Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I am now VAGABOND

7/13/09
I’ve begun. I’ve just boarded the plane and while there’s a feeling of lightness, anxiety and excitement with any trip, this is singular.

I love flying, always have, even though plane crashes are featured in a number of my larger pieces and I’ve known two people to die mid-air. Still, I think the aeroplane is the archetypal symbol of the 20th Century. Nothing has shaped the world for the first 90 years of last century than our ability to fly. Even if you could make arguments that the phone or recording devices changed our world more, conquering the sky is something we’ve always dreamed of as a species since the beginning of history.

Creating the airplane has actually shaped our idea of who we are as humans, more than how it’s changed our lives. It’s more that we’re a people who defy gravity – who truly challenge the physical laws of nature and who have accomplished what our earlier brethren only thought gods were capable of. We have attained a level of technology high enough that people from another time would think it was magic.

The actual changes to society are less substantial. Before planes we could still go to China. It just took longer. I could still travel LA to NY as I’m doing right now… except by train, the way my grandma did. She came out to Long Beach to marry my grandfather at the army base there in 1943. He proposed by phone only after he was told he wasn’t going to be shipped over seas. Of course, she got pregnant and they sent him to France the following month. But what a ride that must have been coming out West. Imagine her getting on the train at Penn Station. OLD Penn Station which looked like it was a terminal in Paris. Imagine her with gloves, and a hat with a feather (she was a hat model after all) and porters, carrying her luggage. Maybe she had one of those round suitcases with a flat bottom. No wheels back then. How undignified.

And what a long ride. Two, maybe three days to think about the new life you’re about to lead. She was to be married in a brand new temple in Long Beach and she was going to live in California. California! In 1943 with Kate Hepburn and Cary Grant somewhere right around the corner. Maybe she’d be discovered. She did print ads in NY. Maybe they’d hire her in Los Angeles. I never asked her about that trip she took. It never really occurred to me til now, but that’s a long time to think about what your life will soon become. What if she got scared and wanted to turn around? There’s no turning around in a plane and with a non-stop flight like I’m on now, I barely have time to write a blog entry.

But the truth about plane travel is that I really just love it when we take off. I still get a thrill out of that. If that ever stops, someone slap me. I mean, we’re travelling 500mph in a tin can that weighs more than anything that drives on the ground. How crazy is that? How can you not stare in wonderment at the ground beneath?

If I’m waxing rhapsodic, I apologize, I’m going on 3 hours of sleep and I’m a little emotional. I’ve just embarked on the longest trip of my life after packing all my worldly possessions into a 5x10 storage unit in Van Nuys (nee Panorama City!) and I’m experiencing a near out of body sensation.
For those who don’t know what I’m up to, I'm going to NY for a week, Israel for 3, Africa for 4, and then NY again for 2. I’ll be back in LA 9/21!!!

The show I've been working on, HawthoRNe, premiered a month ago. And now we’ve wrapped. I had no other job lined up, so I applied for unemployment (trying to help get CA to 12%!) and decided to hit the road. Our ratings are decent and it may get renewed, but it’s on the bubble. Even if it does, it wouldn't start up again ‘til January. They might invite me back as writers’ assistant, or promote to staff writer or they might not ask me or any of the writers back. Lots of variables.

But it means I have time and who knows when I’ll be able to take a trip like this again. The trip came about because I got into a Jewish Federation sponsored Entertainment Council "Master Class" in Tel Aviv. It’s the last 10 days of July.

http://www.talamasterclass.com/

Me and 9 other "mid-career" folks in TV/Film, are going with half a dozen LA bigwigs like Darren Star (creator Se x&The City), Gail Berman (former Prez of Paramount) and Nina Tassler (prez of CBS). We confab w/ our Israeli counter parts (both up-and-comers as well as bigwigs). We take “classes” and we hang out. I really don’t know what the classes will be. But regardless, I expect the real event will be in the bar. It always is.

Since I'm all the way over there, (and it seems unlikely I’ll get a job in TV on the writing side LA during August) I've decided to spend an extra 10 days traveling Israel w/ my dad and then a month in Africa. (S.Africa and Namibia). Why Africa? Cause I’m already over there, I’ve always wanted to go to Namibia, and I’d be crazy not to go. Seriously, it’s just a 9-1/2 hour direct flight Tel Aviv to Jo-berg (that’s Johannesberg for cool people). A breeze compared to the 24 trek it would be from LA.

The last two weeks have been exhausting. My last place in LA will no longer be available to me when I return, so I spent the last two weeks packing my things, selling some, giving away more and throwing the rest in storage.

And I am now officially a vagabond.

But I'll be writing all the way if I possibly can, so come back for more blogging and have a great summer.

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