I was dragging. The clean laundry laid on my unmade bed. The red suitcase on the floor waited for me to unpack it. I had Pandora playing on my computer and was trudging through organizing Christmas bags, boxes, and bows when my phone rang. I was delighted to see it was my friend Carolyn, with whom I’d been playing phone tag for weeks.
Carolyn left her job in NYC in October to follow her dream of becoming a comedy screen writer in LA. But following your dream can be hard. Carolyn’s moved from friend’s house to friend’s house. Last we talked, we laughed over our shared experiences of living out of our cars, spending too much time trying to figure out where the supermarket was in the town we were in, and where we’d stay when we moved on from this friend’s house.
But in between all that, Carolyn’s performed in a couple Mortified shows and made connections. It’s amazing who knows someone who can help you once you put a dream out there. Like the lawyer at the cubicle job you hated in NYC who has a friend who’s in the business out in LA. It seems every time I talk to Carolyn, she’s made three more connections.
Today, though, she wondered about her writing. All this “free time” wasn’t really that free when you, in essence, have no place to call home nor any consistency in your life. We brainstormed ideas for alternative living arrangements so that the worry of where to live could be taken off her plate and therefore give her some writing time. “I e-mailed the director of a writing residency program I did ten years ago to see if they have a spot,” she told me, but she wasn’t too optimistic.
I gave her as much encouragement as I could, having been in her shoes many times before. She generously thanked me, as she always does. I told her that the words I’m often speaking to her are the ones I need to be reminded of myself, so it goes both ways.
A short while later, my phone rang. It was Carolyn again. “You’re not going to believe this,” she said. That writing residency program in New Mexico? They just had a cancellation. The director had been thinking about her – they’d found a picture from the last time she was there and had it up on their table for the last few months. The open spot would give her a cottage in which to live for twelve weeks, and they would welcome her to come take it. Coincidence? Nope. That’s just Carolyn – putting a dream out there. Instead of waiting for life to fall into her lap, she chases all her leads. And then something works.
Congratulations, Carolyn. Happy writing:)