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young writers

When I think of crossing over into film, I have this idea in my head that I’m a young person. I feel I’m just slightly beyond “emerging” as a writer and actor. People may see me as a dewy eyed burgeoning artist. And then I remember how long I have been at this and I look in the mirror and shockingly see a woman in her forties. What?! When did this happen? In my heart I’m about twenty eight years old.images

I remember once I was driving with my grandpa at the wheel and a man his age, in his mid seventies, was crossing the road rather slowly. Grampa called out, “Hurry up old man!” Then gramps turned to me, surprised at himself, chuckled and said, “Who am I calling an old man?”

I’ve been watching Supernatural, the whole series, and before that, the X Files, in order to study the form of successful television writing and acting. Specifically, I’m looking at the kind of TV that gets shot in Vancouver: sci-fi. I want to get into that. I’d be good at it. I’m cooperative and fast. I’m starting to digest the larger patterns at work: the structure of this other kind of animal. How it continues to breathe year after year after year. How to maintain tension when the audience knows darn well the two leads are never going to actually die. The archetypes. The need for hero. The exploration recently of anti-hero. All of that. One of the writers turned producers I greatly admire is Sera Gamble. Her scripts really stood out to me. Today I looked her up, expecting a woman in her sixties. She’s fourteen years younger than me. That means she started writing for Supernatural when she was twenty two years old! She became executive producer when she was twenty seven. Remarkable!

It isn’t really about age at all. It’s about talent, experience and hard work. One is never too young and one is never too old.

I guess my grandparents were both childish in some ways, in the good way. My grandma Bunny (how can you feel old with a name like Bunny?) stayed girlish and giggly and lovely and idealistic right to the end of her life. She wore azure blue and purple and soft cotton candy pink. She snuck chocolates and whistled at chickadees and winked. A true beauty.

So, I guess it is not such a strange thing that I still feel as though I am emerging. What is the alternative? To say I feel “arrived?” That makes me laugh I’m up to twenty five produced plays now and I’ll tell ya, I’m just beginning to understand. I wonder if Sera Gamble wrote that much when she was young because she didn’t realize yet how much she didn’t know? Maybe she just burst out the gate confident and capable. I certainly wrote in a fearless way when I was in my twenties. I cranked it out. I did not question its worth. No one was watching, no peers, no critics, no students. I could blow it and that would be entirely expected and just fine. I blow it now? Different story. Too much on the line. But the work stinks if I get nervous or cautious. So…Bunny…you have taught me…survival. Here’s to a wink and sneak of another chocolate as I place my little hands at the keys and whistle at the chickadees.

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