Los Angeles Review of Books – A Three Act Journey In The Land Of The Screenwriting Gurus

If, while watching the sun set on a used-car lot in Los Angeles, you are struck by the parallels between the image and the inevitable fate of humanity, do not, under any circumstance, write it down.

— Fran Lebowitz

LONG AGO, IN A TIME OF PEACE and relative innocence, I decided that I would like, very much, to be a writer. At that time, I was just a person who wrote stuff; a swell hobby and a fine way to pass the time while everyone else worked, but what I really wanted was to get paid to write stuff. Besides the obvious fiduciary benefits of such an arrangement, I was most interested in the title it confers. “Writer” would provide identity and security. “Person who writes stuff” provided only stomach pains.

My first step was to figure out what type of writer I wanted to be. I briefly considered poetry, my original passion. The few working poets I had met all seemed to live in the same neighborhood of modest row homes in Providence, RI. I did not know much at that point in life, but I knew I did not want to live in a modest row home in Providence, RI. Then I also realized, with an admirable sobriety brought on by age and actual sobriety, that my poems read like a privileged suburbanite take on Langston Hughes, and as such might never become the meal ticket I was hoping for.

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