Everyone writes. Not everyone is foolish enough to try to do it for a living. I guess I was paying attention at film school when the screenwriting professor said — and who can forget an opening line like this? — “99% of you are going to fail. One percent of you will never stop trying. Those are the ones who make it.” I listened. And but for three weeks when I waited tables in full regalia at a Marina del Rey establishment called Gulliver’s (just imagine the uniform!), all I have ever done for a living is write. Books. Film. TV. Magazine. Newspaper. Documentaries. Nonfiction. Fiction. Screenplays. Conferences. White papers. Executive reports. Speeches. And now, my first novel.
This predilection for storytelling began in Ardsley, New York, in third grade. I still remember the smell of the mimeograph machine as I ran copies of the school newspaper that I founded and edited. We sold it for 25-cents an issue and bought a cheerful yellow bench for the Concord Road Elementary School with the proceeds from the year.
What followed was a trail of words invested in all media in all places. I have written comedy for HBO and drama for all three networks, including the "Corky's First Kiss" episode for the iconic ABC series, Life Goes on. My journalistic forays have led me to the pages of The New York Times, Cosmopolitan (where I first waxed poetic on relationships as a "His Point of View" columnist), and then later, as life dictated, in Parenting. I served as editor-in-chief of the short-lived TV Game Show magazine and have met Pat & Vanna. I am the proud owner of the requisite Hollywood film option, maybe not-so-coincidentally, with the Oscar-winning producers of the first real foodie film, Babette's Feast.
The journey has taken me from New York to D.C., Middlebury to L.A. (more times than I can count), Rockport, MA and ultimately, back to New York and my beloved Brooklyn -- with half my time spent in Chicago where my brainy, playful professorial wife calls home. We make claim to two houses, four kids, two dogs, and a lot of frequent flyer mileage.
In 2009, I sat down with my dear friend from the game show days, Chef John DeLucie of Waverly Inn fame, and said, "Let's write a book." When The Hunger went on to many delicious accolades, it became evident that I was not done in the kitchen. Hence: Food for Marriage.
The rewards of a career behind the typewriter have been eclectic and many. A few quantifiable ones? Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers. Best Foodwriting 2009. AFI Screenwriting Fellow. Best Documentary Scriptwriting. And perhaps less quantifiable, my appearance as a “Dating Expert” on Oprah.
In the end, as much as the medium has changed, it has always been about interesting characters and a story that needs to be told. We write because we have to. And because we want to ensure that our kids will always have a book to pick up and pages to turn.