Are you haphazard too?
I tend to be a little haphazard. Is it me, or can we blame it on the world we live in? I like to blame the culture for all my misremembering, overdrafts, and wrong turns. Otherwise, my free time is spent taking Alzheimer’s quizzes and asking my daughter if it’s time for me to move into her spare room.
Sometimes my panic pivots are painful, but other times, kind of thrilling. Last year, I had about five days to come up with an idea and hand it to my agents. I pitched a book about a woman who was a stowaway on the set of a major motion picture and has to solve a crime to keep her secret. It sounded like a good idea until my publisher said yes to it, and I had to write it.
What was I thinking? Everything I knew about Hollywood came from People Magazine and Netflix, and maybe, on an extravagant night, Hulu. How was I going to build a realistic, funny and sad story about something I knew nothing about?
You know what, though? If there’s one thing about being haphazard, you have a lot of practice in leaping before looking. If you have the added advantage of being a woman, well—you were born to pivot.
Everything about Hollywood, even the old moniker Tinsel Town, is filled with glamour. But I knew wanted to write about the people who make movies that don’t get a lot of credit. And there is a lot of them—set builders, grips, wardrobe, camera operators, the crew you rarely see on a red carpet.
I started a whisper network of asking friends if anyone knew anyone in Los Angeles. One by one, I got names, and I started interviewing the women behind dressing the biggest stars in Hollywood. Stars like Reese Witherspoon, J.Lo, Will Smith, Kevin Costner, and Timothy Chalamet to name a tiny few.
Before I met with these women, I worried that I’d look unstylish in my top to bottom on sale Gap separates. I fussed with my hair, flossed and tried to look artsy if not quite put together. You know what, though? These women were just hard-working women who were doing too much from a movie business that asked too much from them. They worry about picking their kids up on time, sometimes lose their keys, and basically are just like you and me. Haphazard, hardworking people who can’t remember where they parked their car.
I’m a huge fan of movies, I’m a fan of unsung workers, and it turns out so are they. We talked about what makes a good story, how to dress characters, and what they loved about their jobs. They brought me on set (you can see my photos in Instagram), and made me wish I worked next to them. They were glad that I wanted to talk about their jobs, not the stars they dress. I was glad they could show me the inside of a wardrobe trailer and talk about their dreams.
The book was so much fun to write, and the women working in costumes made me feel a little less embarrassed about being scattered, and I made them feel seen.
That’s what writing to you is about for me:
- I hope I make you smile,
- feel good about being a messy human,
- and sometimes I hope you feel seen.
If you want to learn what I learned, you can There’s No Coming Back From This. You can pre-order the paperback or get the kindle version right now.
If you want to know more about what I learned, I’ve written something for Career Authors Here.