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THE LIFE OF A WRITER: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN


My previous post mentioned Fran Drescher. Specifically, I heavily used her show, ‘The Nanny’ as an example to make my point on queerness. She’s always been an advocate for gay rights, and even more so now since her ex-husband and frequent collaborator, Peter Marc Jacobson, came out as a gay man in the 2000’s. The former couple is so close that they even managed to create and develop an entire sitcom, ‘Happily Divorced’ based on their life together; or shall I say, life apart.

Drescher had been on the news for some time this past year as Hollywood went on strike. She might not seem like a very big deal to the average person. But she’s the current president of SAG-AFTRA, which makes her a VERY big deal. She was the one who fought for writers’ pay increases and didn’t stop until she saw it being fair and equivalent to the effort and amount of work put in to media projects in question. In hindsight, we can all thank Drescher because it’s only because of, her thanks to, her that we will still have movies and TV shows to look forward to, both on streaming and movie theatres. TV shows such as Netflix favourites ‘Cobra Kai’, ‘Stranger Things’, and ‘Wednesday’ were halted due to the strike, and movies such as ‘Knives out 3’, ‘The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim’, the next 2 ‘Avengers’ as well as the next 3 ‘Avatar’ movies have been affected by the strike one way or another.

It’s no surprise that Drescher is the president of SAG-AFTRA. She was part of the making of numerous shows. Though ‘The Nanny was the most notable one that even those that never watched a single episode knows about it, she was part of the making of numerous shows that wouldn’t see the light of day without her. With her being SAG-AFTRA president, she was given the right to be the one to advocate for writers’ work, and she did just that. She didn’t stop until a fair agreement was made, and that’s what makes her so great. She wasn’t just thinking of herself and her rights for a fair pay. She was thinking of ALL actors and writers out there.

This past writers’ strike wasn’t the first. Hollywood writers went on strike back in 2007 for 100 days, and just like this past year, actors and writers united together to protest and demand a fair pay for the work done. We were in recession in 2007, and we’re back at it again in 2024, starting in 2023, if not even in 2021. Those of us who are in the millennial generation are the ones who are paying the price the most. Gen Z was hit hard by this latest recession as well. But writers, no matter what age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability are also the ones that are hit hard by a recession. It was made obvious considering Hollywood writers went on strike twice, and both time were during a recession. Mostly, everyone in Hollywood was united during the strike. There were exceptions, of course. Drew Barrymore, for instance, still continued on with her talk show as normal despite the strike still going on at the time. People weren’t happy about it. The writing team on her show wasn’t happy about it; so much so that that they all quit their jobs following her announcement.

Barrymore has been in the entertainment industry since she was a child. Her father AND her grandfather were in the entertainment industry as well. Generations of people around the world know her last name. To add to that, Steven Spielberg is her godfather. She should be the second person, behind Drescher, to advocate for entertainment writers. Instead, she was just thinking of herself and her own job and her own money in her pocket. Then again, she’s not the one that’s part of the writing process for any movie she stars in or produces, so unlike Drescher, she’s the one that underestimates the hard work of a writer. Though, I can’t really use this as an excuse. Even people like Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney Spears’ younger sister, supported writers during the strike and even protested as united front with her fellow co-workers.

Barrymore’s unthinkable actions got me thinking. My favourite thing to say is that I had an epiphany, and I almost let that favourite saying of mine slide. Writing is just a f*cking art. Any content you see out there, a book, a magazine, social media, YouTube, a blog, a company website, a podcast or so on and so forth, is created by a writer. Nevertheless, writing, or anything that has even remotely something to do with writing, is the most underestimated and underappreciated job in the world. It may seem like the easiest job in the world and that anyone could do it, but it’s not. There’s a lot of work, time and effort that’s put into writing; any writing, that is. John McPhee once said:

“In short, you may actually be writing only two or three hours a day, but your mind, in one way or another, is working on it twenty-four hours a day — yes, while you sleep — but only if some sort of draft or earlier version exists. Until it exists, writing has not really begun.”

The reality of it all is that writing is the toughest job in the world. Though you don’t see me post for this blog every day, I work on this blog and think of this blog every single day. I could come up with Any conversation I might have or anything I read on the news, or anything I watch on YouTube or streaming could lead to new content ideas. At this point, I have plans for the next 4 blog posts to be published. The process of writing is never ending. As a content creator, I think about writing AT ALL TIMES; even in the shower and in my sleep.

I recently got a chance to watch Taylor Swift’s documentary movie, ‘Miss Americana’. She usually makes documentary movies based on her tours, with her most recent one that’s based on her Eras Tour being the biggest one yet, surpassing even Justin Bieber’s documentary movie. ‘Miss Americana’ was completely different, though, and not like anything she’d ever done in her career. It was based on the making of her 2019 album, ‘Lover’, starting with the songwriting process. The movie opens with Swift getting the news that her previous album, ‘Reputation’, wasn’t nominated for a Grammy. In turn, on the verge of tears, she said she had to make a better album. And that was how ‘Lover’ was born.

Swift is a master songwriter. She wouldn’t be where she is today if she didn’t write her own songs, and she knows that 100%. ‘Miss Americana’ showed her writing technique from top to bottom. She came up with new ideas for new songs while recording what she already had prepared. She changed wordings here and there to make sure a song in question was both grammatically correct, rhymed, and was pure perfection. What she creates is truly an art, and it wasn’t this particular album that showed her master-skills. It was the next three albums that followed that truly showed her ability to showcase how talented she really is.

And speaking of Taylor Swift, she was in attendance at Sunday’s Golden Globes. Her ‘Eras Tour’ documentary movie was nominated for an award. Despite the fact that she lost to ‘Barbie’, she had a pretty good night. Despite her loss, she was the one to lead a standing ovation for the award she lost. Swift just seemed to be happy to be there with her friends, including Selena Gomez. The one instance she wasn’t happy about was when the host of the awards ceremony, Jo Koy, made yet another joke at her expense during his opening monologue. He said, “As you know, we came on after a football doubleheader. The big difference between the Golden Globes and the NFL? On the Golden Globes, we have fewer camera shots of Taylor Swift, I swear.”

It was a tasteless joke. If you’ve been living under a rock these past few months, Koy was referring to Swift’s relationship with NFL player, Travis Kelce. Since their first public outing together in September, the NFL has been in the media news practically every day, and cameras made sure to get Swift and whoever she was with on a particular day on camera each time when she was at a game to support her man. That specific joke was tasteless for more reasons than none. According to Koy, the joke was meant to be at the expense of the NFL putting on the camera and attention on Swift these past few months, but it came out to be at the expense of Swift and her personal life. And Swift has had a reputation for her dating life and writing breakup songs about her past flings, such as John Mayer, Harry Styles, Taylor Lautner, and Jake Gyllenghaal. In a way, she’s still being roasted and made fun of for dating around in her 20’s just like any other young woman would do. If she were a man, she’d be applauded. Jo Koy blamed this tasteless joke, and on the tasteless hosting gig as a whle, on not having enough time to prepare, but….meh. It’s just bad writing for me. Just as she wrote in her song, ‘If a man talks sh*t, then I owe him nothing.’ The one thing that was actually positive and actually showed that good writing makes an impact was when Kevin Costner recited America Fererrah’s entire ‘Barbie’ speech (you can read more about it in a previous post I made about the movie).

But when I think of writing, I immediately think of ‘Glimore Girls’. I’m not ashamed to say I saw the entire show twice. Its Netflix reboot, ‘A Year In The Life’, was a disappointment, and somehow, I wish it ever existed. Rory Gilmore is first introduced in the series as a young 16 year old girl, who has ambition and her sight set on becoming a journalist. She won’t stop at anything to get where she wants to go. She ven goes to her grandparents, who are estranged from Rory’s mother, Lorelai, to aid her financially so she can go to prestigious high school and then university. She excelled in high school, but was utterly surprised when university wasn’t as kind to her. At the first sight of hardship and a negative review of her writing capabilities, Rory quits college and moves in with her grandparents because her mother was against her choices. She eventually goes back to school and graduates, but we see in the reboot that she’s failed in her career path and threw her ambitions down the drain. She’s a 30-something year old lost soul. She’s lost, both in her professional life and her personal life.

Many people criticized ‘Gilmore Girls’ reboot series for the way Rory’s life turned out. In hindsight, though, it’s realistic, and actually the most relatable story-line in the entire reboot. Not every aspiring writer ends up having a successful career, and Rory’s story-line showed a truthful and honest view of what happens to someone when things don’t go according to plan in the life of writer. It’s as plain and as simple as that. And it doesn’t matter if it’s due to circumstances, or because the person just gave up, or because opportunities just don’t come. Some writers just don’t get a taste of success. I, for one, didn’t see the success I desired because of two reasons: first, it was because I gave up to easily, and second, it was because of circumstances.

I’ve recently started job searching. One interview question that I found interesting was, ‘What motivates you to continue writing and not give up?’ I immediately thought of my son. Kids learn not but what is said to them, but by what they see. What kind of example would I be setting for him if I contentiously give up on my career ambitions every time things get hard? This particular interview question was a big reminder for me that I have someone watching me now. I have to set a good and positive example for this little person that I’m responsible for.



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