I was laid off on a Wednesday. The next day, I woke up at my usual hour which, quite frankly, would have gotten me to work ten minutes late. I savored the quiet luxury of laying awake in bed with my thoughts. Downstairs, the coffee maker began to whisper sweet promises and inspired me to stir myself.
The day stretched in front of me blank and white like an empty field full of freshly fallen snow. When I looked out the window, everything really was covered with snow. The as-yet unshoveled sidewalks, the angled rooftops of neighboring houses and each individual bare branch of every tree that I could see, to the very smallest capillary branches which looked more like thin pencil lines drawn in the sky. Everything was draped in a thick down comforter of snowfall. It was the perfect day to be unemployed.
Written in my planner for that evening, though, was a free screenplay class. I was tempted to skip it and spend my day writing. And by writing, I meant commenting on friends’ Facebook status updates. But then Serendipity reared its pretty head and shook me gently. In my email was an announcement for a year-long writing fellowship. To apply, I had to submit an original script for a 30 minute comedy. Really? The coincidence would be unbelievable if this were a movie. Since I had decided to listen to what the world told me to do, and the world wasn’t being very subtle, I knew I had to attend the class and write the script utilizing what I would learn from that one hour of education.
Outside, giant snow bunnies fell from the sky and collected into Wouldn’t You Rather Stay In? piles.
“Yes,” I told them. “I would much rather stay in. But a lifetime of speaking to imaginary weather condition friends stretches before me if I do that. So I’m sorry, floofy bunnies, but I’m going.”
I nodded decisively and climbed out of the couch which clung to me like a needy lover. I shook it off and cooed “I’ll be back, baby.” Thank goodness I was leaving the house.
The screenwriting class was amazing. (Michael Eldridge, Gotham Writers Workshop) So amazing that it made writing my first script within 2 days to meet the fellowship deadline seem possible. I engaged in 14-hour writing sessions all weekend long. By the end of it, I smelled like ink and bourbon, but I met the deadline. The Chan Plan was underway.