Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's in a Tagline?

After a recent post, I clicked on my blog to check the spacing and I mused for a moment on my tagline: A Tinseltown Chronicle for the Naïve and Hopeful. I started this blog over five years ago and I genuinely was that girl. Fresh from my small mountain town, a fancy job in a big studio, writing training at a prestigious university, I believed with all my Pollyanna heart that I would have a meteoric rise as sought-after writer in this town, that I’d meet and marry a rich and famous Prince Charming and all would be well with the universe. I’d been told my whole life that I was special. I believed that my life would enjoy such rarified trajectories because I deserved it – I was destined for it.

I began blogging as a witty aside to my days. My goal was to produce a stable of comedy essays that would be curated into a book ala David Sedaris. Not that I claimed to have Sedaris level talent. But I still thought a publisher or three would sit up and take notice.

I’ve noticed of late – like over the last year or more – the comedy has abated. More of my essays seem to focus on something that infuriated me, hurt me or left me indignant or incredulous. If you came here for the comedy, sorry to disappoint. But, as I'm finding, so like life.

What happed to that funny girl who believed that “any day success can come it this town”? I actually said that during my first year here to a neighbor as I was out walking. I heard them laughing at me as I walked away.

The studio job evaporated in a corporate take-over. I went on to produce an independent film but its distribution has been an uphill battle, not the break-out hit/calling-card project as hoped. I’ve sort of slid sideways out of the film business and find myself running a non-profit that helps women. It’s a vital and worthy cause and it should make me feel fulfilled. Instead it just reminds me every day that there was no meteoric rise to film power. From the film sidelines, I watch my compatriots go on without me.

As for Prince Charming, the famous one broke my heart as it had never been broken before and I made an abject fool of myself pining for him and trying to win him back. My heart got kicked around by a few others to whom I gave it too easily hoping they might stop that pain. I finally met and married a wonderful man who doesn’t have any such show biz meteors up his sleeve. We are safe together and on the same page.

All in all my life is quite pleasant. It has settled down to be normal and average. Normal and average. Two words that always made me cringe.

As a kid, even understanding I was special, I thought I’d be great at normal. I was raised by my father with a kind of anachronistic set of 50’s ‘be true to your school,’ sock-hop values. I assumed I’d be a cheerleader, date a football player and wear a letterman jacket while driving my Studebaker with a raccoon tail flying from the antenna. I got to high school and was shocked to realize school spirit was super-uncool, the cheerleaders were the skanks of school and the football players were idiots. I was unequipped for navigation in such waters so I sank to the bottom in my own bubble of “off-beat, unique, eccentric, eclectic.” I cultivated that bubble through college where I was a DJ. The more fringe you were the better. The sooner you declared that a band had sold out, were over-exposed and moved on from them, the more insider you were. My whole adult life has been: “if everyone else if going right, I’m going left.”

And now to be faced with normalcy and average-ness. No wonder I’m filled with upset and angst that flows into my writing. The film career fizzled, the book deal never knocked. The famous I thought I’d hob nob with flow past my window without seeing me.

I moved here because I realized I was living a small life in my little town. I didn’t want to wake up one morning ten years later with nothing to show and wonder what would have happened if I’d only gone out to LA and reached for the brass ring. Well it may not quite be ten years later but I reached. At least I’ve answered that question for myself. I caught at a bigger, more glitzy, more important life. I didn’t get it.

So it seems my tagline should be changed. I happen to live in Hollywood but really have nothing to do with Tinseltown, the mythic construct that functions around and without me. While I still have moments of Pollyanna trust, I am no longer the naïve ingénue that believes success is just around the corner ‘cause doggone it, I’m special.’ I have finally become that most average of Hollywood states: jaded. And as for hopeful. That strikes me as a saddest part. I have lost my hope in success - in my talent bringing a film/writing career to life. In the absence of hope, resignation fills the void and I see I have become bitter. I am sorry to see that flow into my writing and on to these pages but it’s what is true for me.

“An LA chronicle for the jaded and bitter” doesn’t have that great a ring to it. But I finally fit in with all the other bitter writers grumbling in cafes. I have become a true Hollywood girl… Which may ironically mean that success really is right around the corner. While I don’t hold my breath, I suppose it’s time for me to take a step back and reassess what success looks like for me. It’s time to start finding it in the small victories, in the little bubbles that make up my days. I’ll leave the tagline as is for now, just in case.

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Blogger critter said...

I really like the honesty in your writing. I don't recall how I stumbled on your blog this morning, but it was a nice chance encounter!

4:18 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Thanks, Critter! I'm so glad you stumbled. I appreciate your comment.

5:22 PM  

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