I read the other day that Juno scribe Diablo Cody and her husband Jonny have split. And I was really, really sad. I have no interest in speculating what makes a couple call it quits. It’s none of my business and it would be tacky besides. But I can’t help that knee-jerk feeling of bitter disappointment. Hollywood does it again. DC came out here in a whirlwind of attention most screenwriters will never have after her first screenplay made the rounds. I read it, did coverage on it, and it’s the best script I have ever read — at least out of the scripts I did not write myself. Jonny stayed in Minnesota with his daughter while Diablo came out here and made a TV deal with Spielberg. Midwest girl makes good, but her family gets left behind. And I have NO IDEA if that’s fair. It probably isn’t fair AT ALL. There’s proably a lot more to the story that I don’t know because it is their private affair.
But I am human and I have unconsciously made the story about me.
Will wrote the first draft of our Sci-Fi/Action Mag 7 script by himself. That first draft is only vaguely like the version that everyone in town has passed on (“the writing’s great, but…”), but before I came in to do a draft I had a few weeks of abject terror: Will was going to be successful without me. Yes, I know how selfish that sounds.
Will was the golden child in his family. Everyone expected great things of him and he could do no wrong. (He doesn’t think this is true, but this is the story from my perspective.) Family friend Frannie, whom I have reviled in this here blog many a time, made certain that he got to Hollywood. She thought I would drag him down and she made sure I didn’t come with him. Obviously I did — eventually.
Will is something of a genius storyteller. A lot of people believe this. As well they should, it is absolutely true.
I am a hell of a writer. Before Will and I met, I was known for my taste in music (my mix tapes were legendary), my love of movies, and for being a writer. Plus some less important things (I was always the driver, for instance). Will was known for all those things too, and for some reason after we got together people only thought of him that way. Not everyone, but most people. This blog is pretty much the only place where I am the popular one, and only because he’s written just one entry here. In general I am fine with this. After all, I think Will is pretty spectacular. But sometimes I get annoyed. WHAT ABOUT ME? You know.
If Will had pursued a solo writing career last year, I would have died a little. My tiny drum would have broken some. I would have been left behind and I don’t know what would have happened.
We’ve written four screenplays together — one original is completed, two rewrites are done, and a second original is in rough draft, waiting for me to give it a pass (which I am not doing right now because of this whole strike thing). Will is now writing a novel. The other day my friend John called and I told him about Will’s novel. We spent a few minutes on how much we hate him for being 67,000 words in (I don’t think I have written 67,000 words total in my entire life, and I decided to be a writer when I was five), and then John, who knows me better than anyone not in my immediate family, asked if I didn’t feel left out. And surprisingly, I do not. Ask me again when Will is Michael Crichton, but I feel like this is a separate thing altogether. His. And I think it’s wonderful.
Last night Will and I went on our first date in more than 18 months. Andrea sent us as thanks for taking care of her kids the other week. It’s the first time we’ve left Sam with anyone but my mom for more than an hour, and the first time we’ve left him with anyone at bedtime. We went to the Arclight, had a cocktail, and saw Juno. It’s the best movie I’ve seen all year, and I know that’s not saying much since it’s the only movie I’ve seen all year, but it is really great.