When I was a little girl, I wanted to tell stories and for people to listen. I wanted to perform them on stage or screen, to write them in books and share them with the world. I even knew at about seven or eight that people had jobs writing the stories on television that I loved so much. I wanted to do it too as I stared at the glowing box of doom, as my great-grandmother called it--either that or the idiot box, which I always took personally. It was teaching me things, I insisted. No one believed me. By the time, I was a teenager, I decided wanted to be a writer, director and a film historian. Then at sixteen-going-on seventeen, otherwise known as my senior year, I switched to back to novelist, actor and screenwriter. I graduated six months before I turned eighteen and decided to focus on acting first. I ended up working with some amazing teachers and wonderful performers, one or two who are quite well-known today. After about a year, I got into writing more and more and, eventually, declared that I would be a novelist and a screenwriter instead. Of course, I still loved drama and actors and wanted to keep them in my life. My plan was to go into casting for my business, teach drama on the side, until I saved enough money to become a full-time novelist. I transferred from college in Los Angeles to a university in New York, where I majored in writing and minored in film. There, I fell in love with a guy from England who had transferred just like me. We became serious but broke up because of an unplanned pregnancy he insisted I terminate. I didn't end up with him though I had planned to stay in New York and marry him for so long. Instead, I came home to California, and he went home to England.
But my career plans had not been altered. I wanted to go straight into casting or talent management as I had interned at about four different places while in school. I had also directed plays at a local theater in Los Angeles for kids during my summer breaks. On the side, I wrote fan fiction, still dreaming one day, to retire early and begin my career as a novelist mid-life after I'd saved good money and built my business. However, there were no jobs when I returned home. My mother suggested because I was so good with the students at the community theater (by then I was also teaching creative writing classes at the local recreation center), that I should get a teaching credential as a back up. I had always felt that teaching was a wonderful noble profession. It wasn't my dream, but I decided to go for it. I applied for a one-year fast track master's degree and credential, but it turned out that the school wanted $35,000 right away, and I didn't have it. Instead, I applied for a different two-and-a-half year program. I took a job teaching private school in the meantime. I liked the school because it was outside-of-the-box like me. I also had my eye on teaching film and drama. Unfortunately, though it was a brand new school, there was another person the administration had in mind for those classes. I taught English and history for grade levels 6-10 (yes, all in the same year). I discovered that I liked working with children who were gifted but had mild to moderate learning disabilities because to me, these were our unpolished diamonds. They were the type of people who could potentially become great if given the chance. Unfortunately, my graduate program required me to teach in a public school for part of my degree, so I had to leave. Public school turned out not to be the place for me. So, I ended up homeschooling a young boy with Asperger's Syndrome and another boy with ADHD. I was working in Malibu for film directors, who had all of this wealth doing the thing that I had wanted to do my entire life--work in the movies. Since I was five years old, I wanted to be a part of it, so this stung a little. However, I continued on. I began tutoring just a few hours a week with a few great families and took on a full-time job at another outside-of-the-box school. This one was a public charter, and it was a great fit for me for a while. Unfortunately, the commute was over an hour twice a day. The good part was that I made great friends and got to finally teach film class. I worked there for nearly five years, and during that time, I fell in love with another guy. He was great, an artist (like my ex). He had his own business, and it was pretty successful. To be closer to him and to get back in the industry, I took an at-home job writing curriculum for a professional organization that offered certification courses for its members who worked in the film. It wasn't what I had always imagined, but it seemed like a decent prospect. We planned on moving in together and making a life together. Things were going well. I wasn't the happiest working at my job which turned out to be more clerical than creative. Having headed departments by this time in my education career, it was a little frustrating to return to the same type of work I had done as an intern. Abruptly, my boyfriend wanted to end things. He cried and sobbed about it and said he mysteriously wasn't good enough for me and had leave me. I was devastated to find out that he'd been seeing another woman for months and opted to spend his time getting high with her rather than taking on responsibility and life. So I was alone again at 33. I had planned to be married with children by this point in my life, but I kept my head up and moved on to a new job. This time it was because I could not afford my apartment on the pay I was receiving from my work-from-home job and had been planning to move in with my boyfriend soon. My savings had dwindled. I got a job at another out-side-of-the-box private school closer to home and took in a roommate. I had a few more boyfriends and some crazy times that I thought were best reserved for women in their twenties rather than their thirties. None of the relationships worked out as I became a little cynical and really good at picking men who were just looking to have fun with no strings. Four years ago, I ended up moving to a new place with my roommate and my co-worker. A year after that, I quit teaching for good and began acting and writing again. I became eligible for the Screen Actors Guild in six months. I starred in a small play, and I pulled out my old novel and started polishing it off. I also enrolled in a graduate writing program. Since then, I've written screenplay, three pilots, and three books. The books are being published by a small press soon and one pilot has been optioned with the second in talks for a deal. I have a writing partner--my best friend, not my roommate (our other best friend) and things are going okay. But I look at my life at 38, and wonder why I am not married, and why I don't have the things I planned yet (and lately, why I am so fat). I put on some weight after a role that required I do so and have had a hard time shaking it. Since then, I've retreated into writing. I am sadly not making very much money and am taking in a student to make ends meet. I just secured a manager for that pilot that is in talks and when my books come out, I hope that they can make enough sales for me to finally start on the journey I wanted to as a little girl--to tell stories and for people to listen.