Here is what I know: no.
Most of the time.
A brief history:
I am what you would call a veteran tv/film writer. At the feeble age of 40, a professional baseball writer is considered to be in his twilight Mr.Magoo years and if you know who Mr. Magoo is then so you are you.
Put it this way, I have already gone deathbed shopping at Sleepy's.
In my world, the single most powerful weapon that any Hollywood executive can wield is the word "no." A "yes" is a commitment without a parachute and if the project that has moved forward tanks, odds are likely that said executive will have to take the bullet and the odds of his driving his Mercedes SUV straight to the unemployment line increases by, let's says a quintillion percent.
So to keep both his kids and Olympic sized backyard pool filled with Beluga, out comes the knife before a writer or producer sits down and just like that you're in West Side of Los Angeles Story and you are one big unarmed Jet.
So living there you learn to play the game of "Please Leave My Office" as quickly as you can.
Just like in everyday, civilian life, fairness rarely has even a walk on part in Hollywood. Life for the writer is usually a one man/one woman show, brought to you by the good corporate people who gave you the word NO!
The heartache comes when you KNOW that you have done something that is at the very least original. But originality is usually frowned upon out there because said executives are like Gibbon apes who prefer the pungent aroma of their own familiar (as in safe) shit. Picture an ape inhaling a handful of poop that is not their own. The dialog will be "Wait. This am not my poop. This am someone else's poop. (Insert chest pounding here). Me no like! Me no like! My answer be NO!
You look at TV as shows interrupted by commercials while networkTV looks at itself as commercials interrupted by commercials. The whole plan is not to pick the coolest or smartest show. It's to pick the coolest and smartest commercials and then pick shows that will keep you interested in those interminable Jan and Flo ads.
After a brief 25 year career in LA, I finally ran away, screaming like a girl with her hair on fire, because, well, I was literally burned out. When it comes to notes alone out there, the "thoughts" are closer to being autistic as opposed to artistic. One day, if you are really lucky, the top of your head finally blows off, which is God's way of saying, "City of Angels my ass."
So I moved back to my native NY, opened up my own shop called "The Wit Protection Program," started writing and directing comedy short films featuring my most talented actor and crew buddies, wrote plays and books while wasting time here, blathering on Huff Post. (Sometimes I pretend I'm Arianna and read them out loud. Sadly I sound more like Melania Trump).
Over the last few years I've written upwards of a dozen drama and sitcom pilots and have drawn in such sparkling talent as Carrie Preston of The Good Wife fame. How cute is she?
And here is what I have gotten at every turn. Come on, say it with me. Ready? 1...2...3...NO!!!
And that has been the LA. weather report for all this time: No with a 100% chance of No.
So what kept me going? One thing alone: I'm a writer and don't know how to do anything else. I tried being a surgeon and frankly I killed way too many people.
I love to write. I write all the time. I have so many ideas that my brain is like an airport tower that is trying to keep order on the crowded Tarmac.
Which brings me to something that happened yesterday.
Yesterday, out of nowhere....I got totally sucker punched.
Someone said yes.
The great and adorable Paul Reiser and I (I did Mad About You and My Two Dads) decided to write a behind the scenes comedy pilot about The Tonight Show in 1972 Burbank as told through the eyes of an edgy Kevin Arnold-like innocent from Johnny's beloved Kansas.
Paul managed to secure the rights to the 30 year library and under the watchful eye of the Jeff Sotzing, who runs the Carson empire and out we went.
The first set of mini seismic responses were all the predicted tiny earthquakes of NO. Too sweet. Too nice. Not this enough. Not that enough.
That is what I would call a typical Wednesday.
And then came the punch to the gut, bewildering yes.
Which has brought me to this conclusion.
We are all in the pursuit of happiyess.
We are as a nation addicted to the YES.
No is the Walter White meth of our lives.
But YES is the legal marijuana.
And thereis a Debbie downer side to all this.
Yes is a temporary high (while no can linger for centuries).
Getting a "yes" is not exactly like the north post war swooping in for the long term reconstruction of the south, following their mild four year disagreement.
Yes is Christmas.
Yes is your birthday.
Yes is Damon Runyon having a really good day at the track.
Yes is getting laid.
Yes is getting engaged.
But 50% of us who are the recipients of the engaged form of "yes" know exaxctly where that is heading.
So...INSERT LESSON HERE:
Live not for the yes or the no.
Make the goal the on-going, creation of all the tiny blips of sparkling beauty that burst open like spring flowers whenever you are in the moment, funny, creative or simply alive.
Yes and No are honest to God, nothing more than the Katniss arrows shot by those who don't really know or care about you.
Don't live for opening day. Live for the season---the ups, the downs, the herorics and the injuries.
Because you cannot live life, no matter how hard you try, without any of them.
Success, to me, arrives on the days where I don't even think about anything deep or significant.
I just write blogs.
Here is what I know: no.