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, “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 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 most recently, for the past three years, a column called "Man in the Kitchen" for Paris-based culture website, Inspirelle.
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. The school is still there. I haven't checked on the bench.
What followed was a trail of words. 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 wrote "His Point of View" columns for the legendary Helen Gurley Brown), and Parenting. I served as editor-in-chief of TV Game Show magazine and have met Pat & Vanna. I am the proud owner of the requisite Hollywood film options, one with the Oscar-winning producers of the first real foodie film, Babette's Feast and another with a producer from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
In 2009, I sat down with my dear friend Chef John DeLucie of Waverly Inn fame, and said, "Let's write a book." The Hunger (Ecco) earned us a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers nomination and was included in Best Food Writing (Da Capo Press).
Other rewards of a career behind the keyboard include an AFI Screenwriting Fellowship, a Best Documentary Scriptwriting award, and perhaps less quantifiable, my appearance as a “Dating Expert” on Oprah.
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 and brilliant professorial wife calls home. We make claim to two houses, four kids, two dogs, and a lot of frequent flyer mileage.
When all is said and done, writers write because we have to. The medium may be in flux, but it is always about interesting characters and a story that needs to be told. That's what keeps me up at night and happily, has me flying out of bed every morning.