I'm an LA/NY writer guy who has been at it for almost thirty years and have only just recently realized that nothing is the hardest and most rewarding work that I've ever done.
Look, I know that your mother has always hammered at you with that giant Thor-sized hammer of hers to make something of yourself, but I'm here to tell you that you should make nothing out of your life and you will become the most creative person you have ever been.
Now I am not much of a procrastinator because the act of writing itself has over a period of time become a compulsive obsession with a fine sprinkling of pleasure.
Someone famously said you don't write because you want to. You write because you have to, so welcome to me.
I began my creative life somewhere around the age of three or four.
My mom was a tormented soul whose brain was a toxic hive of angry killer bees that stung her with each and every self destructive thought.
She would go from calm and lovely to nasty and frothing in less than an eye blink and the only way I was able to deal with her---mostly to prevent her from knocking me around---was to entertain her like Al Jolson on coke.
Make her laugh, spare the child.
And so the class clown was born.
Or I would simply duck into my room, bolt the door and "leave' the premises by entering the Disney quality fortress of my multi-storied imagination. I would wear all sorts of head to toe costumes, act out scenes or just sail on the vast splendor waters of make-believe.
That kind of behavior served me well when, after a lifetime of acting classes (which included the High School of Performing Arts and a four year drama scholarship) and a few years spent as a publicist at United Artists (which included films like Rocky 1, Network, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Love and Death and The Man With the Golden Gun) I finally ran away to Hollywood which turned out to be the equivalent of my toddler hide-out bedroom.
Almost immediately I scored six years of exclusive studio writing deals with my own office and parking spot, at Disney (!) Universal and Columbia and then eventually I either staffed, executive produced or co-created shows like Mad About You, Full House, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sister, Sister, The Wayans and on and on while writing features for everybody.
And yet: all I did was work and hold my breath for days at a time to keep my lungs from congealing from the smog.
Fact: The one thing that no one ever says to themselves in Hollywood is "I am a success" because you know that you are nothing more than OEM replacement parts.
Any Hollywood right out of the chute newborn can squint into the sunlight and already see their retired number jerseys hanging from the rafters.
Life in Hollywood is basically one, slow, circuitous ride to the gallows in a luxury foreign made car.
With that particular go-fuck-yourself-supertrain heading straight for your groin and before any young executive could confuse me with comedy legend Betty White, I moved back to my native New York and after a few years of Hollywood detox (someone has to come up with a Hollywood Rehab program for those of us who have OD'd on the attitude that we have been doing God's work because we have worked with John Stamos and Will Smith. Look--I'm still dropping names! Shit.
I have to call my sponser.
Hello, I'm David and I have been Hollywood sober for three seconds.
Hey, I worked with Dave Coulier! Shit.
Fact: By listening to the intimate song of my soul, while eavesdropping to the souls of others with my own, personal empathetic and deeply human stethoscope, I have slowly begun to realize that doing nothing is the deepest work that I have ever done.
Because there is no such thing as doing nothing.
Nothing is what other people say you are doing while they do the Metro North March home, not unlike Walking Dead zombies, right past their little homes of ticky-tacky, as they head straight for the edge of their suburban cliffs while guys like me quietly observe, ready to catch them, in our field of Wry,
Fact: The act of writing is not just about smacking keys on a keyboard in Starbucks.
That is called typing---which is, in fact, the only class that I ever failed.
Writing is daydreaming.
Writing is drifting one one giant invisible, inflatable life raft.
Writing is watching the wheels go round and round. And round.
Writing is subtext that cannot, will not be ignored.
When you finally calm yourself down and stop distracting yourself with your on-going marriage with your electronic devices (as in "I now pronounce you man and wifi") your truth slowly begins to rise to the surface like cream, everything begins to become mesmerizingly crystal clear, nothing intimidates you, you stop living for the approval of others and your entire fantasy life begins to take on the shape and size of a Santa Fe quality helium balloon that can take your around the world and back in seconds...and not 180 days.
Here in New York, I have opened my own little shop called "The Wit Protection Program." I began shooting comedy shorts, I wrote plays, pilots and blah blah blah blah me. (You can see our newest, now awarding winning film at: Danteandbeatricefilm.com)
Plus get this: I just beat the improbable Las Vegas-like odds and sold a new series that I co-created with (and for: because I love him and boy does he know what he's doing) Paul Reiser for the new NBC streaming network SEES0 (it's about the behind the scene world of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show set in 1972).
I gotta say I'm giggling like a belly tickled baby chimp in diapers on the Internet.
The thing is by pursuing nothing I was able to get everything and the only currency that I needed was the magical fairy tale once upon a time brain-beans of my imagination.
So, my assembled Huff Post Syndrome friends, my heartfelt wish for you is to stop DOING and start DREAMING.
Because your dreams are in fact, your own, personal, 24/7 guardian angels who will guarantee you one thing:
The single most thrilling gift of your life: flight.
And if you are really blessed, you will achieve absolutely nothing.