented to the outside world is that of an upbeat, happy and friendly person and I am those things. I’m also a deep thinker, a loner and a dreamer.
Much to the chagrin of my parents, I’ve always known that I was different from the girls I grew up around. That I was not going to marry my college sweetheart and move back to our hometown. Life was pulling me in another direction and there was no stopping it.
At the age eighteen I packed my bags and moved to Los Angeles. I can’t say I never looked back. In fact, I have looked back — a lot. But I never went back.
One night about fourteen years ago now, I was at a popular hot spot in Hollywood. I noticed famed movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer sitting alone at the bar. Filled with unbridled confidence, I walked right up to him, introduced myself and told him I was a writer and preceded to try and convince him to read a script I had written.
I was very young and looking back it’s obvious that he sensed my immaturity and naiveté’. Bruckheimer then gave me the best advice anyone could have given me at that moment. I’m going to paraphrase him because I don’t remember his exact words, but the essence of it was, “If you want to be a writer, go out and live your life. Gain life experiences so you have meaningful things to write about.”
I may have taken that advice a little too literally as the last decade and a half has been a roller coaster ride of insanity living life on the edge in Los Angeles.
All the nice things that had been laid upon my table were becoming a distant memory as I’ve exposed myself to the liars, the cheaters, the adulterers, the bottom feeders and all the general evil that inhabit this town and infect the entertainment business for someone who is alone and just starting out.
Would I trade any of the pain and struggle that I’ve endured to get to the place that I am now? No.
It’s a part of me and I’m fortunate enough to have the ability to take all of these life experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly and translate them into stories that hold special meaning to me.
I’m not one of those people that can write at Starbucks. For me, writing is a lonely journey. In order to focus and lose myself in the words and thoughts that I want to express I need to be alone. I need to shut everything and everyone out and live in the world I’m creating. There have been times when I haven’t left my apartment for days on end because I’m so wrapped up in the work. I sleep only a few hours at night when I’m in the process of writing something I feel passionate about. The night won’t let me shut my brain off. It’s constant. I can’t. It becomes an obsession.
And in the words of The Eagles song Desperado, “Your prison is walking through this world all alone.” Maybe Mom was on to something.
I’m not a fantasy writer. Big concepts have never really interested me. I’m interested in the human experience. I always have been. And Bruckheimer was correct. I needed to live my life. To experience pain, love, loss, tragedy, joy… all of the human emotions that people resonate with in order to be a good storyteller. The type of storyteller that held depth, passion and true meaning in their work.
My latest screenplay NOWHERELAND is about a 15-year-old girl who is pushed into prostitution by her call-girl mother. It explores the realities of underage sex trafficking in Los Angeles and the issues that surround it.
People have continually asked me if NOWHERELAND is based on true events. The truth is, people ask me this about everything I write. Part of me considers this a compliment because I take it to mean that my writing feels so real to them, that the story must be real. The answer is always the same. My ideas come from my life, my dreams and my realities.
I’ve known women involved in situations comparable to NOWHERELAND and have observed first hand the endless cycle of abuse, the addictions and the inability to escape the sex industry. It’s sad and hard to understand from an outsiders view. Why don’t they leave? What’s holding them back from changing their life?
Those answers lie deep within the subconscious mind of each woman involved in that industry. My job as a writer and translator of that world is to enter the psyche of these people and try to make sense of it through my words.
I always write from a place of truth and honesty within myself and do my best to express that honesty through the words and actions of the characters I create. I feel very proud of NOWHERELAND as it takes the viewer on a trip through the dark side of humanity in a social realism style. It’s very raw. It’s very real. And it’s a reflection of a life lived hard.
As we are currently fundraising on Kickstarter to shoot the movie in the fall of 2014, I’ve never felt more optimistic about a project that I’ve created. I’ve finally left all the negative behind. There is hope. And with hope comes the belief that everything happens for a reason. We choose our life paths by the daily choices we make and at this point, some even finer things have been laid upon my table.
For more information on NOWHERELAND you can find the project on Kickstarter HERE.