Writing, to Hear Ourselves.


Two hookers stand on a street corner.

This was the opening to my very first spec screenplay. I was seven.

It was 1985 and I wrote in pencil on legal-size yellow notepads. I was enamored with a TV movie-of-the-week about the organization Children of the Night and its founder Lois Lee, written by my mother. She often took writing jobs that covered delicate subjects. She wrote with heart.

I’d watched the movie at least fifty-times. I watched it on repeat with my cousin, Jenny #1 (I was Jenny #2) or whatever other friend I could lure over to my quiet Hollywood home in the hills with working screenwriters for parents, usually behind closed office doors. I was as obsessed with Children of the Night as I was Nadia, my dad’s movie, which had me backward summersaulting down hallways in an attempt to roll myself into handstands using the walls for kickstands.

It wasn’t the unglamorous depiction of pimps and tricks or getting yourself stabbed working the streets at night, that inspired me to mimic my mom’s screenplay at seven. It was her career. Her focus. And Pat Benetar’s Hell is for Children over the opening credits. I couldn’t get enough of the song. Of cigarette smoke and the haze that lay like a kind of loneliness-blanket over Hollywood street corners. I wanted to recreate, in my own words, something dangerous I could not make sense of yet.

Besides, I lived in Hollywood too, didn’t I?

I was children too, wasn’t I?

Was hell meant for me? Was something coming I'd need to face down?

I had already witnessed a world outside our arched living room window overlooking Fairfax and Sunset, both tantalizing and dangerous. I’d witnessed police sirens and homelessness and car accidents and fires. The commute across town to school was arduous. The divorced-parent custody-issues, complicated. I was a mixed bag of questions already, so I put my pencil to paper.

Words on paper were about to become the shorthand to my soul. To this day, I write to better understand myself. Make sense of the flickering of radio stations in my mind as reception snaps in and out.

Words on paper are like threads around the spools of understanding.

I unravel these spools to find what is hidden, by taking to the page.

I always begin with a keyboard or pen…