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Saturday, November 1, 2008

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today...
Current mood: contemplative

One year ago today, I was in California.

I laid out a Days of Our Lives episode where a hospitalized John sees Sami, believes she's Colleen, and tries to strangle her. I sat on a back porch with my head writer, gave a "Welcome" embrace to my new co-head writer, had productive meetings with both my executive producer and Corday Productions, and headed back on a red-eye to finish my episode before the Monday morning "Pencils Down" strike clock started ticking, saying a silent prayer that cool heads would prevail and the strike wouldn't last any longer than it had to.

I questioned my own union, and consulted with peers over issues I had never considered before. Words like "fi-core" and "scab" became as common as exhaling, and a part of my vernacular I wish I could erase.

I walked in circles in snow and freezing cold, questioning my industry, questioning my employers, questioning my own beliefs.

I watched colleagues with an equally fiery passion for this industry kicked to the curb.

I wondered if a private blog that suddenly went public did more harm than good.

I questioned my own talent, pondered my own future, and studied my behavior.

I rediscovered the joy of writing without boundaries, and then learned I am not defined by my dreams. The dreams of my youth do not encompass me, and there is so much more than my goals that can make me feel alive.

I've reached out to fans, hoping to reconnect with the energy I feel is missing from so many writers' rooms.

I've been told that I've moved from "fresh, new blood" to "the same old, same old".

I've been told I've been missed, and I've also been told I'm "unpitchable".

One year ago today, I was a different person.

I have contemplated so much this last year. Times I have felt found, and times I have felt more lost than ever before. Part of me can't believe it's been a year already, and the other part of me feels like an eternity has passed and I've gone through three lifetimes since November 1, 2007.

I've doubted my future in a genre I have to wonder even wants me anymore. They say you should never be the last one at a party, so maybe this is my time to move on. And in some ways, I have. But in others, I can't say good-bye. Not yet. Because I went back, and read this - my very first blog entry I ever wrote on here:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

11:43 PM - 6 Comments - 6 Kudos - Add Comment - Edit - Remove

DAYS like these I feel like I could change the world...
Current mood: ecstatic quote Asia. (Whatever happened to them?)

So I love my job. Everyone knows that. I get to shape and mold the lives of an entire fictional town. Sure, it can be campy at times. But it can also be inspirational. Scary. Romantic. Heart-warming. Tear-jerking. Triumphant. Defeating. Hysterically funny. The gamut of emotions. And I love that.

Unfortunately, we have three days (sometimes less) to write an episode. And with writing 52 episodes a year myself, they can't all be gold. Sometimes you have to force yourself to really sit down and write something, even if you're not "connecting" with the material. And other times... well, the words flow on the page like you're actually living it yourself.

Such was the case with Days Of Our Lives, Episode 10,566...

Ten weeks ago, I wrote the breakdown for this show. It was a big deal, to put it mildly. The wedding of two characters who've been together on and off for FOURTEEN YEARS. (And they're only 30!) The entire cast was in it, which means making sure everyone "has something to do", so they're not glorified extras. There's a huge twist (of course! It's a soap!) And some serious melodrama. Plus, millions of fans who are all looking for some serious pay-off for a couple they've wanted together for almost two decades.

So I sit down to write this episode, and MAN... it was like I'd waited my whole life to write it. It all just poured out of me... and by the end of it, I felt like Kathleen Turner in the opening scene of "Romancing the Stone". Including the tears and glass of wine. (The only other time I experienced that was when I wrote Bryant's death on As the World Turns in 2001... same head writer, so special thanks to the big guy himself!)

Today, the episode aired. Now as anyone who knows anything about TV knows, a lot can happen in the ten weeks of production. Things might be edited, cut out, misinterpreted. You never know what you're going to get. But today... today surpassed all my expectations. They "GOT IT". Nailed every emotion, hit every beat... watching today's episode not only restored my faith in a genre so many people insist is dying, but it reminded me how much I love what I do.

I am not a blogger... but here I am, in my living room, feeling like I'm ready to burst as the closing credits rolled. So this is me... bursting.

I got to give Sami Brady the wedding of her dreams, and the reception of her nightmares. And I'm on top of the world.


I re-read this for the first time in a year and a half, and I realized: that's the Tom I want back. It's the Tom I want to be again. I don't know where I'll find him, or the road I need to take to get there - but I do know the guy who wrote this blog entry had a lot of faith. And deep down, he still does.

Oh, what a difference a year makes.

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