I recently found myself dodging the New York City police, rearranging homeless people, offering money to strangers, tracking storms, flagging down men in pickup trucks, recording a video in 100 degree heat in a fort made of dry ice, searching for tax credits, and negotiating back end with a monkey. No, these weren’t online dating experiences. (Mine were a lot weirder than this.) This was my first day as a filmmaker.
Why am I making a movie? I’m a novelist. And I’m happy being a novelist but this past year I had to face the fact that I’m having a hard time making a living as a novelist. It has nothing to do with the quality of my work. If you’re reading this blog I’m assuming you’re a fan of my books so you know my writing is as good or better than it’s ever been. I can place the blame on a lot of things but I’m only going to mention one for now: the absurd importance of social media.
Have you heard of the stripper Blac Chyna who got pregnant with Rob Kardashian’s baby? She has a million Twitter followers! When I heard about this I decided to find out more about her and did a quick comparison of our careers.
I have a journalism degree from Northwestern University; she’s a graduate of JLS makeup artist school. I’ve written six critically acclaimed novels, one a New York Times bestseller; she has her own line of adhesive eyelashes. I’ve been compared to John Steinbeck, J.D. Salinger and Clifford Odets; she was featured in the music videos for “Rack City” and “Come on a Cone.”
You’d think I’d carry a little more weight than she does in the publishing world but based on her Twitter following, she could get a book deal in a second; I can’t.
I’m not feeling sorry for myself, though. I’m the kind of woman who faces her problems head on. I woke up one day last year and realized my kids are grown, I’m divorced for a second time, I’m too old to wear mini skirts anymore (and gave all of mine to Good Will,) the career I’ve built is suffering through no fault of my own, and I needed to do something to change my life, to shake it up, to reinvent it.
So I sold my house in Pennsylvania, decided to take another shot at love and moved in with my boyfriend, and went in search of a new and different way to champion books and the importance of reading. I decided to make a movie that could potentially reach millions of people and wrote a funny, powerful, poignant script about writers and readers that also incorporates an important message about the dangers of depending too much on technology and not enough on each other. Then I started my own production company so I could make the movie myself. After that I decided I’m not that old after all and went out and bought a bunch of new mini skirts at Kohl’s (with a thirty percent off coupon!)
Since I’ve taken these steps and begun making Rewrites, lots of other good things have started happening. I’ll tell you all about it including that first day of filming and what kind of deal the monkey got. He had a great lawyer.